Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rolling Out

Written by Karen.
Over the past six months or so, Adam and I have spent countless hours talking about how we would start up our travels again once a window of opportunity opened up. What would we do differently?  What mattered to us about traveling?  What were our short-term/long-term life goals now?  What worked and what didn’t work?  Did we still want to travel, or was it time to do something else?   

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Back on the Road Again.

Written by Karen.
I won’t lie to you.  The past six months have been tough.  Life has thrown one of its curveballs and we weren’t able to duck.  It was a direct hit.  We’ve been pretty lucky, I guess.  I haven’t had too many fast balls make direct contact right between the eyes.  But this one did, and the shock waves still reverberate.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Disappearing Act

Written by Karen.
As you may have noticed, we've been absent for awhile.  In mid-March, we were notified of a sudden illness in the family and we wound up flying back to the United States from Hong Kong. We've been in Atlanta, Georgia now for quite awhile, enjoying the Southern hospitality as we help support a member of my family. 

We will continue our trip at some point, but we're just not exactly sure when that will happen.  So, for now...we'll see you down the road when the traffic clears...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

At the Peak

Written by Karen.
We got lucky today and briefly saw the sun and blue sky for the first time since we’ve been in Hong Kong.  We were lucky as we had made the trek to the top of Victoria Peak earlier while the sky was still gray and misty, and the top of the mountain was shrouded in ghostly fog.  

Eating in a Chinese Tea Room

Written by Karen.
We asked a local woman we had recently met where we should go for lunch that was close to our hotel in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.  Something local.  Nothing fancy.  She replied that we should go to a tea room down the street and right next to the HSBC bank and ATM located on the corner.  This tea room had good food, she continued, and people from the local neighborhood went there.  We nodded.  We knew exactly where the HSBC bank was as we had used that particular HSBC ATM on several occasions already.  

Impressions of Hong Kong

Written by Adam
It’s funny how life pans out for people.  I remember traveling to Asia for the very first time in my life in 1984, when I made the long transoceanic trip alone to visit Tokyo, Japan.  I recall being in that city while the 1984 Winter Olympics were being conducted in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia - in present day Bosnia-Herzegovina.  I can clearly see within my pleasant memories the Japanese people being transfixed as British Olympians Torvill and Dean skated for the Olympic gold medal in the ice dancing competition, the televised images being beamed to a large video screen located right in the heart of Tokyo.  Shortly after those Olympic Games concluded, Sarajevo became a brutal killing zone as a civil war catalyzed by an ethnically fractured Yugoslavia rained terror upon all the good people living there.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hong Kong - A City to Celebrate

Written by Karen.
Hong Kong is a city full of contrasts and contradictions. The many skyscrapers soar towards the heavens and dwarf you as you stand 100 stories below, yet the City is still intimately walkable. Despite its incredible and modern vertical architecture, you can find the old and the traditional if you wander through the winding streets and alleys. The City bustles and hums with incredible verve and activity levels, yet overall Hong Kong is surprisingly quiet.  There are few horns honked and people quickly and quietly move through the City with a sense of urgency towards their destinations. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

King Kong Photographs Hong Kong

Written by Adam.
Maybe I was just a little bit weary, I don’t know.  More plausible is that I am just looking for an excuse for this crazy idea.  

Chicken and Rice

Written by Karen.
It seems like an inconsequential dish.  But, cold boiled chicken and warm rice seems to be a staple of Singaporean food and a must try dish to eat, especially at the hawker center.  The hawker center is like a food court, with multiple small businesses lined up in tiny stalls offering their particular version of smoothie drinks, Indian food, Chinese food, Malay food, chicken and rice, pulled tea, and other types of street food.  But, unlike the reputation of a typical food court, this food is really delicious.  At least the food that we tried.  Not fatty or greasy, just well made and very tasty.  

Dazzling Display

Written by Karen.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a vast and varied tropical garden in the center of Singapore. It is bordered by some of the busiest streets of downtown Singapore: Holland Road, Tyersall Avenue, Cluny Park Road, Bukit Timah Road, and Evans Road.  But despite being in the center of a large and bustling city, this diverse 7.4 hectare (18 acre) landscape is quiet and peaceful. It is a well-established refuge of verdant greenery, flowers, waterfalls, ponds, lakes and the peaceful quiet that nature can bring.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Screen of Doom

It started as a relatively simple - and necessary - task of backing up my pictures.  It’s a pretty elementary requirement and I shake my head in 20-20 hindsight with the following admission.  I haven’t truly backed up the thousands of pictures that I have taken since we started traveling.  We have all sorts of work-arounds for things we really want to do: flash drives mostly, as well as me regularly transferring pictures from my tablet to Adam’s trusted and stalwart workhorse laptop.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Singing the Praises of Singapore

Written by Adam
Our most recent trip to Asia began with a very brief layover in Hong Kong before we boarded another Cathay Pacific jet that took us on to Singapore.  Paying attention to the financial news, I know that there are a couple of places on the planet where business is conducted on a scale that rocks markets and reverberates globally.  Singapore is one of those places.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Grazing Through Macau

Written by Karen.
We are nearly up-to-date with our blog....we will be posting our latest experiences from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Hong Kong shortly.  But today we went to Macau, China for the day.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Courage In The Streets

Written by Karen.
The sun wasn't going to be denied by the shade of the purple jacaranda tree much longer.  It fully intended - as it did every day by 10:00 a.m. - to reclaim the entire community plaza with its unrelenting heat and bright sunlight. 

