Traveling isn’t all cocktails on the beach.
Not the way I do it.
When you travel full-time, it’s a special lifestyle.
My dear friend and high school classmate Denise Leussen Dersch is a wonderfully gifted artist who has pursued her vision with a passion since her recent retirement from a long, successful career in public school education.
Denise has been an ardent and supportive follower of my journeys since the beginning, and I am so pleased and honored now that she has taken inspiration from some of my travel photos.
Above is Denise's wonderful take on my photo of boats at Banteay Srei, Cambodia, which I recently posted to My Gallery of favorite travel pics (pull down "More” in the menu above). Below are lilies in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, to which she is currently applying her creative talents.
The question in the headline came up on recently on Nomadic Matt's Nomadic Network on Facebook, and it didn't take long for a particular traveler to came to mind. Here's what I wrote on the forum:
Many have inspired me, from Nomadic Matt to Rita Golden Gelman to Paul Theroux, among countless others, but I’d like to give a special shout-out to Andy Lee Graham, a champion “Hobo” world traveler who may not get all the credit he deserves for inspiring travel.
Andy’s a little eccentric but wildly enthusiastic about travel life, and he makes no bones about how he rose from an empty, dead-end, alcoholic’s life in midwest America more than 20 years ago to an enriching, productive life through world travel. He’s enjoyed life on the road, worked hard to sustain himself, and shared his thoughts and experiences on social media ever since.
Several years ago, while sinking into a new recliner, aimlessly clicking the TV remote and wondering how I was going to beat a bad case of retirement blues, I found Andy’s YouTube videos. At that time, Andy, perhaps more than anyone, led me to realize that traveling could change my life for the better, too. As a result, I hit the road in 2016 and haven’t looked back.
If you are unfamiliar with Andy, take some time to visit his sites. Maybe you won’t like his style, but he knows a lot about traveling and, if nothing else, he’s prolific and entertaining.
What I didn't say on the forum is that Andy's also sensitive to criticism and can be prickly about it. Unfortunately, I pissed him off a couple of years ago when I questioned some of his ideas and he banned me from his site. But that doesn't diminish the admiration I still have for what he's done, nor my thanks for helping to inspire me to the life I lead today. Travel well, Andy, always my friend.
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.
Quotes For A Good Life On The Road
"Smile a lot, talk to strangers, accept all invitations, eat everything offered.”
-- Sage advice from Rita Golden Gelman, author of Tales of a Female Nomad, an inspiring story of how a dramatic change of life led to her travels around the world, one of the first books I read on my journey. Now see my complete collection of travel quotes online by clicking "Quotes For The Road" under "More" in the menu above.
Solas "Best Travel Writing" Awards
Saysha: What Happened?
13th Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing
(Read it here)
More About Me?
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 19 countries on four continents and right now I'm enjoying life on the Island of Crete, Greece.
I've been interviewed about my travels by Nomadic Matt, and Expat Focus, and here's a great story by veteran Borneo newsman and prolific author James Ritchie about our meeting in Kuching, titled, A Confluence of Adventure Writers .
Also 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!