The Maasai girls in the photo are residents of GRACE Nanana Girls Rescue Centre (see the Kenya gallery). They were our guides for the day to show us around the Centre. They captured our hearts with their charm, politeness, and appreciation of services they receive.
As for us, we are quite ordinary. No one would invite us to enliven a dinner party. No nose rings, dramatic hair styles, tattoos or social media accounts. We wake up each morning to classical music, in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, in a nice city. We go to the gym three times a week and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So far, so good, but we're always aware of life's limit and unknowns.
Laura grew up on the west coast with seven siblings. I grew up on the east coast with no siblings, but we're very compatible. We met on a commuter train on the way to work and got married without fanfare in a small church nestled in the redwoods in northern California. Laura progressed through a series of career moves to become a marketing communications manager for two Silicon Valley companies. I started my career as a staff psychologist in a mental health center and finished it as a consultant in executive selection and development for a major corporation. For most of our lives together we've participated avidly in hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, skiing, cycling, and kayaking. These activities are mostly pleasant memories now and we spend more time on the gentler pursuits of painting and photography. We maintain memberships in Mosaic Arts Alliance and Battle Ground Art Alliance in southwest Washington, the Photography Council of the Portland Art Museum and the Oregon Society of Artists.
Many years ago we joined a video crew for a project in the Soviet Union just before it dissolved. We stayed with residents in Russia and Kazakhstan and found the value of directly experiencing how people live in foreign cultures. Since then we've traveled in twenty-five other countries some of which are represented in this photo archive. Photos from Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Canada, Russia and Kazakhstan are not here because they are on slides that have not been scanned.
We don't like group travel and with two exceptions have always traveled independently. We especially like traveling in developing countries to immerse ourselves in cultures very different from our own. We've taught monks in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal, spent time observing the work of service organizations in Kenya, lived with a family in Pisa as guests of the Italian Alpine Club, stayed with sheep farmers when hiking across England and Wales, and experienced daily life in small towns and villages while cycling and hiking in other countries. It's a style of travel that will be hard to maintain the older we get, but as Bogart said to Bergman, "We'll always have Paris."