It’s been awhile… I started this here in the “old times,” say around the year 2000. I was taking off on one of my “extended” trips—about six months in South America I believe—and a blog seemed to satisfy my need to keep in touch with friends and family without having to write 25 postcards a week. Man did that save on hand cramps and postage costs!

I won’t recount everywhere I’ve been in the last dozen years or so, but after South America I also was able to visit Vietnam, Cambodia and the People’s Republic of Lao (please, it’s not Laos!), as well as Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Turkey, followed by some quick stops in Budapest, Krakow and Lisbon. Two of the major sites I was able to check off the ol’ wish list were Petra in South Jordan and Cappadocia in Central Turkey. And there was one or two trips to Cuba as well… I could live there I love it so.

(Don’t forget: I strongly tend toward not use phrases like “must see” and “you’ve got to go there.” I learned many years ago that not everywhere is another person’s cup of tea and my trips are my trips, and yours are yours, and that’s all there is to it.)

I’m still pretty old fashioned, however. I still prefer to use my paper address book, but the reason for that is because I’m just too lazy to have to enter my entire address book into my contact list on the computer. Yes, I know there’s some easier way to do it, or so they tell me, but that still doesn’t persuade me to figure it out. I like my bound-with-red-duct-tape address book, as well as my very old hand-typed email list. I can’t tell you how many times that list has come in handy when the computer is acting up or I can’t remember a name and I just scroll through the list.

Job-wise, most recently, for the past six years or so, I’ve been working as a Reservist for FEMA. Yes, that FEMA, the disaster people, an employee of the Department of Homeland Security with a badge to prove it and everything. My friend John Ashton told me about it after he was hired by them and it sounded good: You only work sporadically when they need you after a disaster; they pay well, along with paying airfare, hotel and car rental costs along with a per diem. At the beginning of a disaster you usually work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, meaning the hours really rack up. Generally, it worked out that I’d be deployed for about half the year, which was perfect for me because that gave me months off for traveling.

I worked the floods in Boston, spent lots of time in North and South Dakota (and yes, they are different from one another!), and had an incredible experience working for months after Hurricane Sandy. (Shh… don’t tell anyone, but I was able to stay much of the time at the Algonquin Hotel in midtown Manhattan, because the GM of the hotel took the government rate and so I wasn’t breaking any of the rules although I was admonished to “not tell anyone” that I was staying at a luxury hotel. Remember: loose lips sink ships!)

I started by doing “products and planning,” which is FEMA-speak for a writer. Mostly press releases and news stories about the disaster and backgrounders, but sometimes some interesting research work for someone, and the occasional speech for a higher-up. I later “migrated” over to digital communications, which means social media. I did the Facebook and Twitter postings for the disaster, as well as maintained the disaster web page.

I was perfect for the job because I never aspired to “move up the ladder,” nor did I ever make any waves, and I’m easy to be around. I bring in donuts. Also, I loved the idea that I was helping people, even though I was rarely on the front lines and only saw the disaster weeks or months after the incident.

But, like most everything that happens in the federal government, in their finite wisdom they decided to change the order of deployment, which means the Reservists are something like fourth on the list to go out instead of being first in line. The work has dried up. Bummer.

So now I’m looking for something new, and challenging, and interesting. You wouldn’t think that would be so hard, would you? Well, it’s been over a year and I’m still searching. Truth be told, I’m great at not working. It gives me lots of time to think, ponder and discover. I walk more ( said walk, not wank), and talk to friends more, and I’m generally never bored.

That’s a quick update on the last few years. I hope it wasn’t too hard to follow the bouncing ball.

Talk to you soon, call me everyday,