World's Most Traveled Man
The imposing two-page Die Zeit article with its dramatic title:
It has been published in German four times, and once in English.
This page has sections on publications, background info and photos:
Click photo or Die Zeit Newspaper Photo for enlarged version.
Die Zeit Newspaper is held by Jan Eilers.
Merten Worthmann contacted me in 2015 and we exchanged emails over time which led to his request for interviews with me at my home in Downers Grove in July 2016. We had dinner in Chicago the day he arrived, July 6th.
The following day Merten took the train from Chicago. I met him at the train station in Downers Grove and we walked 5 minutes to my home. I showed him my small home. We reviewed and discussed some of my travel memorabilia, books and records.
I drove him around the local area to give him a feel for the area and to see where I worked before my retirement in 2001. We saw some of the sites in the area including the famous Morton Arboretum. I also took him to see the grave of Israel Warner, a Revolutionary War soldier whose grave I had discovered.
Israel, as a boy of 9, might have been a key to winning the American Revolution. After discovering the grave, I organized a committee from 8 organizations to restore the grave of Israel & his daughter's family, create a historical plaque and stage a celebration for 300 people. We had the 9 year old son of the cemetery caretaker play Israel Warner. I was the President of the Fox Valley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. See my farewell remarks and video. Please read the historical plaque below. While President I found other Revolutionary War soldiers.
Driving Merten around was like having a friend visiting me from Europe. We enjoyed our second dinner.
The next day I drove into Chicago to pick him up to see some of the sights in Chicago. Every visitor from Europe I've hosted is always surprised how nice it is. They are impressed. Chicago is one of the worlds's great cities.
I was also sharing with Merten parts of my life. I took him to the University of Chicago where I got a Masters degree in Computer Science in 1968. I showed him a statue, Atomic Energy, by the famous Henry Moore. Serendipitously I walked by as he supervised its installation on December 2, 1967, the 25th anniversary of atomic power. Amazing that the world's first self-sustained nuclear reaction happened on a college campus!
Merten and I visited Millennium park and sat down for another formal Q & A session. Merten not only asks intelligent questions that stimulate your thinking, but he asks precise follow up questions to verify he understood you exactly. It is a pleasure to be interviewed by him. He has a broad background and speaks a number of languages well. He appreciates nuance, and has a sophisticated sense of humor.
I suggested we visit the German U-505 submarine captured in WWII. I had seen it for the first time as a boy of 10 when I made my first solo trip flying from Dallas to Chicago. Merten somewhat reluctantly agreed to this visit, but was enthusiastic when he saw the U-505 in its new $80 million dollar home 5 stories underground. Visitors can wander around the outside of the ship and view explanatory displays before they take the tour. Merten thoroughly enjoyed it.
Chicago is famous for its architecture, and we did a lot of walking. At the end of the day, we picked a restaurant by the Chicago river for our third and final dinner. Perfect weather, a nice view, good food and conversation. The whole time with Merten was a seamless blend of being interviewed, sharing parts of my life and hosting him in Chicago. I opened up to him like you would to a dear friend. But dear friends don't write articles about you, journalists do. I wondered how Merten would evaluate me?
Merten did a number of rounds of follow up questions. He sent a cameraman to take photos. His article was published 3 months later. My friends in Germany all wrote me the same two points after they read Merten's article. He treats you sympathetically in the article and it is so well written in German. The Association of German Travel Journalists agreed awarding Merten a Golden Columbus prize.
In Section 6, there are a larger versions and explanations of the photos in this article.
|Don Parrish sitting in his Living Room|
Here is the link to
the English version of the
complete Die Zeit article in German.
In Section 6, there is background information on topics Merten mentions in his portrait of me, for example, on my 1965 visit to Germany, on my Genealogy, on Israel Warner, on my career at Bell Labs, etc.
Also in Section 6 are larger versions and explanations of the photos in all versions of this article.
|Front Page Photo of Genossenschaftliche Allgemeine -- "Fast am Ziel" = "Almost to Goal"|
On November 2, 2013, I am holding up my finger to indicate I became Number 1 on MostTraveledPeople.com by landing on Conway Reef, a remote island of Fiji. I borrowed the pirate flag from the crew that was also excited to land on this remote island. It was a long, expensive and rewarding journey to reach Number 1 on MTP.
This newspaper was published in February 2017 in German. It has 3 new photos not in the original Die Zeit Article. The text of the Die Zeit article was slightly condensed. Here is the full pdf file: Front page and page 3.
