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    The Joy and Hassle of Traveling

    Part One

    Everyone likes and deserves a vacation, but sometimes, the work required before the vacation and the work required after a vacation sort of negates the rest and relaxation aspect of getting away.

    There are definitely more than a hundred places that I would like to see before I die. The idea of seeing the Pyramids, the Coliseum, the Great Wall in China, or the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Darwin, Minnesota or Cawker City, Kansas (both claim to have it), is thrilling to me (well, not so much the twine). I have toured the Potato Museum in Blackfoot, Idaho and even met the mayor who was greeting people at the door. I have seen volcanoes erupt and glaciers calve, felt earthquakes in New Zealand, canoed down the Green River in the Canyonlands, walked along Hadrian’s wall, snorkeled at the Great Barrier reef, watched the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, seen geishas in Kyoto, Japan, petted whales, kissed the Blarney Stone, scoured the Smithsonian, swum with dolphins, and kayaked in four countries.  When you list just of few of those adventures, it sounds wonderful, but there are more places to go and more things to do.

    I have not seen the Eiffel Tower or toured the Louvre, seen the tulips in Amsterdam, walked the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, been to the Galapagos, climbed the Alps, eaten pasta in Italy, had a beer in Germany (I would try it once), walked around Ayers Rock, toured the Hermitage in Russia, driven the Alaskan Highway, gone on a Safari, walked the Appalachian trail, or climbed the Tower of London.

    In the U.S., I have not seen Mount Rushmore, Glacier National Park, attended an Olympic event, or attended a real Broadway show (on Broadway, of course). I have not gone tp the World’s Largest Yard Sale, camped in Death Valley, or witnessed the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque.

    I have eaten some crazy things that would impress Andrew Zimmern, from the raw intestine of a sea cucumber, spinal cords, and live fish to delicacies like crocodile, kangaroo, and water buffalo. I love the local cuisine and I am quite sure that I will eat anything, or at least try it once. I have even slept in a Mongolian yurt (owned by a Canadian couple at an oasis in Mexico, but a yurt nonetheless).

    Things that I have no interest in doing, or have tried and do not like:

    • Anything involving helicopters (unless I am being rescued)
    • Crawling through tight caves (big ones are fine, though)
    • White water rafting (ripples are fine)
    • Snow camping or Arctic trekking
    • Climbing Half Dome in Yosemite
    • Dancing in any form

    Places that I do not want to visit:

    • The inside of a prison cell
    • Belington, West Virginia

    What a wonderful way to spend your retirement (or pre-retirement) than to see our beautiful world. We safely returned from a vacation a few days ago; one that we have planned for nearly a year and one that may have been canceled or postponed because of my recent medical challenges with a kidney stone lodged in my ureter.

    The hassle of traveling usually just involves the weeks or months of prep-time: arranging live-in pet sitters, fixing things, getting time off from work, finding a safe and inexpensive place to park your car at the airport, packing lightly but appropriately, updating your will, and finding a good pair of comfortable shoes.

    For the last three weeks, I have been blogging and posting on the ENT Community Board from somewhere other than home or work. We are now safely home and have hugged our neglected dogs, so I can now share recent adventures and experiences. It has been a long time since we had a real, out-of-the-country vacation to several places that we have never been before; slowly but surely clicking off a few of those hundred places.

    Where did we go? Read the next installment: When Strings are Attached.

    Read the series:


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