United 155 arriving on Majuro from Kwajalein enroute HNL.
Hamoa Bay, Hana, Maui Hawai'i
An atoll somewhere east of Majuro in the Marshall Islands.
Brand new. I shot a short video of my flight on final approach to MAJ (Majuro) in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. An atoll, it's lagoon on one side (your view) and ocean on the other. The islands to the north in the distance are the other side of the atoll. http://youtu.be/_K1h8HfNeZw
Join me on some flights to some fairly exotic places.
A few years ago I took a trip that was, for me, so novel I wanted to share the adventure with family and friends. I love to write and to travel, so the process of combining both into a real-time travel blog was enormously fun and, to my pleasant surprise, enjoyed by my readers. The next time I took an interesting trip, and for several trips after, I sent on more "letters" sharing my experiences in Micronesia, Polynesia and Asia.
With each trip I added more involuntary subscribers. I'm up to over 100 now and have yet to have anyone ask me to stop sending these missives. A few have have actually flattered me by suggesting I write a book. Maybe someday I will, but at this stage, these dispatches are way too rough and far too narrow to inspire a readership beyond those who know me well.
I do know, some later subscribers have missed earlier posts, so I'm using my website to collect them all and make them available in one place.
A warning before you start reading. I think I'm a pretty good writer, but I know I am very poor and lazy editor. Since most of these were written on airplanes or late at night in foreign hotels, always on an iPad with a touch-screen keyboard, errors are common. In re-posting them here I've taken the time to clean them up, but I've avoided heavy-duty post-trip editing. I didn't want to lose one of the elements that make them fun to read: something about the immediacy of when they were written. Many times the events I describe occurred as I wrote or soon after. I'm tempted to add comments in rereading some of them years later, but that would cheat you of the sense of being in the moment.
I apologize for something else. I once read that the greatest of vanities is auto-biography. Only a person of over-sized ego could imagine that others would want to read about their lives. I'm afraid I have to plead guilty here. Much of what you will read reflects my own distorted views on everything from American politics to the state of major league baseball. At any second I may break into a riff on appropriate child-rearing techniques, Broadway show tunes or the ingredients for the perfect cheeseburger. I am opinionated and not at all shy about sharing what I think. That adds, sometimes, a little charm to these comments, as I, a very inexperienced person, get another lesson on what it means to travel.
Be patient, the mind goes funny places when you're 35,000 feet above the earth and 10,000 miles away from home.
How It Started
But for a couple of accidents I might never have started to write these travel diaries. One was the occasion of a odd trip necessitated by the requirement to fly a set number of miles to meet the requirements of an airline's frequent flyer program. The other was the acquisition of an iPad, the first version, which was so useful and lightweight that I could carry it anywhere to easily type out my thoughts.
The very first piece I wrote, One Man's Quest, recounts in real time a lunatic 26 hours I spent, most of it in flight, to qualify for United Airlines' elite flyer status, 1K. Click the file icon to read about just how far I'll go to get a free drink.
The second piece is a real travelog. I was called out to the Pacific to provide consultation to an agency of the state of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia. I was lucky to have my wife, Kathleen, accompany me. We had quite an adventure. Click the file icon below.
Not very many people read my next post. I thought it was of limited interest so I only sent it to a very small circle of family and friends. It was another quest. I realized that I was closing in on 2,000,000 lifetime air miles. I wanted to document what led up to that accomplishment and what it would feel like passing a real milestone... this one in the air.
A year later Kathleen and I were treated to an exceptional trip, one to the Republic of Palau. It just happened to coincide with her birthday and, as you'll read, we celebrated it in a most memorable way. This venture provided what's called in New Orleans, a lagniappe, a special surprise at the end of the trip. We come home in a most remarkable manner. Click below to read:
Then something special happened. All my work had come to me through the Pacific Island Training Initiative (thank you Stephen Latimer and Jason Aubuchon). Like anything else, if you do a good job, you get recognized. And that's how the Development Bank of the Federated States of Micronesia came to seek my counsel. For me to have developed this kind of reputation so far away from home is a great honor and quite humbling. As a reward, I routed myself home, the long way, through Hong Kong, where I found myself right in the center of an awakening pro-democracy movement.
I just returned from another project on Pohnpei in the FSM, where I worked with the Telecommunications Corporation for that four-island nation. The work there was a great adventure, but the return was beset with all sorts of problems.