Originally from Aurora, IL, I entered the military at the age of 17 and spent the next 26 years serving my country in various capacities around the world. I traversed the globe from Asia to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, South America and Antarctica. Also, I have visited all 50 of our wonderful United States. These experiences created an intense wanderlust that remains within me to this very day. Thus far, my travels have taken me to all 7 continents and 115 countries. My country count will continue to grow as long as I have the will and the ability to travel. Why do I travel? Because I can. I delight in the opportunity to actually visit places and experience cultures that most people are only able to see in books. Being retired from two careers, I have the time and the resources to visit my desired destinations around the world. My travels have helped me to develop a true appreciation for my own country.
My bachelor’s degree in history and political science and a masters degree in public administration have given me an understanding of world history and the various political situations. My master’s degree in special education from The Johns Hopkins University has given me an awareness and insight to the human needs of various cultures. Thus, I have used all of these tools in planning my travels and in writing my travelogues. Many of my readers are senior citizens who may never have the opportunity to visit the countries that I discuss in my writings. Many of them have stated that when they read my travelogues, they feel that they are there with me and are traveling the world vicariously through my eyes. I hope you have the same reaction.
The first question people ask is what is my favorite destination? I always enthusiastically respond with one word, “Antarctica!” My visit there was almost life changing. The vast, austere terrain coupled with the wonders of the Antarctic wildlife make it a truly unique destination…one that has escaped most people. That being said, I have several second favorite destinations. The list begins with the thundering of Victoria Falls; the beauty of the Mediterranean blue roofs that subtly blend with the blue Aegean Sea; being a witness to the frolicking pandas at the Panda Research and Breeding Center in Chengdu, China, and flying past the snowcapped peak of Mount Everest with a pristine blue sky as a backdrop. So many other sites all deserve to be a close second place on my list of favorite destinations after Antarctica.
I usually traveled solo on these adventures and did my own travel planning. This gave me better control over my travel schedule and accommodations. Additionally, by doing my own planning, I was able to save thousands of dollars by not using expensive tour companies and travel agencies. Instead, I subcontracted local tour companies with the assistance of Viator Tours. In my travelogues that are contained in this website, I will explain in more detail how I do this. Furthermore, I will convey lessons learned, provide suggestions, and recommendations both pro and con concerning the places that I visit. The travelogues will serve as an interesting read as well as a useful reference document for your own future travels. I hope you find my travelogues entertaining, informative and useful. Enjoy!
James P. Thomas