Thanks to my A to Z daddy Nomadic Samuel for the nomination. I also want to give a shout out to my A to Z grand daddies Man on the Lam and Aussie on the Road. You two are looking so young and fit for grandpas. Here is my effort, and I hope I do my A to Z family tree proud.
A: Age you went on your first international travel
In college I did one of those crazy jobs where you sell books door-to-door for the whole summer working your tail off. If you sold enough books the company sends you to Venezueala. I was 21 at the time and went with a hundred other college students. It was a wild time from what I remember.
B. Best foreign beer you had and where:
When I arrived in Prague the first thing I did is order a Pilsner Urquell. It was so amazing I melted into my pint. Second best was having a Guiness in Normandy. I can only imagine how fresh it tastes in Ireland. Someday, I aim to find out.
C. Cuisine (favorite):
I would be a horrible food blogger as I like all and every food. I am the Mikie. Anyone remember the Life Cerial kid Mikey. “Give it to Mikey he likes everything.” That is me. I like whatever food I am eating. If hard pressed to choose I would settle with Thai food.
D. Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:
My favorite country is Thailand for the 10 reasons included in my blog post. I love the food, the people, the jungles, the language, the culture, and I could go on and on. I usually can find something enjoyable in every setting while on the road. I focus on places I know that I will enjoy, and when I am outside I find a way to enjoy myself, so I cannot say I have been to a least favorite destination.
E. Event you experienced abroad that made you go Wow
Hiking in Khao Yai National Park an elephant came charging up the trail we were hiking on. It stopped about thirty yards from us and stared at us. It then rambled off into the forest.
F. Favorite mode of Transportation
I prefer train travel as it is the only mode I can sleep on. I am so used to driving that I cannot sleep on a bus. When driving a car your body feels it must stay awake, so every time I am in a moving automobile whether I am driving or not, I feel I need to stay awake.
G. Greatest feeling while traveling
Sometimes these are the simple moments. When I spent over a week at the same guesthouse in Thailand I spent many days doing nothing. I hung out in the courtyard while drinking coffee in the morning, fresh fruit smoothies in the afternoon, then singhas in the late afternoon, and then more singhas at night while reading a great book. In between I chatted it up with people from around the world.
H. Hottest place you traveled to
Kanchanaburi, Thailand. I stayed with a Thai family for a couple of days and they took me from Bangkok to their family farm near the Myanmar border. In between, we stopped at their home in Supphanburi. We stopped several times between Supphanburi and their farm including Kanchanaburi to see the Bridge over the River Kwai. It was mind numbingly hot. It was so hot, even the Thais were complaining and getting heat sickness. Fortunately, we ended up at a waterfall and went swimming.
I. Incredible service you’ve experienced and where
In Chiang Mai I met a girl in the guesthouse in G, and we rented a car and cruised around the countryside. We ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere in front of an outside bar. A young gentleman at the bar drove us to get petrol and back to our car. He refused any money for the service and invited us for a drink. He then refused to take any money for any of the beers. One of the nicest people I have ever met anywhere.
J. Journey that took the longest
I took the Shinkansen bullet train from Hiroshima to Kyoto followed by a night bus from Kyoto to Tokyo (did I say I cannot sleep on a busy) then a train to Narita airport. From Narita, I flew 11 hours to Chicago. I took the CTA at O’Hare to the Jefferson Park stop. At Jefferson Park I boarded a Metra train to Barrington. At Barrington I hiked a half mile to my mom’s house. From Hiroshima to Barrington in about 30 hours.
K. Keepsake from your travels
I have been using the same guitar strap that I bought in Batad, Philippines almost 7 years ago. A .50 purchase has held up my guitar ever since and still going strong.
L. Let down site: when and where
Mt. St. Michel, France. This island monastery is absolutely beautiful and the view from the top is gorgeous, but after that it is pretty lame inside. I would recommend taking a few pictures from the mainland of the structure, walking to the top and taking pictures, and leaving. I went there in college with a history class, and we were bored stiff after about an hour. Fortunately, we found a beer vending machine and we found a way to kill the rest of the time.
M. Moment where you feel in love with travel
On December 31, 1970, I traveled out of my mom’s womb and the doctor cut the cord. Even though I cried, I enjoyed the journey and have been traveling ever since.
N. Nicest hotel you stayed in
The Motel 6 in Louisville, Kentucky on the way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They had free wi-fi and cable TV. I almost did not make it to the park.
O. Obsession – What photos are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling
I love taking pictures of the upcoming trail whether it is a hiking trail or a cross-country ski trail.
P. Passport stamps, how many and from where
My current passport has five stamps from Southeast Asia, Czech Republic, Poland, and Costa Rica. I have been to 19 countries total and in February, Trinidad & Tobago will be number 20.
Q. Quirkiest Attraction you have visited and where
In Lausanne, Switzerland we stopped at a museum with art done by the insane. The pictures were, well: insane.
R. Recommended sight, event, or experience
The Halong Bay Boat Tour in Vietnam was one of the coolest experiences I have been on. The scenery is amazing, the boats are cool, and you get to meet great people from all over the world.
S. Splurge: Something you have no problem spending money on while traveling
A theme that has become apparent in this post since A is I occasionally like to drink an alcoholic beverage or four. I can be the most frugal person in all walks of life, but then throw down $8.00 for a pint of delirium tremors without a hint of regret.
T. Traveling Ted
That is me
U. Unforgettable travel memory
Recently, in Corcovado National Park, I toured through the jungle and saw three different types of monkeys, scarlet macaws, chestnut-mandibled toucans, and the great currosow. It was a wildlife zoo.
V. Visas: how many and where
I only have two: Cambodia and Vietnam.
W. Wine, best glass while traveling and where
I had the good fortunate to be in Paris at the same time as U2. U2 was touring for their Zooropa tour, and me and a couple of classmates got tickets. Before the show we bought a couple of bottles of wine and consumed them in the park. I have no memory of how good the wine was, but the travel moment memory tastes sweet twenty years later.
X. eXcellent Views and Where
The Grand Canyon and Mt. Zion hold the mantle in the United States. Abroad, the best view I have witnessed was flying over the Corcovado jungle in a small plane in Costa Rica.
Y. Year’s spent traveling
The longest I have traveled at one time has been three months to Southeast Asia. I have done many week long and long weekend trips locally, out of state, across the United States, and overseas. I am a grounded nomad.
Z. Zealous sports fans
I was in Bangkok, Thailand in 2005 for Super Bowl Monday. Yes, the Super Bowl came on at 7am on Monday morning in Asia. I found a bar where a few other zealous Americans came out to watch our home country tradition. It was strange to watch kick off and look around at a bunch of people sipping coffee and eating omelets, until one brave soul yelled “I am having a beer, who is having a beer?” Of course I said yes, and the party was on.
Budget Travel Adventures
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