One now forgotten day around August 1971 I noticed that our household AM/FM radio had a third band labeled SW for shortwave. I started tuning around on it and discovered that I could hear stations from around the world. There were English broadcasts from the Netherlands, Sweden, Ecuador, Japan, Russia, and Egypt. I listened to music from Peru, Cuba, Turkey, Brazil, Spain, China and Nigeria. I learned a lot about the world and its cultures. If you are under 40 just think of shortwave as an early version of the Internet.
Shortwave radio (DXing) became a very serious hobby and fostered my interest in other cultures. After college I served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Honduras from 1982-84. I then spent six months wandering through South Ameica. And in 1985 I came back to the USA to become a responsible productive grown-up member of society. I got married. I earned two more degrees and had two careers - first as a university ESL teacher and then as an I.T. professional. I bought two houses and raised two wonderful children. I was elected board president at my Unitarian church. I had an orchard and a huge garden where I raised heirloom vegetables. I got divorced. After over two decades in Iowa, I moved to Chicago and enjoyed big city life for five years. And occasionally I made short trips to places in Latin America and Europe.
It was a good life and I was very fortunate. But once I retired I knew that it was time to stop being that responsible productive grown-up member of society. A few treasured possessions were packed away in boxes to be put into storage. Everything else was sold or given away. For several years my plan is to spend about half the year living on the road. A mid-sized suitcase and knapsack is all that I need. I've gone back to where I left off in 1985. It's time to see the world again.
I don't know where I'm going. But I'm on my way.
When I'm in the United States, I split my time between the Chicago area and central Pennsylvania.
November 2020: A year ago I was traveling in Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador. I arrived back in the USA in late February with plans to travel again in a few months. Well, you know what happened. I've been passing my time catching up on personal projects and planning to travel again once we get through this virus. Possible destinations for upcoming trips include northeastern Brazil and southeastern Europe (in particular Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania). India and south Asia is also on my radar.