In Section 6, there is are larger versions and explanations of the photos in this article.
Association of German Travel Journalists awarded the Golden Columbus prize for the "best journalist achievement for 2016" to Merten Worthmann
(center) for his die Zeit article. And republished it in its Columbus Magazine with a few photos. More explanation about Merten winning the award plus two additional photos can be found here. And the text of the award is
Herbert Pietsch (left), a Berlin native and my pen pal since 1960, attended the ceremony on March 10, 2017 in Berlin. Herbert was the main reason that I studied German which led to my summer in Germany in 1965. This started a chain of events that ultimately led to Merten writing his portrait of me over 50 years later.
To view the entire article plus 3 additional pages,
The online Columbus Magazine has a page entitled Winner 2016 Category "Best Journalistic Achievement".
Merten's Comment on Page 42 in the Shaded Area Left of Souvenir Photo
|I would have liked to accompany Don Parrish on one of his trips to remote places. But that would have been logistically very difficult. So finally I visited him at his home, near Chicago, where it is much more pleasant than the places Parrish still has to visit. I have never been to Chicago before. Already in our email exchanges before I arrived, Parrish urged me to visit the Museum of Science and Industry to see the U-505, a German submarine from WWII. He was amazed when he saw the U-505 at age 10 on his first trip by himself. In the museum the submarine is displayed as if it were in the headquarters of a villain from a James-Bond film. Parrish persuaded me to get a souvenir photo. We are both in front of the submarine hull. I would never have believed that I would be smiling while posing in front of a piece of German war equipment from the Third Reich.|
|Souvenir Photo of Merten Worthmann and Don Parrish in front of the U-505 Submarine|
Here is a 4 minute YouTube video done by the Daily Herald in 2014. It was created using my photos and with an audio of my answers to their questions. It is an easy way to get a feel for some of my travels.
First Overseas trip: 1965 in Germany
In the summer of 1965, I worked in a metal factory Vacuumschmelze in
Hanau, Germany and rented a room in the hone of a German family, the Spielmanns, in the village of Niederissigheim
now a part of Bruchköbel. They had 3 children.
Living in Germany was a transformative experience because I spoke only German in Germany. I learned what it is like to be a foreigner living in a country with a different culture as well as language.
A few Comments on my Career at Bell Labs
I recommend the book The Idea Factory. It explains the illustrious history of Bell Labs.
In April 2016, I attended an important technical conference at Murray Hill, New Jersey as a guest of the President of Bell Labs. Here is my conference report. Now Bell Labs is part of Nokia.
Working at Bell Labs was my dream job. I started at Bell Labs June 10, 1966 and was a pioneer in Electronic Switching. They sent me for a Master's degree in Computer Science at the University of Chicago. My career was a ground floor opportunity to be a part of the computer and telecommunications revolution which transformed the world.
I wrote an overview of my career after I retired on October 2, 1996 the day after it became part of Lucent technologies. Then my first action was to visit the grave of Alexander Graham Bell and later I wrote a tribute to him. Within 4 months I was back at work as a consultant at Lucent. I retired a second and final time on June 30, 2001 after a career of 35 years. Then I decided to find the grave of Elisha Gray. My report explains his importance.
I worked most of my career in management. I spent a total of 5 years working overseas on business trips. In addition, I have spend a total of 6 years traveling overseas on my travels since I started in 1965 in Germany.
A few Comments on my Family Tree
I first saw the Swedish branch of my family tree when I was about 10 years old. The tree diagram is included in this report on my Swedish great grandparents, Otto and Clara Peterson. My ancestor Halfward Bryngelsson was a successful spy for King Charles XII and was rewarded with a large tract of land in Klevmarken, Sweden. I'm standing next to the monument that recorded King Charles visit to Halfward. I visited Klevmarken in 1977, 1997 and 2012.
The Parrish Branch, mainly British with some Dutch and a few French ancestors has over 650 ancestors in America that I identified working painstakingly in libraries and various places in the US and Scotland. This branch goes to the bedrock of American history. Merten mentioned my 5 ancestors on the Mayflower. I have over 200 immigrants to America before 1640. This has led to discoveries of almost a hundred famous distant cousins including 10 US Presidents.
