I’d like to reintroduce myself to some of you who have been regular participants with Senior Citizen Journal and I would like to introduce myself to others of you who are new to Senior Citizen Journal and Senior Citizen Travel. Thanks to my sister-in-law Sharon, SCJ’s coauthor, and her persistence and vision, we’ve created Senior Citizen Travel. It’s going to be a great trip.
My wife would probably say, travel is his middle name…”James Travel Becker”. Yes, I can hear her saying that if an invitation is made, I go; if an invitation is not made, I make it! I’ve been to Europe 36 times. I’ve traveled to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ecuador and Guatemala on a Medical Group Mission. Each of those trips lasted two weeks and I served as a dental assistant and translator. My wife and I have also traveled to Argentina where some very dear friends live. From there we saw Paraguay and Brazil as well.
After graduating from college in 1961, I received a scholarship from Oberlin College in Ohio and spent a summer in France ‘studying’… well, actually traveling and getting an “education”. Fortunately, my room mate that summer also had the travel bug. We pooled our resources, bought a motor scooter, cut classes if necessary and at the end of our week of classes in Arles, France, we took off for ‘far away places’. The question was always, “How far can we go this weekend?” How about Spain, Andorra, Belgium, Germany or Italy and Switzerland? We did it all, complete with a wreck in the Pyrenees, a front tire blowout and a broken rear axle in Brussels. We had 42 passport stamps at the end of the summer.
My wife, our two young children and I lived in Paris for an academic year where I was a graduate student at the Sorbonne. I earned my MA in French Culture and Civilization and we traveled France and some parts of Europe.
As a high school teacher of French in Iowa, my wife and I began taking high school students to France for two weeks of immersion in the culture. The students spent a week living with a family followed by a week of traveling with us to various parts of France.
After graduate school at Ohio State University in Foreign Language Education, I was hired by the Smithsonian Institution in DC as a tour group leader of adults to France. I also worked for Scandinavian Seminars on a program called “France and England: Friends or Foes?” Following that, I was hired by Elderhostel to be a tour group leader for their Food and Wine Programs in France. I enjoyed a dozen of those wonderful programs and I met many super seniors with each group.
While teaching in Iowa, the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund awarded me a three week trip to Japan along with 200 other American educators on all levels and all disciplines. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience. Japan was awesome and I learned a lot about their culture.
Spanish, my third language, gave me the opportunity to lead high school Spanish students to Mexico and Chile. I love both those countries. I retired from the teaching profession… after 39 exciting and successful years.
In the meantime I continue to keep my 15 language websites current at http://www.uni.edu/becker. I’m a guide at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ and I volunteer at the Mayo Clinic. Both very rewarding.
My most recent adventures are with my youngest daughter. Four years ago, she invited me to return to France with her. She wanted to see and experience as an adult some of what she’d experienced as a child or younger student. In spite of some ulterior motives, we had an amazing trip together. Two years later we went to London and Rome, an even more amazing trip. And just this past October we visited Vienna, Prague and Budapest, which we both agreed was our best trip yet! I will be sharing some of the pictures and videos we took of our travels together. Being half Czech I wanted to see where my relatives came from. I discovered Prague, a wonderful city. Put it on your “bucket list.”
And so, I’ve given you a picture of this ‘travel man’s’ life. My intent with this blog is simply to discover places in this amazing world that I would like to visit, or that I’ve had the pleasure of already seeing, and share it with you. I hope you will enjoy our future travels together. jeb
About the Beckers
Jim and Jeannine Becker are world-travelers, and have been throughout their 50-plus years of marriage. They began traveling with high school students in the 1960s, sponsoring annual trips to France. They have missed very few travel years since.
Jim is a retired Professor Emeritus from the University of Northern Iowa. He taught high school French and Spanish during his teaching career. His Bachelor’s degree is from Cornell College in Iowa; he has a Masters degree from the Sorbonne in Paris. Jeannine has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa in Speech Pathology. They have three adult children and eight grandchildren.
The Becker Team is the foundation for seniorcitizen.travel. Jim’s love of travel is easily translated into volumes of articles about the world he finds so intriguing. Jeannine is an expert editor, making sure Jim’s enthusiasm for writing is molded into articles that readers can easily understand.