This site’s title is from Steinbeck of course, specifically the first paragraph of Travels with Charley: In Search of America:    “When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch.”

I have long been grateful to Steinbeck for crafting the words that have helped me understand myself.  The urge to be someplace else was upon me from my earliest memories and has never stopped.

As youngsters, a friend and I had the perfect ‘someplace else’ game.  We got on our bikes and at every fifth intersection we tossed a coin to see where we’d go next.  As I grew older it became where sticking out my thumb would take me.  And when I had a car, it was which road looked more interesting.  After college the someplace elses loomed infinitely and I traveled the world.  And even in old age the urge is present.

And along with the urge to be someplace else is the simple pleasure of the voyage.  It can last for a moment or it can last for hours.  You know you’re in it when your mind tells you, ‘I don’t want this to end.’  I can’t define it any better.   Here are some of mine:

Watching the late afternoon traffic on West Court Street in Kankakee IL from the stoop outside the homemade ice cream shop after bicycling the five miles to the neighboring town of Aroma Park and back.

Driving down a winding, two-lane highway in Florida, the sun flickering through the oaks covering the road and Dolly Parton singing on the radio.

Watching the arid landscape roll by while the Sudanese music blares rhythmically on a crowded bus in eastern Ethiopia.

Enjoying the lavish afternoon tea served by a white-coated Ugandan servant on the broad, red-floored veranda of my cabin at a very posh British hunting camp on the desolate border of Kenya and Uganda, after hitchiking there from Nairobi.  (It cost me an arm and a leg, but it was the only place to stay and the roast duck under glass at dinner was really fine!)

Relaxing in an old railway car climbing slowly up the mountain to Darjeeling, much relieved to leave behind the crush of Calcutta and my bout with dysentery.

Watching my spit freeze on the floor of a bus crossing the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan.

Guiding my canoe on a delightful 30-mile day in the swift current of the Mississippi River from St. Cloud, MN, munching chocolate chip cookies from a goodie bag packed by the friends I’d spent the night with.

This site is meant to recount for family and any interested friends some of the places I’ve gone and the things I’ve experienced when the ‘urge’ has hit me through the years.

I hope you enjoy.

PS. As you will notice, much of this site is a construction zone. The section about my solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River is complete and I hope you enjoy it. To be notified as I complete the other pages you can use the Email Subscription button on the lower right.


47 Responses to Home

  1. Sabrina Olson Carle says:

    Hey Ron,

    I know I will enjoy reading your stories. Thanks for the invitation.



  2. Susan Chappell says:

    Ron, I have always been a wanderer at heart. Exploring new sites, taking different paths. Please keep me informed. I’m very happy for you! Susan


    • Ron Haines says:

      Sign up with the Email Subscriptions link and you will get notified when something is posted. Thanks, Ron


      • nancy says:

        impressed…and here I thought you were just good looking!!


      • Linda McKune Turner says:

        You’re a fine writer, as well as a fantastic boss! I, too, am writing. I have ideas for about four books, but am still plodding along on the first one. Like my heroine, Barbara Kingsolver, I will probably take eight to ten years to complete a book. It’s so good to see you looking so happy and enjoying your well-deserved retirement. Did you make a complete circle and end up working for the Enquirer again? I’ll e-mail you with as short a summary of the last 16 years ass possible. But if you want to see our view, take a look at the next-to-last photo on my page. We are just 90 miles south of the Grand Canyon. Y’all come see us!


      • Linda McKune Turner says:

        Sorry about the “ass” typo!


      • Sheila Calderon says:

        Have finally managed to tune into your “site” and loving it. I too have always had the urge to explore new places and you certainly are living your youthful wishes. Have a wonderful trip and keep us posted.


  3. Lisa Hanley says:

    Hi Ron,
    Looking forward to your reminiscences and am glad to see that prose is alive and well in this text era.


  4. Amy says:

    Jen forwarded me your blog–and I’ll definitely subscribe. I am so intrigued in your amazing life! 🙂


  5. Peggy Peterson says:

    Yea! I’ve been waiting to read of your Mississippi River adventures, especially. And your mom would be happy about this, too. Looking forward to reading your posts.


    • Ron Haines says:

      Don’t forget to sign up to the site, Peggy. I have long been impressed that you kept the postcards from your father to his mother about his canoing on the Mississippi River years ago. He stopped in several of the places I visited. Hanging onto this stuff is the only way we keep some family continuity.


  6. Rod Gibson says:

    Have always enjoyed walking in your shadow. However, you have hit some great spots I have definitely missed….


  7. beth haines says:

    i’m hooked already, ron. you haines boys have a way with words! and the good thing is, i can remember when you did a lot of these things!!


  8. Chris says:

    Wanna read about it…makes me feel wistful, though…really gonna miss you. I kinda feel like crying right now.


  9. Ron Dunne says:

    Good on ya, Ron. I have felt that urge as well, a few times, hence where I am living now. I wish you well, and many enjoyable memories, and I will be looking for you someday here in New Zealand, it’s a must do on your list, I promise you won’t be disappointed! 🙂

    All the best,



  10. Andrea says:

    One of my favorite quotes is from Robert Louis Stevenson – “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” This is how I felt when traveling, the best part was being on the move. I’m no where near as traveled as you, yet. I plan to keep moving whenever I can. Until then I’ll live vicariously through your stories.


