Roger Merritt :: Online

My Interests

Art, Bible, history, travel (and travel writing), photography, Anglo-American relations, Caribbean culture, European culture, gardening, classical music, Quotes, hiking, bicycling, Frisbee, canoeing, technology (but nothing too technical) and surfing the Internet. Just to name a few...

I like hot Tea! See these Tea Quotes
See these Quotes about England
Historic Attractions I've been to in Europe
Historic Attractions I've been to in the USA
Favorite Travel Books/Quotes
My favorite Art
My favorite Castles

My Flickr Photos

I like good travel books, and journals. This can be in the form of travel literature, travelogues (personal travel journals), or Web travelogues. You can find countless good travelogues to read on the Web these days for free. There is a large, friendly travel community thriving out there on the Web. Attitudes and ethics about travel vary considerably, but there is a lot of good to be found on the Internet. Personally, I think that researching the history and culture of a place is vital before you go there, and not to do so is just crazy. I also collect maps, postcards, souvenir magnets, and flags from other countries. See where I have been.

My newest hobby is bicycling. I bought this mountain bike in August 2007, and have enjoyed riding it around town, at a few State Parks, greenways, the AEDC Mountain Bike Trail, and Sewanee. Reanna and I love to take our bikes on the car bike-rack and go some place to ride. I grew up riding bicycles, from age five, till I left home in my first car at 18-years of age, and then I didn't ride a bicycle at all for many years. I tried owning a bicycle in London for a brief stint in 1990, but that didn't work out. I didn't ride another bike for years until I borrowed one from my Dad in 2006. When Reanna became big enough to keep up with me in 2007, I decided I had to have a decent bike of my own. I recently bought a newer mountain bike in 2011. See this photo. Roger's mountain bike

Not many people know that I used to be interested in motorcycles. Nothing big, but I've had a couple of Honda 125's. I had an old one in high school and college for a few years, and rode it till it fell apart. Then, I had one in London for two years, and really went places. People were pretty surprised to see an American missionary riding a motorcycle, let me tell you. I became very familiar with London, and on my spare days, when the weather was decent, I virtually crisscrossed southeastern England looking for places to roam. I saw many interesting towns, castles, and coastlines. I also went on a solo trip to the Cumbrian Mountains up in northern England, and dashed over to northern Wales on a weeks jaunt in September of 1987.

Read these vignettes about my travels in the British Isles:

My Honda My trusty Honda CD125 took me all over London, England and Wales. Click here for another view.

One misconception that many Americans have about England is that it is small, and therefore easy to get around in. Not so! It takes a long time to get around, and a motorcycle is a valuable mode of transport. I can't emphasize this point enough. Considering how large and overwhelming London is, with its maze-like twists and turns, one-way systems, tunnels, and ubiquitously crowded high streets, I think I got around pretty well on my Honda. It helped me to learn the streets and environs, and to maneuver my way through thick traffic faster than any four-wheeled vehicle. In London, motorcyclists used to make their own rules and weave between cars, buses, trucks, etc., at red lights. One could easily sift through a line of backed up traffic just about anywhere in London on a motorcycle. I might be a little hesitant to ride a motorcycle in London today, if I had the chance, but I made the most of it then. I cherish the memories!

I also have a similar interest in small cars. In 1990, when I returned to London, I bought a used (1977) Austin Mini. The Mini used to be the smallest British made car, but has been recently bought by BMW, and is being imported to the U.S.A. once again. Driving in London is an amazing experience. There is no comparison to it in terms of density and congestion, in my opinion, and the main reason it flows as well as it does is because of the care and consideration of its drivers. London's drivers have their own system of communicating by flicking their headlights, and seem to negotiate complex traffic patterns by instinct. Even the police are remarkably civil if they stop you for a traffic violation. I know this, because I was stopped a few times. Despite the volume of traffic, I felt no apprehension driving a Mini, for they are a fairly common sight anywhere in western Europe. The Mini has been featured in a few major movies of recent times such as the "Austin Powers" movies; "Four Weddings and a Funeral," with Hugh Grant driving one; and "Forget Paris," with Debra Winger and Billy Crystal looking so romantic in one.

My Mini on a trip to the 
Lake DistrictPictured in Cumbria with my fun Austin Mini Clubman in 1991. Click on picture to enlarge.

Everyone knows what an East German Tribant looks like. Well, the Mini is similar to that, but with a lot more oomph! My Mini only had a 1.1 liter engine, with a five-speed manual shift, and manual choke, but it was 1,100 c.c.'s of pure joy to drive. I went on several drives outside of London in my Mini and never grew tired of its mobility and economy. I revisited Cumbria in my Mini in 1991, and it took those high, narrow passes marvelously! To see another photo of what my Mini looked like, click here. See a picture of the Mini I rented in Malta in 1991. Sadly, my Mini was stolen in 1992, right about the time I was going to sell it. Next, I got a Nissan Sunny (Sentra) that I kept till 1994 when Linda and I left London.

Every July I love to watch Wimbledon! I've been to the Wimbledon Tournament twice, in 1991 and 1992. Here is what my general grounds ticket looked like. I saw some of the top players play, like Pete Sampras, and Stephie Graf, as well as Michael Stich, and Richard Krajicek--all Wimbledon Champions. Grounds Ticket

I like classical music. It's certainly not the only kind I like--I probably listen to pop, rock, jazz, and easy listening more--but I think classical music is wonderfully rich in content and diversity, and not enough is said about its finer qualities. Let's face it, classical music is very under-rated by most people in our popular entertainment saturated culture. If you are skeptical about classical music, please give it a try. You'll probably be amazed at what you hear if you just give it a chance. To me it satisfies a lot of musical expression, from soothing to inspiring. It also brings out the Europhile in me...I have been to where Beethoven was born in Bonn, and to where Mozart died in Vienna, and where Mozart got his acclaim in London, Paris and Prague. I've seen Handel's manuscripts, Chopin's tomb, Rossini's tomb, and where Mendelssohn spent his honeymoon!

A little known fact about me is that I played intercollegiate Badminton for four-years at DLU. The best match of my badminton career was winning the men's doubles championship at UT-Martin in 1984. My partner was Carl Densmore. Our opponents were two foreign nationals, one from Colombia, and the other from Japan. Each one could whip us in singles, but we had the better doubles game that day.

This has been a narrative of some of my interests in the past and present. Who knows what sort of interests I will have in the future? I don't know, but I hope to always have a wide-ranging appetite for knowledge.

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"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." --Ellen Parr

"Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it." --Jane Wagner

"Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves." --Rudyard Kipling

"Every thing must end; meanwhile we must amuse ourselves." --Voltaire

"Explore your own higher latitudes. Be a Columbus to whole new continents within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought." --Henry David Thoreau, Walden

"Is not this the true romantic feeling--not to desire to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping you?" --Tom Wolfe

"The Cubs really make you wonder about the moral order of the universe." --Dr. Thomas Carson