Discovering Life, Learning and Leadership

Travel is an educator, especially when exploring new places and cultures.  You learn interesting things from most trips and there are certain countries which provide exceptional travel experiences.

In 2011, I was able to visit several countries for the first time, including:

  • Macau
  • Republic of San Marino
  • Croatia
  • Israel
  • Egypt

Arthur & Judy – Sea of Galilee, Israel – Great Pyramids at Giza, Egypt

I was in Macau for a few hours on the way home from a business trip in China. While it was interesting, I am not into gambling and thus was not impressed by the massive casinos.

My wife Judy and I found the Republic of San Marino to be better than expected and, in particular, appreciated the spectacular vistas.  We enjoyed being exposed to the people, culture and 14th and 15th century architecture in Croatia.  Clearly though, Israel and Egypt were highlights.

In Israel, it was educational to visit places we had heard of or read about in the Bible.  Even though others had mentioned it, I never fully appreciated how close many of the historic locations in Israel are.  For example, the Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Kidron Valley and Old City of Jerusalem are adjacent within a few blocks of each other.  Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and Capernaum were intriguing.  The Jordan River was considerably smaller than we expected and going to a kibbutz for lunch was fun.  Of the places we saw in Israel, I most enjoyed the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7 are favourites of mine) and the Sea of Galilee (it is really a lake, not a sea).  If you have the opportunity, visit Israel.

Egypt presented contrasts.  The Great Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx were spectacular and remarkably close to Cairo.  We enjoyed lunch during a Nile River cruise and the following day toured ancient Alexandria, including museums, ruins and catacombs.  Sadly, we also witnessed disturbing poverty and heard first-hand from locals regarding the political unrest in Egypt.  The pyramids have been on my “Bucket List” for years and we were thankful for the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Egypt.

I enjoy traveling on business, for mission trips and on family vacations.  In 2011, I traveled 86 days on business plus 19 days personally for a total of 105 days and about 130,000 miles on airplanes.  Add to this some days away from home and up the mountain with our family, and you can see why I found it a treat to be home for three weeks straight over Christmas.

The updated map at the bottom of my Travel Tracks page shows that I have now been blessed to visit 20% of the countries in the world.

Where did you travel in the past year?  What did you learn?  Do you have any exciting trips planned?

6 Comments to 2011 Travel Tracks and Learnings

  1. Joshua Laye's Gravatar Joshua Laye
    Jan 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    It sounds like you have had quite an exciting year travelling for both work and pleasure.

    Although I have not had the opportunity to see as much as yourself, my wife and I traveled to Australia’s East Coast this past November. Australia is quite an amazing country, and although it is very different from Canada in regards to culture and biodiversity, it is a lot like Canada in terms of landscape.

    Our trip started in Brisbane which I would term as the Downtown Business District of the East Coast. There is not much to do in Brisbane, but it seems to be where the bulk of Australia’s business resides. When you take a step outside the City however, you travel in to a landscape of sun, beaches, and rain forest.

    We went on to visit the Sunshine Coast just North of Brisbane and then south to the Gold Coast, similar to the Sunshine Coast but much more populated. Overall we preferred how laid back it was on the Sunshine Coast.

    We then picked up a campervan and drove down the Pacific Highway to Sydney, stopping along the way in Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, and Newcastle. This is where Australia was a lot like Canada. Driving down this highway reminded me of driving through BC, except instead of deer there were kangaroos. However we did not see any live kangaroos while driving.

    Sydney was quite different from Brisbane, but like Vancouver in terms of landscape and culture. Vancouver and Sydney both have the harbour that comes in to and around the downtown core, well known bridges that the cruise ships pass underneath, and a iconic waterfront structure with sails. In some ways I would say that Sydney is Vancouver’s twin city. In addition to all this, just outside the City were the Blue Mountains which some say has some amazing hiking.

    Unfortunately time did not permit us to visit more of Australia as we would have liked. As for our next trip, we have not yet decided, but have many in mind.

  2. Cindy Young's Gravatar Cindy Young
    Jan 27, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed reading about and looking at the pictures of your travels. The Sea of Galilee does appear smaller than I had pictured.

    Last Fall, my husband and I flew from Wisconsin to Seattle Washington to visit my sister. The Seattle/Tacoma area is very different than Wisconsin. The rolling hills and mountains are beautiful. We went hiking in several national forests of huge, old growth trees. The large redwoods and other trees are nothing like we have in our forests in Wisconsin.

    The vegetation was very different and there were lots of different mosses and fungi growing on some of the trees. We hiked to several beautiful waterfalls and enjoyed many scenic views along the way.

    Ever since I went mountain climbing in Colorado as a teen, I love the mountains! In Wisconsin, we do have some beautiful bluffs and smaller rolling hills but they are located more along the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin. We have great hiking trails but the general terrain closer to Lake Michigan where I live is flat and rocky. Our beaches are not sandy but stone or rock. Sand has to be brought in, probably from the sandy beaches that are located on the other, eastern side of Lake Michigan.

  3. Papa Yorke's Gravatar Papa Yorke
    Apr 23, 2012 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    I just saw this and it looks great. But I thought King Arthur rode on a horse’s back…nope?
    Well, I guess this is the modern day King Arthur complete with a better guard(half)…Lol!!!!!!!!!!!!

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