Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Around the World in 28 Days, by Charlene Farnsworth

While we were growing up, our depression-era parents wanted my brother Jim and me to enjoy our young years which were filled with fun and few chores. Amazingly, with such permissiveness, we both actually became quite responsible citizens. In my quest for independence I would not let my parents buy my first car. I wanted to pay cash for my first “wheels.” With such a grand goal, I knew I must be employed soon since I had little money saved. As I confessed, I was having fun with family and friends instead of holding summer jobs.

Pursuing employment at age 18, I walked to the nearby North American Aviation (NAA) facility six consecutive days. It was great news to hear that I was hired and could start immediately. The buyer for whom I worked was a patient teacher and I began to mature and progress. My plan was to work at NAA during the summer, then continue my college education towards becoming a teacher.

This turned into a rewarding 33-year career at the aerospace company and teaching became my life-long avocation. I walked to work or took various means of transportation and, at age 21, I purchased my first car. While properly contributing to the household expenses, I continued my good habits of accumulating some savings for fun or unexpected expenses.

Shortly after my 24th birthday, my parents and I had a wonderful opportunity come our way, a 28-day trip “Around the World” staying in comfortable hotels with most meals included. We first arrived in Hawaii, then visited the following countries and regions: Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Italy and France. Obviously, in only 28 days, we could not linger long at any one destination. We could simply meet the people, enjoy the unique landscape, and revel in the remarkable history of each land.

Mom and I were diligent in maintaining journals throughout our trip. Mom, being a photographer, fine artist and teacher, poetically described nature’s beauty and the ancient buildings and artifacts. I wrote about the people and their unique customs, costumes and personalities. We both included historical facts in our writings derived from brochures and lectures. The year was 1965 when women usually wore dresses and pantsuits were a rarity. As one can imagine, mounting and dismounting from a camel in such wear was definitely a challenge!

Personally visiting places filled with historical landmarks, where many important worldly events took place, certainly was overwhelming. Until then, we had only been exposed to such places in history books or by attending local in-person narrated travelogues. Sharing precious memories of our spectacular “Around the World” trip has been a favorite pastime. How very fortunate we were to take such a journey as a family at a time when we all were physically and financially able and before many of the places we visited were significantly changed or could no longer be visited.


  1. Charlene, you've been holding out on us, you globe-trotter. What a wonderful memory to share with your family and now with us. These are the kind of stories that make good writing. Annette

  2. WOW! What a treasure cove of exceptional travel memories you have, at a time when the world was more at peace. Lets hear more about those days.

  3. Charlene what a great adventure that must have been, not only to be able to go on a world trip but to share it with family. Sounds like your parents were wonderful people. They gave you freedom but also taught you responsibility. You obviously benefitted from their loving upbringing, proving you were responsible enough to carry your own share of the family load and maintain employment at one place for the duration of your working years.

  4. Wow Charlene,
    What a wonderful adventure!From your journals and photographs you have many many interesting stories to share.
    You were lucky to have a loving and caring family to teach you responsibility at a young age. A 33 year career with one company is quite an achievement - shows the respect and appreciation went boh ways.