Dear Friends and Family,
OK, OK, just for the record. I’m still alive.
I have received some very funny emails lately asking me if I’m still OK, where I am, what I’m doing, how much money I’m spending per day, etc. You’re not my real dad!
Actually, I just spent another fantastic month in Indonesia . All told I have spent 3 months in that amazing country. I spent most of October and November there before heading down to Australia and New Zealand for 6 beautiful weeks. I’m now in Singapore again for a few nights to wash my socks and get caught up on some business matters. And drink coffee and eat sushi. And take a long hot shower and buy some new deodorant.
There are several reasons that I have not sent out an issue of “The Lexpedition” lately. First, I have spent a lot of time on beautifully remote islands that don’t have computers or internet connections. Secondly, when I am in a town or village that does have web access, I’m usually just passing through to drink good coffee and get to the next small village or remote island. Third, most of the time I’m having way too much fun to spend my precious time behind a computer. Fourth, I need a PC with MS Front Page so I can upload my photos to my website and update my website with each new edition of “The Lexpedition.” PC’s like that are hard to find on the road. Any suggestions?
I am coming up on the immensely pivotal 7-month mark of my Lexpedition and vacational-related adventures. Here are some of the remarkably generic details of my approximately 200 days of wanderings so far:
I have spent the night:
- On a plane twice.
- On a ferry boat 4 times
- On a bench in the Singapore airport once (while on an expensive overnite Indonesian visa extension run.) If you have to sleep in an airport one night, I highly suggest the Singapore Airport. It’s hands down the nicest airport I’ve ever seen.
- On a “sleeper bus” in India twice. I think the only person who actually fell asleep was the driver, which was a good thing, because he was drunk and very tired.
- In 81 different places.
I have taken 23 airplane flights. None of them crashed.
The longest stretch of consecutive time in any one place was 9 nights in Manali, in Himachal Pradesh, India.
The longest stretch of time where I saw the same familiar, friendly face every day was a 12 day stretch in New Zealand where I was fortunate enough to be on a hop-on, hop-off bus with a great group of travellers as we explored the South Island together. Friends come and go. Mostly go.
The longest stretch of time where I went without seeing even one consistent, familiar face (not including the hotel managers and restaurant workers, etc.) was 8 days in a row in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta, and Pangandaran. Imagine going 8 straight days in a row where each day gave you a completely new set of human interactions. No familiar conversations, no family, no friends, no ongoing dialogues, no comfortable recognitions. Each day you start over from scratch. And during 4 of those days I did not even have a single conversation with anyone. Weird.
The longest I have gone without a hot shower was 22 days in Indonesia. Yes, I took a shower every day, just not a hot one. Who needs a hot shower when it’s 85 degrees every day?
I completed my Open Water and Advanced Open Water scuba certifications in Indonesia. To date I have been fortunate to have enjoyed 39 different dives at three different Indonesian dive centers. The biggest creature I have seen so far was a 900 pound (400 kg) Queensland Grouper while I was about 145 feet (43 meters) below the water’s surface in the Togian Islands (Sulawesi, Indonesia). I tried to eat it. I love sushi.
I have gone 200 days without a cell phone.
I have not set foot in any of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” establishments (Pizza Hut, Crapdonalds, KFC or Burger King.)
I have eaten a lot of pancakes.
I have enjoyed unbelievable quantities of coffee.
For the first time in my entire life, I have tan feet.
Since I left home, not one person has asked me for any of my money. Let’s keep it that way!
I enjoyed 14 straight days where I did not see even a single motorcycle or car (on Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.) Oh, the sweet sound of silence.
I went 28 straight days recently wearing only flip-flops or bare feet. Hence the tan feet. That’s a pretty significant achievement for me, as I probably wore flip flops for a total of 28 days in my ENTIRE LIFE prior to this adventure.
I have only worn my “important shirt” once on this trip. In fact, I recently gave it away, because it was wasting precious space in my backpack. Goodbye important shirt. I’ll miss you. Yeah, right!
But enough about me… let’s talk about you. What would you say you like best about me?
Many of you have told me that you are living vicariously through me. While I appreciate that, I invite you to live your passion now, follow your bliss now, and live vicariously through yourself, now. I decided to stop dreaming my dreams a few years ago, and it all fell into place. I had to give up an amazingly massive amount of comfortable surroundings, habits and special relationships in order to leave for a few years. The list of people and things and creature comforts that I miss is very, very long. But the deep reality is this… I am exactly where I want to be right now. I would not change a thing or be any place else. I am so deeply centered in my passion and bliss right now that I can’t describe it. I am truly blessed, amazingly fortunate, and immensely filled with gratitude.
I seriously consider myself to be the luckiest man on the planet. I do not take this opportunity and my adventures for granted. Not even for a day. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my amazing sister, Anastasia (formerly known as Stasia, and then formerly known as “The Artist Formerly Known as Stasia.”) Stasia has been managing all of my affairs and business issues for me while I’m gone, including collecting and handling my snail mail, putting out fires, collecting rents, unclogging toilets and changing air filters (I hope), selling my car, paying bills, and countless more things that I can’t even remember asking her to handle for me while I’m gone. All this while she’s being Supermom to Elliott, Isaiah and Gabriel (3 of my 7 precious nieces and nephews.) I could not be here without her help (and the help of her husband, Patrick (The Starfish.) Thank you Stasia. You’re the best. And thanks to Nicholas Krump for handling/juggling my business matters in Arizona. I honestly could not be here without you both. Thank you! I’m very happy to have you on The A-Team with me. You rock!
I have a few more days in Singapore, then on to Bangkok and Thailand for a while. Sprinkle in a healthy serving of Cambodia, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, and the Philippines, and I’ve got myself quite a nice little Southeast Asia feast over the next few months. Then back to India this fall for some more “Hillbilly Himalaya” excursions. All of this is subject to change daily, of course, depending on who I meet, what I read, and of course, the availability of pancakes and coffee.
I will try to write more soon and to include some photos and more detail about some of the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met. I’m doing my best.
Don’t forget… the time is now.
OK, gotta run. Gotta get some more vaccinations and wash my socks.
Peace & Love,