Why We Wander
Our family has travelled to dozens of countries for generations, starting with Captain James H. Blethen, a Welsh sea captain who sailed a Vanderbilt steamship from New York, around the Horn, and into San Francisco in 1852. He spent the rest of his life at sea.
His worldly view has carried down through generations and is a priority in our family. We live on an amazing planet. Each of us can become more understanding and more appreciative of differences as a result of meandering around the globe.
I've travelled alone as a single woman, with my daughter, and with family and friends. It doesn't matter; there is always someplace new, exotic, and safe whether or not you go it alone or with someone.
Cook's Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia.
Following is a list of countries/cities visited -- sort of in the reverse order visited throughout the years. A few were toured more than once and I was fortunate to spend a summer studying English Literature at Worcester College in Oxford as a University of California at Berkeley Exchange Student. If you have questions about any of these locations, please eMail me at Marine Studios.
When budgets are tight — or just in between world journeys — we wander around Northern California through any one of dozens of lovely towns surrounding San Francisco.
This is one of the more beautiful places in the world, rich with cultural activities, small towns, superb restaurants—including many with decks overlooking San Francisco Bay, and, generally, quite balmy weather.
Fairfax in central Marin, is home to mountain biking. The world-renowned Dipsea Race starts in Mill Valley goes straight up and over Mt. Tamalpais, and ends in Stinson Beach. During the annual salmon run in late summer, millions of salmon come through the gate to swim up into the Sacramento Delta. Marin is close to the wine country with its international award-winning varities. It is splendid! Southern Marin is up against San Francisco Bay with a range of activities, including ferry boat rides to San Francisco, kayaking, sailing, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge or along the protected Marin Headlands, fine dining, book stores, author readings, events at Marin Center, seminars from world-class speakers, etc.
The Mayan Peninsula
Paris, Avignon en Provence, and along the Coté de Azur to Nice, Monaco/Monte Carlo, and Menton near the Italian border.
Six Countries in Sixty Days . . .
The question posed: "We're starting in Tahiti and ending in Japan. Where do you want to go in between?" All travel arrangements for this trip were made via the Internet and checked throughout via eMail. It was one of the smoothest trips we've ever had.
French Polynesia: Bora Bora and Moorea, a lifetime dream come true -- a week in an over-the-water bungalow.
Roratonga, Cook Islands: Around the island for a week. And unless you really want to slow down, I don't recommend this. Marvelous people, but very very slow. The one place we did not see that might be worth a return visit would be "One Foot Island."
New Zealand: Devonport (a mixture of Berkeley and Sausalito, with the best of both), across the harbor from Auckland. Only a few days. Not nearly enough time.
Australia: From Brisbane to Palm Cove to Cairns to Port Douglas on Australia's Eastern shoreline by air and auto and back to Brisbane by train. Diving the Great Barrier Reef, a world wonder. If the Grand Canyon were filled with warm turquoise water and vibrant tropical fish, you would have the Great Barrier Reef.
Thailand: Bangkok (travel by boat on the Chao Praya it's the fastest, cleanest way to get around), the Reclining Buddha, elephant rides, Phuket, Ko Samui, Ko Pi Pi.
Japan: Tokyo, Nikko National Park, Fuji-Hakone National Park (Lake Hakone, Fujisan, Lake Kawaguichi, The Hakone Check Point with traditionally garbed guards such as on the right), Kyoto (Nijo Castle, Golden Pavilion, Imperial Palace), Nara, Mikimoto Pearl Island, Narita. Of course we shopped while in Kyoto at Ise Tan (below right).
If you have only a one-night stopover at Tokyo, stay at Narita. It is easy to reach by train, it is a traditional small village with excellent last-minute shopping ideas. Many airline personnel stay there for overnight stopovers. Japanese Bullet Trains to all of Japan's main cities are on time, clean, excellent service. They link to smaller routes in areas such as the Ise Peninsula.
Mexico: Baja California (Sea of Cortez), Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, the Mayan Riviera (with UNESCO World Heritage sites)
The Yucatan Peninsula imparts a sense of the timelessness of our nations and people and their determination to make a mark on this planet. This Peninsula is the home of warriors and strong spiritual beliefs, well ingrained before Europeans entered and assumed control of already well-definied political and social structures.
We add information and stories to the site as we wander, especially as we find information that can Bring our (and your) ancestry to life.
Trace Your Family Lineages Back 10,000 Years and Beyond.
Researchers have been surprised by the DNA of a 400,000 year old human ancestor. While researchers expected the DNA to look like Neanderthal DNA, it was actually much more like the DNA from another ancient human cousin, the Denisovans. As important, perhaps more important to individuals, is that you can now have your ancestry traced back through the centuries from your own DNA.