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Worldwide Travels for Engineers

FOREWORD

By David H. Allen

About Me

Welcome to my worldwide travel blog for engineers. My travels began somewhat surreptitiously in the summer of 1971. On a whim, I applied for a summer internship with The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE). As I had been trained classically in the French language, I hoped for a position located in France, but that was not to be. I was instead offered a position at Aeronautica Macchi in Varese, Italy, and although I spoke no Italian at all, I nonetheless decided to accept the offer (Fig. 1). I worked at the plant for two months, and I spent an additional month traveling all over Western Europe. Because very few Italians spoke English back then, I found it absolutely essential to learn the Italian language, and that was the beginning of not only my obsession with world travel, but also my enduring love affair with both Italy and France.

More than half a century having now passed, I have been abroad more than one hundred fifty times, in the process visiting 46 countries on six continents (excluding only Antarctica). As I am a college professor of engineering by profession, I eventually felt it important for my engineering students to also study abroad, something that was not considered an important educational activity a quarter of a century ago. Accordingly, I became the inaugural Director of International Student Experiences in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University in 1996. Thereafter, I began teaching study abroad courses to engineering college students, an activity that, although I have since served at three different universities, has continued right up to the present. To date, I have taught 38 Study Abroad Programs in twenty countries on four continents, in the process chaperoning more than 1,200 students to the far corners of the Earth, including France (14 times), Italy (10), Brazil (4), Sweden (3), Germany (3), Switzerland (3), Spain, England, Scotland, Latvia, Greece, Egypt and China. I have also completed faculty sabbaticals in Australia and France.

In 2006, my wife Claudia (whom I met in the sixth grade and have adored my entire life) and I were married in Varese (Fig. 2), the site of my very first journey abroad, and to this day my beloved home away from home. We also honeymooned on the Isle of Capri (Fig. 3), another of our favorite destinations.

These days we travel more than a hundred days each year, most often abroad. As a result, we are experienced in a quite broad range of not only travel destinations, but also in modes of travel, including by air, sea, train, bus, van and automobile. We rarely participate in organized tour groups, preferring to discover hidden jewels on our own. Furthermore, we are not among those who visit a particular place on a single occasion and move on. Rather, we prefer to visit our favorite destinations recursively, including not only our favorites France (40 times) and Italy (28), but also Sweden (19), four of the Hawaiian Islands (17), Germany (16), Brazil (13), England (12), Canada (12), Switzerland (8), Mexico (5), Spain (5), Greece (4), Austria (4), Egypt (4), Scotland (4), Australia (4), Latvia (4), Portugal (3) and Poland (3). We’ve also visited Finland (2), Estonia (2), India (2), China (2), Korea (2), Venezuela, South Africa, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Japan. Most recently we visited Italy and Hawaii, and we will visit Italy (yes, again!) and New Zealand within the next few months. And in case you are of the opinion that I have remiss in avoiding the United States, I have lived in seven states, and I have traveled to 45 states within the U.S.

My Engineering Travel Blog

My travel blog for engineers will focus on providing my own esoteric view of the most impressive things to see in the myriad of places that I have visited in my lengthy career. It should be noted that, as I am an engineer, I am possessed of a biased view of the world we live in (c.f. my textbook How Mechanics Shaped the Modern World, Springer 2014). I am mindful of my idiosyncrasies (Fig. 4), but I am hopeful that they will provide for you the reader a wealth of engineering-related travel information not available on most other travel websites.

And so, with this preamble I invite you to peruse my blog and perhaps even find enjoyment within. And should you have a question for me, you can reach me at drdavidhallen@hotmail.com.

Note: All photos included in this blog were taken by me.


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