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I've been a travel bug for a long, long, time. It all began when my father, a schoolteacher, took us to Paris for a year on his sabbatical when I was 7. My first recollection of that trip was flying across the Atlantic on a Lockheed Constellation, a four-propellor plane that had to stop in Greenland to refuel.
Seven years later we went on another sabbatical year to Paris, where I was enrolled in a French public school. That trip we made our way across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary. Funny story about how the ship got its name; see the end of this bio! :)
As an adult the travel bug lay dormant until my early 30's, and then kicked in with a vengeance and I started taking long vacations every year or so throughout Europe, parts of Asia, and North America. Some of the highlights of my lifetime of travel were visiting Mount Athos on Greece's northern border, driving 2,000 km around Turkey during the first Gulf War (I was one of the very few tourists there at the time), spending Golden Week in Nara, Japan, four months of living and traveling in New Zealand with my darling wife, traveling throughout France and England, visiting Prague and Budapest before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and crossing through Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin just after the Wall was built, among so many other wonderful memories. I also managed to carve out another year in Paris to celebrate my 40th birthday, talking my employer--the University of California--into letting me telecommute from Paris for the year. That was long before the internet made that kind of thing easy!
That love of travel eventually culminated in the launch of Trekkel (www.trekkel.com), a personalized travel planner that helps you decide on the sights, restaurants, activities, shops and hotels you plan to visit. We've been featured in the NY Times travel section, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, International Business Times, Travel Weekly, Smarter Travel, and many more.
So, I've had some experience with guidebooks, and one of the things that they never quite covered to my satisfaction were the details behind the practical information they'd impart. The guidebook would tell me, for instance, to pick up the airport bus on a certain street. Then I'd waste 10 minutes frantically wandering around trying to find the exact location before the bus left without me. Or, I'd have friends ask about museum passes, and I'd spend some time discovering that there were many options, and which was best depended on their particular circumstances. So, I decided to pull together all this information and more into one comprehensive guide to those practicalities. That's how Planning for Paris - The Indispensable Companion To Your Guidebook was born. I hope that this will be the first of a series covering major cities.
I hope that you'll use the Planning for Paris guide, and Trekkel. Please do let me know if you do, and if you have any feedback for me. I'd appreciate hearing it!
Of course, I've done other things in my life: attorney, ceramic artist and sculptor (www.paxceramica.com), author, editor, and inventor among them. But, I keep on traveling.
Now here's that story about how the Queen Mary got its name. The shipping line (Cunard and White-Star LInes) had usually given its ships a name ending in "ia" (the Laconia, the Mauretania, the Aquitania, etc.). When the Queen Mary was built, it was to be christened by the King of England at a big ceremony. His plan was to name it The Queen Victoria. But as he waxed on during his speech about how he was naming the ship after the greatest queen in British history, his wife (Queen Mary) jumped in before he could finish and said something along the lines of "How wonderful! You're naming the ship after me--the Queen Mary". To avoid extreme embarrassment and family discord, presumably, the king decided he'd better go with the flow, and that's how the Queen Mary got its name!