My name is Joe Shanahan. I was born on September 1, 1945. That was the day the peace treaty between the United States and the Empire of Japan was signed, officially ending World War II.
“Baby Boomers” are usually defined as the people born after the war as the soldiers and sailors returned home and started families. So, depending on the time the treaty was signed and the time I was born, I believe I could be the very first Baby Boomer or the very last of the “Pre-Boomers”. Someday, I will try to lay claim to one of those titles.
“Uncle Joe” is in the title of this blog. I have 6 sisters and 3 brothers. They are all married and they all have children. I have never been married nor have I ever had any children. I chose the path less travelled, and I have no regrets.
It also means I have more nieces and nephews than I have siblings or children – thus “Uncle Joe”. I am very proud of that title. At last count the nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews was 38.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. After college, I earned a commission in the United States Air Force as a Second Lieutenant. I spent 4 years in the Air Force and achieved the rank of Captain.
In the Air Force, I was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, U-Tapao Airfield in Thailand and March Air Force Base in California. This was during the Vietnam War, a war I have serious opinions about, but I will not discuss those opinions here. I don’t want this to be a political site. If anyone happens on this blog who was in the Air Force and stationed at any of those locations between 1968 and 1972, I would really like to hear from you so we can exchange war stories.
After leaving the military, I moved to Houston, Texas, where I was involved in the home building business for many years. In 1985, I was burned out, so I quit working and went back to school, taking classes in Computer Science at the University of Houston. I used what I learned to get a job as a Systems Analyst at the Texas Workforce Commission in 1987.
20 years later, in 2007, I retired from TWC, but returned on a part-time basis until September 1, 2015, at which time I retired for good at the ripe young age of 70.
Ever since I was in the Air Force, I have liked to travel. I have been all over the world – Europe, Asia, Central America and many other places. I have traced my roots in Ireland, gotten lost in Spain, had amazing adventures in Thailand, and cruised the Greek Islands.
Over the years, I have become disillusioned with the way Americans are treated in certain foreign countries. For most of my life, being an American tourist was a good experience. People welcomed you and were anxious to hear about life in the United States. I do not believe that is still true. On some of my recent trips I got the distinct impression that Americans were no longer wanted or even liked. That may be just my perception, but, in any event, I have decided to spend what time I have left travelling around the greatest country on Earth – The United States of America and, from time to time, to countries that I believe are still friendly to Americans.
My home base is Austin, Texas. My plan is to go on road trips all over the U.S. I will set out from Austin periodically and spend several weeks on the road. When I get tired, I will return to Austin and recuperate for while, then hit the road again. That is my plan right now. This is an experiment and I will see how it works out. I may love it and keep it up for a long time. I may find it boring and stop after one or two trips. Stay tuned to see how that comes out.
The purpose of this blog is to document my travels with stories and pictures. I invite everyone to travel with me by visiting this site. As we travel, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
My first road trip will be to the Texas State Fair in Dallas, Texas. I have lived in Texas since 1972, but I have never been to the State Fair. I have had plans to go there many times, but something always came up to wreck those plans. This year, I will make it. The fair this year is from September 25 thru October 18. I plan to leave Austin the first week in October.
Check back here from time to time to see how that goes.