African Connection links are now in the sidebar to the right, just below the My Travel section.

Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Far Away Places With Strange Sounding Names

Someone said recently that “every bucket list has a travel destination.” Who doesn’t harbor thoughts of a special place they yearn to visit? When I was at the airport in Osaka, Japan I saw a Mongolian Airlines plane named Genghis Khan. It was going to Ulan Bator. Ulan Bator made it onto my list.

This “I wonder what’s over there” thing has been with me for a long time. And far away places with strange sounding names have had a special appeal. My father worked for TACA Airlines when I was growing up in New Orleans; they flew to Central America, to places with names like Tegucigalpa. “What would a place with a name like Tegucigalpa be like?,” I’d wonder.

As it turned out, I would find opportunities to visit some far away places. A few with strange sounding names, others that everyone has heard of. Travel for work provided many opportunities, taking me to Berlin, Germany; St. Petersburg, Russia; Vienna, Austria; Stockholm, Sweden; and Pescara, Italy just to name a few. I’ve been to London more times than I can count. As far as personal trips, there have been visits to Alaska and Hawaii; Helsinki, Finland; Toronto, Canada; San Antonio and Virginia Beach. Yes, I’ve been lucky, very lucky.

As a result, I’m often asked what has been my favorite place to visit. At first, I tried to name one. But I was always aware that each city or town or village was special in its own way. And each had a special place in my memory. And that made me think; think about why I had fond memories of this place or that. What they had in common and what was unique. So I thought I’d share with you some of the reasons I came up with.

The plan is to have a series of “Far Away Places” posts, each with a story or two. Each pointing towards what is, in my opinion, at the heart of what made the places I visited special. This is a series that needs to be written. Because I want to share it with you. And because I don’t think there’s much more I can drag out of my bicycling exploits.

I’ve already gotten ideas for nine stories to share. No doubt, I'll think of a few more along the way. So, pack your bags because we'll depart in a few days. Up first will be the tale of Bradford Island, a place perhaps you have not heard of before.

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