Roger Merritt :: Online

My Blog
My book list
My Flickr Photos
"Six Weeks in Kiev"
Motlow Home


Where Have I Been?
Euro-storic Places
Papua New Guinea
Life in London #1
Life in London #2
Kiev School
Black Forest
Trinidad 1998
Trinidad 2003
London/Berlin 2004
Trinidad 2005
Trinidad 2007
UK Trip 2008
Trinidad 2009
Germany, England & Poland 2010
Trinidad 2011
Germany & England 2012
Trinidad 2013
Germany, England & Netherlands 2014
Trinidad 2015
Canada 2016
London, Paris, Switz. 2017

Within England:

East London
South London
The Midlands
New Cross Church
North Country
South Country
West Country

U.S.A. Travels:

Noteworthy Places
Bonnaroo Reports
"The Last Game at
the Met..."

Washington DC
Southwest 2006
New York City 2015
Southwest 2016

Misc. Topics:

Graduate Study
Legislative Recorder
My Fav. Travel Quotes
Tea Quotes
England Quotes
My Favorite Art
My Favorite Castles

Today is :

Roger Merritt Everyone has a story to tell, don't they? I think that a web page should tell you about a person rather than be just a bunch of links and graphics. I enjoy reading web pages about complete strangers if they tell a little bit about themselves. So, here's a web page that tries to do that about me. This page is by no means a complete reflection of me, nor is it meant to be. Rather, it is a list of things I have done, or am doing, that are reasonably presentable and of possible interest to the online community. You will find that I update these pages regularly. My web page has been online continuously since 1996.

"Writing should be testimony to the vast flow of life through us." --Victor Serge

Contact information:
(work) 1-800-654-4877 ext. 7815

Education/Work Experience:

Read about my education and work experience. Where did I attended school, and what have I studied? What do I do at Motlow College, and what did I do before coming to Motlow??? More>>


Art, Bible, history, travel (and travel writing), photography, Anglo-American relations, Caribbean culture, European culture, gardening, classical music, Quotes, hiking, bicycling, rollerskating, Frisbee, canoeing, technology (but nothing too technical) and surfing the Internet. Just to name a few... What sort of interests do I have apart from these? More>>


Read summaries of my foreign travels. Pictures and descriptions of my experiences are added to the destinations. These are trips that I made to visit places, relatives, friends, brethren, and for the cultural & educational value of travel itself. These trips were usually planned as economically as possible. I'm not necessarily a travel expert, but I've been around (to 26 countries). Travel was not something that I dreamed about while growing up, it just happened naturally as a part of being a missionary (my former occupation). To me, travel is not simply a leisure pursuit. It's about learning and having a meaningful experience. Travel is not just a hobby; it's one of my most prized possessions, and one that I enjoy writing about. More>>


Read about where I have lived, grew up, my immediate family, and a bit about my genealogy. More>>

My Blog:

See my blog, which has been online since 1998, and preview some of my Flickr photos. More>>

My Booklist:

See what books I have been reading recently, and a list of all my favorite travel books. Here is a list of travel books that I've read over the years. Many of these books manage to capture the spirit and reality of travel in a way that is sublime, while others aim more towards humor and curmudgeonliness, but all of them possess some value. Some of these may not be strictly about travel, but may be about the history and culture of other countries, memoirs of foreign correspondents, or travel anecdotes, excluding travel guides. For the most part, I just really like good travelogues or diary-like accounts of travel, with a good bit of history, culture and personal experience thrown in. Carpe Libris! More>>

See a virtual book shelf of the recent books I've read at

Favorite Travel Quotes:

To move, to breathe, to fly, to float
To gain all while you give
To roam the roads of lands remote
To travel is to live
--Hans Christian Anderson

“The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown, to bear witness to the consequences , tragic or comic, of people possessed by the narcissism of minor differences.” --Paul Theroux, The Tao of Travel (2010)

“All of which is a roundabout way of saying that most travel stories are self-referential at a certain level—and this is not a bad thing. When you enter into an experience with the intention of writing about it, you tend to travel the world more creatively and observe it more thoughtfully.” --Rolf Potts, Marco Polo Didn’t Go There (2009)

“I was so stimulated by the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of each place that I didn’t need anything else to entertain myself.” --Kyle Barraclough

"I lived abroad before email and internet connectivity and felt content to absorb the local customs and forms of entertainment, and to write and type letters and send them in the post and wait for a response just like anyone else at the time. It’s all a matter of what you are used to, and what limitations you are able to accept. There did come a point when the urge to keep American ties became less and less the norm, and the desire to create bonds with the native culture became more the norm. It’s a matter of length of exposure. If you have a temporary mindset to your travels, you’ll never embrace it. One must think of travel as being bigger than ‘me.’” –-Roger Merritt (2010)

