Final Thoughts

on our

Fried Rice Odyssey

    We set off on this Fried Rice Odyssey with only a general plan and one reservation for the first stop in Hong Kong.  The general plan included the countries we wanted to visit and the general time frame of approximately one month in each country. We had two large bags and two day packs and an abundant selection of guide books, Lonely Planet, etc. We absolutely could not possibly have imagined all the interesting people and experiences we were ultimately to enjoy.
    This was an adventure into the unknown, for us, the  uncharted, and we were true to our commitment to wander off in any new direction that tickled our fancy.  For much of the time we were on the move but there were also periods of "down time."  We never really grew bored or deeply home-sick. We took up SCUBA diving on this trip and found that every new destination offered unique and challenging dive opportunities.  The study of the Indonesian  language offered both a challenge and an opportunity for me and occupied much of my free time over the two months we were in Indonesia.  With a digital video camera we also spent a lot of time gathering pictures to record our experiences.  And finally, with a small laptop we were putting together a journal of our pictures and experiences to load onto a web page for the family and friends back home.  The work that went into the web page proved very useful because it forced upon us a certain discipline of reflection and study.  
    We took along a fairly large medical kit and thankfully had to use it only a few times.  We were most fortunate I think, in having so few health problems for a trip of this duration. The biggest challenge was to be away from our kids and home for such a long time, but we strategically planned a family reunion in Australia half way through the trip.
    We tallied up the total mileage (air, land and sea) on our trip and found, to our amazement, that we had logged in 40,239 miles.  And beyond all the pictures and memories, after 6 months of travel we find ourselves changed people, influenced by what we've experienced.  Our appetite's wetted to see and experience more of the world.  Our daily lives back home seem to regularly trigger associations to our travels.  It's worth noting again that there were very few Americans traveling in Asia during this time. And now with the more recent bombings in Bali, very few people, young or old, are wandering the world. A true global community of backpacking youth, who's travel expenditures largely benefited the local economies, who respected local cultures and were roving goodwill ambassadors, are now a target. How unfortunate for everyone.

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