The story of Kongo began about six years ago when he was discovered as a suitcase stowaway during a business trip. (Mrs. Kongo loves to sneak surprises into the luggage). I quickly began taking pictures of the little monkey in different settings and emailing them back to Mrs. Kongo and when granddaughters came along they also began receiving pictures and began tracking the little monkey’s journeys. It’s sort of like a simian version of the traveling gnome which, I believe, was stolen from the movie Amélie.
In early November 2011, I had a weird dream about Kongo wanting to start a travel blog but he couldn’t find the right software to do it. Anyway, it got me thinking about a blog for Kongo, I stumbled upon WordPress, and the rest is…well, history.
In February 2012 Missy showed up and started hanging out with Kongo. Missy is a sultry
simian with big monkey eyes and a thing for Kongo which poses a few complications as Kongo and Rabbit (see below) were kind of going monkey-steady in a long distance relationship. We’re not sure how all that is going to work out but as it turns out simians are not all that monogamous and we all know about rabbits so Kongo has lots of happy relationships.
On a business trip in March 2012 two more monkeys joined Kongo’s troop. They are Cheeks and Valentine who used to live with a woman named Helen in Herndon, Virginia but were set free to join Kongo’s band and see the world. The picture below shows Cheeks, Kongo, and Valentine having drinks at the Sky Club in the Minneapolis airport.
Another monkey, Sweetheart, has also been adopted by the troop so we’ve got a full barrel of monkeys going here.
Frankly, the logistics of hauling around a troop of monkeys is getting more than a little onerous. We will have to see how Kongo handles his future adventures with this growing band of fun-loving chimps.
Even more monkeys joined the troop on Christmas Day 2012! This is really becoming a zoo.
Before retirement, Kongo used to travel over 200,000 air miles each year. Mostly he flew between San Diego and the East Coast but he often visited other sites in the Midwest, South, Southwest, and other spots across the country. He still goes overseas a few times each year.
As a resident of Southern California Kongo has plenty of opportunities to have exciting adventures close to home and he frequently posts about them.
Kongo loves to travel, meet new people and see new places. He strongly subscribes to the notion that the journey is as important as the destination and strives to be a traveler and not a tourist.
It’s a jungle out there.
Travel safe. Have fun.
Kongo loves to hear from other monkeys and monkey lovers. You can contact Kongo by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @kongomonkey.
Unless a credit is associated with a photograph, all the videos, photographs, and written material are original works. Kongo is happy to allow non-commercial use of his photos. Just give credit where credit is due. If you want a photo for commercial or editorial purposes, please click the link to Dreamtime on the home page and purchase the photo you want at a very reasonable cost.
Kongo is a well-traveled monkey and has been all over the world and to all continents except Antarctica. He’s visited 49 of 50 states (hang in there, North Dakota…Kongo will get to you) and has lived in California, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Oklahoma.
KONGO’S WORLD TRAVELS
What is your scariest travel experience?
Getting kidnapped by a two-year old in a Sky Club at the Atlanta airport. The little monkey just reached into the bag, pulled me out and ran to his 40-something mother who said in this too high falsetto voice, “Where did you get that little monkey?” Fortunately my zoo keeper heard the commotion and was able to get me back without paying ransom.
How do you handle jet lag?
Are you serious? Monkey’s don’t get jet lagged.
What is the most common reaction people have when they spot you in an airport?
They usually say something clever like, “Hey, do you realize there’s a monkey in your bag?”
Does Kongo have a job?
Kongo retired in the summer of 2015. He now watches grand girls, writes, and travels about taking pictures and making blog entries. He’s also a docent at the Getty Villa in Malibu, California.
Where do you live?
In the pocket of a roll-aboard suitcase
Do you ever have any problems getting through airport security?
Does Kongo have a girlfriend?
Yes. To keep peace with the grand girls Kongo does have an “official” girlfriend. Her name is “Rabbit” and she lives in Thousand Oaks, California with the cutest little granddaughter you can imagine. Sometimes Rabbit hides out and misses her ride back up the coast and has to be express-mailed back home! Kongo also dates Missy the Monkey (see above).
What are the political affiliations of this monkey troop?
Well, monkeys aren’t all that political but Kongo is definitely a democrat. Valentine, in that bright red suit, is obviously a republican. Cheeks just finished reading Atlas Shrugged for the third time so he’s a libertarian. Missy is an independent monkey. Sweetheart is undecided and confused about everything political.
What is Kongo’s favorite travel destination?
Kongo visits very few places he doesn’t like. There’s something interesting almost everywhere. In the USA he particularly likes San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Santa Fe, and Chicago. His overseas favorite cities are London, Prague, Budapest, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He also likes Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Muscat. Kongo recently added Paris to his list of favorite cities. Oh, la la
Where exactly does Kongo live?
When not stashed in an overhead bin, Kongo’s suitcase is parked in Newbury Park, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.
What kind of camera does Kongo use?
Kongo got a Canon 5D MK III for his birthday in August 2014 so he shoots now with the new kit and his Canon 7D which he also loves. He has a Canon 40D as a backup body. In a pinch he will use his iPhone.
So, What’s with the Wings?
Kongo is a Million Mile Monkey with Delta Airlines. He was pinned by one of his favorite flight attendants, Marsha, on a cross-country trip in 2012.
What is Kongo’s next big trip?
In 2017 he has booked a cruise in the Cook Islands of French Polynesia. At the end of October he’s off to Oaxaca for a photo expedition with National Geographic, and next May he and Mrs. Kongo are headed for Morocco. There’s also a Japan trip in the future.
Will you answer more questions in the future?