  11. Maria Peters says:

    Ron, looking forward to enjoying your adventures through your wonderful words.


  12. John and Lynne Ellison says:

    Isn’t life incredible! You continue to enjoy your travels and we’ll enjoy hearing about them.


  13. Just do what you’ve done all along, Ron, and put in the hours. Your book will be splendid, and we’ll have this in common: many people have urged me to be someplace else. Read my new book ‘Tabloid Man’ (www.bannisterbooks.com) and you’ll see where they sent me, too.


  14. Mary-Slater says:

    I want to read your stories. My favorite publishing house is called Traveler’s Tales. Google them-all true stories of travel but with many themes: food stories, by country, by men/women…I love the series. Several years ago I decided to go to Borneo alone. In the ticket line in Hong Kong airport, a college age girl was ahead of me and she was returning homeafter studying at University of Ohio for 2 years. She invited me to her family home but we left to spend Chinese New Year at grandmothers house in a remote village.. Grandmom was a member of the Dydak tribe of Borneo and this tiny woman but very proud of her rice wine! We’ll never remember the things we buy but we will always remember our experiences like New Years in Borneo!


  15. Liz Cantarine says:

    Looking forward to the journey.


  16. Roberta Gastmeyer says:

    Looking forward to the Haines chronicles. Congratulations on retirement!


  17. Kay Gates says:

    Tally ho! Onward, Ron.


  18. John Swingle says:

    Ron, Thanks for sharing. (I signed up)


  19. Barbara Curtis says:

    Looking forward to hearing about your adventures!!!


  20. Vicky Bowles says:

    Oh, Ron, I’m so happy for you and so jealous. Can’t wait to see and read your adventures. Our Ethiopian lunch in Miami before I moved to Fort Myers is still such a strong memory. Your travels inspire me, especially as the world is now not so hospitable to the wandering American.


  21. Betty Ann Ruotolo says:

    Hey Ron, you will be missed here but I hope to get to toss a lot more coins!!


  22. Mike Nutini says:

    Never heard about the Ethiopia experience in your ” hippie ” years! Looking forward to learning more. I’ll be joining the retirement club in November – can’t wait!


  23. Sally Westbrook says:

    can’t wait for your new adventure!! I often tell of your expectation of a mouth Thanksgiving Dinner(w/Turkey and all the trimmings) when you were in Africa, and all you were served was a bowl of lentil soup!! Glad you are out of the rat race. All the best Sally


  24. Susan G says:

    Hi Ron. Looking forward to hearing about your many new adventures. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn how to hit a tennis ball along the way!! 🙂


  25. I going to enjoy looking at this site instead of all the others I have to look at !!!!


  26. Can’t wait to hear more of your adventures! 🙂


  27. Ryan Ford says:

    Looking forward to this Ron!


  28. laura luongo says:

    Ron, what an interesting story and extremely well written!

    I look forward to lots of good reads from youl


  29. April Sandmeyer says:

    I’m really excited about this!


  30. Alan Parmalee says:

    Ron, Looking forward to your adventures.


  31. Ato Jim says:

    I also recall the roast duck under glass in Soy as being tremendous.
    Nice journal, Ato Ron!!!!


  32. Ron Wolfson says:

    I’m always looking for something great to read. Stop! I just found it! Thanks Ron.


  33. Louie D says:

    Ron, all the best to you on your adventures. Your an and old and trusted friend and a great family man. Make sure to look me up if you paddle down the St .Lawrence over to Toronto sometime. You’ll always have a place to stay if you do.


  34. allegrasmom says:

    Signing up to get email alerts..enjoying the Paddle Killingly trips, especially when it rains :))


  35. Heidi Lovett says:

    Hi Ron! Just discovered your blog. Great reading! I didn’t know about your Peace Corps years, and since I left Florida (temporarily ~~ though 10 years now!), I hadn’t heard about your Mississippi trip. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Still active with Sierra when home? We are getting more active again, up here in Maryland. Wishing you fair winds and following seas wherever your urge takes you.


    • Ron Haines says:

      Nice to hear from you, Heidi. Yes, I still do a few Sierra outings, take some excom minutes and occasionally do the newsletter, when I am in FL. You’re in Maryland. I will keep that in mind, as I do road trips in the future. The National BOD meeting is in DC this Sept. Let me know if you’re going and we can hook up. I will be there for the Awards Ceremony Saturday night. All the best.


  36. Hi Ron…Although you live right around the corner I only recall seeing you once since our tabloid days when, unrecognized you introduced yourself a year or two ago at our local gym.

    Enjoyed browsing your memories of what certainly appears to be a life well lived to this point. Well done! Long may it continue. Impressed with your photography. I spent a five year apprenticeship learning a form of that art that’s now gone the way of gas lamp lighters.

    Unlike you, approaching 83 I don’t feel any urge “to be someplace else” because it grows more likely to be “the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.”

    With fond best wishes…Scottie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Haines says:

      Great hearing from you Scottie. I kept figuring we’d run into each other way more often than we have. The secret to my photos by the way is a high end digital slr set always to ‘automatic.’ That and a 300 mil zoom lens make all the difference.


  37. David Lee Stroud says:

    Hello, Mr. Haynes. I like your internet postings. I am most interested in the imageImg2110cc of the abandoned gas station. Can you provide some more information about that property? Such as location, owner(s), condition, etc….?

    Thank you very much,

    David Stroud


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