The BIG Adventure come to a close ................

Trip Start May 16, 2006
Trip End Aug 15, 2006

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wow, what a journey it has been! Its hard to believe the end of my trip is here. I feel like I have been gone much longer than 3 months. I guess all the travel has put me in a time warp. As I look back on this trip in retrospect I feel so lucky and fortunate to be able to make such a journey. Part of me does not want the adventure to end, the other part is looking forward to being home. From the people I met to the sights, sounds and flavors, I will cherish them for many years to come.

Having experienced so many places and cultures really gives one a whole new perspective on life. From learning the value of patience, to appreciating the basic comforts of life that we take for granted. Seeing how some people live in Bosnia, Turkey and Thailand is an eye opening experience. Perhaps the most dramatic part of the trip was traveling through war scarred Croatia and the war destruction in Bosnia. Truely humbling experiences. Patience is virtue when undertaking such a trip. From the language barriers to a lack of or no communication one must be flexible and realize sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Another aspect of the trip is the globalization of the worlds economy. McDonalds, Toyota, Nokia, Ford, KFC, Aldi, DHL, Lavazza Coffees, Pizza Hut, etc. From music to fashion, to food the world is becoming homogenized. Granted each place still has its own cultural identity, but everywhere I went were alike in so many ways.

Throughout the trip I did not personally experience any anti-americanism. Eventually most conversations I had with other travelers did get around to President Bush. He is pretty much despised by all. From Iraq to global warming everyone but one person was anti-Bush. The only desenter was an older Thai guy. He offered me some of his soup, then laughed and said it was too hot for Americans. Then in his broken english he said "Bush good, "bam-bam" Al Quieda". I was a bit shocked by that one.

A few facts, numbers, and opinions I compiled:

# Days Travelled: 92
# of Countries: 7, 8 if you count changing planes twice in Frankfurt.
# of Cities: 33+
# of Planes: 17
# of Buses: 18 long distance and numerous local buses.
# of Ferries/Boats: 9
# of Trains: 1, big surprise there, buses were quicker/cheaper than trains in most places.
# of Books Read: 8
# of Continents: 3, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
# of Blog Pics: 517
# Oceans/Seas swam in: 5, Adriatic, Aegean, Andaman, Gulf of Thailand, Pacific
Favorites Places: (tie) 1. Plitsvice Lakes, Croatia 2. Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
Least Favorites: Both in Croatia, Korcula and Split. Korcula very pretty, very small and very boring. In Split I was with a couple of nice American girls I met but I did not care for the city much.
Favorite Hostel: Central YHA in Sydney
Least favorite Hostel: Sarajevo, dark, dirty, and smelled.
Best food: Thailand
Worst food: Australia(sorry to my Oz friends, dont slam me!), Not bad but not great either. I blame my budget because I am having to find the cheapest places.
Best Airline Service: Quantas
Regrets: Not having someone to share the experience with.
Saddest site: Bosnia
Worse offences by man: Litter. Bosnia, Turkey and Thailand were pretty bad. The graffitti in Croatia.
Biggest annoyances: Pay toilets. Wish i had a refund for all the times i paid to use the toilet!
Over Budget: 25% +, but I have been gone much longer than anticipated.
Value of trip: Priceless!
# of web blog hits: 2,135. Pretty amazing! I never expected that kind of response.

In a nutshell I would sum up the countries I visited as:
Czech Republic: Prague had too many tourists! Cesky Krumlov, step back in time.
Croatia: Beautiful coast. Dubrovnik was a favorite city.
Bosnia: Very nice people.
Slovenia: Charming, and would go back tomorrow if I could.
Turkey: So much to see, too little time, good food.
Thailand: Food, Food, Food! Phi Phi of course.
Australia: Friendly people, beautiful modern cities.

All in all it was an excellent trip. I would have done a couple of things different. IE: skipped a couple of places and stayed a day of two less in a few places and maybe planned a little better. But I am very happy with the entire experience.

I am flying out tomorrow 0950 SYD time, the flight seems to have plenty of seats. However the flights from Los Angeles to Charlotte are full. Wish me luck because after a 13.5 hour flight I really dont want to be playing the bumping game!

Thanks for sticking around, I know it was not the most exciting of blogs. However I have enjoyed sharing my experiences with you and hope you have enjoyed reading the blogs and seeing the pics.

Stay tuned, if all goes well John, and I(maybe cousin Julie?!?) are planning a trip to Barcelona the 3rd week of September for the Merci Fesitval.

G'day all,

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