January 29, 2012


I grew up with stories of my Dad's Peace Corps, peanut-planting, well-digging, motorbike-riding, possibly CIA-sponsored, work in Thailand. My sister and I watched carousel slide-shows of his adventures on our basement wall with a full bowl of popcorn and nostalgic, fatherly narration. This was, of course, before Thailand was subject to Full Moon parties and Leonardo DeCaprio.

Pat Klein c1970
As a result, I've traveled a little. More than some, way less than lots.

I've been to North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. I haven't been to Antarctica or South America. I couldn't possibly name my favorite destination, but I remember Japan fondly and it's one place I know I will return to.

Japan, 2003
Jordan and I didn't get along at first, but it's been the source of so many good stories I can almost kid myself into thinking that I liked it. I wish I would've brought bubble gum for the Bedouin children in Petra and knew more about the geography of Youngstown, Ohio.

Petra, Jordan, 2002
Of course I'm glad to have been, but I wouldn't willingly return to China.


I feel as though I should see India, but I know I wouldn't really like it.

I wish I would've taken a tour up to the DMZ while in Seoul.

Iceland and Ireland get my votes for nicest people. It must be an island thing.

...that said, it was REALLY cold. Especially for August.
The Paris Metro system is more complicated than quantum physics, but taxis there are lethal, even for heavily pregnant ladies.
I love Notre Dame
All the beautiful people live in Norway.

...but they are not in this picture
I'm a good packer. I know that whatever I put in my suitcase is too much and I'm okay with taking it out. I wear sensible shoes at the sacrifice of fashion (which is pretty much my approach to life anyway). I can convert currencies without issue (well, okay, I let The Accountant handle most of it).

The Accountant in Monument Valley, Utah
I just barely made it through high school Spanish and am horribly shy when it comes to new languages. Especially languages which I feel I should know (i.e. French). In the midst of conversation, I've pretended that French is the same is Spanish. Bonjour, comment êtes-vous ...? ¡Hola, muy bien; gracias! Actually, I've pretended that Italian, Afrikaans, Chinese, German and Korean are the same as Spanish. Because, for whatever reason, when someone speaks to me in a foreign language, I revert to high school Spanish. Again, I let The Accountant handle it. That said, even he sometimes makes mistakes...

Altenbourg...? Altenberg!
When we travel, we try to hit all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites we can. That's how I've made it to salt mines in Poland, an iron bridge in Wales, a golden shrine in Japan, blue mountains in Australia, and the whole island of Mozambique. You might also recall my trip to Toledo...

If I could go anywhere it would be Buenos Aires. That answer changes daily. I have, for example, heard great things about Ecuador. Friends who've traveled extensively in South America say it's one of their favorite places, and that the people are extraordinarily friendly. If I went to Ecuador, I would put all my free time, effort, money, and family's money into going to the Galapagos Islands. I would also definitely go see Sangay National Park, and the Historic Centre of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca (both being World Heritage sites). I would also take some time to walk around old Quito; it is one of the first World Heritage Sites and I really do love old, Spanish town centers.

San Juan, Puerto Rico
At all costs, I would take a picture of myself straddling the Equator. I don't know where you can do it, but Google is telling me that someone, somewhere is capitalizing on the idea.

Emily - thanks for the writing inspiration and have a great time in Quito. Forget about the professionalism and dedication in becoming a doctor; just see everything you can and report back. ¡Y, por amor de Dios, tomar una fotografía de ti mismo en el ecuador!