Jude and Marv Kieca of Cedaredge have traveled and hiked over a very large part of the world.
Their latest trip was to Australia this past March, arranged through Road Scholar which specializes in hiking trips.
Under the Road Scholar itinerary they hiked in Tasmania and on the Great Ocean Road. Then, on their own, they hiked Lamington, Fitzroy Island, the Great Barrier Reef and Danitree.
Jude says, "We are sort of 'gypsies.' We have traveled all over the United States and now we want to travel all over the world."
"I never traveled as a kid," Marv said. "I find it extremely interesting observing different cultures, finding myself in different countries among people who are different from those with whom I am accustomed to sharing time.
"I find learning about different belief systems, eating food that is specific to a different country, is both physically and mentally stimulating."
Jude added, "Meeting people one-on-one, watching how they enjoy life and coming to understand other cultures make all of us more tolerant and less aggressive.
"Kids like to travel. When our daughters were growing up we traveled all over the U.S. Our grandson, who is in his second year at Colorado State University, wants to do an internship in another country."
Marv and Jude both grew up in Chicago, within blocks of each other in the same neighborhood, but they didn't know each other. They went to separate high schools.
Later they went to the same church and, when Jude had her 16th birthday party, Marv was invited to the party.
"That's where it all started," Jude said. "Seven and one-half years later we were married." They wisely finished their educations first.
Marv was in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corp. He was assigned to the Army Research Lab at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora as administrative officer for the research and experiments on high altitude and nutritional research, carried out by both military and civilian doctoral scientists.
During this time Jude taught school at Sable Elementary and later Laredo Elementary, both in Aurora.
After Marv's stint with the U.S. Army he opened an American Family Insurance agency in Castle Rock. Jude helped out in the office. They served their customers in their insurance agency for 30 years
The family lived in Parker.
Marv and Jude have three daughters: Jennifer Craig, who is an ER doctor at Delta County Memorial Hospital; Kimberly Kieca, who lives in Elizabeth and teaches advanced math; and Deb Jackson, a phlebotomist who lives in northern Illinois.
While in Parker, Jude, Marv, Jen, Kim, and Deb were big 4-H people. They were beekeepers and had a flock of sheep. Then the daughters grew up and left home.
Jen was practicing in the medical clinic in Cedaredge in the early 2000s.
While visiting Jen, Marv and Jude learned about an active hiking group in Cedaredge, Senior Hikers, and hiked with the group. They enjoyed hiking with Senior Hikers so much that they began to arrange their trips so they would be at Jen's on Wednesdays to hike with the group.
Marv had to be back in Parker after a few days so he could care for the flock of sheep.
On one hiking trip Rex Replogle, a member of Senior Hikers, asked Marv and Jude, "Why don't you sell the sheep and move to Cedaredge?"
The sheep were sold and Marv and Jude moved to Cedaredge in May 2005.
The Kieca family loves to dance and they have danced with many foreign groups in their travels.
In August and September of 2014 Jude and Deb, Kim and Jen took the Road Scholar trip to "Ultimate Africa: Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe Safari" to celebrate Jude's birthday. (Marv wasn't interested in this trip.) The Kieca women danced with all the different tribes they met during the safari and really enjoyed the dancing.
Marv and Jude especially enjoy trips to South and Central America and have travelled to all the countries there except a few very small countries. Marv is fluent in Spanish.
"The people are so nice, so welcoming," they said.
In Cartagena, Chile, they took a "Dance Bus tour" which stopped at various historic places. There were musicians at every stop and the tourists got out and danced in the street.
At one stop Jude and Marv were dancing inside a club but it was so crowded and filled with tobacco smoke they moved out into the street to dance. The owner came out with ice water for them.
"It was great dancing, meeting and talking with people," Marv remembered.
Prior to a January/February 2015 Road Scholar trip, "Chile and Argentina: The Andes to Patagonia," Jude gave Marv a birthday gift of tango lessons. And they tangoed all across Chile and Argentina.
"Here we were doing the classical tango, arms outstretched and long steps, that we have seen in movies through the decades, and the Chileans and Argentines were dancing updated versions they had created," Jude said. "It was so exciting and so much fun."
While in Costa Rica on a hiking trip, Marv and Jude slept in a cave behind a waterfall, with water falling over the opening as they slept.
On an Overseas Adventure tour Marv and Jude's group spent time on a farm in the Taurus mountains, then toured Turkey and Istanbul on their own.
They have travelled southeast Asia extensively: Bhutan, Nepal, Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. They find India to be too crowded, too many people to be able to move about. They have not considered a trip to China.
In Viet Nam people smiled at them as they passed on the street and were very welcoming.
Jude is a weaver. She carries her i-Pad with her. When there is awkwardness with local people, Jude will show photos of her loom and weaving and, even with language barriers, smiles and gestures emanate from the people around her.
In Africa she showed pictures of African animals to school children who became animated at once.
Marv, being adept with several languages, helps their communication with people in other countries.
The Kieca's next trip will be to Belize to view Mayan ruins.
A family trip to Paris is planned for June. Marv is studying French.
After Paris, the daughters and their families will go on to Italy. Jude and Marv will go to Slovenia for hiking.
Marv said, "We enjoy an adventure tour but then Jude and I go off on our own."