Merten was correct that I spent a lot of time on my family tree. It has many connections to early New England and New York history. For example, my ancestors were early graduates of Harvard (Class of 1664) and Yale (Class of 1712). They were an accuser at the Salem Witch trial in 1692. They fought in the Pequot War in 1637 and King Philip's War in 1675. Seven were killed at home during that bloody war by tomahawk blow to the head. It is still the bloodiest war per capita in American history.
Some examples: Andrew Warner (1595-1684) (his grave), my ancestor owned some of the land that Harvard was built on. Another ancestor, Rev. Samuel Street (1635 - 1717), (his grave) was a Harvard graduate in the class of 1664. Another ancestor sent the first student to Yale. My middle name is Maltby. My ancestor is Captain Samuel Maltby (1693-1751) (his grave), who was one of just two Yale graduates in the class of 1712. I have three ancestors in the Yale class of 1718.
By learning early American history by tracing my family tree, I appreciate the foundations of American culture and thinking. My ancestors span the whole American experience from Mohawk Indians, to Jacques Hertel, a French boy of 10 who arrived in 1613 with Champlain, to the Mayflower in 1620, to the Nieuw Nederland in 1624 to my grandfather who immigrated from Norway in 1894 turning 17 on the boat. See my Family Tree.
Comments on Revolutionary War Connections
Among my ancestors are a dozen proven to have fought in the American Revolution. I got my father interested in submitting the application based on my research to join the Sons of the American Revolution. In this photo I am the President of the Fox Valley chapter of the SAR standing next to Israel Warner's grave. See Section 1 for details and more photos.
See my report on Hilletie Van Olinda showing my Mohawk Indian ancestry. She is a pivotal figure in converting the Mohawks to Christianity. Another ancestor gave birth to the first male European child in New York city and was an owner of the land where the World Trade Center stood.
Photos from Original Die Zeit Article
In North Korea, I am posing with our Security Man for a photo. We both had the idea of a Victory Sign which makes for a classic photo. See my informative trip report. In 2005, we were the first America group (only 5 of us) allowed in for for several years. This rated a front page story in the Los Angeles Times. We had friendly relations with our Guide and Security Man.
In Kabul, Afghanistan in 2006 I noticed Claudia Roth, co-founder of the Green Party in Germany, in the lobby of the Serena hotel where we were both staying. It is easy to meet famous people in remote places. Claudia was friendly and enthusiastic. She explained to me a number of points including the current Foreign Minister in Afghanistan had lived in Germany for many years.
I was with a small group of people who were members of the Travelers Century Club. We were on our way to the Khyber Pass in the remote Tribal areas, not fully under the control of Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan. It was a government requirement to have a rifleman for our protection. I asked him if I could get a photo with him and even partially hold his rifle.
In 2007 in Kumasi, Ghana, I visited the Ashanti King's Court with my guide. The 150 local people were all formally dressed. They welcomed outsiders and explained how the Court worked. Even without knowing the language, the audience reaction showed the man was losing his case before the King & tribal council. The King was very patient and it seemed the man was getting a fair hearing.
At the Meridien hotel in Brazzaville, the Congo in 2007, I noticed another guest, Alexandra Rosenfeld. She and her entourage were also staying at the Meridien. She was both Miss France and Miss Europe in 2006. Alexandra is drop dead gorgeous and charming. She has a genuine sweetness that makes her extremely attractive. Vive la France!
In 2007, Bob Bonifas and I chartered a plane to visit Sable Island from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Both our pilot and co-pilot were women. Study the photograph carefully to note that we landed on sand. See my report on Sable Island. It includes the 6 minute slide show of 87 photos. Sable Island is an example of the delights that await travelers working on the mosttraveledpeople.com list.
South Pole on the 100th anniversary of its achievement on December 14, 2011, my thoughts were on celebrating
Roald Amundsen and mourning Steve Jobs, who died 2 months earlier. See my
full report on my South Pole adventure. I bought my first Mac in
March 1986. Finally a computer designed for everyone. Then there was iPhone which transformed the world.
My Mac, which I used to plan an early retirement, transformed my life allowing me to travel.
I visited my Uncle's grave for the second time in 2015. This cemetery in Manila is the largest for American WWII soldiers. My Uncle was killed before I was born. All 3 of his brothers named a son for him. In 2017, I got a copy of his war file. He was buried the day he died in New Guinea. Then reburied three more times. His final resting place in Manila is beautifully maintained.
