My Big Trips

One of the real passions for me is travel and I’ve had some incredible opportunities to enjoy great people & places! While I don’t get to do that everyday, I love putting together info on the trips and have done that here for the trips I have taken since I started the blog. You can find them and a lot of other travel stuff through that category on the blog but I thought it would be good to I have also taken incredible trips pre-blog that I haven’t necessarily written about here…. But I love talking about these trips too so I’m putting together a map in hopes somebody will see this and ask me questions about some of my travels that will help me get a trip top of mind and to the fingertips!

Countries I’ve Been Lucky Enough to Visit 2012

In case the map doesn’t tell you clearly…. I’ve done pretty well in the Northern Hemisphere. Since I live in the United States, I’ve seen it (actually, I’ve gotten to see a lot of the US in fact in 2015 I plan to get to the last state on my list!). I’ve also seen the US neighbors Mexico and Canada though I have seen so little it’s a little embarassing. Those two countries need to be done much better! Other countries I have traveled to (with varied amounts of exploration from intense to not enough) include:  Austria, Belgium, China, The Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, The Netherlands / Holland, The Philippines, Russia, Thailand and Turkey. Yes, I have a huge gap in that I haven’t been to the Southern Hemisphere. That’s one of the things I need to fix in the near future. 🙂

Budapest/Prague (November 2016)

Hungarian parliament

How I Ended Up in Budapest for My Birthday (Video) — Those of you who have read the blog frequently may remember a few birthdays I have had. I try to make them truly memorable and frequently find myself embarking on an adventure of one sort or another. Last year was seeing my 50th state from a helicopter, the year before I went to the White […]


A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opera Experience in Prague — When it comes to amazing experiences, sometimes you try to plan everything to the nth degree and other times you do a few things and the rest just fall into place. My trip to Prague was punctuated by an amazing experience on my final night in town.


Things to Consider if You Are Buying a New Travel Backpack — Recently I decided to get myself backpack travel ready again. It has been a few years since I’ve packed for trips in a backpack, in part because I usually travel for business and it seems I can secure business clothes better in a roller bag. But it is also because my big travel backpack suffered a fatal blow on a trip.

Visited all 50 US States! (completed November 2015)

 seeing all 50 statesWhen Seeing All 50 States Sounded Out of Reach — I remember a time when I had been to just a handful of states…. growing up in Memphis, it was easy to get to Mississippi and Arkansas for weekend camping trips or something. And we did a big trip to Miami as a kid so we checked off several more with great gusto. Seeing all the states seemed impossible but that was before I traveled so much!

Utah sunset

Visiting All 50 States by the Time I am 50! DONE! — I don’t remember my parents at the age of 50 exactly, but I do remember thinking 50 sounded really old for a long time. It no longer sounds that old and that has been shifting over the years but today I am turning 50. That almost feels like someone is pranking me! A milestone like that needed to be marked appropriately!

bryce canyon hoodoos (2)

My 50th Birthday was So Memorable! Helicopter VIDEO — I traveled to my 50th state — Utah! — to celebrate my 50th birthday. Sure that is a lot of celebration, but I decided to take it up another notch — you know, go big or go home. I decided to do a helicopter tour of Bryce Canyon National Park and wow… that’s a way to go!

Turkey (May/June 2015)

balloon dramaA Q&A About Hot Air Balloon Rides — As I’ve shared photos and a few stories about hot air balloon rides, I’ve also gotten a few questions here and there. I thought doing a short Q&A post may be helpful since some of the questions are quick details that didn’t necessarily fit in the other posts.

Turkish ballooning over fairy chimneysYou Can Learn A Lot from a Hot Air Balloon Ride (Video) — It has taken me longer to tell my tales of my Turkish vacation than I intended but I have to admit, ding this post now was probably just what I needed! I wrote a post about my uncertainty about doing a hot air balloon ride but I want to assure you that it was a truly amazing experience!

IMG_3964 - CopyCelebrating a Turkish Wedding (VIDEO) — As I mentioned in a couple of the other posts about my vacation to Turkey, one of the catalysts for going was that a friend was getting married. I had said years ago I would come to his wedding and when he mentioned last summer he would be getting married this summer, well, I loved being part of the occassion!

