Russells in the Rainforest

Rstout's Traveler Profile

I have traveled to 19 countries, posted 2,204 pictures and written 104 entries in 22 travel blogs
Rstout's picture
Austin Texas,
United States Flag of United States
Member Since
Feb 20, 2010

About Rstout

Mortgage Banker
Favourite music
Anything from Vivaldi to Van Halen
Favourite movie
Favourite quote
"Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Therefore, give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you
Interests and hobbies
Travel, Photography, Longhorn sports, keeping up with my wife and kids
One thing I want to do before I die
Favourite book
The one I am reading
My friends describe me as
Roaming Russell-Energetic, informed, full of life, Highly entertained
The most amazing moment in my life so far
The births of my 3 children, convincing my wife to marry me
I am truly blessed and have an incredible life.  I have a beautiful wife who likes me and three kids who do most of the time.  Most of my life is focused on the life we have in Austin Texas. I work in the Mortgage and Real Estate business in Austin. I keep busy with work, my kids and their activities, the Longhorns, and any outdoor activity we can do. Most of our spare time is focused on the kids and I love every minute of it. I have a passion for travel, history, and new experiences. A few weeks out of each year, I get to indulge myself and have a few new experiences.  We normally travel to Europe the last week of April through the first week of May. 
My goal with this blog is to share some of these experience with friends in the hopes that someone may want to come share the next adventure with us. If any of my travel blog is helpful or interesting, let me know. Mark Twain wrote in The Innocents Abroad that there must have been 20,000 pages written in the journals of the passengers on the way to Europe and not 200 once they arrived. I will try not to burn out like the passengers of the Quaker City. Besides, if I write too much, you don't have to read it. 

For me, travel has been the best part of my education. I have gained a great appreciation for people. No matter how different, we are all the same at the core. We just want to get along and do the best we can. In context all actions, attitudes, and cultural differences make sense. The process of discovering that context is what makes travel fun for me. It has always been the rewarding part of the journey. Getting to see some cool places and touching history is a bonus too. I do owe thanks to my in-laws for convincing me and helping Melissa and I make the first journey to Italy in 2006. It was an amazing experience, which I will never forget. After that trip, we made a commitment to return to Europe every year as long as we could afford to take the time off and be away from the kids. So far we have been lucky enough to do it with a few other adventures squeezed in-between. In preparation for any journey, I am likely to read 2 or 3 guidebooks, a few college textbooks, and do countless hours of internet research. I usually forget most of this on location and make things up to tell my wife as we go. With all the research I usually sound believable and can convince her into thinking I am smart. To me the history and sites are great, but the preparation is truly useful to understand the cultural attitudes, biases, and pride they naturally feel in themselves. To understand how people of another culture view us, what things bring them joy and enriches their lives, which is where the real satisfaction comes in the journey. I find great joy in laughing, smiling, enjoying life and bringing in anyone who is willing to go along for the ride. A friend once described me as "highly entertained". I don't think it was meant to be a compliment but it fits. There are few boring moments in my life and even fewer in our travels. Life is cool. God gives us this one chance to experience this wonderful life. I don't plan on missing out on any of the good stuff. So far, I am on track. Warnings:
  1. I am not as smart as I appear sometimes.
  2. I am not near as dumb as I appear at others.
  3. Many Photos may be borrowed, but I was there. I am doing this for fun and not money. So I am not wasting my vacation time to get that perfect shot when it is on a cd at the gift shop or the internet for free.
  4. I need practice at being politically correct and have not found the time yet. Forgive me for anything that seems out of line. I travel because I enjoy experiencing other cultures. When I am done traveling maybe I will have a full understanding of everyone. For now, I am not even close and sometimes choose to embrace and even enjoy my ignorance. Hopefully, you will cut me some slack.
  5. You should verify any information I tell you. I don't forget everything I read but I have gotten confused on a few facts.
  6. When I label a Greek sculpture as the Mona Lisa or just totally screw something up on this blog, it is Travelpod's fault. I probably knew what it was, when I started downloading, but forgot by the time it was done. My ADD causes me to go off on tangents all the time.
  7. My kids think I am perfect and I will hurt you if you tell them otherwise. I have convinced my wife to go along with this. I expect everyone else to follow her lead.
  8. Even though English is my native language, you may sometimes have your doubts. For this I blame my UT English professors and all the bartenders on 6th street. I will do my best to communicate my thoughts and hope for the best.
  9. I love to sample the local drinks. No better way to experience culture at the end of the day. I will paraphrase a Dan Jenkins line from Dead Solid Perfect. "I am from Fort Worth, and a man is not considered drunk in that town unless he is face down and unable to speak his native tongue." Based on that definition, I never become drunk in the process of acquiring knowledge of the local drinks.
  10. I am cheap. I have made and spent a lot of money. I have decided to refrain from the latter as much as possible, much to my family's disappointment. That said, I will never let something insignificant like money get in the way of having fun. Just as the pharos learned the hard way, you won't be able to take it with you.
Enough of the warning, this is all free and you will probably get what you paid for. Anything over that is a bonus.

Adios, Russell

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