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Written by Adam
There’s just something about being in Puerto Vallarta.  We’ve been there a couple of times before, but in a flash somehow ten years suddenly passed by since our last visit, so we were really looking forward to a two month long revisit after spending a couple of months being on the road in Europe.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Norwegian Map Comes Alive

Written by Karen.
We left Averøya early in the morning for one of the several ferry rides we would take on this day.  Our day-long road trip was ambitious - more than 450 driving kilometers in total - but with a car full of five adults and plenty of cakes and coffee packed in the back, we knew that we would be having a great time together.   And, we would be seeing some majestic scenery along the way.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Grinning Like a Fool

Written by Karen.
My grandfather's family in Norway comes from a long line of fishermen and farmers. While I have always liked scraping the mud from beneath my fingernails and coaxing plants to thrive, I've never been one to grab a fishing pole.  It wasn't so much that I didn't like the activity, but it just didn't seem to have much of a payoff.  What was the point? There never seemed to be any fish caught at the end of the day.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Land of the Midnight Sun

Written by Karen.
Norway. The Land of the Midnight Sun. A place that makes me feel personally grounded and at ease like few others.  Norway is where my grandfather on my dad's side was born, before leaving in the 1920's to find a way to support himself in the United States.  

The Birds and the Trees in Berlin

Written by Adam
Berlin sure is an interesting place to discover.  One of the things that struck me about it was how truly green it was.  There were dense groves of trees and massive bushes everywhere, easily visible from above when you fly into Tegel Airport.  Once safely on the ground, the unrestrained botany does not let up.  Neither did my allergies, but that was on an earlier visit and I’ve forgiven the German landscape for that casually inflicted agony.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

In the Mood for Some German Food

Written by Adam
Okay, let’s just cut to the chase and get the awful and ugly stereotype out of the way right now:  German food is often described as being heavy, porky, laden with fat, salt, and calories, it's gloopy, and thus only suitable for providing the caloric energy to fuel hard-working farmers clearing rocks from a field just in order to plant the potatoes.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Cologne, Germany

Written by Adam
I’ve been to the City of Cologne twice now within the past five years.  Both times I arrived with Karen by taking the high-speed ICE train from Berlin.  After crossing the verdant German countryside for the greater part of a day, suggestions of Cologne suddenly begin to appear upon the landscape.  Close to the edge of town is a huge sports arena. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Living in a Tiny House on Wheels

Written by Karen.
We have lived in two tiny and mobile houses recently. Our first tiny rolling home was our 1984 VW Vanagon named Chinook, which we drove around the western United States for several months.  Our second mini home on wheels was our rented 1990 VW Vanagon camper van named Otto, which we recently drove around Germany and France for three weeks.  Although there are age, interior style and functionality differences between the two Vanagons, these cousins do share an interior footprint of approximately 115 square feet. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Musée des 24 Heures du Mans

Written by Adam
We drove into Le Mans, France on a sunny weekend afternoon.  Our first impressions of the town were quite vivid.  On the outskirts of town, Le Mans, France looks to be a prototypical contemporary business park.  The edgy buildings architecturally imply a modern high-tech focus, a sort of playground for French technicians of some sort.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bulots Mayonnaise - Bon Appétit!

Written by Karen.
It was late afternoon when we began our walk down the cobblestoned streets of Fécamp, France looking for a light bite of sea food to eat for dinner. Restaurants in France - as a rule - do not serve dinner until at least 7:00 p.m.  But, we somehow found a tiny loophole in this rather universal rule: the aperitif.  We first discovered this excellent idea of offering small snacks and tiny plates of food along with a glass of wine, beer or mixed drink before the later dinner hour in Italy, and thankfully France has also embraced this late afternoon/early evening ritual. We have turned the pre-dinner aperitif into a light dinner and found that this was the perfect amount of food to end our day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Establissement de la Benedictine de L'Ancienne Abbaye de Fécamp

Written by Adam.
Driving steadily in a northwesterly direction through Belgium in Otto, our rented VW campervan, we eventually crossed the border and made our way into Northern France.  Our intention was to try to stay pretty close to the coast as we drove west towards Brittany.  But, the late afternoon darkness soon arrived, and we started looking for a place to spend the night.  We consulted our simple fold-out maps, which highlighted only cities that were important enough to mention due to their size.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Meet Otto

Written by Karen.
I have always read travel blogs that featured an old VW camper van with the tiniest bit of envy.  I loved the idea of traveling around in a vehicle that also served as a tiny, fully functional house, stopping whenever - or wherever - one wanted. It seemed to be the very definition of total traveling freedom.