As simple as is seems, the title of this site also happens to be my internet username. It was the result of a number of conscious and sub-conscious influences in my life. When I chose this username for my email account several years ago, I didn’t give the process much thought. Most people simply use some form of their real name or, if they don’t want to use their real name, perhaps the username reflects some interest or hobby or maybe their hometown. Often some numbers are added to make it unique, like the year of their birth. If you analyze someone’s username, you can sometimes learn about the individual.
Likewise, if you look closely at the title of this site, it tells you something about both the writer and the contents. First, the word ” traveler” says two things, one very obvious and one not so obvious. Yes, it tells you it’s a site about travel. What is not so obvious, perhaps, is that the spelling tells you it was probably written by an American. My British friends may cringe when they see it. The British spelling is with two l’s. So we can surmise that this is a travel site written by an American.
Of what significance then are the numbers? Why was the number eight chosen? Why are there three eights and not two or four? Nearly anyone who has spent much time in Asia, particularly in those areas with a large Chinese population, can answer those questions. The Chinese consider the number eight to be lucky and the number four, on the other hand, is considered to be extremely unlucky. The Chinese word for four is a homonym for their word for death. Just like many American hotels won’t have a 13th floor, many Chinese hospitals and hotels will not have a fourth floor.
Although I have traveled to more than 100 countries over the last four decades, it’s clear that my choice of traveler888 as an internet username and the title of this site was heavily influenced by the many years that I lived, worked, studied or traveled in Asia. So this is a site about travel, mainly but not limited to Asia.
Memoirs are notoriously inaccurate. Many people have been embarrassed when their writing was later fact-checked. Approximately a third of the stories in traveler888 were written contemporaneously and stored away. Where distant memories or second hand accounts were relied upon, events, dates, times, places were researched. Internet search engines are a marvelous tool. I have provided some newspaper articles and links to documents to add greater depth to the events experienced. I apologize in advance, however, for any unintended inaccuracies.
I have added relevant photos where possible. For most of my travels I used slides to record what I saw and later showed some of them in my college classes. Over the years, however, many slides and photos have been lost, damaged or the quality has deteriorated. The advent of digital imaging has vastly improved the process of preserving ones travel experiences. Although some of the photos may be of marginal quality, I hope the reader enjoys them anyway.