A relatively recent phenomenon that is becoming increasingly popular has been dubbed, “Bleisure Travel”: the combining of a business trip with leisure travel. Business travelers who have a few days of meetings or a conference to attend may schedule a few days of pleasure travel before or after having fulfilled their professional responsibilities. A couple of days in New York for meetings may be followed by a weekend to explore the city; a conference in Hawaii might provide the chance to spend a few leisurely days on Maui before heading home.
If Australia is “down under,” then surely New Zealand should be called, “Farther Down Under. Over 1,000 miles southeast of Sydney, New Zealand is about as close as you can get to Antarctica without actually being there…
One of the greatest gifts of working in academia is being awarded a sabbatical. Every seven years, professors may apply for a sabbatical leave during which they work on some academic project and are released from all their other duties for a semester. In Spring of 2003 I was awarded my first sabbatical, and while I spent much of my time conducting a risk perception survey of people living close to the volcanic peaks of Vesuvius and Etna in Italy, I also took a Circum-Pacific trip in February and March to explore that part of the world for the first time. I bought a ticket that allowed me to fly in a big circle around the Pacific Rim for a couple of months, stopping as many times as I wanted- so long as I did not reverse direction. I started in Thailand, then on to Bali, Australia and New Zealand, and finally to Tahiti. I’ve written about Tahiti in another blog post, but now I will share the details of my first trip to Australia, followed by a second chapter on New Zealand.
I’m truly the king of road trips, having first driven cross country when I was 18. Since then I’ve made at least 30 round-trips from coast to coast. But by far my most ambitious journey was in summer of 2005 when I drove east from San Francisco to Boston via Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia. On the westward return trip, I drove as far west as Montana, took a sharp right turn and drove to Alaska before working my way back down the coast to California. During the trip I kept a detailed journal of my experience, and so ride along with me on an adventure to our most remote and northern state.
After a wonderful Christmas holiday in New England, it was time to head back across country. It is always hard for me to say goodbye to so many friends there and return to the routine of another semester of teaching, but when I saw that a huge winter storm was barreling up the coast… not just ANY storm, mind you, but something called a “bomb cyclone”!
The popular song, “No Place Like Home For the Holidays” was published in 1954 and was made famous by singer Perry Como in 1959. The lyrics talk about our desire to be home for the holidays, especially at Christmas time:
I met a man who lives in Tennessee, and he was headin’ for
Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie.
From Pennsylvania folks are travelin’ down to Dixie’s sunny shore…
From Atlantic to Pacific…Gee, the traffic is terrific!
Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays,
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam,
If you want to be happy in a million ways,
For the holidays – you can’t beat home, sweet home…
Hello Everyone and Merry Christmas!
I have been very remiss about writing over the past month. First there was Thanksgiving, then a solid two weeks of grading papers and exams and then I hopped into my trusty car and drove from San Francisco to Texas to Charleston, S.C. to Virginia Beach and am now in Massachusetts hoping that an approaching storm changes track and brings us snow instead of rain. If it happens, my friends and relatives may kill me, but I will die happy if we have a White Christmas.
I intended to chronicle my trip east on my blog, but problems with internet connections, some 12 hour days behind the wheel, and the chaos of the holidays has gotten the best of me. So I decided to send out this Christmas message to assure you I am still here and next week I will start to post the whole story of the trip. For now, a few glimpses of Christmas from across the USA on the route that I took.
See you all in the New Year… if not before!