The Story of Kongo

Kongo the Travel Monkey

The story of Kongo began about 12 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

Kongo and Missy share a quiet moment

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.

Kongo, Cheeks, and Valentine celebrate the addition of two new monkeys in the MSP Sky Club

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 when the pandemic allows.

As a resident of Southern California Kongo has plenty of opportunities to have exciting adventures close to home and he frequently posts about them.

Sweetheart joins the troop.

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.

Contact Information

Kongo loves to hear from other monkeys and monkey lovers.  You can contact Kongo by email: or follow him on Twitter @kongomonkey or Instagram at

Copyright Information

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.

Travel Log.

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 FAQs

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.  Oh, and he still dies a little consulting on the side.  During the pandemic he’s been teaching a few courses at California State University at Channel Islands.

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?

The monkey went mirrorless with a Canon EOR R early in 2019.  He’s still deciding whether to stick with it or go back to his Canon 5D MK III.  He has a Canon 7D for backups.  In a pinch he will use his iPhone. (So Kongo gave up on the mirrorless camera and now pretty much sticks with his Canon 5D)

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?

Egypt and Jordon are booked for 2024.  Kongo is also starting to think about National Parks.

Will you answer more questions in the future?


132 thoughts on “The Story of Kongo

  1. Thanks for commenting on the likeness between Moscow and Turnpike Lane stations. Tomorrow, I’m off to Gants Hill which is supposed to be the one most like Moscow.

    It’s now the time to visit London, as the Olympics are coming, and a lot of things have been rebuilt or refurbished.

  2. What an ingenious blog! Thanks for dropping by on mine, I will certainly come back again 🙂

    I notice Kongo hasn’t been to india yet though? As I am currently living here I must put in my two cents and encourage you to travel here!


    1. Kongo has not been to India although he sorely wants to visit. I think he would like to visit Goa, Agra, the northern part of the country, and take a train across the continent. Soon I hope. Thanks fror stopping by.

    1. Kongo would be honoured (see, he can spell British) to serve in your platoon. Just keep in mind that he always flies first class and doesn’t do well camping out eating beans cooked over a Sterno can. He’s more of a room service monkey.

      1. You might notice in Kongo’s postings that he’s a Million Mile Monkey and has the wings to prove it. He’s a tough little simian.

  3. Have you ever put the whole troop of monkeys in your carry-on? I would love to see TSA go through your bag. Hey, its not a violation! The rules don’t say you can’t bring on a whole barrel of monkeys.
    I want to see more Kongo interviews. Do you think it’s too late to write him in as a candidate?

    1. Ha ha. I’ve never tried to bring all the monkeys through at one time. The only time anyone gave him a second glance was clearing gate security at Prague when she was taking everything out and making sure the cameras were really cameras. When she saw Kongo she said, “ah, a little monkey,” pronouncing it like MUN-KEE

      I’m not sure what political platform Kongo might stand on. More bananas? He is more of a keen observer at this point in his life. The days for being a candidate for anything are likely in the rear view mirror although he would seriously consider a cabinet position…say Secretary of Animal Relations or something.

  4. Hey Kongo. love your blog. I travel with a small rabbit – called Wabbitt, who has his photo taken all over the place as well. Dumpy the Hippo, and Joe ( a smaller hippo) sometimes travel with him. And a new addition to the family is Lucinda the Duck – she’s set up her blog, but she hasn’t done any traveling yet! Thanks for visiting my blog.

    1. igg, you seem to be traveling with quite a menagerie! I think it’s fun and am glad you do too. Taking pictures of stuffed animals is a great way to meet people. Kongo has even made his own business cards to hand out to his new friends who want to know more about him. Thanks for visiting and I love your finch!

      1. That’s happened to Kongo too. Not sure I get it but there you go. Biggest danger is getting snagged by a three-year old which has happened to Kongo before as well. You have to watch them like a hawk…(since we’re talking about birds…)

  5. This is so great! Thanks for finding my blog so that I can smile at yours. By the way, I’m in MN and my husband is, as we “speak” in the Delta Skyclub in Minneapolis…not too bad of a place to have to hang out – for a man or a monkey!

      1. Thanks so much! I get to hang out there if I’m with my husband, but not if I’m alone or with the kids – he’s the one with the frequent flier perks. It’s very possible you two have been there at the same time!

  6. Thanks for stopping by my website! I have to say this was quite a fun find. Especially so since a group of friends and I all have travel mascots that we bring around. Mine is a small turtle from Germany named Mr. Slopoke. He, unlike Kongo however, loves to photobomb pictures. =) Happy travels!

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  8. I saw Kongo’s look alike on the Inca Trail this past weekend in the pocket of a large rucksack. He made it all the way to Machu Picchu! Was it Kongo or just another jet setting monkey?

