The Lounge Lizard’s Guide to Foreign Travel

The big disadvantage of the type of work I do is being away from my family and close friends so much of the time. I love and miss my family and a regret I have is in missing some of the development of the kids as they have aged. A couple of years back the relationship between myself and my then wife changed as well – due partly to the geographic separation over many years.

When I first started travelling, my eldest son was about 5 years old. Bt 2003 he was 21 years old, writing articles for the Linux press and managing to get his own jobs and look after himself (well, pretty much looking after himself). Now he is 25 and facing some of the issues I faced at that age. Where do the years go?

Still, the counter benefit to this loss is that I get to see lots of different places. I also get to meet many different people. A further disadvantage is that having met these people, I then spend time leaving them as well. My life has certainly been enriched by meeting these people and by seeing these places and at the start of 2007, there were over 50 countries I have been to across five continents.

Growing up in Australia I was subject to the usual fears and concerns about foreigners. Whilst they had always been generally welcomed, there was also a fear as they were different, and Australia is one of those countries that celebrates “differentness”. The more I have travelled though, the more I see the similarities between people and as a result, the more global I have become in my attitudes.

One question I do get asked a lot is which country is the best. The answer is that there is no best, simply different. And that is the truth of it! However, throughout Thomo’s Hole from time to time you will find brief descriptions of some of the countries I have visited, my impressions of them and, in some cases, some of the more humorous aspects of those countries. It is, in no way, meant to be derisive at all. It is, however, just my impression of places coloured by my background.

Obviously these items will not leap into life immediately but will grow over time. Keep watching and see it grow. In the meantime, to start, here is a list of some of the places visited or tales from those places. Just to make it interesting, I didn’t bother to put all this in any sort of order.

The items should be active links and take you to some information (from the viewpoint of an old fat travelling businessman who spends way too long in bars and museums). Note that the information contained is my impression of life, the universe and things in that country and may be right, wrong or capable of getting your face slapped. The foreign language expressions contained in here are generally guaranteed to at least get you a beer (except in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, of course), although I must admit that when you are travelling, the most useful foreign language expression you can have is “and another one please” on the safe and sound principal that if you manage to get the first one, with that particular expression you can always get another of whatever it is you have in front of you!

This is, of course, a double edged sword and using, for example, the Korean expression hana do for one more might not only bring another beer, but may also bring another plate of fried grasshoppers or silkworm pupae as the beer snack to go along with it. You have been warned!

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