IMG_4323Scared of Heights Taking Hot Air Balloon Flights (Video) — As a kid, my fear of heights occasionally made me pass on opportunities for adventure. As an adult, it has been a struggle that I have tried to manage. There are a few points when my fear of heights have stood out.

buying an ice cream cone

It’s Time for an Ice Cream Cone! And Show from Turkey (Video) — After lots of rain, it looks like St. Louis is finally going to get some sun. Add to that it is National Dairy Month, and ice cream or frozen custard (think Ted Drewe’s) HAVE to come to mind! I love an ice cream cone now and then. That made me remember how fun ice cream is in Turkey!


cover peace in cappadocia - Copy2

Finding Peace & Quiet in Cappadocia’s Red Valley (Video) — As I mentioned in my first post on Cappadocia, although I was on a tour with a great group of people, I passed on a hike through the Red Valley. I found it hard to imagine. I paid good money to go on a tour. The tour guide was awesome. The place fantastic.

cappadocia cover

Cappadocia. The Destination in Turkey I Dreamed About — As I planned my trip, I was able to add to my itinerary one of the parts of Turkey that I missed on my first trek over — Cappadocia which is also spelled Kapadokya at times. And as friends would ask what I was going to do in Turkey for two weeks, I kept bringing up this place and nobody knew what I was talking about.

Istanbul's Nevizade

Great Food & People Watching on Istanbul’s Nevizade (VIDEO) — I got into Istanbul on a Thursday night, spent all day traveling around the city seeing sights like the Hagia Sophia and then we took a break in order to get ready for a late dinner. I’ll admit that since I hadn’t slept on the flight over and I crashed so hard Thursday night. I thought about being lazy but thankfully friends had other ideas!

Hagia Sophia interior

Visiting the Hagia Sophia — the Cradle of Byzantine Religion (Photos) — I hope you are enjoying the posts from my trip to Turkey! I have been having fun flipping through photos and thinking about the various experiences. Today, I want to share about my visit to the Hagia Sophia, the church that was the center for Orthodox Christians for centuries.

Travel in Turkey 2015

Can I Travel Two Weeks Without Telling the World Where I Am? (VIDEO) — People who know me well know I share a lot about what I am up to…. where I am traveling, what I am eating, who I am catching up with and all of that. Even the company president laughs at the idea I would ever try.

Montana Roadtrip (September 2014)

  • hay stack ready for winterBozeman, Montana — Day 5 of My Great American Roadtrip Video — One of the biggest reasons I took my big Labor Day roadtrip this year was I had never been to Montana. As much as I travel, I only have a few US states left to visit and my friend Jude has been pushing me to see her current home state. It seemed like as good […]
  • Cateye Cafe Brunch in Bozeman, Montana — As I post this, folks in Bozeman, Montana are likely shivering…. or at least I would be if I were there! But I was in Montana a few days around Labor Day (it was my great american roadtrip!) and had the chance to enjoy some beautiful weather and fantastic food too! Decided that to get […]
  • Day 4 Part 2: Touring Yellowstone National Park (Video) — It’s been a busy week! Need to do better on sharing posts cause I have so many things I want to share from my great American roadtrip. And to think we only got the half of day 4 — me checking out the area before and in Grand Teton National Park, The second half of […]
  • self-portrait Grand Teton
  • Day 4 Part 1: Getting to and Touring Grand Teton National Park (Video) — Funny that it is beginning to seem like one day on my great American roadtrip requires one week in the real world for me to get it written, photos & video put together, etc. Some days were so heavy on photos, that it is a major time commitment. It should be no surprise that would […]
  • Wyoming roadtrip
  • My Great American Roadtrip Day 3 Driving through Wyoming (Video) — I have gotten a bit busy and haven’t kept up with the videos & posts from my great American roadtrip the way I wanted to, but I decided I really wanted to pull from all the cameras, video, etc. And then I get caught up in looking at all of the detail & reliving the […]
  • My Great American Roadtrip — Day 2 Nebraska including the State Fair (Video) — I did so many things on my roadtrip and saw so many sights that I have to say it will take me more time to get each day put together for the blog! Today’s post is about my second day of the trip — a day that started in Lincoln, Nebraska on the far eastern […]
  • Great American Roadtrip Day 1 — St Louis, MO to Lincoln, NE — As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, I recently went on the great American roadtrip! Day 1 was Friday. I got up reasonably early and got the car packed before I went to work for a half day. Packing for the Roadtrip Packing for a roadtrip is tough. Because you are in a car, […]
  • Great American RoadtripThinking About the Great American Roadtrip — Americans have an affinity for the roadtrip. The freedom of the road has such a mystique to it that books, movies and music have all included it as a central theme. But what makes a roadtrip better than normal travel? What takes a roadtrip from normal to the “Great American Roadtrip?” I’ve been weighing that […]

