This year, 2013, which is almost over, is the first full year since my retirement from government service. Having spent 50 years traveling for the government, I’ve become addicted to packing and spending a fair amount of time in hotels around the world. I feared that being retired would put a huge crimp in one of my favorite pastimes, but so far, I’ve been pleased to discover that, even in retirement, there are many travel opportunities.
Despite an accident in July, when I fell and broke my right hip, resulting in six weeks of limited mobility when the doctors thought it was just a bruise, and another twelve weeks of being confined to my house when they found a small fracture that required surgery, I’ve still accumulated a lot of travel miles. With a month and a half left in the year, my travel will be restricted to subway trips from my home in suburbia to downtown Washington, DC, but I still had five great journeys that have made 2013 a memorable year.
Arizona and New Mexico
In March, I was invited to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona to participate in the Air Force’s major personnel recover exercise, Angel Thunder. Unlike past exercises, I didn’t get to do any helicopter trips, but did do several road trips between Tucson and Playas, New Mexico, with a side trip to historic Tombstone, Arizona.
The Canada-based magazine Afrique Expansion invited me to join a media delegation traveling to Cameroon in May to cover Cameroon’s national day celebrations. In addition, we did road trips around the capital Yaounde and then drove to the port city of Douala. Included were visits to a tourist village and an ape sanctuary.
After returning to the U.S. from Cameroon, I left home the next day for Dearborn, MI, where I was the grand marshal for the city’s Memorial Day parade. Great visits to the Ford Museum and Ford Village, which included a ride on a turn-of-the century carousel.
Chautauqua Institution, New York
Chautauqua Institution, in western New York, is home to the country’s oldest public book club. Despite a broken hip (which hadn’t been diagnosed at the time) I drove up to participate in the institution’s activities. A historic site, and a great place to spend a week in the summer.
After my hip fracture was diagnosed and I had surgery, I was housebound for more than ten weeks. My doctor, however, cleared me to drive and move around on crutches just in time for me to travel to Virginia’s east coast to work with a team of defense consultants in Suffolk, VA during the second week in November.
In addition to some great scenery, which I photographed madly, each trip was a culinary delight. From eating some rather exotic dishes in Cameroon to mouth-watering barbecue in Suffolk, I partook of local delights at each venue. For the rest of 2013, I plan to rest up and get ready for 2014.