Travel as a Lesson in Field Expediency

This is a photo of a map that we used to navigate public transportation in Milan, Italy. 

One of my favorite parts of traveling is the necessity of just having to figure things out. My wife and I most often opt for trips that aren’t 100% spelled out, but have multiple major destinations and room for unplanned exploration along the way.

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Adventures: My First Lead Climb

I write primarily about work on this blog, but from time to time I recount fun adventures I’ve had outside the office1.

Yesterday I wrote that I’m not really a “resolutions” person when it comes to new years, but I do think intentionally about what I want to accomplish and how I’m going to do it. Over the last few months I’ve mulled over learning a new skill and decided that I wanted to dig deeper into the world of rock climbing, a sport I’ve loved for a long time. Specifically, I’ve set out to learn “trad climbing,” or, “traditional rock climbing”. I won’t go into too much detail, but the short explanation is that traditional climbing requires you to place your own anchors as you climb (as opposed to clipping into existing anchors that have been bolted into the wall)2.

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1. You can read more about what to expect from this blog here.2. You can read more about traditional rock climbing on Wikipedia.

Learning a City: Walking Streets and Talking to Locals

Years ago I had the chance to travel in China with a long-time family friend. This gentleman is much older than me (30+ years) and has traveled the world extensively.

The best way to get to know a place is to walk the streets.

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Maine Sea

The second stop on our Northeastern tour found us in Acadia National Park3. We stayed on both the Shoodic Peninsula4 and Mount Desert Island5 sides of the park and found the Schoodic area to be much quieter and less touristy.

I posted photos of Acadia’s mountains previously6, but that was only half the story. Maritime heritage is the true treasure of Maine’s coastline. I recommend steering clear of Bar Harbor and retreating to active fishing towns like Bass Harbor7, which we found to be quaint, full of history, and a great way to access offshore islands.

Fun fact: Bass Harbor was once haphazardly named McKinley, after President William McKinley. At the turn of the 20th century, federal officers asked what they should name the village’s newly built post office. Someone in their company told them to “name it after the president, for all we care.” And they did. The town carried the same name until citizens petitioned to have it changed in 1961.

2012-09-04 Vacation - Maine-Acadia - Day 1 08

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1. You can learn more about Acadia National Park on the official website.2. Learn more about the Schoodic Peninsula on Wikipedia.3. Learn more about Mount Desert Island on Wikipedia.4. You can see the mountain photos here.5. You can read more about the town of Bass Harbor on Wikipedia.

Maine Mountains

The second stop on our Northeastern tour found us in Acadia National Park8. We stayed on both the Shoodic Peninsula9 and Mount Desert Island10 sides of the park and found the Schoodic area to be much quieter and less touristy.

Fun fact: The highest point in Acadia, Cadillac Mountain, is named for Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, a French explorer11. Along with leaving his namesake in Maine, he helped found the city of Detroit in the early 1700s. An automobile manufacturer honored the effort in 1902 by naming their firm “Cadillac” and using de La Mothe’s coat of arms as their logo.

Here are a few photos from the hills.

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1. You can learn more about Acadia National Park on the official website.2. Learn more about the Schoodic Peninsula on Wikipedia.3. Learn more about Mount Desert Island on Wikipedia.4. Learn more about the explorer, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, and Cadillac Mountain’s name on Wikipedia

New Hampshire

Last year my wife and I went on an adventure in the Northeastern US. Our first stop was the Franconia Range12 in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest13. The terrain was simultaneously some of the most challenging and beautiful I’ve ever experienced. Fun fact: the highest surface wind speed observed by mankind (231mph) was recorded in 193414 on Mount Washington, the highest peak in both the White Mountains and the Northeastern US.

Here are a few photos from our trip.

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1. Read more about Franconia Ridge on Wikipedia.2. Read more about the White Mountains on Wikipedia.3. Read more about the highest wind speed recorded by man on the Mount Washington Website.

Several Noticeably Different Day-To-Day Things About Europe

I love the variety and unique nature of all of the different countries and cultures on our planet—learning how other people groups structure their lives and go about their day-to-day activities is fascinating.

As I’ve walked around Europe for the last two weeks, I’ve kept mental notes on a few differences in daily life that caught my attention more than once. Here they are:

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How Switzerland Makes Me Feel

switzerland-jungfrau-eiger-panorama

We’re in Switzerland at the moment. I had a few moments to grab the first mountain pictures I could find on my camera. (This one is completely unedited, by the way.) If you’d like to experience these breathtaking and celestial scenic views yourself while staying in an equally beautiful hotel, perhaps these Geneva hotels may be of some interest to you.

I’m still trying find words to describe what the mountains are like here, so I’ll let someone else do a better job. This is how Switzerland makes me feel:

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

—Psalm 8

More pictures to come.