I have to say that over my adult life, whenever the opportunity would present itself to see some new places, I would always go. I guess it all started with the Army 44 years ago and through a quirk of bureaucratic fate, placed me in Germany. I took advantage of every opportunity to travel, from seeing the German Grand Prix (courtesy of a trip organized by Special Services) to traveling through most every country (except for some reason Belgium) over time, if not thoroughly at least I saw what I could. Other than a return to Germany in 1992 I have not been back. Been wanting to return to Europe for some time.
I was 23-24, and would throw 20 rolls of film into an AWOL bag, a few extra shirts and such, and I was off. Always tried to get a good friend to go with me and he refused to take any leave, wanting to use the money to get a motorcycle when he was discharged.
I saw him 20 years later. He said, “You know Willy, not going with you was one of my big regrets”. I asked him if he got his motorcycle, and he said that he didn’t.
I know someone who was an armorer on the Carl Nimitz, and he circled the world half a dozen times. Other than frequenting bars all over the world on leave, he did no traveling.
I was able to go to Africa and Egypt in the early 80s. Not sure I’d want to go back there today. In the mid 80s, I was fired from a job (programming) in December and I thought I’d see the South Pacific with my newly available time. I knew that the odds of getting another job that time of year was slim. I had no family to support, and I realized if I didn’t do this now I would have to wait until I retired. To be able to travel with no fixed itinerary or return date! Using my severance check I bought a QANTAS (For Queensland And Northern Territory Air Service!) ticket that allowed for up to 20 stops in the South Pacific, and I was off.
Sent my now ex-boss a post card from each stop – Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Hawaii. I was gone almost 3 months. I do believe that God has a good sense of humor. The second day I was back home, I went to a box store and guess who was standing by the front entrance waiting for someone?
He had a tight smile as he said, “Sounds like you had a good time”, to which I replied “that I did!”.
My idea of a great road trip is to just get in the car and drive with no rigid itinerary. Ten years ago my niece was getting married in Minnesota and while the rest of the family is getting airline tickets, I was planning a mini lap of America with my 300,000 mile car.
The last 10 years or so I have had work and “responsibilities”, but a small window became available and I just took 9 days driving on some of the West’s less used roads.
At first I was ready to go to London or Berlin, but the window was fast closing for that. Anyway I saw some great scenes so over the next few days I’ll show you some of them.