"All good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder." -–Pico Iyer

“'You must leave your country in order to understand it.' Surely some wise man said that once, but I can’t seem to find the person to attribute it to. I’ve searched but I can’t find a reference to it. Could it be my quote? I don’t know, but I do believe it. I believe that you can’t fully understand your home until you leave it. You must see other places, evaluate them, compare them to home, and see how other people critique your home. That’s one of the many reasons I live to travel." --Roger Merritt (2010)

"I think travel just really wakes me up. It puts me in a state of hyper-awareness that’s hard to get to in daily life. I’m so intrigued by other cultures—when I’m traveling away from home I get more insight into my own life and culture as well, just by contrast, and by that alertness of mind that sort of comes to me like a drug when I’m out of the country. I find that the freedom of anonymity tends to propel me into interesting situations." --Tanya Shaffer

“Travel surprises us. A turn down the next street, right instead of left, and a new friend is created, a friend for life. Left instead of right, and we rediscover the charming little restaurant we’d visited years before and long forgotten…No matter our intended design or schedule, Chance is our ever-present travel partner in discovery. Fate and Destiny orchestrate our journey, map out our path. Fortune and Luck plot our course, serve as our compass. We applaud the happenstance of our ways, our happy accidents, our little miracles. We recognize and celebrate the Kismet in our travels, the synchronistic signposts of our soul.” --Steve Zikman, from The Power of Travel (1999)

"One of the best-paying professions is getting ahold of pieces of country in your mind, learning their smell and their moods, sorting out the pieces of a view, deciding what grows there and there and why, how many steps that hill will take, where this creek winds and where it meets the other one below, what elevation timberline is now, whether yo can walk this reef at low tide or have to climb around, which contour lines on a map mean better cliffs or mountains. This is the best kind of ownership, and the most permanent...It feels good to say 'I know the Sierra' or 'I know Point Reyes.' But of course you don't--what you know better is yourself, and Point Reyes and the Sierra have helped." --Terry & Renny Russell, from On the Loose (1969)

"That is the charm of a map. It represents the other side of the horizon where everything is possible. It has the magic of anticipation without the toil and sweat of realization. The greatest romance ever written pales before the possibilities of adventure that lie in the faint blue trails from sea to sea. The perfect journey is never finished, the goal is always just across the next river, round the shoulder of the next mountain. There is always one more track to follow, one more mirage to explore. Achievement is the price which the wanderer pays for the right to venture." --Rosita Forbes, from Red Sea to Blue Nile (1925)

"Trinidad may look small to an outsider, but it takes a long time to get around. The roads have improved in the south-central part, where we were staying, but the congestion is on-par with a lot of bigger places I’ve been to. Trinidad is a tiny, super-concentrated, cross-between tropical West-Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Culturally, sort of like Lagos meets Bangalore, transported to the West Indies." --Roger Merritt (2005)

"The need to travel is a mysterious force. A desire to go runs through me equally with an intense desire to stay at home. An equal and opposite thermodynamic principle. When I travel, I think of home and what it means. At home I'm dreaming of catching trains at night in the gray light of Old Europe, or pushing open shutters to see Florence awaken. The balance just slightly tips in the direction of the airport." --Frances Mayes, A Year in the World (2006)

"Non-travelers often warn the traveler of dangers, and the traveler dismisses such fears, but the presumption of hospitality is just as odd as the presumption of danger. You have to find out for yourself. Take the leap. Go as far as you can. Try staying out of touch. Become a stranger in a strange land. Acquire humility. Learn the language. Listen to what people are saying. It was as a solitary traveler that I began to discover who I was and what I stood for." --Paul Theroux, Fresh Air Fiend (2000)

"Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected for the rest of my life." --Michael Palin

"None but those who have traveled, can appreciate the delight experienced from recalling in this way the interesting points of an interesting journey, and fighting, as it were, their battles over again." --James Holman

"It was controlled wanderlust, with a passion for seeing, absorbing, learning, and adjusting to many different scenic environments. More than just natural scenery, it was surprisingly variegated with culture and history...The Southwest was like a familiar brand to me, but it was not so much what I expected, or not expected; it was something to behold!" --Roger Merritt (2006)

" may be viewed as a rebellious, even a subversive act, part of the process of self-actualization I travel to define and assert my existential identity. I travel. Therefore I am." --Michael Mewshaw, at the Key West Literary Seminar (2004)

"So much of American culture does not point toward the value and importance of getting outside of your own box. So much of it is centered on the United States as a self-sufficient entity in the world. We’re inculcated with the notion that we can go it alone and do it ourselves, and that really goes against learning about other cultures and the kind of vulnerability you experience when you travel. We need to grow and evolve as a country, I think." --Don George (Editor), Lonely Planet

"Travel is the best way we have of rescuing the humanity of places, and saving them from abstraction and ideology." --Pico Iyer Why we travel

