Great American Western Road Trip: Summer 2018

4 weeks, 3 kids, 1 van, 16 different lodgings, 5400+ miles, 12+ National or State Parks and Monuments adds up to 1 Epic Adventure.

American Southwest Family Vacation 2017

We followed historic Route 66 on our way to see the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, plus much more in New Mexico and Arizona.

End of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Here are our stories from two and a half years of living in Saudi Arabia while exploring the region.

Excursions to Oman

On two different trips, we strolled Muscat, hiked Wadi Shab, and sailed a dhow through the fjords of Musandam.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Return to Adana

During my assignment to Washington, D.C. two tours ago, I had managed a project in Adana, Turkey. As it turns out, corporate knowledge is a valuable thing, so I was called to support a new project there that would benefit from my awareness of the existing conditions. There's just one problem:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Adventures in Monotony

The process of traveling can become mundane and monotonous, but it doesn't have to. To change things up, I picked this trip to write from the third-person perspective. From your own travels, you're probably familiar with most of the elements, like the departure, the journey, and the exchange of paperwork to get visas to travel. But have you ever viewed these events like a scene from a movie?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Plaza Mayor Christmas Market

We had no firm plans for our time in Madrid, so we made our way to Plaza Mayor and the La Latina barrio to experience some of the local vibes.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving in Madrid

Flying back to the US from Cyprus for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend wasn't practical, so we spent four days in Spain instead. But we didn't spend it alone: We met up with some friends to explore Madrid.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Start of Tour: Nicosia

Cyprus is our third tour with the State Department, and while we figured out most of the obstacles ahead of time, there were still a few more lessons to be learned.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

American Southwest Family Vacation 2017

We spent part of our time between overseas assignments exploring the American Southwest. We started in Albuquerque and headed west. We explored the lava fields in El Malpais, drove through the Pueblo of Zuni, visited the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, discovered the National Monuments at Sunset Crater and Walnut Canyon, and spent a day in the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert.
Grand Canyon viewed from Desert View Station on the South Rim

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert

There is no shade in the Petrified Forest, and the Painted Desert lives up to its colorful name. It's an amazing display of color that really has to be seen to be believed.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sunset Crater and Walnut Canyon

If you're south of the Grand Canyon and looking for a few more interesting places to visit, consider both the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and the cliff-dwelling residences at Walnut Canyon National Monument.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Grand Canyon Adventures

Our big trip out west this summer was to Grand Canyon National Park. A crown jewel of the National Park Service, the Grand Canyon offers so much to see and do: stargazing under the dark sky, hiking into the canyon, watching the sunrise over the canyon at Desert View station, and riding bikes along the canyon rim.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Driving through Zuni country

Between Albuquerque and the Grand Canyon are the lands of several Native American tribes, like the Zuni, Pueblo, Navaho, Hopi, and many more. We opted to leave the interstate and learn more about the Zuni people.
Native American Tribal Areas in Arizona and New Mexico

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Badlands of El Malpais

We started our trip through the American West in Albuquerque, traveling west to El Malpais National Monument before ending the day in Zuni country.
People looking out over El Malpais lava field
The floor is lava!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

End Of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We spent two and a half years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State. As you might imagine, it was quite foreign and it's a little hard to convey the full experience to those who haven't been here, but the following posts might give you some idea of what it was like.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Al Ula Desert Safari

Our second day in Al Ula opened with a canyon safari to see the sun rise and closed with a journey back in time as we walked through the long abandoned old town. As you might expect, we took a lot of pictures.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Mada'in Saleh - Al Ula

Mada'in Saleh is sometimes referred to as "The Saudi Petra". This post is in a rushed draft form to share with some friends. It's notes and photos, not edited at all.


Thursday, April 06, 2017


To round out our Spring Break to Oman and Dubai, we extended our layover in Bahrain and spent a couple days exploring the city. In addition to catching several movies and shopping at the City Center mall, we also visited the Qal'at al-Bahrain, explored the Bahrain National Museum, and strolled through the Bab al-Bahrain souq.
Inside Qal'at al-Bahrain (IG@PSCblog)

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Legoland Dubai

Rough draft, just for the photos. We spent a fun-filled day at the Legoland #Waterpark and #legoland Amusement park in the Dubai world complex. Here's how we planned our day. Anchor1.

