Reflections on My Trip

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re on a massive trip that you’re constantly on the move for, to really appreciate everything that you saw and did. With my Central and Southeast Asia trip that I just returned from, perhaps the best part is sitting at home, thinking about and appreciating exactly how amazing some of the things I saw and did were. My trip took me around the world from Bali and East Timor to the Central Asian “Stan” countries all the way to Iran and I just wanted to share a few things I have realized in reflection.

First, this trip was really a massive undertaking which I enjoyed every step of the way. I loved the planning and the research that was involved along with the visas and logistics. I guess I am kind of a masochist when it comes to travel planning. Some people hate that aspect and love to just use travel agents to make their life easier but I like to do every aspect of the trip unless I have no other option. I feel it helps me learn more about where I am going and the processes of getting there.

This trip was my fourth time circumnavigating the globe. This trip, I traveled about 43,000km or about 27,000 miles by land, air, sea, donkey and foot. I set foot in 17 different airports along this trip on 10 different airlines across 13 countries in 2 hemispheres. I have also now been to all 11 former Soviet republics plus Russia and Kaliningrad.

I learned countless lessons on new customs in remote parts of the world. I realized that there is still so much about people I don’t understand and probably never will. I realized that I wish I spoke Russian. I realized and proved to myself that there is always more to a place than what is reported on TV; see Iran and East Timor. I realized that the air pollution in China is as bad as anywhere I’ve ever seen. I’ve also realized there China DOES have the worlds largest population-they are everywhere! I once again realized that I shouldn’t eat a salad anywhere outside of westernized countries.

I realized that some Asian people do not know how to work bathroom doors on airplanes. I saw a Chinese guy on my flight from Beijing to Almaty take literally 10 minutes to figure out to push the bathroom door in to open it. He then somehow was able to lock it. When finished, he was unable to unlock the door not realizing that you need to simply press the lock lever the opposite way to unlock. He then proceeded to scream until the flight attendant had to emergency enter the bathroom to let him out. It was like watching a stereotype parody to the extreme and I am still baffled by it. I also realized that Japanese like to do do group exercises on planes to avoid DVT.

I realized that Bali is heaven on Earth (see photo above from Le Meridien Bali hotel/resort). I realized that I am not nearly as good a surfer as I want to be. I realized that Central Asia has some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the world. I realized how difficult it is to make Persian carpets. You cannot imagine the time, discipline and detail these people put into them-it’s astounding. I realized that East Timor only gets 1300 tourists per year which breaks down to about 3 a day and most of those are visiting people working in aid roles. I realized that old Russian planes have the worst and smallest coach seats in history. I realized that the Great Wall of China is as good as it should be and that it is possible to have it all to yourself. I realized that the Terra Cotta Warriors are slightly overrated and that Shanghai is the coolest city in China.

Finally, I realized that I can’t wait to go on my next trip-wherever that may be.

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  1. Thats a really funny story about the Chinese guy in the bathroom

  2. LOL, that is funny and I can totally imagine the guy screaming from the bathroom. You must have been cracking up.

  3. Ya it was really funny/weird. I had the exit seat right in front of the bathroom and many people were having issues entering the bathroom-I mean just push the door in-whats the problem? But this one guy was screaming like a woman trying to get out of there shaking the door-I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea what he was saying but it was really funny. Then when he got out-he just calmly went back to his seat as if nothing happened…strange.

  4. You are the King of Aphorisms (very nice post).

  5. What is an aphorism? LOL!

  6. I figured you would have realized that the maker of immodium should get a nobel peace prize.

  7. I want to know when your visiting Uganda.

  8. You’ll be the first to know, I know you’re dying to go there

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