Photos from Genossenschaftliche Allgemeine Newspaper
The photo captures a dramatic moment in my travels when I became #1 on MostTraveledPeople.com on November 2, 2013 by landing on Conway Reef, a remote island of Fiji. Bob Bonifas and I charted a boat, but at the last minute we had to switch boats. This was the trip that Merten mentioned when I killed my fair share of the cockroaches.
On March 28, 2013, I visited Conway Castle in Wales a World Heritage Site. As I left the castle I notice 8 birds on perches. One was a Eurasian eagle-owl with fantastic eyes. I was allowed to photograph it. Later after walking around the village, I came back to see the owl again. The owner asked it I wanted to hold it. I jumped at the chance. He fitted me with a glove and took this photo. I talked to him and learned he is a member of the Knights Templar. I don't know its relationship with the historic Knights Templar, but he was dressed in medieval clothes.
I was invited to a small party on New Year's Eve. Our hostess likes us to dress up, and we play Charades. I brought a copy to the party of the January 1, 2017 Chicago Tribune. The front page story of the Travel section was about my travels. The Tribune delivers its paper wrapped in plastic. By chance, the Travel section was on top. So I got many emails from excited friends. The print and digital editions of the Trib have different editors. The digital version was out on December 20, 2016. The local Fox TV station had me on TV for an interview by Sylvia Perez on December 24th. I turned a standard question around on her explaining that I have many favorite places, but give advice to people based on their interests. For her (based on the Wiki article) I recommended a visit to Iwo Jima. She liked the idea. See my trip report with a patriotic video tribute.
Photos from Columbus Magazine Article
In January 2013 after visiting Mauritius to see its World Heritage Sites, I went to Safari Park. I did the individual Cheetah interaction. The Ranger and I entered a large enclosure with 4 guards. (The Ranger had scars from an attack.) After training, I squatted down behind the Cheetah and stroked his body and head. The Ranger commented how calm I was. Later I did the group experience of Walking with the Lions. I felt part of the pride walking behind the lions. After we had been walking for 30 minutes, the Ranger of the cheetah experience, suddenly handed me the lion's tail. I enjoyed it and was amazed at the size of the tail. Note the reactions of the others in the group.
Photos from Columbus Magazine Online Prize Page
On December 7, 2009, the 68th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, I visited my Uncle Charles grave in the US Military cemetery in Manila. It was a solemn occasion. I was the first person in the family to visit his grave. He was killed at age 24 in New Guinea in 1943 the year before I was born. His final resting place in Manila is beautifully maintained.
On February 11, 2010, I fulfilled a life-long dream of swimming with the Dolphins in Curacao. To do this you had to be a swimmer who could tread water for 45 minutes continuously. We were taught the commands and these two magnificent animals would shake hands, kiss you, drag you thru the water at high speed, etc. Most did the Dolphin Encounter by just standing in the water.
On November 15, 2010, I'm in Bosaso, a city in the Puntland region of Somalia. Here are 3 of my 4 armed guards. The cost of the guards was $30.00 US per man per day. Even at 11pm when I went to the hotel computer room one shadowed me. When you visit the University or the Airport, you get VIP treatment. Puntland was memorable visit. There was a rare attack at my hotel in 2017.
On August 16, 2015 I rode an elephant in Sri Lanka which has 5,000 wild elephants. I had ridden on elephants before in Thailand and India in a box. This time I was bare back on the elephant - my skin to its rough skin. The terrain was mildly hilly. I had to balance on its bony back and hold on tight when it lurched up and down. It was reassuring to have a mahout during my 40 minute ride.
Photos on Themes Mentioned in Die Zeit Article
In May of 2010, I took the ferry from Hamburg to Helgoland, a German island in the North Sea on the MTP list. As I made a circumnavigation of the island admiring its abundant birds flying around the cliffs and observing a few craters from British bombing in WWII, I noticed an impressive monument. One of the reasons I travel is to make discoveries. My curiosity was rewarded as I read the German text. Here was the spot where the 23 year old Werner Heisenberg conceived in 1925 the idea of the uncertainty principle, the basis for quantum mechanics. Seven years later he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for "the creation of quantum mechanics".
On March 20, 2009, I visited the Vakona Lodge in Madagascar to see lemurs. I saw dozens of them. But one lemur was special. His name was Caramel. He was the only lemur of his type in this reserve. See a photo of Caramel. On April 18, 2009, I returned to the region as an eco tourist on the Marion Dufresne in Réunion for a 4 week voyage to the rarely visited Scattered Islands.