Journal series reaches for new heights

22nd Annual Traveler’s Journal Series kicks off Feb. 7

By Dave Shreffler

Traveler’s Journal embarks on its 22nd season of travel and adventure slide shows next week. The eight-week slide show series features presentations by local travelers who journeyed to various countries around the world, along with a coast-to-coast cycling trip across the United States, and is capped off by a bonus presentation in May by Leif Whitaker, who tells about reaching the summit of Mount Everest not once but twice.

For only a $5 suggested donation, you can enjoy a fun evening of entertainment and the proceeds go to a great cause. All of the money raised during this year’s Traveler’s Journal series will be spent on project supplies and food for volunteers who work on the Olympic Discovery Trail. Each year the dream of a continuous, nonmotorized trail from Port Townsend to Forks gets a little closer as Peninsula Trails Coalition volunteers donate thousands of hours constructing new sections of the trail.


To learn more about the Olympic Discovery Trail and the Peninsula Trails Coalition visit


• Feb. 7 — “Beyond the Veneer: Living, Working and Playing in the Middle East” (Presentation is at Sequim Middle School cafeteria, 301 W. Hendrickson Road)


Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield

In 2004, Pepin-Wakefield moved to Kuwait. She left behind her secure position as an arts specialist in the Sequim School District, her home and husband in Port Townsend, and her little dog, too, to teach art in a Middle East desert. Only after resigning her professorship from a women’s university in Kuwait did Yvonne feel free to tell the full story of what happened to her and her students during her six-year stint in the Arabian Gulf. Signed copies of her book — “Suitcase Filled with Nails: Lessons Learned from Teaching Art in Kuwait” — will be available for purchase after the presentation.

• Feb. 14 — “The Beauty of France & Spain”

Arvo and Christiane Johnson

Worldly travelers Arvo and Christiane Johnson return to Traveler’s Journal to share more of their European adventures. With his keen photographic eye and her architectural aesthetic and wealth of knowledge, this will be an evening not to be missed. Join them as they take us along on their two months of travels in a leased Peugeot to well-known destinations in France and Spain, as well as to places few tourists ever visit and seasoned travelers never want to leave.




• Feb. 21 — “Written in Stone: Tracing the Mythology and History of Ireland”

Marcie Miller

Miller is a Northwest native and award-winning journalist with a passion for travel, writing and photography. Her travels have taken her to Canada, Hawaii, New Zealand, Fiji, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, England, Scotland, South Korea, Japan and of course, Ireland. Yet, it was in Ireland she came “home.” Since her first visit to Ireland in 2002, she’s returned six times and touched on nearly all corners of this island that would fit inside Washington. Come hear why Ireland draws her back year after year.

• Feb. 28 — “Surprising Borneo: From the Inside Out”

Bill and LaVonne Mueller

Why would anyone visit Borneo? After seeing the Muellers’ river boat journey through the Rajang River system in the heart of Malaysian Borneo, you may be asking yourself how do I book a trip there? The Muellers will dispel any notions of a Borneo filled with dark jungles, dangerous animals and head hunters. The Borneo they discovered was a mix of modern and flourishing cities, small villages with vibrant, river-based economies and protected areas that provide valuable habitat for iconic native wildlife like orangutans, monkeys and exotic birds.



• March 7 — “Aconcagua 2012: Cops on Top Memorial Climb for Officer Jonathan Schmidt”

Norman Simons

Cops on Top is a team of volunteers from the law enforcement community who undertake a mountain climbing expedition each year in honor of a fallen law enforcement comrade. Simons, a Port Angeles native and career law enforcement official, was invited to participate in the 2012 climb of Mount Aconcagua (22,841 feet) in Argentina — an expedition in support of the family of Officer Jonathan Schmidt, who was killed in the line of duty while saving his supervisor. Simons will share stories of the pain, sacrifice, near-fatal illness, heroism, joy and ultimate triumph that are woven throughout this amazing climbing expedition on the highest mountain in the Americas.


• March 14 — “The World Underwater”

Hal Everett

Everett is a scuba diver, specializing in nature and wildlife photography, and a budding videographer. He has traveled, dived and photographed the North and South Pacific, the Caribbean Sea and the Indian Ocean. He has won regional and international photographic competitions and he has won the hearts of local audiences with his stunning presentations. “The World Underwater” will leave you with a sense of awe and wonder, asking how in the world does he do that?

• March 21 — “Cycling Burma and Beyond”

Willie Weir

Always a crowd pleaser, Weir returns to Traveler’s Journal from his latest Asian cycling adventure with stories, photos, less money, a crazy sense of humor and who knows what else … I sure don’t, because according to his latest blog entry, he’s in Cambodia at the moment. So, we’ll get what we get. The good news is with Weir that’s always mighty fine.

• March 28 — “Folks on Spokes: Recollections of a Four-Month, Cross-Country Bicycle Voyage”

Nick Batcheller

Join Nick Batcheller and his partner Liz Brown as they pedal from Anacortes to Bar Harbor, Maine, in unrelenting lightning and hail, sleep in all sorts of places they probably weren’t supposed to, have all their stuff stolen, stay with some questionable characters, get lost, get found, appear in the newspapers, see some sad things, see some wonderful things, get offered jobs, deal with broken bikes, cheat death a few times, and above all experience the most abundant, unwavering and unconditional amount of hospitality and generosity they could have ever imagined.

• May 23 — Special Bonus Presentation: “Summiting Mount Everest”

Leif Whittaker

The summit of Mount Everest is 29,035 feet above sea level — the highest place on our planet. To successfully summit Mount Everest is an arduous, unbelievably demanding accomplishment few humans have achieved. To do it twice is nothing short of amazing. Join us for a special evening with Whittaker, a Washington native, as he describes his two successful ascents of Mount Everest.