"The physical aspect of travel is, for me, the least interesting; what really draws me is the prospect of stepping out of the daylight of everything I know, into the shadows of what I don't know, and may never know. Confronted by the foreign, we grow newly attentive to the details of the world, even as we make out, sometimes, the larger outline that lies behind them...I know in my own case that a trip has really been successful if I come back sounding strange even to myself; if, in some sense, I never come back at all, but remain up at night unsettled by what I've seen. I bring back receipts, postcards, the jottings I have made, but none of them really tells the story of what I've encountered; that remains somewhere between what I can't say and what I can't know." --Pico Iyer, Sun After Dark: Flights into the Foreign (2004)

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." --St. Augustine

"There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign." --Robert Louis Stevenson

"Once a journey is designed, equiped, and put in process; a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys...A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us." --John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley (1962)

"My first impressions of Vienna were on a cold wintry night with about a foot of snow on the ground… The combination of darkness, snow, baroque buildings, and billboard advertisements in German really stirred my imagination. This was Vienna! It was magically intriguing to behold and admire the gilded glories of its Imperial past. My first impressions were full of awe. This was the eastern-most frontier of 'Free Europe.' This was the city of the movie 'Third Man,' and the home of Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, Freud, and the Habsburg's. Lonely Planet calls Vienna, 'the mother lode of all things cultural.' It was fantastic!" --Roger Merritt

"Is there anything, apart from a really good chocolate cream pie and receiving a large unexpected check in the mail, to beat finding yourself at large in a foreign city on a fair spring evening, loafing along unfamiliar streets in the long shadows of a lazy sunset, pausing to gaze in shop windows or at some church or lovely square or tranquil stretch of quayside, hesitating at street corners to decide whether that cheerful and homey restaurant you will remember fondly for years is likely to lie down this street or that one? I just love it. I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city." --Bill Bryson, Neither Here Nor There (1992)

"Paris might seem like an over exposed destination to some, but I always found Paris to be invigorating. Can Paris be somewhat difficult for the non-francophone? Yes, but full of style, beauty, history and never boring… Paris is definitely one of my favorite capitals of Europe. I say that even as a true 'Londoner' at heart, but if you're going to live in Europe, you simply must get to know Paris. To fail to do so is just unthinkable." --Roger Merritt

"I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can't read anything, you only have the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can't even reliably cross the street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses." --Bill Bryson, Neither Here Nor There (1992)

"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints." --Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes

"Travel pushes my boundaries. Seemingly self-indulgent, travel paradoxically obliterates me-me-me, because very quickly--prestissimo--the own-little-self is unlocked from the present and released to move through layers of time. It is not 2006 all over the world. So who are you in a place where 1950 or 1920 is about to arrive? Or where the guide says, "We're not talking about A.D. today. Everything from now on is B.C." --Frances Mayes, A Year in the World (2006)

"I can never understand why Londoners fail to see that they live in the most wonderful city in the world. It is far more beautiful and interesting than Paris, if you ask me, and more lively than anywhere but New York--and even New York can't touch it in lots of important ways. It has more history, finer parks, a livelier and more varied press, better theatres, more numerous orchestras and museums, leafier squares, safer streets, and more courteous inhabitants than any other large city in the world." --Bill Bryson, Notes From a Small Island

"The second time in London was quite different from the first. It was a progression, a new stage in my life, but I'll always remember those wonderful earlier days in London, when everything was an eye-opening, mind-challenging, heart-felt, history-learning epoch. Back then (in my early twenties), life was tireless, and it was goood; there could not have been a better backdrop than London!" --Roger Merritt

"One of the gladdest moments of human life, me thinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unkown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy." --Sir Richard Burton

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." --Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)

"Watching Kiev disappear behind was a painful mixture of feelings. I had loved it deeply, soulfully, but MAN, was I ready to go!... I got caught up on my journal, and reflected on everything, from the first night I arrived in Kiev, to the movements that brought me to the airport today. I whispered a prayer of thanks to the Lord for keeping me safe, and for teaching me so much. I was in a hurry to leave Ukraine, but I did not want to forget it; no, I wanted to remember exactly what it was like." --Roger Merritt, Six Weeks in Kiev (Diary 1993)

"For me they go hand in hand. When I travel it makes me want to write, when I read it makes me want to travel." --William Dalrymple

"The person who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; the person to whom every soil is as a native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom every soil is as a foreign land." --Hugo of St.Victor, 12th century monk

"To me, understanding people and their lives is what travel is about, no matter where you go...I have long held that travel can be a powerful force for peace. Travel promotes understanding at the expense of fear. And understanding bridges conflicts between nations." --Rick Steves, Travel as a Political Act (2009)

“Travel writers often approach their subjects with what’s known in Zen as beginner’s mind. They write about places from the perspective of an outsider. They’re students of the world. Ideally, they take readers on a journey—a real adventure—that is fun and entertaining and, yes, educational.” --Jim Benning, World Hum (2010)

Site Last Updated:

Last updated: January 2018
© 1996-2018

Roger works in the library at Motlow State Community College in Smyrna, TN, and is an adjunct speech teacher. He not only loves books and communications, but travel, hiking, cycling, and a lot more. He is married, has one daughter, and lives in Tullahoma, TN.

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