For my first post here on Traveling Dad, I thought I should take some time to introduce you to myself and my family. Those of you who have been around the miles and points world for a while may recognize me from my former blogging days or from the few times I have spoken at conferences. To the rest of you, I am probably a new face. You may be wondering why I am showing up as a writer.
To start, lets get the basic statistics out of the way.
- Name: Jeffrey Brownson
- Nickname: Jeff The Wanderer
- Years as a Dad: 13 (Yes, I have a teenager now. Please help!)
- Family: Chrissy (wife), Ryan and Cole (sons)
- Current Home: Northern Virginia (just outside of DC)
- Current Location: Depends when you read this (Really, I’m not kidding. I’ll be in Newark, Hawaii, The Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Guam, The Philippines, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Chicago before the end of next week.)
- Travel Type: Solo, With Family, With Friends
- Travel Style: $5 hostels to $1000 resorts, Ryan Air to First Class on Cathay Pacific (high end of both on points)
- Countries Visited: 38 (will be higher next week)
- States Visited: 32 (and Washington, DC)
- Continents Visited: 5
Where Do We Go and What Do We Do?
Now that that’s taken care of, I’d like to share a couple of quick pictures and examples of where our family has traveled over the years and what we do when we are there. I’ve loved photography since I was a young boy and now that I spend so much time traveling the world, there are endless subjects for my pictures. Lately I have been shooting mostly with my iPhone 7S, mainly because it doesn’t add any extra weight to my bag. I would take it with me anyway. For wet locations, I usually bring along my GoPro, and if I know I will want to take a lot of high quality pictures, I bring along a DSLR. Sometime soon, I will do a post about all of the cameras and equipment I travel with, so those of you who are interested can have the details.
The photos below are far from my best, but I chose each to give you a glimpse into the personalities of our family of wanderers.
Let’s start with me. As an engineer by trade, I’m always looking for factory tours and other types of technical tours to take part in while I travel. My family is less enthusiastic about these types of tours, so I typically do them when I’m traveling solo. This picture is from the Itaipu Dam and Generating Station, located on the border of Brazil and Paraguay. The Itaipu Dam is a short bus ride from the town of Foz do Iguacu, a common place to stay for those visiting Iguassu Falls, and is a great stop if you have an extra half day after seeing the Falls. Behind me is the rapidly spinning shaft for one of the huge turbines that are used to harness the power of the river to create electricity. Technically, since this power station sits on the border and I visited both sides, I have been in Paraguay, but I don’t think that really counts.
Next up is Chrissy, my wife. She is a teacher and her favorite subject is science, so she absolutely loves the outdoors. Any chance she gets to hike, bike, or zip line her way through a new area, she takes it. In this photo, Chrissy is climbing up the Bua Thong Sticky Waterfalls, located about an hour outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. We stopped off here on our way to a stay at an awesome treehouse bed and breakfast. Limestone deposits on the rock surface of the Bua Thong Waterfall create a grippy surface for your hands and feet, so you can literally climb right up the middle of the waterfall. The steeper sections include ropes to help with your ascent, as you can see in the picture. Our whole family had a blast claiming through the water, although we ended up getting a bit wet (totally soaked). This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Finally, our boys, Ryan and Cole. This picture is one of the many Fish Spas we visited on our Southeast Asia vacation a couple of years ago. The boys couldn’t get enough of the little fishies nibbling on their feet. Chrissy and I tried it once or twice, but I think after this picture was snapped, we sat in the chairs next to the tank and snuck in a quick shoulder and neck massage. Ryan’s hair is quite long in this picture and throughout the whole trip, people thought he was a girl. He took it in stride though and eventually stopped correcting people. His hair is a bit shorter now, but it’s on its way to getting long again. Ryan, like his mom, loves nature and would love to be outside all the time when we travel. Cole loves new experiences and his huge smile helps him make friends with everyone he meets.
I threw this picture in because I know we have a lot of Disney fans out there. No, we are not giants. That is just the significantly smaller castle at Hong Kong Disney. The park is smaller too, with shorter lines, so you can see pretty much everything in a single day. The price is quite reasonable compared to the parks in the US, and our family had a great time there. While we were in Hong Kong, we also went to Ocean Park, which is a local theme park of similar size and quality, and I would highly recommending adding that to your plans if you are in the area with your kids.
For my last picture, I thought I should show a bit of our silliness. All four of us have great senses of humor, and we always find a way to smile and make the best of any situation when traveling. When I was visiting the Argentina side of Iguazu Falls, I met some fun people on a boat tour under the falls. As we walked back from the dock, we found this scene, and we couldn’t resist having a rainbow snack. You may notice that I spelled the name of the falls three different ways in this post. I’m not horrible at spell checking, all three are actually correct. There are two different spellings used in Brazil, and another different one in Argentina. Like the spelling of the word, both side of the falls are unique and amazing in their own way. The Brazil side gives you great panoramic vistas and the Argentine side gets you up close and personal with the raw power of the flowing water. If at all possible, be sure to spend a full day at each side of the park.
Excited About Traveling Dad!
Hopefully this gives you an idea of where I am coming from and what you will see from me as a writer here at Traveling Dad. I’m sure our family has lots of things in common with many of you, and it’s my goal to help all of my readers to travel more, spend less, and enjoy this big old planet we call home. As time goes on, I will share with you trip reports of the placed we travel, some ideas to improve your travel photography, and of course, tips and tricks to help you maximize miles and points to upgrade your travel experience. I’m excited to start writing here at Traveling Dad and I hope you all like what I add to the site. If anyone has any questions for me as I get started here, please leave a comment below.