Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer: First Passage to the West

Last October, I finally reached that long awaited “Medicare Milestone.” Since it was a significant birthday for me, I wanted to commemorate it in a special way. But the blog typically runs behind, and I ran out of time to document my celebration before I jumped on the plane bound for my Dragoman tour through Sudan and Ethiopia last December. After that, I never seemed to get the blog caught back up.

So now that I have all this spare time on my hands, freed up by lack of travel planning, I am going back to recreate the narrative and share the photos on how I celebrated my Continue reading

Rail Trails, Rim Trails, and Animal Tales

I’ve now been moving about the Cloudcroft area for going on two months. One of the reasons it’s been so hard to leave here is because the hiking is to my liking. Not only are trails abundant, but access to the trailheads is easy. Many can be hiked on foot right from boondocking spots without having to drive to the trailhead, particularly the animal trails which proved invaluable during my 14 day quarantine. Others can be accessed from town, or via spacious pullouts along the “Sunspot Highway.”

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Cloudcroft, Clouds, and Silver Linings

I reached the breaking point with the Central Texas summer heat. Literally. Every breaker was breaking. My rooftop AC went out, and the portable AC my cousin loaned me was too much for my power supply, having to make the long 30amp journey from its hijacked junction in the equipment shed. I couldn’t sleep at night in spite of the mosquito net I hung like a shroud around my bed. My internal breaker was tripping. Continue reading

Safety, Sanity, and Salvation

During these insane times, we all have to find our own personal balance between safety and sanity. It can sometimes be a delicate balance. Too much safety, and we start to feel like the walls are closing in on us. But let go to preserve our sanity, and it’s easy to let down our guard in protecting ourselves from the risk of COVID 19 exposure. We have to each find that tipping point to know we did our best at staying healthy without completely stripping all joy out of our lives….because joy is as much an asset to our health as worry is a detriment. Continue reading

A Summer to Remember?

One of my absolute favorite quotes is by Anais Nin, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”  It’s why I have enjoyed writing the blog for the past eight years…because it helps me remember and relive the experiences all over again. But I don’t write much these days.  I didn’t like the taste of this summer the first time around, so I sure don’t want to taste it twice!  Is it a summer best left to fade into the cobwebs of my memory?  Or are there small tastes worthy of savoring over again? Continue reading

My Holi End to India

This is my final post on the six weeks spent in India. It brings me up to the post I made on March 17th, written on the heels of what felt like at the time, a snap decision to flee India, cutting my trip in half, and cancelling my onward tour of Pakistan. Torn between “fight or flight,” I agonized over whether I could fight back the fears of an invisible disease and continue to enjoy an idyllic beach resort, waiting out what had to be just Continue reading

Meetup in Mysuru

I am determined to finish up this India series if it takes me all year. Here’s one more down on a rainy Tuesday, with one left to go…

I’ve known my friend John since 1993. As a colleague with American Express, he was one of the first people I met when I reported to duty as National Account Manager at the United Nations account. I had an office on the 19th floor of the UN Secretariat Building, and John’s office was across the street at UNICEF. We became “fox hole buddies” in Continue reading

All Aboard to Ooty on the Nilgiri Mountain Train

The thought of leaving the beach causes me pangs of regret, as I am not ready to leave yet. I have really enjoyed my early morning walks along the cliffside path, and my sunset swims in the gentle surf. I have made friends across the rooftop breakfast table at Debra’s guesthouse, had dinner with the couple I met in Alleppey, and met a “swimming friend” Piret, a lovely woman from Switzerland whom I met while swimming in the surf. We have taken to meeting up for conversation at the popular “Coffee Temple” along the cliffside path. Continue reading

Varkala, Om My!

Continuing on my “make it up as I go along” tour of South India, I was really wanting some beach time. While the beaches along Fort Kochi were beautiful, they just didn’t look clean to me. Too close to town with too much opportunity for “runoff.” Beaches in Alleppey looked a little cleaner, but they were still city beaches. So instead, I was looking for more of a beach resort vibe with hotels and guest houses right along the coastline, calm waves for swimming, and with a little luck, some semblance of a life guard since I would be swimming alone. Continue reading

Looking Back on the Backwaters of Kerala

My reason for wanting to visit India’s southern state was to experience Kerala’s “backwaters,” an intricate network of narrow canals, lakes, and waterways that run parallel to the Arabian Sea for hundreds of miles. I have long been intrigued by the romantic notion of plying these narrow waterways via houseboat, a very popular tourist attraction in the southern state. Continue reading