Travel the world at the Summit County library in Frisco
IF YOU GO
What: ”Railroading Asia: Beijing to Stockholm,” a presentation by Chris and Ricky Daly
When: Tuesday, Oct. 27, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Summit County Main Library, County Commons in Frisco; 0037 County Road 1005
If you’re ever looking to do any world traveling, consult Chris and Ricky Daly of Blue River for advice. The couple is well seasoned in the art of getting around in foreign countries, living in Singapore and traveling in abundance to surrounding areas. On their way back from Asia to Summit County, the husband and wife decided to take the road less traveled — the railroad that is.
Rather than hopping on a plane from Singapore, they decided to spend four weeks traveling Beijing to Stockholm on the Trans Mongolian and Trans Siberian railways. The couple ended their trip with more than 1,600 photos and videos, and will be presenting the story of their journey at the Summit County Main Library in Frisco on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m.
“Railroading Asia: Beijing to Stockholm” will tell a visual tale of a journey through the cultures, history, food and people along the 10,000-kilometer route along their way from Beijing to Ulan Bator, the Gobi Desert, Lake Baikal in mountainous Siberia, Ekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm.
A LIFE OF TRAVEL
In 2010, Chris was given the opportunity to move to Singapore for work as a sales tech manager for all of Asia. His wife Ricky had worked in the country almost 20 years prior for FedEx, as well as Japan and Hong Kong, and said she jumped at the chance to move back.
“I love Asia, it’s a fascinating part of the world,” she said. “(Chris) had always wanted an overseas assignment as well, so we were both anxious to do it. Singapore is in such a great location in Southeast Asia, with New Zealand and Australia to the south, surrounded by Indonesia and Southeast Asia peninsula to the north, it was just such a convenient place. Going into Burma was like flying to Chicago, we really wanted to take advantage of where we were.”
While Chris’ business took him to all the big markets and cities in India, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand, Ricky arranged holidays well off the beaten track. Ricky said trying to pick a favorite out of all the places they visited was like comparing apples to oranges, although one that really struck her heart, she said, was their visit to one of the last aboriginal Orangutan habitats in Borneo.
“Just to sit with them and have them so close and then experience the scientists who started that,” she said.
They met Birut Galdikas, a Canadian scientist known as the world’s foremost expert on orangutans. Galdikas was one of paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey’s “three angels,” Ricky said, along with Jane Goodall, who studied chimpanzees, and Dian Fossey, who studied mountain gorillas.
“To have her show up serendipitously was an incredible experience,” she said.
TRAVELING THE TRANS SIBERIAN
After the couple’s time living in Singapore, Chris was in effect retiring from a full-time position in the corporate world. He decided he needed more of a transition period before coming back to Breckenridge, Ricky said, and the couple decided the train would be a good way to extend their trip. They had been to the Himalayas about 10 years ago and loved it, and had always wanted to visit Mongolia.
“We had talked about it off and on for the last few years,” she said. “Between the desire to go to the Himalayas and Mongolia, and do the Trans-Siberian railroad, it seemed to fall into place. We did try to look into a way to get across Atlantic via boat, but it was a challenge to do that, so we decided that if we could make it from Beijing to Stockholm, we’d get a plane from there home.”
The Dalys spent four weeks traveling, with about nine or 10 days on the train and the rest spending time visiting cities along the way. Although Ricky said the trip was challenging at times because they had too much luggage to carry due to moving home from Singapore, she said she never regretted it. They had shipped a lot of items home, but if they did the journey again, Ricky said she would limit it to one backpack.
“One backpack and that’s it,” she said.
One of the memorable places the couple visited was Mongolia.
“I really like Mongolia, it’s such a different culture,” she said. “It appeals to us and I think it would appeal to a lot of people in the community, because it’s not that urban except in capital. The culture is just so interesting, visiting the grasslands and seeing horses and birds and goats. Visiting a yurt camp for a day or so was really interesting.”
The two traveled about 700 or 800 miles from the capital to make a wide loop and then return by cab, and she said there were no street lights, no stop signs and no roads.
“Except for when we started out, maybe for the first hour or so west of the capital, but the rest of the time our driver was driving from instinct, by experience — that’s how we got from the capital to the Gobi Desert.”
In Mongolia they met a famous musician, a young and talented horse-head fiddle player. As a musician herself, Ricky said the experience really resonated with her.
The Dalys spent five days in St. Petersburg, visiting palaces like the Hermitage. The gilt-covered palaces were so large, with interior crystal glass, and the cost to maintain these buildings so high, the couple asked their Russian guide whether the people resented all the money that was spent to maintain these palaces. The guide would tell them the people had a lot of pride in their royalty, which Ricky said they found to be an interesting aspect to the culture.
During the four weeks they spent on their return journey, Ricky said there wasn’t a single boring moment.
“One would think when we were traveling for days on a train it would get boring,” she said. “But it was never boring to stare out the window for hours. I think we each brought two or three books and each only got through one.”
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