Travel with John Bermont
* * * Mastering Independent Budget Travel * * *
Q. Who is John Bermont?
A. There is no such person.
John Bermont is a pen name.
On the job in Milano, Italy. Photo by Stephanie Broad.
I invented John Bermont after deciding to self publish my book, How To Europe. I also started the Murphy & Broad Publishing Company to produce and market the book.
After graduating from high school in Midland, Michigan, I earned my degree in chemical engineering at the University of Detroit in 1965. My first job was in Chicago where I also attended DePaul law school evenings, but I traveled so much that I only finished two semesters. Later I started an evening MBA program which met the same fate. Jobs which require a lot of travel are not conducive to continuing education.
What you need to know about me as a travel writer is that I have traveled a lot. I have lived on both coasts and plenty of the middle — New York City (born in The Bronx), Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, Wichita, Newport Beach — and have traveled from Anchorage to Miami and San Diego to Boston, not to mention plenty of Texas, on business and for the pleasure. Internationally I've been to Africa, Arabia, and East Asia, in addition to studying, living, and working in Europe for a number of years. I've traveled throughout the Continent from the eastern Ukraine to the Algarve in Portugal, Athens, Greece to Narvik in the north of Norway, Istanbul, Turkey to Reykjavik, Iceland, and most of eveything in between.
I've studied foreign languages on my overseas job assignments — Dutch in Haarlem, The Netherlands and German in Aschaffenburg, Germany for a couple of years each. I did this while holding full time jobs and reached a passing ability in each. In between those jobs I spent about six months in Paris on a couple of my self-made sabbaticals. Life is too short to work all the time, you know. Having traveled so much I can say "beer" and additional critical words in several other languages. If you can't say "beer" and "toilet" in the local lingo you are in trouble.
My initial landing in Europe was in June 1975. I had a few hours layover in London before a connecting flight to Rome so I hired a taxi to give me a tour of the city. Later that year my boss asked if I would accept a transfer to the company's office near Amsterdam in The Netherlands. This is something that doesn't happen every morning so I had to think it over for a few days. It came down to a "what the heck" decision. I decided to go and ended up spending nearly two years in Holland, with plenty of trips around Europe in the car that I shipped over from Long Beach.
Shortly into another job after returning to California, my wanderlust took over. I quit and went back to travel on the trains darn near all over Europe — and write and photograph. I published the first edition of How To Europe in 1982, followed by a second edition which was in print through 1987. In the meantime I moved myself to Paris for the spring and summer of 1986 where I fell for Elizabeth, a fellow student at the Alliance Française. In 1991 I landed another company job transfer, this time a family move to Germany for a few years with wife Elizabeth and daughter Stephanie. Living in Bavaria opened up opportunities for additional travel, including a drive around Poland and straight into the Ukraine just a couple of years after the fall of the wall and the implosion of the Soviet Union.
We finished off the German job transfer with a month on the road, driving south and east through Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and Turkey, then returning from Istanbul through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech Republic to Germany.
The late 1990s saw me in Saudi Arabia again, bringing down the marriage, then more Eurailpass travels throughout central Europe, a couple of months living in Geneva, Switzerland, and finally a couple of years back in my "home town" of Haarlem, The Netherlands to finish off the century. Going back to Europe in 2003, I noticed that the only thing that had changed significantly was the money. The euro has had a profound impact, making it much easier for travelers in the original 11 countries, now 17, where it has been adopted.
I've been back to Europe for short and long visits several times since then. One was a major circuit with a Eurailpass on night trains scooting around Europe from Holland to Portugal to Austria, ending in Finland via Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. From there I took a ferry over the Baltic Sea and traveled by bus through Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to Poland where I was able to use the trains again.
In April 2008 I went back for a week to help the Dutch celebrate Queen's Day and the blooming of the tulips at Keukenhof. These are quite different events but are both spectacular in their own way. Click the links to see my photo logs.
In 2008 I continued sending my daughter Stephanie to Europe to help research my site and provide a next generation look at things. She spent 6 weeks at Universidad de Salamanca, Spain, and another month in Italy, all sandwiched in between a few Dutch days at each end. You can see one of her photos at Bull Flight. She spent a month studying at the Alliance Française and exploring Paris the following year. Her blog is at O hey Europe.
There is quite a bit more but I think you get the idea. I love travel and adventure, and writing about it to encourage others to get up and go. I've spent a significant part of my life overseas, mostly in Europe on job transfers, personal moves, or just vagabonding around. My book and website are the result of these experiences, all produced in my spare time at my own expense. This is not my day job.
I welcome questions and comments. I learn something from every email. If you have any concerns about your trip to Europe that have not been covered well enough on my site do not hesitate to write and ask. My email address is email@example.com. When you write please include as much detail as possible. I will reply in a day or two.
If you know of someone else who would appreciate this web site please send the link to them. To easily do that, click your "File" tab in the tool bar and scroll down to "Send" or "Send Link." Your friend will thank you, and I thank you.
Have a good trip in life.
James Broad a.k.a. John Bermont.
Home page http://www.enjoy-europe.com.
The original do-it-yourself travel guide to Europe SM
My book How To EuropeThe Complete Travelers Handbook
All thirty chapters on line and free to read.
My day job http://www.enjoy-europe.com/brotech/services.htm
Genius chemical engineer available for contract assignments anywhere on the planet.
Questions and comments welcome.