A recent issue of Christian Reflection: A series in Faith and Ethics (2016) is on “Traveling Well”. The authors note that one’s travels, whether for a retreat, vacation, short-term missions, or simply a vacation, can invigorate us as we return to our daily routines.
As I looked through the articles, it reminded me of our own life of travels. My answer to people who ask if we are going to travel now that we are retired is, invariably, we have had “enough” traveling and wish to “stay put” at home.
It is not that we have not enjoyed and learned from our travels. In fact, as I will show briefly, we have been uniquely privileged to see and enjoy many parts of the world. But first, I will build on a little background.
I grew up in a rural setting in Pennsylvania and Joice in an urban setting in Michigan. We both traveled to Delaware to college, although neither of us had traveled much before that (Joice had been to Florida; I had been to the border of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.
Delaware, as I remember it, was not a noteworthy state. It had a few rolling hills, but was generally flat and without a lot of forests. I traveled with our soccer and baseball college team throughout Delaware and to places in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. I recall very little, except that the fall foliage was always beautiful and the winters were cold, with ice and snow
After college I took a Greyhound bus from Michigan to California where I studied for a year. My time was mostly spent in LA, where the smog was overbearing. I did have one trip into the mountains and flew with a friend to Northern California where we slept under the wing of his plane and enjoyed the stars immensely.
Joice and I were married in 1956 and drove to Oklahoma, where we studied linguistics. It as very hot and very dry and there was not much to see. On the way to Oklahoma, we visited rural settings in Kentucky and spend part of our honeymoon in an equally rural setting of Arkansas. The next year we drove to southern Mexico and were there almost five months. It was a beautiful country: we saw Mayan ruins, hiked in the jungle, canoed on the river, interacted with Indians, and spent time high in the mountains.
However, our real travels began after Mexico. In 1958 we boarded a ship and sailed for Australia, on our way to what is now known as Papua New Guinea (PNG). The ship stopped in Vancouver, Hawaii, Fiji and New Zealand. Once in Australia, we visited Melbourne and Sydney before flying to PNG, which was our home most of the time for the next 32 years. During that time I visited every Province (there were 20 then), conducted linguistic surveys and Joice and I lived in two remote villages in the Southern Highlands. We met and made many national friends; we traveled to the port cities of Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, and Wewak and spent time in each, besides visiting many other towns and villages.
We also lived in Australia: in Canberra, where I studied; in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne where we taught linguistics, and we had vacations in Adelaide, Coff’s Harbor, Cairns, Tasmania and other places. I have also been to Darwin a couple of times.
On one furlough we toured Europe: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, England and Wales. We visited many of the tourist sites, but also took some excursions to the mountains and rivers.
On one trip overseas we went to Japan and on another to Korea. I have also spent time in the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Thailand and Hong Kong. Joice and I also lived for short periods in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
We vacationed at our friends cabin in Canada on numerous occasions.
We also vacationed in Ecuador twice, visiting family, the local markets, and enjoying scenery of the snow-capped Andes; I have also gone to Peru and Guatemala.
In Africa I have stopped at Nigeria (briefly, which, in Lagos, is enough), Cameroon, and Kenya, where David Gela and I enjoyed the large game park.
We have spent a total of a year in New Zealand, broken up into segments, and we have toured the two (North and South) islands by courtesy of our friends. It is the most beautiful country we have seen.
Upon occasion we would return to the US on “furlough” and in so doing we lived in Ithaca (New York), Norman, Oklahoma, Pottstown (Pennsylvania), Duncanville (Texas—and now Waco). Our home has been Texas for a number of years but we took “deputation” tours that included, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., Iowa, New Mexico, California, Montana, New Mexico (and the Grand Canyon), Oklahoma, Minnesota, North Dakota, of course Texas, and probably other places that I don’t remember.
My point is that we are well-traveled, despite our humble beginnings, and have been enriched in every way: educationally, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. People have surrendered their beds to us, entertained us, fed us and given us money. We have been “blessed” beyond all measure. We do indeed think of those who have not traveled or who cannot travel. Our experiences can be relayed and related to them but the experience is not the same.
