It’s a Great Life!

…or somebody’s got to do it!

Here’s Devon and me getting ready to go experience a 2,000 year old bath in northern Tunisia.

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It's a great life - Tunisia

I’m turning 50 years old today.  Wow!  50!  It seems old, but I don’t feel old.  It has given me time to think about my life…a little reflection, I guess.  I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone.  I’m so grateful for the decisions I’ve made, the opportunities I’ve taken, the experiences I’ve had.  There’s no way I could categorize my experiences into the “Top 10” or “the Best Of”.  Do I think I’m lucky? Not really.  Everyone has defined priorities in life.  I collect experiences, experiences with my family all over the world.  That’s what is important to me.  At times, I’ve been in the right place at the right time and been able to travel for free to some out-of-the way places, but mostly Jim and I have positioned ourselves so that we can travel without spending all our money.  We do need to retire, someday.

I was born in Turkey to American parents, so I was started out on the right foot…a moving one.  We only lived there for about a year after I was born, but then  because my dad was in the Air Force, we moved frequently mostly around the United States.  I haven’t converted many of those photos to digital yet, so my first shot is one of those times when I took advantage of where I was.  I’m taking a ride in an F-15 when my squadron was on temporary duty to Sardinia.  We took off, full after-burner and went right up to 23,000 feet.  No one is allowed to go that high unless they had been through the altitude chamber, which I had, so we had a blast up there.

It's a great life - Sardinia

By this time, I’d married Jim.  We got married right young, and I guess it was a good thing, because we are still best friends.  The next shot is of the two of us with our first-born, Devon, in Spain.  She was five months old and we took a camping trip all through the south of Europe.  The people were so accommodating, they would take her whenever we would begin a meal at a restaurant, and it would be 10-20 minutes before they brought her back.  If she could just remember it, she could write a best-seller on the kitchens of southern Europe.  For the first seven years or so of our marriage, we drove, camped, ate, museumed, etc. our way around Europe.  Towards the end, the wall had fallen and we even chipped off a piece of the Berlin Wall ourselves.

It's a great life - Spain

We spent about eight years in Alaska, and during that time, I was able to travel around the majority of the state with my job.  I flew to the Pribilof Islands and many places in the bush.  This is a shot of me on the Aleutian Island of Atka, which should be over the dateline if it didn’t bend.  That was an exciting time.  I took as much advantage of it as I could.  One fond memory is when I was visiting the town of King Salmon, I took a maque (traditional sauna) with a Native Alaskan woman, then we went into the house to eat moose enchiladas!

It's a great life - Aleutians

While in Alaska, Jim and I wanted to drive as much of the existing road as we could, so here we are driving up the Dalton Highway, better known as the “Haul” Road to Alaskans.  It’s the sole driving route to the oil fields of Prudoe Bay.

It's a great life - Alaska

After leaving Alaska, we began teaching overseas and first went to Europe, then Asia, and now we’re back in Europe.  We’ve traveled to so many countries and tried to learn about the people in each one.  The next few photos are just a sampling of what I’ve been doing the last few years.  We start off in China, climbing the Great Wall.  It was so hot, that we decided to take our shoes off, and climbed around on it barefoot.

It's a great life - China

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

It's a great life - Cambodia

Erika and I, again barefoot, this time riding camels in the desert of the United Arab Emirates

It's a great life - UAE

Trying to blend in, we’re wearing headscarves in a small Egyptian village.

It's a great life - Egypt

In hotter-than-blazes Sri Lanka, it seems all we did was climb, climb, climb.  Here we are at the Dambulla Temple.

It's a great life - Sri Lanka

We hadn’t made it to South America, so here we are living one of my life-long destinations.  I wrote a report about the Incas in fourth grade, and always wanted to visit Macchu Pichu.  What a place!

It's a great life - Peru

Jim and I head to Africa and do a driving trip through five of the southern countries.  Who can pass up the chance to show that we were at the crosswaves of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans in South Africa?

It's a great life - South Africa

And here I am enjoying the Chobe River boat ride.  Amazing!  We saw so much wildlife and the elephants went swimming right next to us.

It's a great life - Botswana

In Mongolia, we hired a driver for nine days to take us out in the far reaches of the country.  We drank horse’s milk, took public showers in the dusty towns we went through, and here I am attempting to milk a goat.

It's a great life - Mongolia

In Wadi Rum, Jordan, we just enjoyed the colors and the beauty.

It's a great life - Jordan

I had no better luck when I joined these village women to milk a sheep in eastern Turkey, near the Iran border.

It's a great life - Turkey

And lastly, this is a shot of me scrambling along the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

It's a great life - Northern Ireland

At 50, my list of places to go has not gotten any shorter.  In fact, I add to it daily.  If you are interested in a complete list of places we’ve been you can go here.  I just came back from Lithuania, so be looking for some posts on that pretty soon.  What do you think?  It’s a great life, isn’t it?



  1. Corky….that is just an incredible, beautiful account of an ongoing storybook of life’s journeys. I SO admire you for all that you’ve done, the places you’ve seen…and SHARED with your friends and everyone else through your travel blogs. I’m so grateful to have had you as a friend in childhood and to this day and look forward to your continued adventures. (50? No way….but then with age comes the wisdom we appreciate as the years go by. However, you’ll ALWAYS and forever be that adventurous 14 year old I loved and continue to hold dear who had some memorable and incredibly FUN times with.) Wishing you much love, and a beautiful holiday season. <3 Cindy

  2. Enjoyed your story, those pics of you and Jim as kids are a kick! 1.5 yrs until I hit the big 50, I think it may be a little tough on me although I have lived so far with no regrets! Happy Birthday!

  3. Thanks for a journey of your life through your photos. It is awesome, love your smile, your attitude & your photos.

  4. I’m 59 years old now but when I think back, I really enjoyed turning 50 years old. You are old enough to figure things out that come along and wise enough to know what you shouldn’t tackle. Sure I have had one or two small medical issues that I never had to deal with when I was younger, but overall I think everyone should be excited to turn 50. Congrats on turning 50 years old!

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