Foreword and Acknowledgements








I began writing my Travel Letters during the summer of 2001 while on holiday in Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. My intention was to document the trip to the Balkans and to share some experiences with my family and friends. Since that summer I have mailed more than six hundred letters from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas.

Quite unintentionally, the letters have evolved into more than simple documentation and entertainment. Do they educate just a little? Since I am a teacher, this evolution was inevitable.

I am fortunate to have seen the colorful display of cultural diversity in many parts of the world. Buried between the lines, do my letters insist we learn from each other? Admire each other?

Do the letters encourage my readers to consider more "exotic" or "adventurous" destinations when they make travel plans?

One friend observed that my letters describe a "change in lifestyle." Almost everyone is supportive, delighted and even a little envious of my travels. And, I must acknowledge that at times, a few readers are uncomfortable with my prose, my adventures, and as one friend commented, my "escapades." Yes, I do it differently now.

Perhaps the long-lasting effect of the Travel Letters will be to motivate each of us to find the strength to withhold judgment, and to find the courage to respect those who do it "differently." Everyone, everywhere does it "differently," after all.

Occasionally a friend urged me to "publish" my letters, or to "write a book." So, I thought that would be a good idea.

I had to decide between travelswithjan and travelwithjan. Travelswithjan in my view is just that - about travels. Travelwithjan implies a much wider scope: travel letters, professional and personal writing, stories, discussions, suggestions, plans. And pictures!

Let's travel together!

Jan Polatschek

Bangkok, Thailand

21 December 2018


I must say "Thank you" to everyone who has supported my life-style decisions and my travels.

My late mother, Ruth Lifson Polatschek, set the standard. She began her overseas adventures as a young single woman and continued her travels through her Senior Citizen years. Her advice to me was always, "Jan, get out of the house!"

My late father, Otto S. Polatschek, also began his travels as a young man. His consistent advice to me was, "Don't work so hard. Stay healthy. Enjoy yourself."

My late sister, Paula Polatschek Wiesenfeld, set the standard for "doing the right thing." Frequently I ask myself, "What would Paula do in this situation?"

Thank you to my former wife, the late Alice Dawn. Alice encouraged me in everything.

Thank you to my faithful family. I know that when I travel they miss me. They always ask, "When will you be home?"

Thank you to my loyal friends, old and new, who keep asking, "When will you write a book?"

Thank you to my Webmasters, Patama Ramchune and David Bucknell.

Finally, to my friends around the world who have welcomed me into their communities and into their homes, "Thank you."