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February 19, 2002

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Strange as it seems to me, my journey is over and I find myself at home again, a bit over a year since when I started. It has been an experience I'll never forget, an experience I'm still absorbing, but an experience that is already seeming like a dream. Since my Interlude update I hop scotched around Europe soaking up food, drink, and history. So here I offer another woefully inadequate summary plus some flippant conclusions about the nature of our planet.

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December 23, 2001

Siam Sights, Bangkok Nights

From Malaysia I walked into Thailand, once known as Siam, crossroads of Southeast Asia. I promptly investigated some of the amazing limestone island and cave formations of southern Thailand, followed by a dash up to hectic Bangkok where I engaged in diplomatic introductions to local lowlifes and eventually met up with fellow traveler Chris Tarr, who had parted ways with Than not so long before. Together with some local friends of Chris and Than's cousin Owen we engaged in a whirlwind tour of many of Bangkok's offerings, high and low. After sorting out several onward visas I forwent my original plan of taking in Northern Thailand and instead headed overland East towards the mysteries of Indochina.

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December 20, 2001

Interlude

When I first began my trip, I was intending to keep friends and family up to date on my activities using this forum. Unfortunately, I have been recalcitrant on those updates for a number of reasons (cost and time, but mostly laziness); the updates have drifted steadily out of synch, falling farther into the past. In the process, they have increasingly lost relevance. Since in my head I keep intending to push out the updates, this has resulted in me simply failing to keep everyone updated on my whereabouts, defeating the original purpose of the site.

So. I've got a lot of updating and writing to do -- and I intend to, if for no other reason than my own recollections in the far flung future. Below you will find a brief summary of where I've been, which should give a good indication of the size of the task. In the meantime, since these updates are no longer relevant, in the temporal sense, I will disable the Toadfriends mailing list that has been notifying you of these updates. Instead, if you are interested in relics of my past, you can check the site from time to time and find the updates. I will still employ the mailing list for general notifications, but there will not be many of them because I only have a little over a month left to travel! Inconceivable, really.

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September 03, 2001

Singapore, Malaysia, and Borneo

After Bali I enjoyed a steady stream of encounters with friends from home. From Bali I flew straight to Singapore, island nation of frenetic economic investment and churn, where I visited with Jen Doran. From Singapore I moved on to Malaysia where I met up with fellow world-stomper Than, on his way to Indonesia in the opposite direction, for some exploration of Malaysian Borneo where we bagged a mountain and bonded with the jungle and its diverse beasts such as orangutans. Together we headed back to the peninsula where we had a reunion with visiting friends from Houston: Rich and Sid, who along with Jen from Singapore met us in Kuala Lumpur. Together we enjoyed a taste of sanguine life on the tropical island Pulau Tioman punctuated by diving and snorkeling trips along with jungle outings. After this welcome stretch of old friend's company, I was off on my own once more on the way to Thailand.

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July 19, 2001

Shove off from Flores, on to Lombok and Bali

After Flores I picked up the pace and began island-hopping to Bali. After a four day boat tour featuring snorkels and dragons, I sampled the highs and lows of Lombok by climbing its highest peak and relaxing on some of its island beaches. Following this I ventured over to Bali, where after a bit of fluttering about I met up with Susan on her long anticipated vacation from home.

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May 29, 2001

Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

From Darwin I flew to Bali for a few days of orientation and decompressing. Reversing the direction of my original plan, I then flew deep into Flores, East Nusa Tenggara for an island-hopping overland trip back to the relative comforts of Bali. Most of this time I spent in Flores. By bus and by bemo, I slowly headed west from Maumere to Labuan Bajo. In between taxing jaunts on public transport I enjoyed healthy doses of culture, villages, volcanoes, hot springs, snorkeling, and scuba diving -- and isolation from the familiar comforts of the West.

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April 12, 2001

The Northern Territory, Up Over Down Under

From Melbourne I flew directly into the 'Red Centre', the desert heart of Oz, deep within the vast expanses of the Northern Territory. Here lies the stark beauty of Uluru, or Ayer's Rock. Somewhere along the way from Alice Springs to Darwin, this dry red land transforms into a lush tropical region, a region entering into the tail end of the rainy season when I arrived. In between I scrambled over many rocks, hiked many miles, soaked up Aboriginal lore, swam beneath waterfalls, and ate an ant's ass.

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April 06, 2001

Van Diemen's Land, Down Under Down Under

Tasmania, or Van Diemen's Land as it was once known, is the most southerly Australian state. In the Southern Hemisphere, this translates to the most temperate climate, situated as it is in the 'Roaring Forties', near 40 degrees below the equator. As a consequence, the winds that course over this land are some of the cleanest in the world, with little to stop or sully them as they whisk around the globe. In this air, on terrain both rugged and rolling, I took in a wonderful bushwalk on the famed Overland Track, explored remote costal areas where convicts once lurked, and with the help of a car explored the hill laden countryside in the agricultural heart of the island.

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March 05, 2001

The Land of Oz: Brisbane to Melbourne

After safely landing in Australia, land of the Ozzies, I began to work my way down and around the coast towards Melbourne via Sydney. Alternating between costal beaches and mountain rainforests and prairies, I encountered a diverse crowd including holiday vacationers, cowboys, and Aquarians. Along the way I encountered many fruit bats, finally sheered a sheep, picked up a quality didgeridoo, and lazed on a nude beach.

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February 15, 2001

New Zealand and Parts South

To New Zealand I must return, especially with enough time to properly explore the South Island. After merely a month in this wonderful country, I have barely scratched the surface. Nevertheless, after my Northland meanderings I did manage to take a quick look at the volcanic region of the North Island and get a back country trek in on the South Island; along the way I caught some fish, drummed under the full moon, and discovered a Busker's haven.

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January 30, 2001

New Zealand and the Northland

I have just returned from the Northland of New Zealand, after having successfully arrived in Auckland on the morning of January 20. I spent a couple of days in Auckland getting my bearings and running errands, after which I set off on a loop through what the Kiwis call the Northland, the northernmost bit of the island above Auckland. Land of beach, kauri trees, sheep, and dairies -- I was on my way.

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January 05, 2001

The Time is Nigh

The date of my departure is rapidly approaching. Beginning January 18th, I will be travelling around the world for a year, finally fulfilling a promise I made to myself all the way back in '92.

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