The Year in Science Traveling – 2016

My third year of science traveling ended up being a lot different in execution than it was in design. Trips planned were dropped, trips not planned were added, and I was forced to work around an unforeseen distraction. And yet I still managed to hit several new countries, at least one new state, and enjoyed what most would consider a very good year in Science Traveling. I’m finished traveling for the year so it’s time for a quick recap.

February: My first travel ran from January 29 through February 6, which entailed flying to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten and boarding a large sailing yacht for a week-long journey around several sub-tropical islands. Highlights included the most interesting airport landing in the world, boarding a yellow submarine in St. Barts, and exploring the land of the frigates in Barbuda.

April: Spring saw my first trip ever to Springfield, Illinois, but it wouldn’t be my last this year (see September). I spent a hugely productive two days chasing the Papers of Abraham Lincoln at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Later in the month I drove to Charlottesville in southern Virginia to check out Thomas Jefferson’s home and attend the annual CPRC scientific meeting.

May: Spring also saw my first time in San Antonio, Texas. The city offered a wonderful river walk, great food, and the Alamo. From there we drove cross state and went underground – literally – to see the amazing bats and birds of Carlsbad Caverns in southeastern New Mexico.

July: In early July I met the Crown Prince and Princess of Serbia. This was as part of a grand tour of Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia, with quick stops in Amsterdam and Frankfurt on the way there and back again.

September: After undergoing major eye surgery in August, by the end of September I was ready to get out of the house. This trip took me back out to Springfield, Illinois and surrounding area where, along with 20 others from the Lincoln Group of DC, I went Looking for Lincoln (See Part I and Part II for quick summaries). The total immersion in Lincoln’s life was a fantastic experience for this particular Lincoln buff.

November: The fall saw my now annual trek up to Gettysburg for a meeting of the Lincoln Forum, one of the preeminent Abraham Lincoln societies in the country. I got to meet up with a new old friend, Abraham Lincoln himself (compliments of George Buss). A week later I drove up to visit family in my old home town, a trip I had delayed from my usual July excursion because of the Serbian trip.

December: Normally I take a quick hop trip in December just to get away from the approaching winter (last year was New Orleans), but this year we decided to stay close to home, both to catch up and catch a breather. This was a demanding year – psychologically, medically, and literately. The latter is not a typo; besides reading more than 100 books, I wrote one. In addition, the book I wrote last year (Edison) come out in stores. More on that in my writing wrap up post.

So the year was a busy one, science traveling wise, despite many changes and challenges. Originally the plans included a trip to Machu Picchu, which for the second year in a row got bumped (it’s on our list again for this year, maybe). Planned trips to Michigan (writer’s retreat) and China were also bumped because of the aforementioned unplanned distractions. Overall, however, it was a very good year for traveling. The best part was that science and Abraham Lincoln were present virtually everywhere I went.

I’ll do a 2017 year in preview in a few weeks. So many places to go!

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book is on Abraham Lincoln, due out in 2017.

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