The national flag of Malaysia bears a remarkable resemblance to the U.S. national flag, though the similarities are not mentioned in the articles I perused to write this.
There are 14 alternating read-and-white stripes on the Malaysia flag, representing the nation's states and territories, while the U.S. flag has 13 similar stripes representing the original 13 colonies.
The blue field in the upper left also is similar, though of course the U.S. flag displays a star for each of the 50 states, while the Malaysia flag has a crescent representing the state religion of Islam, and a 14-point star representing unity among the nation's states and territories. The crescent and the star are yellow, representing the traditional royal color of Malaysia's rulers.
Malaysia first raised its national flag in 1963, while the U.S. flag dates back to the legend of seamstress Betsy Ross and America's Declaration of Independence in 1776.
The former Hin Bus Depot in downtown George Town, Penang, Malaysia, was transformed at some point into art galleries, exhibition and performance spaces, cafes, shops and workspaces, and it's become one of my favorite stops over the past few weeks.
I suppose it's about time I updated my whereabouts, mentally and physically.
Right now I'm comfortably ensconced in Penang, Malaysia, a Malaysian state on both the Malaysian peninsula and across the Malacca Strait on Penang Island, where its capital, the historic city of George Town, is located.
July 31, 2016, my last day in Hawaii, golfing with my buddies J.E. Orozco and Dave Smith, as we're about to tee off on the 18th hole at Volcano Golf and Country Club, on the Big Island of Hawaii where I'd lived most of my life. The next morning, Aug. 1, I'd leave on the journey that I'm still on today, taking with me this going-away gift of a Hawaiian rainbow blessing. Thanks for arranging that, my friends, it has worked out well.
Today marks three years since I left Hawaii to begin traveling. At the time I didn't know where this journey would take me, and I'm not sure yet where it's going.
But today feels like another birthday to me, my celebration of a new beginning, life reborn on the road.
It's cliche to say travel is life-changing, but what else can I say?
"Forever forward, forever alive," said the poet Walt Whitman, whose "Song of the Open Road" has its own page here (look in the menu, under "More".)
And I'm not just trying to be funny or clever when I say that I'm staying alive by not staying still, paraphrasing Bruce Lee. It feels real.
I've learned so much about myself and the world in these travels, it's overwhelming. And still with such a long way to go.
On this occasion, I've published a page of all the quotations I've collected that have inspired, amused, or motivated me along the way (also under "More" in the menu above).
Maybe you'll find something among them that will touch your life, too. I hope so, because it's really a fallacy to say I travel solo.
All of you who've followed me, encouraged me, cared about me, and written to me during my journey are with me in my thoughts every step of the way. Thank you for being there.
I also rededicate my life and my journey to the memory of my family, my dear late parents and brother, whose spirits forever guide me along life's way. I would not be without them.
And finally, to my friends, may your journeys always lead you to a better place in your heart, as mine have led me.
Life is good. Enjoy!
Some readers are beginning to notice the lull in my online activity.
I planned to do a lot more with this time in Chiang Mai, but a nasty bout of bronchitis put a crimp in that plan.
These things are bound to happen, I’m afraid.
Plans are like the weather, always changing.
Brazil’s dazzling Carnival celebration attracts more people each year than any other festival in the world, an estimated 10 million.
Germany’s sudsy Oktoberfest sits a distant second in attendance, with about 5 million people.
These two popular world festival icons at the top shouldn’t surprise anyone.
But there is a fast-rising newcomer on the scene.
How to define an adventure traveler? There's really no one way.
Some travelers would call an adventure nothing less than barreling down death road on a bicycle at 15,000 feet; others like their adventure in the ease and comfort of quiet contemplation along El Camino Santiago.
What most adventures have in common, though, is living out a dream. You dream, you travel, you gain a new perspective on who you are and your place in the world.
When you're an old fossil on the road like me, what's better than stopping by the side of the road to see an old fossil?
This was no pedestrian fossil, either.
The world's oldest, largest intact tree fossil was unearthed recently in the Ban Tak District of Tak Province in Northwest Thailand.
I was hitching a ride from Bangkok to Lampang with my friend Sky who decided the Petrified Wood Forest Park would be a good place to stop and stretch.
Wow! Stretched along 72 meters of earth was this ancient tree trunk turned to rock that was discovered by a local villager and uncovered by scientists in just the past 10 years.
Experts estimate the tree was alive in the forest about 800,000 years ago, and was as tall as the tallest trees on earth today.
Several other large tree fossils have also been uncovered near the site and they now comprise the Petrified Wood Forest Park which is open to visitors.
Thai officials are trying to preserve the fossilized tree, which has started to deteriorate since being exposed to the elements.
For more, see these articles in Live Science and ResearchGate .
(Note: I reminisced about the Fourth of July two years ago in a Facebook post from Medellin, Colombia. Today I've updated and revised that post for my favorite holiday. I'm posting it again with the Washington monument photo, above, that was posted with it.)
Four years ago, the director of the Pata Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand, agreed that its lone gorilla on exhibit should be moved to a more suitable location.
But Bua Noi, the 31-year-old ape who’s lived in its dingy cage here since she was just a few months old, still mopes around the sterile concrete floor, reaching through the steel bars for bits of paper on the floor or anything that might help break the deadening monotony of her life in an indoor cage.
I'm a retired journalist from Hawaii who tired quickly of retirement and hit the road as a slow solo world traveler in August 2016. I've spent time in 18 countries on four continents and right now I'm enjoying life in Penang, Malaysia.
I've been interviewed about my travels by Nomadic Matt, and Expat Focus, and here's a great story by veteran Borneo newsman and writer James Ritchie, about our meeting in Kuching, titled, A Confluence of Adventure Writers .
Elsewhere Online ...
GARIFUNA SETTLEMENT DAY
Still the most authentic, lively and colorful local cultural festival I've seen on the road.
I found this Alternative Arts and Music Festival in the Amazon highlands of Peru. What a find!
Here's how I found a friend and discovered what's real in a Lima, Peru, neighborhood.
My partner and I were left high and dry in this Siem Reap Rip. Be careful!