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It All Began a Long Time Ago …

I remember that, as a child, I was dumped in the back of a Jeep Station Wagon for the long grind over the ancient King’s Highway to Petra. It was a long day’s drive, much of it in four wheel drive, but, at the end, we slept in the caves and visited all of the sites. The road is paved today and you will probably have to stay in the Marriott, but the germ was planted.

Later, aged about eighteen, I threw my stuff into a suitcase, grabbed my Brownie Instamatic camera, and boarded the train from Djakarta to Bali. By the time the trip was over, I had been cold, wet, altitude sick, and I had seen volcanos, temples, plays, and all manner of other wonders. I was hooked for life.

But, I also made a few resolutions. The NEXT time I wanted:

— A backpack, not a suitcase.

— A real camera, not an Instamatic, and,

— A 4×4, not just my feet.

And, with only a few exceptions, that has been the case ever since.

This site covers the tales of our travels, past, present, and future. Welcome!

Ndeke Luka?

Why Ndeke Luka?

Ndeka Luka is is Sango for “Freebird.” Sango is the most commonly used language in the Central African Republic. There are several meanings here:

– Radio Ndeke Luka is an independent radio station in the Central African Republic; one that I worked very hard to support. Now, more than ever, Radio Ndeke Luka will be a voice for peace and reconciliation in that troubled land.

– “Freebird” is, of course, a song by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Southern Rock Band and Freebird is a good name for a camper.

And thus, our camper is named “Ndeke Luka.”

Other and Older Travels:

Our photo site is: http://www.pbase.com/diplostrat/root

13 thoughts on “Home

  1. Trev

    I’m lurking on your progress since you and mom turned off your phones. Please do give me a call when to return to civilization.

    1. DiploStrat Post author


      Welcome! We had two Blazers, a 1972 which we used in Cameroon, trans Sahara, Ecuador, and for a trip to Bolivia, and a 1977 which we kept for fourteen years. The ’77 was used in Panama, the US, Liberia, and Botswana.

      Both were showcases for the Hickey Enterprises catalog, with extra fuel tanks, roof racks, etc. Almost everything I know about overlanding I learned with and in those two vehicles.

      Ndeke Luka is the result.

  2. david Schurr

    Great blog and beautiful photos. I noticed your awesome RV today and stumbled upon your blog. Enjoy your travels, very inspiring. Thank you for visiting today.

    1. DiploStrat Post author

      David, sorry we could not give you a tour. If you read this blog, you will note that we are stately home freaques and have visited a lot of them. Happily, a tour of Ndeke Luka is a lot shorter than a tour of Winterthur!

  3. Jim Chubb

    Foreign Service, #2 in Moscow in 1970s (’80s maybe?) final ambassador to Tito’s “Yugoslavia.”
    More importantly I’m musing heavily about a Malayan….

  4. Dave & Linda Gresham

    In view of your recent comments on the Tiger Owners’ blog, you were recently in Columbia and checked in on the progress being made on Tortuga. . . . If so, you might well have seen our Malayan LT being built (Ram, diesel, silvergray). Trevor sends us pictures every couple of weeks (Is Trevor a relative of yours). . . .. You met us two years ago at the Arizona Overland Expo. We hung around the Tiger site quite a bit, tried to make a deal on the Ford Malayan LT next to you, but nothing happened. So we have now been waiting about a year and half for our Cummins-based Tiger. Did you see anything??

    1. DiploStrat Post author

      Did indeed see your beast; looks lovely. I confess that I did not look inside, but it is progressing nicely.

      Trevor is our son. He got his MBA after leaving the Army and Mark hired him last year. He will be in touch with an update.


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