Setting Forth

Trip Start Jan 09, 2011
Trip End Mar 17, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tomorrow, I am flying to San Francisco, California, and with that flight, I begin a long-awaited journey. The past twelve months (actually, much longer) have all been pointing in this direction, and now it's finally time to go. 

It’s been three months since I left Belgium, a place I loved but felt I needed to leave.  Since then, I have had the great fortune of being able to spend quality time with my family in Virginia and Florida.  They have been so incredibly supportive and their hospitality has warmed my soul.  I cannot thank my parents, brother, and sister-in-law enough for what they have done for me.  Without the sanctuary they provided and their continuing support, my upcoming travels would have been much more difficult to pull off.

My backpack, which I call "Home" (thanks to the kind gift of embroidery a good friend in Mons had done for me – check out the photo), is carefully stuffed, weighing in at 44 pounds (20 kg)... I was shooting for 35 pounds (16 kg)!!!  I put entirely too much effort into making sure I had everything I would need, while trying to minimize the weight.  Odds are, I have packed too much.  We’ll see, and hopefully I can shed 9 pounds (4 kg) somewhere along the way.

I’ll be in San Francisco five nights, where I will connect with some friends and enjoy my last days in the United States.  I’m particularly looking forward to checking out Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, and hopefully Sausalito and Muir Woods.  On 14 January, I begin the very long trip to Singapore, going through Los Angeles, California and Tokyo, Japan along the way.  I arrive in Singapore at 1:40 am on 16 January…should be fun arriving in the middle of the night to a land completely foreign to me after a grueling 20-hour flight across the Pacific!

I’ve done my best to avoid 'over-planning’ my trip.  I have made a few reservations for lodging and travel early on, and there are a handful of places at which I need – or rather, would like – to be on certain dates.  For the most part, though, I really want to be open to what I encounter and be able to adjust my travels accordingly.  Some people have expressed an interest in meeting up with me along the way, which I not only welcome, but encourage.  Since I don’t have a firm itinerary, I ask that anyone interested in joining me contact me directly so we can discuss timing and locations.

A final note before I sign off and begin the journey:  I am embarking on this adventure because I want to do it, not because I feel I need to do it. This is not a spiritual quest, and I’m not looking for anything in particular along the way, least of all “my self”.  Although it has taken me a long time to figure it out, I have finally come to the realization that contentment is not a place the world, but a place in the mind.
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