Khasab, Oman

HD city tour of khasab on day 3 morning and drop to Dubai
We ended our time in Oman with a visit to the museum inside #Khasabcastle to learn more about traditional Omani life. After that, we headed into the UAE where we had several entertainment options to choose from #outsidedubai. Anchor1.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Dhow Cruise - Fjords of Musandam

The reason we came to Khasab, Oman was to see the fjords of Musandam. During our 6 hour cruise through the majestic landscape, we saw several pods of dolphins, the historic Telegraph Island, and lots more!


Sunday, April 02, 2017

Jebel Harim - The Mountain of Women

We started our spring break vacation with a mountain safari to Jebel Harim over the rugged terrain of the #musandam mountains? Anchor1. Adding to the adventure, rains last week made some roads nearly impassable. Emphasis on "nearly".


Saturday, April 01, 2017

Oman Excursions

We visited Oman two different times for a long weekend each time. We enjoyed our time there so much that it made sense to create a summary page for our excursions to Oman. We highly recommend visiting Muscat, Wadi Shab, and taking a dhow cruise in the fjords of Musandam.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Red Sea Safari - Al Lith

We had the opportunity to join Red Sea Safaris on a two-day search for whale sharks in the Red Sea along a reef near Al Lith, where the season runs from mid-March to mid-May. Our tour organizers are also whale shark our kids also got to see what real field research is all about! On the first day we saw blue spotted rays and moray eels. On the second day, we saw many of the same manta rays and dolphins!
Aboard the Dream Island

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Via Roma & Cassino War Cemetery

Closing out our visit to Italy, we drove from Sorrento to Rome, stopping at the Cassino War Cemetery along the way.
Cassino War Cemetery and Monte Cassino

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Amalfi Coast

With no firm plans for the day, we drove along the dramatic Amalfi Coast (considered by many to be one of the "Wonders of the World") making stops in Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.
Seaside in Positano

Thursday, February 23, 2017


From our base camp in a seaside villa in Sorrento, we explored some nearby Roman ruins on the shoreline before heading north to walk off lunch by wandering the ancient city streets of the long abandoned Roman city of Pompeii.
Cave Canem: Beware of Dog

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Have you ever decided one day that you should just take a few days off and go somewhere next week? Well, the kids had a long weekend coming up, so we decided to depart Jeddah and fly over to Italy for the weekend. The idea was to base ourselves out of Sorrento, then visit the Roman ruins in Pompeii one day and drive along the Amalfi Coast the next day. It was a great getaway vacation, and here are the highlights.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

FSCE Certifications

Foreign Service Construction Engineers are responsible for managing multi-million dollar projects to provide safe, secure and functional facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and support our staff in the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives. To ensure that these facilities represent American values and the best in American architecture, design, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture and construction execution we have to get several certifications. For me, fall is my re-certification time.

Friday, January 06, 2017


Qatar Airways had direct flights back to the US for our Christmas break, so we took an extended layover in Doha before making the return flight to Jeddah. We spent the day walking along the Corniche, took a ride across the harbor, and got lost in Souq Watiq looking for pearls.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Our second year in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We're  two years in to our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It is hard to describe just how foreign it is to those who haven't been here, but the following posts might give you some idea. (USE THIS DRAFT)

This mural in Jeddah's Airport (Ranked #1...
worst in the world!) and screams
"Welcome to Saudi Arabia!"

Getting in and getting settled:

Things kind of specific to working in Jeddah and/or Saudi Arabia:
Mosque, Petrol, Supermarket, and ATM:
For when you're running on low on anything.
One of these trees is not like the others.
Not sure this is what they meant by "catch a ride"
Traffic circle art that looks like an accident?
Places to get out of Saudi Arabia:
Other Blogs about Jeddah / Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia in the News:

So, yeah, that's about it. I plan to move most of these links to "our end of tour" reference page when we leave, but I'll probably keep adding links to this page until then. That said, when I change things up, this hyperlink should stay the same but I'll probably link from this post to "the end of tour" page to some time in 2017.

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