Hi - This is Lynette. We can't believe it but we have now been back in America for over 9 months. Sorry it has taken us this long to post a final blog entry but as you can imagine we have been busy getting resettled. I'm back at work at the library and Dave is busy getting his freelance art career going. We bought a house near downtown Orlando and are slowly readjusting. We wanted to do one more blog entry to end this epic adventure of ours humbly named "The Trip." We have been referring to it as "The Trip" for years, since we started planning it. I guess we will always refer to it as "The Trip." It was exactly that. No other explanation was needed. We never asked "what trip are you referring to?" We just knew from day 1 when this idea was hatched that it was the one and only, it was"The Trip." The experience we had in 2008 seems like a dream to us. Since we have been back, we have often looked at one another and contemplated if we were truly in India. Did we really take a camel ride in the Indian Dessert? Did Dave really eat that bamboo worm in Thailand and drink that disgusting snake wine in Vietnam? Did we really hike in the himalayans? Did we really get chased down by a guy with a plastic chair in Thailand because Dave wouldn't buy a leather bracelet? Yes, in Thailand - the land of smiles. This particular Thai person was not smiling and neither were we as we hightailed it out of there. After Dave and the pissed off Thai man had a very weird exchange of crazy sounds, which apparently was the way the Thai man "saved face," we quickly walked back to our hotel room looking over our shoulder the entire time.
I'm glad Dave took 23,000 photos... that's right...Dave took 23,000 photos. That is 23 thousand, twenty three thousand, two three comma zero zero zero photos. That averages out to about 64 pictures a day. He never was without the camera. He took it everywhere. I think he is glad not to be taking pictures all day long. I'm so thankful for all those photos because just when we have the thought of hmmm, did we really...all we have to do is look at those pictures. Memories are wonderful but the sad truth of them is that they do fade. So the pictures help remind us in an instant of what we did and what we are so proud of having accomplished.
We came up with a list of questions for ourselves to help share our experience. We are truly going to miss traveling and writing in this blog and wanted to thank everyone who traveled along with us on "The Trip" via this blog. We were thrilled to be able to share the experience.
Twenty One Questions
1. Favorite Country?
Dave - Greece
Lynette - New Zealand
2. Favorite Experience?
Dave - Come on, can I really be expected to pick just one!!!
Lynette - Hiking in the Himalayans in Nepal
3- Scariest experience?
Dave - Every morning for about a year before the trip when I woke up and thought, "what the heck are we planning to do, are we crazy!"
Lynette - China where we got into that unmarked van that eventually took us to an overnight bus to Yangshuo. It
turned out fine but for awhile there I was rather terrified.
4-How many visits to foreign doctors?
Dave - Twice. Once in India for a stomach bug. As expected the facilities were not up to Western standards. I was terrified that I would contract something from the needle when they drew my blood. Once in Nepal for a fecal test due to inability to shake the stomach bug from India.
Lynette - 2 (1st in New Zealand where I picked up some horrible rash all over my back, stomach and arms. We
have pictures but we spared you all from this horribleness. Just thinking about it makes me start to itch!
The Doctor did not know what it was by the way. Just gave me some fortified cortizone cream and it went away
2nd in Australia where I busted up my left foot after falling off a surf board. Xrays only cost $50 Aussie dollars just so
5- If I had to live somewhere we visited it would be?
Dave - Aus, NZ, Berlin.
Lynette - New Zealand
6-How many countries visited? - 22 (I consider Hong Kong a separate country from China)
7- Types of transportation - trains, planes, automobiles, vans, buses, rickshaws, tuk tuks, bicycles, scooters, boats,
camel, and there were more.
8-Most attractive people? - Italians!
9-Worst toilets? - China in the rural parts
10-What are you going to miss the most about traveling?
Lynette - figuring out train and subway maps, and experiencing new places and food consistently
Dave - Being able to experience what this wonderful world has to offer without worrying about making a daily income for a whole year!
11- What did you miss the most about home?
Dave - Consistent Western standard shower facilities, and free refills on soda.
Lynette - My own bed
12- Most unfortunately named currency? - The Dong (Vietnam)
13-Favorite beer - Tennents in Scotland and Berliner in Germany
14- Poorest country? - (Its a Tie) - Nepal and Cambodia
15- favorite food experience? - Greece for both of us
16- Best weather? - Greece (if you go to Greece go in September!)
17- Best animal experience?
Lynette - Riding Camels - I love Camels
Dave - Seeing Pandas in China (not in the wild)
Dave- I started to freak a bit on Ha Long Bay, Vietnam after slicing my finger open on the boat ladder and realizing that we were drifting around in the middle of nowhere and if something serious happened to us we would have a very difficult time finding our way to land quickly. When I showed my wound to a boat attendant who didn't speak any English thinking that he'd rush to get me a first aid kit he instead just handed me a half used packet of kleenex.
Lynette - New Zealand (first country). The reality of it all really hit me hard right at first. I had about a week of crying fits before I started to settled down and really start to enjoy the experience.
19- Most surprising?
Dave - How well run foreign airports and airlines are run compared to the U.S. Our worst flying experience out of 22 countries was trying to get out of the States at the beginning. Thai Air was the best.
Lynette - How accepted the US dollar is internationally. In Cambodia the ATMs dispensed US dollars not the
20-What did we learn?
Lynette - We learned, discovered and experienced many things. We learned how accessible the world is, how poor many countries are, how fortunate we are. We learned how important America is and that in order for the rest of the world to succeed America needs to succeed. We learned that people really truly want to like America and they definitely like Americans. We did our best to counter the "ugly American" stereotype by being on our best non-obnoxious behavior. We were NEVER, not even once treated badly due to being Americans, in fact it was the opposite in some cases.
Dave - I learned that I can hold my bladder much longer than I thought I could.
21- How much did it cost? We weren't telling a lot of people about how much it cost us. But then we thought, who cares? So, here it is...we originally budgeted $50,000 but it ended up costing us around $75,000. That averages out to $207 a day.
Now here are some photo highlights from the trip. Since we took 23,000 photos it was very difficult to choose a small selection. So to make it a little easier we picked only photos with one or both of us in the shot. I guess its kind of proof we were actually there. We probably have enough photos to keep posting a trip blog every month for the rest of our lives even though we aren't on the trip anymore, but I'm sure no one wants that, so this is it, the last batch. They are in no particular order.
Final stop, Scotland on New Year's Eve
Please travel. It really is as easy as deciding where to go, saving up the money and then buying the ticket. You can easily figure out what to do once you get there. Ask yourself one question - what country/place have I always wanted to go? Then, go there. Not sure how to do it? Ask me - I'll tell you. I'll help you. I'll go with you.
Till we travel again, Dave and Lynette