RTW01 1980-81

In 1980, my company, NCR Comten, sent me to NCR Japan for software support of the first installations of our Networking Communications Processor.  Recently, a reply to my comment in Cook the Beans blog reminded me of that trip and my visit to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo in 1981.  This was one episode of that first trip aRound The World (RTW). This brings me back to the original idea of this blog to reflect on journeys and paths that brought me here.

I saved the diaries of my travels during those times for many years.  With our moving on, I wrote up some summaries and highlights and saved on Google Drive.  Much of the information written was technical notes and contacts.  Certain parts of that fourteen month trip are very vivid; other parts are just a mesh of several trips through the same areas.  My notes suggest I left Minnesota around 1 October 1980 and returned to my parents home for Thanksgiving in late November 1981.  Unfortunately, only a few blurry pictures and some scraps of mementos remain from that trip.  The many transitions of life and work resulted in a box or two purloined in various archives and the dumpsters of life, later to be left for collection at the side of the road.

Collecting and Collating digital searches, memories, and artifacts for this post reminded me of several amazing coincidences and connections that played out over the years.

First, a link to the itinerary contains a few notes gleaned from my diaries.  It’s a placeholder for my memory as details begin to fade.  The experience was so new and fresh, I never expected the frustrations trying to remember details today.

Itinerary RTW 1980-81


Here is the list of cities I visited in approximate order.

St. Paul, MN; Tokyo, Japan; Nikko, Japan; Yokohama, Japan; Kyoto, Japan; Kamikura, Japan; Busan, Korea; Seoul, Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Hongkong; Macao; Manila, Philippines; Batangas, Philippines; Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei; Singapore; Melaka, Malaysia; Georgetown and Penang, Malaysia; Bangkok, Thailand; Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar); Rome, Italy; London, UK; Paris, France; Milan, Italy; Belfort, France; Bitche, France; Basel, Switzerland; Mont Saint-Michel, France; Cherbourg, France; Windom, MN

Three artifacts:

Three meetings:

The hardware tech assigned to NCR Japan was Sanford “Charlie” Brown.  After Japan, we worked together in South America, New Zealand, and SE Asia. Our paths still cross.  He taught me how to wirewrap.

In a Singapore hostel shared breakfast table with sisters Bea and Ev from France.  Years later they would pick me up from Luxembourg airport after spending ten days crossing the Soviet Union.

Anura Guruge at ICI UK.  He sent me to consult in Paris and Milan on a remote printer problem.  Some years later, I would find and read his first book, SNA Theory and Practice, in the NCR Japan technical library.  Some years after that, I would work with Lisa Lindgren an associate of Guruge’s consultancy.

Three things learned

Don’t be surprised.  Different cultures, different languages, different circumstances all have their ways of dealing with the situation of the moment.  Some of these will be completely different to what you might find usual.  Observe and Appreciate.

Grammar and Language: “Order word not necessary is.” Along with: “Verbs not necessary.”

In those days, I could live in Melaka, Malaysia for U$S 3 / day.  Knowing that, I only worked for fun from then on. I always knew that I did not have to put up with a bad job after that.

Here is the full map thanks to Google:


In the years that followed, I circumnavigated (both westward and eastward) the earth many times providing onsite computer networking support.  There were some trips to South America and to Africa.  The type of technical career I did no longer exists.  In the past years, we have deviated from the original route more and more as we have free time to venture to different countries.  Here is my TripAdvisor Map:


Afternoon in Marseille

Marseille leaves one with many impressions, the dry arid climate, the cooling breezes off the bay, the bustling of the city, the regimented beggars, the sun bleached architecture. This panorama catches some of the old port.



Notre Dame de la Garde seen from above Place Jules VerneWe spent most of our time in the old city hiking up and down narrow lanes of steps and crooked alleys of le panier district. The Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde seen from a distance awaits our return on another adventure.









Di Dah Dah Dah Dah Dah De DahFinally, the Marseillaise is the French National anthem. Here is the memorial to the original revolutionary fervor that was ignited by the citizens of Marseille.


A Baltic Summer 2013

No, we are not in Northern Europe.  We are celebrating September Spring in Auckland, New Zealand. This post is about our trip through the Baltic Countries in July and August 2013. I posted a couple of ideas (idea 1 and idea 2), but I never really documented our journey. This refreshes my memories and helps a little bit to pinpoint what we saw when and where.  With so many travel experiences, it gets more complicated to keep them separate.

That summer of 2013, our daughter participated in a month long summer institute at Jesus College in Cambridge University in England. During her stay there, Wife and I went exploring in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, along with a quick jaunt over to Finland. Here is another assortment of photos. In sorting through the files, I noticed we took many more selfies back then, partly as we were posting on Facebook. Second, it seems very slowly over six years, my photo taking has actually improved a little bit.

For the record, here is the path we followed:

Minneapolis to London Heathrow on Iceland Air with transit in Iceland.

Heathrow to Cambridge with reserved taxi (Almost same price as three long distance bus tickets and it took us with our luggage straight from the airport to the door of the hotel).

Cambridge to Paris by train, catching the Eurostar through the channel tunnel from St. Pancras station.

Paris to Riga, Latvia on Baltic Air.

Buses from Riga to Vilnius, Lithuania to Daugavpils, Latvia to Riga to Parnu, Estonia to Tallinn, Estonia, then back to Riga.

Side trips by bus included: Riga to Sigulda, Vilnius to Trakai, Tallinn to Tartu.

From Tallinn we took a ferry round trip to Helsinki.

From Riga, we flew Baltic Air back to Paris to rendevous with Daughter after her program and fly back to Minneapolis via Iceland Air.