    1. Sadly, Kongo is languishing in San Diego at the moment but is happy to hear that one of his cousins has scaled the peaks to Machu Picchu! Kongo will get there someday …

      1. I look forward to seeing the photo! I think Kongo would love the cloud forests all around the compound, a great place for a monkey if I’ve ever seen 🙂

      2. Now for a South America update. Your blog really inspired the little monkey to get off the banana tree and do something about Machu Picchu! So next April he’s got a trip booked to go to the holy Inca site and then head off for another week or so in the Galapagos. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. On our last trip to Korea before relocating back to the States, a Korean friend of ours who owned a toy store presented our children with Papa Bear, a stuffed bear who was bigger than they were. Our flight back was quite turbulent and after hearing the pilot and co-pilot argue over whose fault all the bumps and jolts were, the co-pilot asked to borrow Papa Bear, took him to the cockpit and ordered the pilot out of his seat declaring “The Bear flies better than you!” Papa Bear doesn’t travel any more with the new flight regs, but lives at my daughter’s apartment.

  10. Hello, Kongo! Thanks for dropping by my blog and leading me back here. I’m jealous of your adventures, so I’ll just follow to catch up with you. Cheers! 🙂

      1. Thank you Kongo.India looks forward to welcome you to the great big monkey family.We have monkeys everywhere in all parts of the country.You will feel at home..LOL

  11. Thank you, Kongo, for stopping by and liking my humble travel and photography blog. I enjoyed reading of your travels and look forward to reading more about the places you’ve been and sights you’ve seen.

  12. Hello Kongo,

    Thank you for popping in to my blog on you travels, I see you liked my “So, you wanna pay Peanuts?” post. I just had to drop by and tell you, the Monkey in the Photo is called Congo! I don’t think he’s as well travelled as you, but I hope you enjoy painting as much as he does 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I’ll let you in on a little secret, Kongo’s original name (printed on the Beanie Baby tag he was born with) was actually Congo with a C but I didn’t like that spelling and didn’t want to confuse everyone with the country Congo or the Congo River so taking a degree of literary license, I changed the name to Kongo with a K. I like the K better. I have “Monkeys” on my WordPress search page and check out all the monkey posts every few days. I particularly liked your. Who doesn’t like a monkey?? Thanks for visiting.

    1. Why thank you for that invitation, Georgia. I will do something there and try to get it up over the weekend or perhaps today if the wifi on the airplane is working properly! Best,

  13. Monkey love …. what can I say that hasn’t already been said?

    I am awarding you the Very Inspiring Blogger Award for the quality of your work. I realize that it is a tremendous amount of work to accept this award and of course do understand if you do not have the time to do so! Jejeje, it’s taken me months to getting around to accepting this myself!
    Congratulations! Keep up the good work. I enjoy your work immensely!

    Please refer to the following for instructions:

  14. Thank you Kongo for “Liking” the post “Love Of The Canvas”. Artists Of Our World on my photography blog

    On behalf of the Through Harold’s Lens Creative Team, my trusty sidekick Mr. SLR Nikon, his brother Mr. Pen Pal and myself, we truly appreciate your enjoyment. We hope you continue to join us on our journeys.  

    Best Regards,

    1. Thanks for following, Xina and many thanks for the link to the banana video! It was great. I loved it that the guy doing the banana peeling demo was actually wearing monkey pajamas!

    1. What a great story, Marie. One of Kongo’s favorite bloggers sent along Flat Ruthie a few years ago and Kongo took her around until she got crushed even flatter in his travel bag. I hope to get to India next year. Plan to take the luxury train around on a NatGeo Photo Tour. All I have to do is find someone to tag along as Mrs. Kongo does NOT have India on her bucket list.

      1. Kongo will love India. Rajasthan is incredible. We did it all by car. A rail trip sounds wonderful. Though you shouldn’t miss the experience of traveling on Indian highways. The closest thing to an amusement park ride I’ve ever experienced.

  15. This reminds me of photos of a plushie Sailor Bebo that someone I knew back at our VOX blogging community captured in various scenes; quite a few from the old VOX neighborhood continued this idea.

    1. In the past three years since I’ve been doing this I’ve encountered several stuffed bloggers out there. When I visit places I also often see visitors taking pictures of little Gumby’s or other toys in front of famous landmarks.

      Of course, in Kongo’s monkey mind, his perspective is somewhat different as he often adds social commentary from a simian perspective. 🙂

      Thanks for visiting!

      1. You’re quite welcome! I shared a link to the Vox Diaspora– hopefully it will garner you some faithful new followers.

  16. I am a frequent visitor of your blog and am jealous of your travels. The photos tell about the places you have been but unfortunately you did not photograph my place yet.
    Shall I wait for you with a Martini?

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. There are very few places Kongo would not recommend visiting. North Korea now but maybe things will change in the near future. Some areas of Africa with tribal unrest should be deferred. Kongo wouldn’t go to Syria at the moment. But it’s a big world and there are so many great things to see that you should just pick a spot and head that way! Enjoy.

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