A Quick Trip to Egypt

Egypt was originally on our list of destinations but at the time we were purchasing tickets the state department and others were advising strongly against traveling there. Over the nine months of travel before we decided to add it to the list, Egypt had become somewhat calmer and other places we had spent time (Turkey for example) had become less so. Egypt didn’t look quite as daunting from the road as it did from Carmel, California, a year before.

We flew into Cairo from Paris on EgyptAir. After two days in Cairo, spent  at the pyramids, in the Cairo museum and walking the central city by day and along the Nile at night,  we flew to Luxor. We learned of the loss of EgyptAir flight 804 on our way to Cairo airport for our flight to Luxor. We had flown the same route only three days before.

As you can see in the video, we encountered far fewer tourists than typical. While we enjoyed missing the crowds we had experienced in places like the Great Wall in China, it was clear that the lack of visitors was difficult for the people whose livelihoods depend on the tourist industry. Without exception, everyone we met in Egypt appreciated our decision to travel to their country.


Turkey: Hot Air Ballons, Underground Cities, and Adventures

We were welcomed with warmth and hospitality during our time in Turkey. At the time of our travels, the Russians were engaged in a war of words with the Turkish government over the downing of a Russian fighter in Syria/Turkish airspace and terrorist attacks had recently hit Ankara and Istanbul. We weighed the pros and cons and elected to proceed, being alert in Istanbul and avoiding the border regions impacted by refugees and the Syrian war.

Some of you may be familiar with a song that talks about Constantinople’s name change to Istanbul. Throughout our time in the city, we were humming the tune. Younger folks will recognize the “They Might be Giant’s version” but the song was originally recorded in 1953 by “The Four Lads.” It is a catchy tune..

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night
Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can’t say
People just liked it better that way
We found Istanbul to be an incredible city of history. Having just been in Asia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, Istanbul was as advertised–where Asia and Europe touch.
After a few days in Istanbul we headed to Cappadocia where we explored underground cities some dating back to the 8th-7th centuries BCE. A highlight of our trip to Cappadocia was also the chance to go hot air ballooning as a family.

Adventures in Jordan

Our time in Jordan was too short. The exceptional sense of history and natural environment was only trumped by the warmth and hospitality of the people.

We stayed in a Bedouin encampment, we approached Petra from the North overland by camel and a dramatic hike through the mountains, floated in the Dead Sea and got to know Jordan and its people.

It is Bryce’s favorite country of the trip so far. Wadi Rum was an adventure and everyone we encountered was thoughtful in our conversations about the state of the world, and the difference of opinion on that topic made these conversations fascinating for us and the boys.

I have a collection of photos of our experience that I will post, along with some of the stories, in the weeks after we return home

Diving The Great Barrier Reef, Sydney New Years, and New Zealand


When the boys were young we had a cassette tape (remember those) of Australian kid songs. One of their favorites was “Christmas in Australia” that listed the joys of having Christmas in the middle of summer with typical Australian humor. As we set our plans to travel the world it made sense to spend Christmas in Australia and of course New Years in Sydney, ideally under Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Thirty years ago I spent 4 months as a “ringer” on an outback cattle ranch, riding horses everyday and hearding cattle on a 300,000 ranch. I finished my time in Australia by driving to Cairns and meeting my mom from whom I get much of my adventurous spirit. The two of us spent a few days on Heron Island out on the Great Barrier Reef.

Heron is a magical little 40 acre island that juts a few feet above sea level. The bird life is incredible and you can walk and dive the reef within meters of the shore.

From Australia we traveled to New Zealand where we “went mobile” living in a camper van.

Coming from Asia, we suffered some first world shocks but also enjoyed the benefits of traffic laws, ease of communication, and lack of humidity.

Laos in Under Three Minutes

So far on our trip Laos was the most unexpected. We added it to our list intentionally as it was the least traveled of the countries we considered and the one about which we knew the least. It also has a long and admittedly painful relationship with the United States.

We found the Lao people to be warm and engaging and the country beautiful even if at times challenging. It was an adventure and all four of us are excited to return to Laos.

Shark Dive in the Bahamas

Back in August we did a dive specifically with sharks among the many dives we did where we ran across sharks and other creatures. In the shark dive they gather you on the bottom and then a diver, clad in a chain mail suit, descends with a box of snacks for the sharks. Our job is still sit very still on the bottom and now wave your hands around. Hands it turns out can look a bit like fish to a hungry shark.

Video Montage of Our Travels Through the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon

We started our round the world trip in the western US in our converted school bus. We blogged a bit about the trip and some of our adventures, and I keep hoping to come back and put up a few more photos. We arrived in Laos from China last night, and I received this video from the team at riffreel.com As we travel through 25 countries on our family adventure my plan is to periodically upload video clips for riffreel to to turn into short video posts.


A Family Christmas in Costa Rica

As we sit here in the Bahamas learning to dive (more on that in the next post) we were reminiscing about our trip to Costa Rica over Christmas last year. As a traveling family, Costa Rica had long been on our list of possible destinations and having finally made the decision to spend Christmas and New Year’s there we were not dissapointed.

The people are wonderfully warm and aside from a slightly increased likelihood of petty theft, Costa Rica is a safe and ecologically diverse country.