Who Am I?

 

Greetings and welcome to DelsJourney!  My name is Del Leu and I'm the author of this website, which is devoted to my favorite topic:  road trips.  You could probably tell that from the road diagram above and the green "road sign" navigation buttons on the left.  Well, they're supposed to look like road signs!

 

I've loved taking road trips for as long as I can remember.  I live in America and grew up in a family of five kids and two wonderful parents, and each summer when I was young, my family would pile into our station wagon and hit the road for several weeks (or months), driving and camping all over America.  My dad was very adventurous and constantly sought out new family experiences, while my mom made sure all of us kids were safe.  From those early trips I became fascinated with roads, maps and traveling.  Thanks, mom and dad!

 


 

       

Above left:  That's me in the stroller getting our car ready for yet another family road trip.  C'mon dad, let's go!

Above center:  Christmas 1984 in Lincoln City, Oregon.  I'm in the front (with the mustache).  Those are my parents, sister and husband, my bearded brother, Dwight, and in in the white, my nephew Myles.

Above right:  In Ipswich, Massachusetts in July 2001.  This is where my English ancestors landed in 1634 and is where my family's American story began.

 


My Journey So Far

After getting a couple degrees in what else? geography, I worked as a ranger in the Colorado Rockies for several years, then in 1991, I moved to Portland, Oregon, on the west coast of America.  For the next 10 years, I worked as a transportation and GIS (i.e., mapping) specialist for a large engineering firm.  I enjoyed my job, but after working in an office for a decade I wanted to explore the world a bit, so I left in 2001 to go traveling.  I started this website in the spring of 2001 to describe my upcoming road trip and to keep in touch with friends, family and those who I would meet on the way.  Since then, DelsJourney.com has taken on a life of its own and has become more extensive (and more work!) than I ever imagined.

 

 

Welcome to my website!  Here's a brief "howdy" from yours truly.

   

I'm pretty quiet and solitary but love to explore, challenge myself, and try new things.  I visited all 50 states before I was 25, swam across the Rio Grande River once to see Mexico, sailed 1,500 miles to Alaska on a sailboat with my dad, flew around the world to see if it was really round, and my greatest accomplishment once ate 10 cheeseburgers in 47 minutes (not recommended).  But what I'm the most proud of is trying to be the kind, helpful and compassionate person that my parents taught me to be, and I hope I am.  Again, thanks mom and dad!

 

If you were wondering, my last name is pronounced "Lou."  It's is a Swiss-German word that means "lion" (and I'm not lyin').  My passions include history, traveling, and maps, and along with cheeseburgers, I love to eat Nacho Doritos, grilled bratwurst, and Krispy Kreme donuts but not at the same time.  As you can probably tell from my lifestyle (and diet), I'm not married and never have been.  I figure that any woman would have to be crazy to marry me, and I don't want to marry someone who's crazy.  Nope, as a quiet introvert I prefer being alone.

 

My Philosophy About Traveling

I love to travel because it gives me a chance to reconnect with nature, expand my horizons, challenge myself, learn about history, see old friends and meet new ones.  Traveling also gives me a chance to pursue one of my main hobbies:  photography.  From 1982 to 2000, I shot over 25,000 slides of America, but just before leaving on this road trip I switched to digital.  In March 2001 I bought a digital SLR camera, one of the first ever made, so I could post photos on this website during my travels, and over the next year, as I traveled across America, New Zealand and Australia, I shot more than 12,000 pictures, many of which you'll see here.

 

Above:  Huddled atop Lassen Peak in California in 2000.

I've noticed  that as people get older, they often become complacent and stuck in their comfort zones, and oftentimes they lose the sense of adventure they had when they were young.  It probably has to do with landing a steady job, getting married, buying "stuff" and raising a family, which are all part of the American Dream. 

 

Those aren't bad things, necessarily, but I think it's unfortunate that often as people age, their horizons shrink and their wanderlust disappears.  I think it's good to shake things up once in a while, one reason I decided to quit my job of 10 years in 2001 and go exploring.

 

I believe in simplicity, that nature rejuvenates one's soul, and that we should try to understand and respect other cultures.  I also believe that, as Sheryl Crow once said, a change would do you good.

 


 

   

Above left:  Here are a couple shots of "Ranger Del" in Colorado in 1988.  I'm fixing an outhouse roof here in the Rockies, probably not my most glamorous pose. 

Above right:  That's me on the left with my squad in Colorado before fighting the "I Do" fire, the largest fire in Colorado history at that time (note the smoke in the background).  Fighting fires was the hardest job I ever had, but also the most enjoyable.

 


My Trip

In June 2001, I embarked on a five-month road trip around North America to visit friends and family and to learn about my family's history.  After returning to the Pacific Northwest, I visited the south Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia for four months, my first trip overseas.  Several people had told me how wonderful New Zealand was and I'd wanted to visit Australia ever since I was in first grade and learned to sing "Waltzing Matilda."  After deftly avoiding winter, I returned to the U.S. in the spring of 2002 and took another road trip, this time around western America.

 

By that time I decided that I had invested so much time and effort creating this darn website that I'd better keep posting stories here.  Although I don't update my site as often as I used to, I hope my more recent stories, including my adventures in Central America and the Middle East, are just as interesting.

 

Thanks for visiting DelsJourney and I hope you like it.  As for me, it's time for more donuts!

 

Del Leu

Portland, Oregon