A New Year’s update

Hello, all my travel-watchers! Hope you all had a good holiday season. Thanks to those of you who put me up, and those others who asked, “Where are you?”

Since I last sent out an update, I’ve returned to the US from Dakar, Senegal. I made my way home by a sequence of trips that, if the TSA had known about them, would have put me on the no-fly-list for life. I flew one way from Dakar to Lisbon, spent the night, then caught the second half of a round trip I bought back in October. I landed in New York and made a bus trip north to Boston, then spent several nice days there with Jennie Hango. It was cold outside, so we did traditional winter things like hang out and play video games, and make chicken soup from scratch. Jennie makes really good noodles, and she does it like an Italian grandmother, without a bowl; she just puts the eggs into the flour and goes for it with her fingers!

From Boston, I flew via a one-way on jetBlue to San Francisco, where Karl Larson picked me up and took me back to his house (which I am part owner in). As we went to sleep that night, me on the futon on the floor of his room, he said, “Seems kind of weird making you sleep on the floor of a house you own.” True enough!

That trip home, as long as it sounded, wasn’t bad at all. Each step of the way, I had little breaks built in. Much better than some huge 72-hour ordeal!

I had a great Christmas dinner with Bay Area friends the next night, then drove south to San Diego. I spent several weeks there with family. I watched my Uncle Moose retire from 30 years in the Navy, giving up command of ACU-5. The ceremony was really cool, and it’s always fun to go walk around those huge hovercraft!

Around Dec 30, I started a trip northward. I spent the night at Joshua Tree National Park on my way to Pasadena, CA. In Pasadena, I stayed with Beth Miles, an old friend from Mudd. She took me to a really great New Years party, and then threw a cool post-Rose-parade-and-hangover breakfast party for some of the same crowd. I stayed an extra day to learn to TIG weld from her housemate, Dave. Thanks Dave!

I drove north and landed at Karl’s house again. I saw friends at Tellme, and got caught up on little jobs. Tonight, I’m going to stay at Dan Lennon’s place up in Berkeley. It’s kind of nice having people virtually fight over having me stay over at their place… I suspect this is an early phase they are going through and that I better not count on it lasting!

From here, I plan to go to my grandparent’s place in the mountains in Arnold, CA. I’ll use that as my home base for several months, while I ski and take classes from the Red Cross. I’ll also be continuing to research jobs in the humanitarian relief “industry” and develop contacts with some technology-oriented development projects.

I’d love to have visitors, but because of a bunch of cool things people have invited me to, many of the weekends in January and beyond are pretty much completely used up. However, I’ll be there during the week, and that is the best time to ski to avoid the crowds. So, if you are interested in coming to Westerly for a visit during the week in January, please contact me!

The first bit of February will be taken up by a road trip to a cousin’s wedding in San Antonio, TX. I’ll meet up with my parents, who are doing a road trip of their own through the Southwest. I don’t yet have a clue where I’ll visit, and when I’ll be back. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears.

My self-imposed deadline for getting out of Arnold and having another big-A Adventure is March 13, the day after Curtis and Deeann get married. I don’t really have a clue what adventure will be awaiting me by then, since part of the next few weeks is all about making that next adventure happen. The most likely adventure is two months in Guatemala learning Spanish. But I’m open to other adventures, so if you have an idea, send it my way.

I’m also keeping my eye open for a way I can help with the rebuilding from the tsunamis. It turns out that relief agencies do not take new volunteers in times of crisis, because they need to be doing their mission, not training new people. This is probably as it should be, but it poses a problem for me, since I was just getting ready to start applying when the tsunamis struck. I’ll continue to watch and see if I can find a way to get the experience I’m looking for and be helpful. If it makes sense for me to be working in Asia instead of Latin America, ok, cool. My Senegalese friends would have thrown in a couple insh’Allah’s into that paragraph, and for good reason; no one’s plans are really safe from the twists of fate.

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