Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

By the Numbers

A few numbers from the trip.
(The table formatting is off but I think you can figure it out.)

24 Days in travel status
21 Nights in hotels
7 Different hotels
24,896 Miles: Air miles flown (runway to runway)
24,901 Miles:

Earth’s circumference at the equator

14 Number of flights (different planes)
8 Different airports
7 PPTs given, written, or helped to write
3 Countries visited (spent over night – not just airport stops)
13 Geocaches found
2 Fish caught
77 Blog posts (including this one)
unknown Cups of coffee consumed

The Highwaymen – Highwayman

Friday: Hotels and Coffee

Moving to my 7th different hotel this morning.  Sometimes, it just feels like what I know best is how to keep moving.

Gotta find some coffee to take back to Asheville.  I hear that Sanka is very popular with the locals.

OK, seriously.  I am a “black coffee” kind of guy.  Love it.  But wow…. cappuccinos are fantastic – if they are done right!

Moving Around Vienna

Wanna get to know a city?  Try using public transportation.  This morning I switched hotels (again) and used public busses, trains, and a cable car to go the few miles down the road towards the city centre.   Moving around Vienna this way gave me no great epiphanies but perhaps it did give me a little more insight into a city and its people rather than using a rental car or riding a tour bus.  (Maybe I will try to the tour bus tomorrow!)

Back in Vienna

reading lähtevät signs

reading lähtevät signs

Long day on Sunday.

I started my afternoon by “reading lähtevät signs” in the Helsinki airport, flying to Vienna, taking trains, buses, and finally a taxi until I arrived at Hotel Kreiner.  There are always people that speak English but yesterday there seemed to be fewer than usual.  This proved a little challenging since, because of track construction, the train did not go all the way to Hütteldorf and i had to try to figure out the bus system.  The unexpected extra steps in transportation were not terribly difficult, it just adds a little extra challenge when you don’t speak the language.

Since there was no Internet at the hotel last night I took the opportunity to go to the restaurant across the street and watch the last set of the Wimbledon match.  I think the Austrians were pulling for Federer to win and it was a epic ending to the match.

Last night was another great night for sleep.  Perhaps being on the road for three weeks can actually make a person tired….  ;-)

Today I am off to do a little work with Michael at the IUFRO Headquarters.  More soon! (Providing I have access to the Internet.)


finland-flag-smI have safelty made it to Finland.  37 hours after leaving my last hotel I have arrived at my new place in Helsinki.  *whew*   umm….  I’m kinda glad I leg of the trip (from Malawi to Finland without stopping ) just so I can tell the story – but I DON’T recommend it.

Unfortunately there was a problem with the hotel reservation but I have convinced the folks to let me stay here at least one night.  Well, 8 hours…..  It is midnight local time and we’ll have to straighten things out in the morning or I will go packing again.

I just saw the US lost in the finals of the Confederations Cup.  Damn……  I hope that I did not take the good luck away from my fellow countrymen when I left the continent!

Gotta sleep.  More tomorrow after I take care of where I will stay in Helsinki and, most importantly, after I take care of some critical work stuff for Michael Weldon, Edward Mundy, and Tamara Jenner.  Gotta keep on top of the FS work!




Quick stop in Joh’Burg (Johannesburg).  Next stop Frankfurt!

Far Side of the World

Back at home, it’s afternoon
Six thousand miles away.
I will still be there when I get through
Attending this soiree

There are jobs and chores and questions
And plates I need to twirl,
But tonight I’ll take my chances,
On the Far Side of the World.

–Jimmy Buffett

Lyrics from one of my favorite songs.  Ever.

My experience in Africa has been nothing like JB’s but I am sure glad I made the trip.  :-)

Saturday morning I start my 36+ hour journey of more than 7,000 miles from Southeast Africa to Northern Europe.  Before I go dormant for a while I wanted to leave the blog with some music.  The first part of the is video from Buffett and his band in the studio and the song starts at 1:30 so skip ahead if you like.

Best wishes from “The Far Side of the World”

Laundry Night

It has been a week since I left NC and it is time to do laundry.  Yep, nothing says “partying” like washing your clothes in the hotel room sink!

Am I complaining?  Noooooooooooo!  I would much rather use my room sink than to do laundry in the river!

Laundry in the River Near Mt. Mulanje

Laundry in the River Near Mt. Mulanje

Wednesday Travel

Composite satellite image of Mt. Mulanje

Composite satellite image of Mt. Mulanje

If everything goes according to plan, the FORNESSA Group will take a trip over to Mulanje Massif on Wednesday.  It will be a working trip as we continue to organize ourselves and address the components of our work plans that need to be submitted on Friday.

Friday…. Friday is just a couple of days away, to be quickly followed by Saturday when I have over 8,000 air miles and 32+ hours  of travel time in airplanes and airports which will take me from the Warm Heart of Africa to the Gulf of Finland, by the Baltic Sea.

FORNESSA Countries

List of countries represented at the FORNESSA Networking Week:
(Click on the country flags to learn more.)

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso












flag_austriaI have made it to Vienna!  Well, to be precise, I have made it to the Vienna Airport Hotel which is  about 100 meters from baggage claim at the airport.  Downtown Vienna is a few miles away and I don’t think I will be seeing that anytime soon.

The first set of flights were uneventful except for turbulence flying through a storm from AVL to ATL.  My luggage made it fine and that is a HUGE plus

Overall the 5,000+ mile trip took 21 hours (door to door).  Not too bad considering I had to go through customs in Frankfurt.

After arriving at the hotel I have slept a few hours and now my big decision is to:  a) do some more prep work for the upcoming meeting in Blantyre, b)  walk a mile to a Geocache, or c) fall back asleep…..

So far, spending “quality time” with the pillow is looking like the best option.

There’s a song that they sing when they take to the highway

Though the Berkshires seemed dream-like on account of that frosting
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go

–Sweet Baby James

I always loved those lyrics from James Taylor.

I am now at the Asheville airport.  Today the Appalachians seem dream-like and there is about 20 miles behind me and 20,000 more to go.

Policy Podcast: Making a Passport

From the State Department’s YouTube channel: “Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy and State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack discuss the production process for creating a passport and its security features.”

The video is a bit long, 10 minutes, which makes it outside the normal range for Web delivery but it’s kinda interesting.

A more interesting thought is why don’t more US Federal agencies take advantage of video?

Can you imagine a “US Forest Service YouTube Channel”?

There is no teleporter!

I just looked over my travel schedule and see that I will have a minimum of 85 hours travel time. These 85 hours do NOT include travel to and from airports – just time in planes or in airports waiting on the next plane.

85 hours.

That is:

  • 3.5 days of travel
  • 57 hours of air time
  • 28 hours in airports waiting on the the next flight

Ahh… the joys of international travel! :-)

Airport TerminalInside the PlaneAirborne