Saturday, August 27, 2011

Around the World Summary

Krabi, Thailand
"I do believe in the mysteries of things, about myself and the things I see. I enjoy being puzzled and arriving at my own incorrect conclusions"                               (Tom Waits, 1987)

The process of being brought into this life, living on this earth, and eventually being lifted into another dimension is magical without concrete scientific explanation of how it all works. Humans have a finite time to live on this planet and again without much evidence of why and how, who gets placed where and when is still a mystery. Because I ponder these questions I have felt it my duty to explore this world and experience other cultures, plants, animals and landscapes.  Much like the travel experiences of my past, our condensed around the world journey offers us a better understanding and appreciation of the incredible variations of life on our planet.

Parachuting into vastly different cultures and landscapes always present challenges the first couple days  appreciating the fact there wasn't time for boredom or wanting to return home. I was always busy arranging for transportation, figuring out what to see, where to eat, where to sleep and what to expect next. Once we touched down on in New York City our desire to reacquaint with our kids increased rapidly. Out of the three children we left behind, only two were availble to hug upon our return...Ericka left the country while we were gone and is now living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The marvels of nature we experienced were magnificent always fueling my lust for further exploration. Excitement of the unknown is contagious and I hope our journey will influence you to set out on your own journey. Our brand of travel was not a bare bones backpacker variety nor was it a luxury tour. Occasionally we spoiled ourselves with a massage, hot springs soak or a seaweed bath after toughing it out in some less than basic accommodations. Purposely putting ourselves into slightly unknowing and uncomfortable situations challenged our trust in human nature with hope the travel gods would provide us direction. Each country, city, village or island is limited to what it can offer and it was up to us to search out our interest and find a way to experience it.  Without expectations or set schedules, our minds and bodies were up for what ever came our way including revolutions and natural disasters. All in all our journey was more than we could have imagined and still to this day we look at each other and exclaim "We did it!"

The two most asked questions upon our return were…”What’s it like returning back home after being gone so long”. The silliest yet most obvious was putting together a normal sentence in a conversation without using just nouns and verbs. My flow of speech needed repair. I know having a travel companion is much better than being on your own but the sensation of fragmented conversation still existed.

Secondly, the most asked question was “ What was your favorite place”. The question stuns both Sharon and I. We just can’t single out a favorite hidden paradise nestled in the Himalayas or on an island in the Indian Ocean. We witnessed places in great need of help yet the simple lives of the Nepalese in remote villages trump those of many in our own country. Homes come in all sizes, shapes, materials, and degrees of happiness but the most alarming sound was the NATO jets flying overhead at three in the morning while we were nestled in our beds on the island of Crete. I tried not to think about the fear and harm about to occur when these soaring aggressive messengers deliver their ordinance to a village in Libya. Many times life isn't fair and you quickly understand that blatant reality when you travel and in the same breath I'm thankful for my good fortune. 

Here are some silly facts about our trip….157 days on the road (3768 hours), 15 countries visited, 36,976 miles traveled, and we touched the latitudes of the equator to the arctic circle. Airlines flown...Delta, Continental, Bangkok Air, 540 Air, Qatar, Lao Airlines, Turkish Air, Yeti Air, EgyptAir, JetBlue, British Airways, Aire Lingus, Olympic Air, and Icelandair. Other modes of transport...bus, train, bicycle, tuk tuk (many variations), ferry boat, jet boat, long tail boat, tall ship, Dhow boat, hydrofoil, motor scooter, taxi, minibus, back of a pickup truck, subway and rental car. Of course I can't forget our feet.

Oh, one bonus question asked….”Would you do it again”…I’m already planning my trip to Antarctica, the last of the continents I need to step upon.

I’ve put together a smattering of highlight images using a snapshot look much like how my mind views things….a little out of focus and color enhanced. Before we get to the images of delight, I have a list of people to thank that made our trip such a success.

Gretchen, Carl, & Ericka for being good while we were gone.
Trace, Tom, Sung and everyone at ParkPro for keeping the company profitable
Matt at National Bank of Arizona for making a rough situation much better along with the older gentleman desk clerk in Metropolis Hotel in Athens that scolded me like his son for not listening to him.
All my blogger fans that kept me writing though I slacked at the end
Julia & Ryan, for taking great care of our sweet Bisbee home.
Lisa for Paris, Irini for Greece, Jill for being Jill, Kim & Gordon exploring companions, Laura & Scott night of silliness in London, Jadzia & Dave showering us with Ireland, Sara & Coby allowing us to kidnap them, and many other people we met along the way that made us feel comfortable, loved, and put up with our silliness.


East Tsavo Park, Kenya
Sukhothai, Thailand
Amsterdam Netherlands
Bistro silliness in Paris

Acropolis, Athens Greece

Big Ben, London England

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Sphinx in Giza, Egypt

Guinnessman in Dublin, Ireland

Mt. Kilimanjaro, Kenya

Nepalese Dancer

Empire State Bldg, NYC

Poon Hill Himalayas, Nepal
Nepal Madonna

Reykjavik, Iceland

Stonehenge, England
Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Eiffel Tower, Paris France

Istanbul, Turkey

Luang Prabang, Laos

"Travel is fatal to  prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."

Mark Twain

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