I have always had an interest in travel, in part because I’ve loved reading about history (enough so that I was a history major as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Barbara). But, I had not traveled much outside of the United States – and never overseas – prior to 2007. Before then I had only been to Canada, Martinique, Mexico, and Jamaica.
That changed when I decided to run for JCI Vice President in 2007, which required me to attend their World Congress in Antalya, Turkey, for the election and training. I was elected to serve for the 2008 calendar year, and assigned to the national organizations of Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
From there, I was hooked. I visited 14 countries that year as Vice President, and to date have visited a total of 34 countries or territories – mostly connected to JCI-related travel. I have also visited all 50 US states (and seven of ten Canadian provinces), ending with Alaska last month. That trip will likely be the focus of my first series of posts.
I also like a good beer, as you can probably tell if you read my sabbatical blog or happen to find me on Untappd. Whenever I go someplace new, at some point you are likely to find me at a local brewery, taproom, or craft beer bar. For me, part of the adventure of travel is not just to see the sights, but experience the culture and interact with the locals. What better way to do that than over a beer?
This blog is in part inspired by my friend Michelle McAllister’s blog Adventures in Bucket Listing, but in many ways is also a continuation of my blog from my work-sponsored sabbatical. I may go back in time to revisit some previous trips, but I anticipate this blog, after Alaska, will mainly be for travel I do going forward.
My next trip is for the JCI World Congress in Tallinn, Estonia next month. However, I’m going out a week early so I can visit Lithuania, Latvia and Finland before heading to the conference. I’ve been to Finland before (Turku in 2008 for the JCI European Conference), but I’ve never been to Helsinki – nor to any of the three Baltic States.
Thank you for joining me on my travels! Cheers!