Welcome to Travel Smiles! I’m Mark Cook, a 68 year old practicing dentist, trying to balance a fulfilling professional career with my thirst to experience the adventure of travel. The archetype of a wanderer is deeply rooted in my DNA. At three I was prancing with the high school band as they practiced their marching routines through my neighborhood in a small Oklahoma town. By four my mother was tying me to a tree in order to keep me from venturing into unknown territories with my dog. By five I had worn out my 78 LP record of Johnny Appleseed. That gravelly voice encouraging Johnny to “Go West young man!” exposed an appetite for adventure that continues to grow even more as I age . I moved to the Northwest in my mid twenties and discovered the worlds of Yule Gibbons, Harvey Manning, the “Mountaineers” organization, and the original REI store on Pine street in Seattle. Like many parents of my generation we were carrying our kids into the wild shortly after their birth. Our vacations were either at the beach playing smashball, or toting a pack on our shoulders in the Rockies. I spent time rafting the rivers of the west, and exploring Alaska. Four of us actually walked away from an airplane crash when our single engine plane went down in heavy timber about one hundred miles south of Mount McKinley . OK, so much for the younger stuff. As I aged my wife, Kris and I started travelling beyond our borders. At 55 I lost 2 good friends and came to grips with trying to answer those universal questions dealing with our life’s purpose, who are you, and what is it that you really want and deserve out of this life. I took on new adventure called the Ironman. It’s lasted over 10 years and has taken Kris and I to wonderful locations.
This blog is written to inspire my readers to soak up all the great lessons that travelling beyond your comfort zone has to offer you. I love planning trips!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes I think I love planning them more than going on them. The process is like a kid in the candy store. I invite you to drop by and enjoy the site. Enjoy the food, the wine, and accompany me on my early morning runs as we plan today’s activities. Enjoy the solitude of the wilderness along with hectic pace that visiting the great cities of the world provides you. From time to time we may discuss my thoughts on living a healthy lifestyle. Here’s hoping that your next big adventure puts a broad smile on your face.