Of course, so much travel means that we have had God’s protection on every trip. Despite cars that quit on us, airplanes that had problems, ships that made us sick and trails that made us tired, we have had a marvelous journey. It has increased our faith, given us many new friends, and supplemented our sometimes meager income. Our children have benefitted and we trust that some of those we met have as well.
It is difficult to remember our “favorite” places, but here are a few (in no particular order):
- Growing up on our farm in Pennsylvania
- Playing baseball in H.S., College and with numerous teams
- Hunting and trapping in Pennsylvania
- Hiking trails in many parts of the world
- The rainstorms in PNG and the rain beating on our village roof
- The hills, sheep and deer farms, forests, lakes and rivers of New Zealand
- The hills and mountains of Tasmania
- The mountains, rivers, valleys and roads of Papua New Guinea
- Flying by helicopter throughout the Gulf Province doing a linguistics survey
- Traveling by cruise ship across the Pacific (twice)
- Travelling by train in Australia
- Staying with our adopted parents at Pennant Hills, Sydney, Australia
- Canoe, small airplane, four wheel drive and helicopter travels in Papua New Guinea
- The meadows and flowers high in the mountains of Switzerland
- The snow covered mountains of Switzerland their counterparts in New Zealand
- The fall foliage in Pennsylvania and New York
- Beaver Point in Canada, with the beautiful lakes and comfortable cabin
- The village dances and meals with friends in Papua New Guinea
- Teaching courses in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the US
- Running workshops in Guatemala, PNG and Indonesia
- Studying in Ithaca, NY and Canberra, Australia
- Driving through the Blue Ridge mountains
- Travelling by ferry from the North to South islands in NZ
- Travelling by ferry across the English Channel
- Touring Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Luxemburg, Lichtenstein, Holland
- Renting a van and touring the above countries with friends after Karol graduated
- Watching the waves on coastal towns in PNG and Australia
- Being with Joice through five surgeries, proton radiation and chemo
- Enjoying our 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries
- Visits to and from our grandchildren in Oz
- Visits to and from our children and their spouses
- Taking the bullet train (with my son) in Japan
- Walking through the caves and caverns in Tennessee
- Climbing mountains in Mexico
- Riding my Honda 90 motorcycle around in the Southern Highlands
- Riding my BSA 650 and my motor scooter
- Driving our Nissan Patrol wagon back and forth from Ukarumpa to Wabi
- Helping at Easter Camps in PNG
- Hosting TSCF and SHP high school and tertiary students
- Hosting hundreds of people at our homes in PNG
- Borrowing a 4-wheel drive for 10 days with friends in the Highlands of PNG
- Riding the cable cars in Ecuador and Switzerland
- Visiting war memorials in Australia, Philippines, Guadalcanal, and Port Moresby
- Visiting museums in London, Auckland, Washington D.C. and other places
- Jagaum hospital, Madang, where Kirk was born
- Lae government hospital, where Karol was born
- Goroka, where we taught at two government linguistic courses
- Goroka hospital, where they saved Joice’s life
- Views of Lake Burley-Griffin in Canberra, NCD, Australia
- Driving between Canberra and Sydney in our VW beetle
- Losing the windscreen of a car between Sydney and Melbourne
- Fishing with a friend at Nambucca Heads, Queensland with a friend
- Traveling throughout Australia by car, train, bus and airplane
- Several trips in Texas with our Woodway family, esp. the “River Walk”
- Staying at bed-and-breakfasts in Texas and Wales
- A voyage on the river in Melbourne with our son and his wife
- Visiting zoos in Great Britain, Australia, and the US
- Jogging through the Redwoods in California and along the Rhine River
- Jogging through back streets in Mexico City
- Jogging in Wales and through the forests near Horsley’s Green, GB
- Jogging around the Aiyura airstrip (PNG) regularly with a friend
- Playing golf in CA, TX, OK, PA, MI, NY, and Canada
- Playing golf in PNG in Kainantu, Goroka, Lae, Madang, POM, and Wewak
- Playing golf in Australia in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide
- Living and working in Duncanville and Waco, Texas
Reminiscing a bit, October 2016