Many of us live highly insulated daily lives - we go from home to school or work and back again in a boringly endless cycle.
At birth, none of us had the luxury of choosing who we are or where we live. We were born by chance into a specific set of circumstances and until we become mature and smart enough to make decisions regarding changing those circumstances, the cycle continues.
When the appropriate time comes, travel can be one of life's activities that breaks us free from our daily cycles. It allows us to experience beyond our safety zone - to see others in the comfort or chaos of their back yard, and in the process, can help bring down barriers between people. Travel enables us to answer the who, what, why, how, where and when questions we have. How do others live? What are the cultural factors that cause differences in thinking? Then, again, it may be just as simple an equation as, "I need to veg for a week in Barbados!"
I've worked in travel and tourism for well over 30 years and these are photos of attractions and sights in cities and countries I've visited throughout the US and around the world. During all of my travels, however, I've been mindful of where I was (and where I wasn't), respecting the laws and traditions in the place I was visiting.
My photos are posted here in the hope that when appropriate in your life, at least one of them gives you the impetus to travel outside your safe zone. And remember - if you do choose to travel, whether inside or outside the US - you'll be playing in someone else's personal space, and subject to their rules, so respect that. Freedom to travel is a wonderful thing until you've lost it in a foreign prison.
Lavender field in France’s Provence region
The town of Annecy, in France, lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy, 35 kilometres south of Geneva Switzerland. The lake’s waters run through the town in a series of canals, bordered by picturesque buildings. When the canal waters are extremely still, the reflections of those building become mirror like.
While taking this photo of the Hudson River in New York City (looking toward New Jersey) on July 4, 2010, there was an unexpected flyover of four fighter jets.
The Hudson River in New York, facing the Jersey City, NJ skyline. This photo was taken at dusk on July 4th, 2010, just prior to the start of the annual Macys fireworks display.
The harbor in Hong Kong separates Hong Kong Island from the island of Kowloon. For many years Hong Kong was under British control but it was returned to China in 1997.
The effects of the transfer, however, have been almost negligible as Hong Kong has been designated a Special Administrative Region (SAR) by the Chinese government. As a result, the stringent controls evident in other parts of China are not seen here.
Pictured is a portion of the Hong Kong skyline including the picturesque Convention Center.
This colorful building is on the island of Murano, a short boat ride from Venice. Murano is known for the many glass factories there producing incredibly patterned Venetian glass.
Shopping in Venice. The small shops in this city of canals are a melange of colors and patterns. In February, it is Carnival time, and colorful masks abound.
A Tuscan villa on a dreary February day. The grapes await spring’s warmth and sunshine.
A black & white view from the town of San Gimignano in the Italian region of Tuscany. The rolling hills and small houses sitting in pastures is typical of the region’s architecture.
St. Paul de Vence is a small, picturesque town in France’s Provence region. It epitomizes what small Provencal towns are all about. Narrow cobblestone streets, alleys to be explored and people who truly appreciate foreign visitors.
Best time to go is before or after the crowded summer season.