The Transnistria parliament building with a statue of Lenin out front. In the city of Tiraspol, Transnistria. Photo taken December 9, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Dad was a Traveler

I don't have to look far to see where I got my desire to travel. My father was a traveler. And an avid photographer.

My dad was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1929. He's not around so that I can garner further information on some of his travels, but I do know some of the history.

The first instance of recorded travel was when he went for a bike ride. He was 14 years old in 1943 when he rode his single speed bicycle from Saskatchewan to British Columbia. Alone. I don't remember the details of why he did this at the time, in fact I'm going to have to remember to ask one of my relatives the story behind this.

In the 1950's, my dad accepted a job as a radio operator working on the DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line in the Arctic Circle. He said that if you weren't a drinker or a smoker or a gambler that there was nothing to spend your money on. He was neither a drinker or a smoker, but he was a pretty good card player, so he may have taken part in a number of poker games. Either way, when he finished his six months up in the Arctic he had enough money to head to Europe.

He made his way to New York City where he hopped on a ship bound for Europe.

New York City. March 17, 1954.

He traveled Europe for a full year in 1954, hitch hiking his way around the continent. Again, he did this alone, although there were some relatives he visited in Germany. His mother was originally born in Czechoslovakia, but to a family of German origin.

He said he was once picked up by an old man driving a very expensive Bentley. But most of his rides were with families or couples.

Selling flowers in Copenhagen, Denmark.

He took boxes of slide photographs. Ruth spent days scanning all of these slides onto the laptop and that's why we have all of these photographs with us. Each slide was numbered, dated, and with written details as to where it was and even included the camera info with f-stop and shutter speed. Dad was a detail kind of a guy!

Old Town of Amsterdam.  "Like Venice but not as dirty."  Holland.

Children in Marken, Holland.

He spent a lot of time in Switzerland. He loved the mountains and obviously did a lot of hiking in that area.

Kapelle Bricke (72 paintings of Early Luzern history) with Mt. Pilatus behind Lucerne, Luzern, Switzerland.

Airolo at the beginning of Gotthards Road Pass and railway tunnel, looking south towards Lugano, Italy.

When he came back from Europe, he went to school in Toronto. While there, he entered a contest, something to do with geography, and he won a substantial amount of money. He decided to take his mother back to Europe for a holiday because she hadn't been there since moving to Canada in 1925. They spent most of their time in Germany, visiting relatives.

Down Elbe from Hamburg at Sullberg, Germany. June 9, 1957.

He met my mother and married in 1958. Mom and Dad did quite a bit of traveling, but longer family vacations were always to visit relatives in British Columbia. They did do several trips to the United Kingdom because my mother's family was from Scotland and England.

Dad passed away in the fall of 2010. I asked him that year what countries he had wanted to visit in his life, but had never made it to. His answer was "I always wanted to see the fjords of Norway. Oh, and the mountains of New Zealand. But I figured if I went to New Zealand, I might never come back!".

So, one day we will go to visit the fjords of Norway, and the mountains of New Zealand and I will think of my Dad.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.



16 comments:

  1. Wonderful story about your dad, thanks for sharing!

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  2. Your dad was an excellent photographer and I'm glad that you have his photos scanned and saved.

    It sounds like your dad "lived his life" with no regrets. Who could ask for more?

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    1. I am glad too! Actually these pictures were all slides and that is part of the reason that they are a bit dirty with dust. I am glad that Kevin decided that he wanted these old pictures. Maybe one day we will be able to visit some of these places.

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  3. What a great tribute to your Dad and your heritage. Excellent. Thanks.

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    1. Kevin did a great job on this post, thank you for enjoying it.

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  4. How wonderful that you have all those pictures and the details of what when where and how. Most people including me don't label pictures so no one else knows what they are. Very nice post about your dad.

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    1. I, myself like to have all my pictures labelled and in chronological order so I made sure that when I scanned his pictures that I put all the details he had on each of the photos on the scanned ones too.

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  5. My dad loved to travel also and so do I. believe there must be a travel gene that u also got from your dad. So great that he labeled everything I have a ton of pics that I dont have a clue who the people are.

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    1. I think Kevin and I both ended up with that travel gene. A lot of people don't have pictures labelled. My dad has a pile of old pictures and we don't know who the people are in them or where they are taken, so it doesn't seem as special. I make sure all of our pictures are labelled, I probably put too much info on them though.

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  6. What a wonderful tribute to a man who so loved life and was such a great influence on you. How great you have all those photos from his travels. :c)

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  7. Such a nice honorific for your adventurous dad. Thanks Ruth, for all the work you put in saving those wonderful photos.
    When Mom died, five years after Dad, my brother, Jim, kept most of the family photos - there's another project - get all the photos and scan them - oh what a project! But those old memories make fantastic blog additions and renew those old memories.
    Thanks, Kevin and Ruth

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    1. It's a lot of work for sure but it is so worth it. Hopefully our kids will appreciate all the work when they are much older and are able to show them to their kids and grandkids and know who is who and where they were taken.

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  8. Lovely post, Kevin, filled with wanderlust, honour, respect and love. Happy Father's Day!

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    1. Thank you Dianne, Kevin did a great job on it!

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