Military Officer, World Traveler, and Author.
My wife and I took a day trip from Wiesbaden, Germany, to Strasbourg, France, in early February. We had heard from friends that Strasbourg was a beautiful city across the German and French border with lots of charm and history. Additionally, Strasbourg is home to the European Union's Parliament.
Italian Spring Break
My family moved from Tampa, Florida, to Germany almost a year ago due to my job. Since then, we have taken small road trips within Germany and quick trips across the border to France and Belgium. During the last week of March 2023, my family decided to head south to enjoy the warmer weather in Italy. My family has been looking forward to the sunny weather since Germany's weather since October has been miserable. It is hard to overstate the misery and depression that can set in living in an area where the climate is primarily overcast and rainy. I am putting the trip in context because we departed on a rainy day from Germany and returned to rain again. The rain made driving through Switzerland less enjoyable because the mountain scenery was limited by the rain and overcast skies; however, once we crossed into Italy, it seemed like we had entered a completely different part of Europe.
I have always been a fan of history and geography since my childhood. When I was a teenager, I took my first overseas trip, where I began following the footsteps of Alexander the Great. Several years ago, I wrote and published stories about my trips to Greece, Iraq, Afghanistan, and India, all of which the famous Macedonian Emperor traveled and conquered. This January, I had the opportunity to travel to Izmir, Turkey, a beautiful city along the Aegean Sea.
Last month, I traveled north from Girona, Spain, to Cherbourg, France, by rail to board the newest cruise ship headed to America. Leaving my mountainous hometown was emotionally challenging since I left all I knew behind. Girona is a beautiful ancient city in northern Spain, but life there was always hard for me, and I wanted a new beginning.
I will never forget my first Rottweiler. My family adopted him when he was about nine months old, and his previous owner named him King. We changed his name to Hawkeye, named after my mother’s favorite character from the book and movie The Last of the Mohicans. Hawkeye was a big boy and grew to weigh close to 150 pounds, and he was fast when he was young. A favorite pastime was for my sister, and I alternated between holding him by his collar while the other ran around the house. Once we got halfway around the yard, we yelled “Go,” and Hawkeye was allowed to chase us down. There is nothing more exhilarating than being tackled by a large, strong, and energetic beast.
Kay looked at the photos of her husband in astonishment. She couldn't believe her eyes as she looked at the pictures of her husband's father, grandfather, great grandfather, and even his great-great-grandfather and the realization that they all looked like carbon copies of each other. All the men looked like identical twins at the exact same points in their lives. Kay knew that her husband's family had lived in the same area of England for hundreds of years and had built a massive fortune through land acquisition.
Thanksgiving in a War Zone
For the first time in twenty years, there will be no Thanksgiving celebration in Afghanistan. I have celebrated Thanksgiving serving overseas in South Korea, Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan; however, the Thanksgiving celebration in Afghanistan in 2012 was the most memorable due to its impact on the international coalition.
Halloween in Europe
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love trying to convert my home into a haunted house to entertain the trick-or-treaters, and of course, that also means trips to Spirit Halloween. However, my best travel-related Halloween memories include visiting Castle Frankenstein in Germany and Transylvania in Romania.
The Frozen Pond
Carlos stared across the frozen pond observing the movement in the hills and thinking about home. Carlos was a long way from home, where the weather was always warm and tropical. He had never seen snow before he left his Island, and now, he could not escape the snow and the terrible cold. He looked around and saw the misery in everyone’s eyes.