My Dakota Vacation (September 2013)

  • P is for Prairie & Growing Pinto Beans on the North Dakota Prairie — Since I was traveling again this week, I got behind again…. so I am going to catch up somewhat quickly. P is for prairie today, because I was traveling through a bit of prairie over the last few days. A lot of us have heard of prairies and may even get a photo in mind. We […]
  • M is for Moo! Why do cows moo? — I’ve had lots of cow-related suggestions for the A to Z series — so many that I think some friends may do a whole cattle series next year! Just think, there is alfalfa, beef, cheese, dairy, etc. but I decided to go for a simple word on cows and its probably the first thing I […]
  • Learning About Sunflowers Right From the Farmer — I’ve made it clear that I love sunflowers before…. in fact,  one of the photos I’ve long used for avatars on social media is of me surrounded by sunflowers. They are incredibly picturesque. I have friends in Memphis who get photos in front of sunflowers in full bloom each year. But I have to wonder […]
  • Parenting on the Prairie Photos from my Dakota Vacation — I’ve been putting together posts about my visit to the Dakotas (North Dakota and South Dakota) and I keep seeing photos of great families. Parents having time with their kids — whether it was getting them ready for school or bed, putting dinner on the table or making smores, doing their hair or the family […]
  • Weaning Calves on the Hadricks’ South Dakota Ranch VIDEO — I’ve been wondering how I would find a way to get to Troy & Stacy Hadrick’s place on the prairie for years. I met Troy on Twitter forever ago and started catching him as a variety of meetings here & there almost three years ago. Hearing his stories and meeting Stacy a bit later, I […]

Oregon-California Roadtrip (November 2012)

I wrote a good bit about this trip, so much so I settled on the OR-CA Roadtrip tag for the posts! All the post headlines and some selected text and photos appear below. Hope you find some of interest!

  • A Progressive Vacation & Absolute Flexibility in #Travel — The past few weeks have been more than a bit rushed. I have had a lot of places to be and a lot of things to do. It seems like things were just spiraling out of control. All I could think is vacation will be here soon enough. It’s a vacation I have “planned” for […]

growing grapes for raisins

Every Picture Tells a Story — Raisin Farms in the San Joaquin Valley — I love that people are willing to help me figure out which stories to share first from the adventures I had in Oregon and California! The first person to reply to my request for opinions was a fellow blogger here in St. Louis!

portlandiaMy Vacation on Instagram — Pick a Photo, Any Photo — As many of you know, I took the week of Thanksgiving off to go on a wandering adventure, flying into Portland, Oregon on Saturday, November 17 and winding on vacation in Fresno, California Sunday, November 25. My trip let me see lots of great folks and lots of things I hadn’t experienced before — many
California dairy farmer Dino GiacomazziVideo of Giacomazzi Dairy Farm Inspires a Visit Even If Delayed — A few years ago I saw this video online. Watch it and see if it seems as memorable for you as it has been for me. I remember thinking it was amazingly good and I was a bit blown away by the fact I regularly talked to the dairy farmer — ie Dino Giacomazzi
Truly Thankful on My Birthday — Today was another in a long line of birthdays for me. Some of you know how many but I’m not telling mainly because I generally try to live a bit younger than the calendar shows. Choosing How to Celebrate Since my birthday is frequently alongside Thanksgiving, it has been easy to celebrate with awesome people
flock of birds dancingBirds Dance to Celebrate Thanksgiving — Thanksgiving Day. This year’s Thanksgiving was spent doing something I hadn’t done before and yet. I had the chance to understand how one of the foods that I love goes from farm to my table thanks to Irv, Louis and Jamie showing me through olive production.
Rainbow in the Cascades MountainsA Rainbow in the Cascade Mountains — Today I drove through the mountains for a while and had the rare sight of great sun, but when I stopped for a quick break, I realized rain was nearby. Enjoyed catching this rainbow and thought I’d share it with you! To see other posts in the series of 30 days of daily blogging, just click

What’s your favorite cheese? & Some of My Cheese-Related Travel — My Recent Cheesy Travel Did you know it I haven’t gotten as many of the new food polls up as I had hoped, but I have lots of ideas so I will be continuing it just may not be quite weekly. Since June is National Dairy Month, I thought I’d go with the theme and poll

Touring a Sawmill in Northern California VIDEO — One of the more unique stops during my trip through Oregon and California this winter, thanks to my Twitter friend Mark Lathrop aka Twitter’s @SustainableWood, was a visit to a saw mill in Anderson, California. The only other time I had seen a sawmill, was a very small one in India without many modern technologies.

