The world in Ken selfies

I’m not one to take my own picture. Really don’t like selfies and snicker when I see people preening in front of their small screen taking pictures of themselves, often while in the midst of far more beautiful surroundings.

I like to behind the camera; however, during the past 8+ years of international living, I’ve discovered myself in a whole lot of photos. This relevation came as I worked my way through the thousands of photos I’ve taken in my travels in an effort to delete or downsize what I have.

As I reviewed these “selfies”, what struck me on more than one ocasion was that I should have taken pictures of myself in front of several places I’ve been. I have pictures of the “places”, such as Borobudur in Yogjacarta. But there are enough to tell a tale.

So here goes (and it may take more than one post):

Costa Rica

I started my journey here, ostensibly to retire. It took less than a year to realize I needed more, however, although my stay in Jaco and Quepos was the beginning of opening my eyes to other cultures.

2 bags and a pack

This actually was taken when I was leaving Costa Rica at the San Jose airport in 2011. This is kinda my theme photo for 2 Bags and a Pack.

ken at MA

My first month in Costa Rica was spent in Quepos, a small fishing village on the Pacific Ocean. This is at a small park a bus ride out of town. Unfortunately, they were building a huge new marina where the beach (and the fishing) used to be. Town was too small and nothing to do.


For Christmas, my friend Jack and I bought a bunch of cheap toys, donned Santa hats, and ventured into a poor neighborhood in Jaco, where I had moved to from Quespos.

leaving apt2

This is outside the door to my apartment in Jaco, as I was leaving to return to the States to rest up for my “world tour.”

Ken.last day AD2

Friend Jack had an upscale tourist restaurant at the top of a mountain overlooking the Pacific coast on one side and this waterfall on the other. Red Macaws would routinely fly by, their loud screeching signaling their arrival.

Ken monument SJ

While in Costa Rica, spent very little time in San Jose, the capital. This shot is in a plaza in SJ just before going to the airport to return to the U.S.


Before going to Costa Rica, I had started the process of acquiring a retirement visa through a brother-sister agency in LA and San Juan. This process allowed me to stay in-country and avoid the every-90-day visa runs to eithe Nicaragua or Panama.

But Jack needed to make a run, so we headed off on a bus to Granada, Nicaragua, a pretty little town south of the capital of Managua.

Jack.Ken lunch

The Interlude

When I left Costa Rica, I had already made my decision to start traveling, living in (hopefully) low-cost locations in different countries for 3-6 months, depending on visa restrictions. But I needed time to get motivated, to download and to upload.

Fortunately, I was able to stay with my daughter, her husband and her daughter, Lena. To the husband’s chagrin, I was there for five weeks, but there was a lot of research to do and planning to make.

While there, I took the opportunity to visit friends in north Georgia. The husband (by his account) was a CIA hit man with 62 kills. He would later disappear for six months and come back to tell me he was on another assignment in Latin America and the total was 65, after three men attacked him in an elevator. Who knows? He was an expert marksman and at martial arts. He would die not too long afterwards from a bite from a Latin American bug that plants their eggs under your skin and the younguns work their way to your heart. His heart stopped.

And if you see a shirt theme here, you are right. The black Hawaiian is my primary travel shirt, and now sports holes in both shoulders where the backpack rubbed the shirt. The orange/yellow one has been retired. Fell apart.

Ken at MP2

While visiting the aforementioned friends in north Georgia, I also took a detour to another friend’s house. We did a ride out into the country and stopped along a beautiful trout stream.

“Part 2: Europe” to come in next post.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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