Jan, 17, 2024 – 1995 – Aum Shinrikyo and the sarin Gas attack.

My wife and I have traveled to many interesting and one might say, dangerous places. The world can be a dangerous place if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We had decided to take our son, Ryan who was fifteen at the time to see the Great Wall of China, among other places. He was always fascinated by the wall and we told him when he turned fifteen we would take him to see it.

We had friends who were exchange students from Japan and we were going to visit them there as well. They knew Ryan and we were all excited to see each other again after a few years.

The trip through China was interesting as it had just recently opened up to tourism. As we flew in to Hong Kong to the old airport you could see people cooking dinner in their apartment out the window of the plane.

After a great trip through China, including Lantau Island, we ended up in Japan. We were treated to many of the great things to see there as well as great meals and fun with our dear friends.

We went to Osaka Castle and Kyoto among many other places.

On one of our trips back into town on the bullet train we passed through the train station while the sarin gas attack was just ending. The train did not stop and we had no idea of the attack.

When we travel, we have little time to read the local papers or watch the news. We are trying to see as much of the people and the landscape in what ever new country we are in. I’m pretty sure you may find yourself doing the same.

We heard the next day that the train station had been attacked and couldn’t believe it.

We knew nothing until our friends told us.

We have traveled to North Korea and had an interesting and once in a lifetime experience there. This was before the son took over.

Are we a little too bold in our destinations?

You be the judge.

We were in Zimbabwe a few years back during the elections and there were many “interesting” things going on that we were unaware of.

One thing we did notice at the time was that the currency had been greatly devalued and was being sold on the streets at a gigantic discount for U.S. dollars. The stores were also running out cooking oil and some other food items.

At the time the residents of the nation couldn’t take more than thirty dollars U.S. out of their savings accounts per month due to inflation, I suppose. Many people were murdered during those Presidential elections around the time of Mugabe.

We didn’t know about that until we left the country for the final time.

There was also a hoof and mouth disease epidemic going on as well. We had to disinfect our shoes as we crossed the border into the next country on our safari and then once more as we returned for a few days.

Things happen while one is on vacation.

We arrived in Jordan last year just three days after the fighting broke out with Israel. We saw nothing and felt safe. Our flight route was changed for safety by the way.

Were we safe? It seemed like it at the time. We did come back to the hotel on a Friday by a very circuitous route for some reason not discussed with us and after some long and quiet conversations between driver and guide.

We saw the crowds in the streets of Jordan that night on the news as we settled in our new hotel room in Egypt.

That might have been a close call, but we may never know.

We were in England on one of our many trips there and wound up in Margaret Thatcher’s motorcade during the G10 conference.

That was interesting.

The bus driver told the guards we were “with them” and he let us trough a road that had been closed. As she and her powerful friends took a right turn, we took a left.

No harm, no foul.

We are off on a long cruise from Bali to Japan in March. We will go to several countries including the Philippines and Taiwan. What might happen on this trip is anybody’s guess.

The unknown and unexpected are what makes traveling so interesting for me. My wife is not of the same mindset.

We are going to Iran next year if it is still there.

My wife has discovered that she is from Iranian stock as well as others.

We are at the age where we understand that we have less time in front of us than behind us and that a little adventure is always just around the corner.

We all end up in the same place. It’s how you live your life and what you experience along the way that makes life worth living.

If you wait for your travel destinations to all be safe you will go to few places. Things can change on a dime. We all know that as we read the news each day.

Always be nice to others along the way and remember that you represent your country when you travel.

Leave as little of a wake behind you as you travel.

The photo below is of myself and a couple of new friends in Laos, I believe.