Wordless Memories of Waterfalls Near Portland, OR — Still remembering my Thanksgiving vacation aka my OR-CA Roadtrip! So many great days and great people. This was a day spent with a college friend & his family near Portland, Oregon. Some incredible waterfalls! The first one is a series called Wahkeena Falls and the bigger one is Multnomah Falls.

Jeff on the ranchJeff Fowle — A Cowboy with a Great Story — I got off track with all the holidays and travel but I am excited to finally get back to telling some of the stories from my Oregon and California Roadtrip!  I’ve got several story prompts already but I’d welcome more people checking out the compilation of vacation photos and asking questions.

What’s up with that green screen? Who’s talking about what? — One of the photos I took while I was in California was in a TV studio. I have to admit it stood out quite a bit in the set of photos I asked people to prioritize blog content. And that led Lakeshia Brown (check out her blog Uncommon Chick) to ask, what was up and who

55 -- Henry's Tavern for lunchA Great Cheeseburger in Downtown Portland & A Bloody Mary Bar — I love writing posts in reply to someone’s interest and this last vacation spurred great photos that seem to be generating a few questions! This photo got my friend Marjory and fellow blogger Danielle of Extraordinary Mommy to ask what the story was.

I love how this shows the size of the art, so close to the road above tooEvery Picture Tells a Story — Burnside Skatepark in Portland, Oregon VIDEO — This photo was the first to grab the eye and imagination of Lakeshia Brown aka @UncommonChick. She wittily asked “Were you on a board?  I’m actually always interested in the story behind graffiti…” Well, this skateboard park and graffiti go hand-in-hand! It was absolute happenstance that I stumbled on it because I had decided to go

Philippines' Boracay Beach

The Philippines (January 2010)

  • Top 10 Reasons to Watch This Video of Bboy Climbing a Coconut Tree — Okay, I could just say everyone should watch this video!  And yes, the photo I put in here shows Bboy having cut a coconut and beginning his one-handed descent!  Unbelievable.  Really.  But for fun, you really need to watch this video if you see yourself in any of the following: You’ve ever wondered how interesting […] Continue Reading
  • My Vacation to The Philippines Included Ag Stuff (Yes, I’m a Farm Geek) — (First in a series of posts about things I got to experience in the Philippine agricultural scene recently I’m not sure how many there will be yet…  Guess we will see.) I’m really quite lucky.  I’ve had the opportunity to combine vacation travel in a few countries with a short side trip or two to […]  Continue Reading
  • Getting Your Word Out Globally Without Global Costs — In my most recent post about “rice world,” I gave a quick view of my visit at the International Rice Research Institute. Since I was going there with a couple of PhDs in plant breeding, I anticipated meeting with scientists (which was exactly what happened in a few other Los Banos institutes)! But I was […]  Continue Reading
  • How many kinds of rice do you know?— It’s amazing to me how many kinds of rice there are.  I racked my brain trying to think of the ones I could name last week & came up REALLY SHORT! Long-grain rice is probably what I know best cause it’s what most of the farmers I know grow.  Varieties like cypress, some of the […]  Continue Reading
  • vegetable farm field dayA February Field Day? Love the Veggies! — My friends fall into two lots — those who hear the word field day and think of something that happens in the spring to get kids playing outside in a series of challenges from soccer drills to softball and those who are ready to look at acres of food, feed, fiber sources and hear what […]  Continue Reading
  • Getting My Bearings on The Philippines Central Plains — Another post in my series on Philippine agriculture — this one includes the basics of the Central Plains. As I mentioned before, the host for part of my vacation owns a seed company in The Philippines.  We were excited to be going to a field day his company was hosting.  I didn’t know what the […]   Continue Reading
  • Public Plant Breeding in the Philippines — Plant breeding was one of those fields of study & science that I hadn’t given much thought to til I was older than I’d like to admit, especially since some of my closest friends are plant breeders these days! My friend Albert had worked at The Philippines National Institute for Plant Breeding (IPB) in Los […]  Continue Reading

Israel (May 2011)

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