93 blog posts, 184 student poems published, many thousands of miles traveled, 8 countries visited, nearly 20,000 photos taken, hundreds of students taught, and many new friends made.
I traveled by plane, train, taxi, tuk-tuks of all kinds, jeepney, tricycle, truck, van, Uber, subway, skytrain, bicycle, boat, motorbike and foot.
I slept (or tried to sleep) in luxury boutique hotels with rooftop infinity pools, in private apartments, on mattresses that were as hard as wood and some that were a little softer, on the floors of bamboo huts and Hmong village homes, on too many overnight buses, trains and planes, in some very nice and not-so-nice AirBnBs, in rooms with snoring roommates or above Karaoke bars, under mosquito nets, in rooms that must have been 100 degrees, with spiders and insects and other crawling things, sometimes with no sheets or blankets, and on an air mattress with a furniture pad for a blanket at my son’s apartment in San Francisco.
I was hotter than I have ever been and sweat more than I thought was humanly possible. I saw something I had never seen before every day for an entire year. I traveled “alone” but was almost never alone or lonely. I left my comfort zone.
I’m returning with just three shirts (plaid, of course), one pair of pants, two pairs of shorts, five pairs of underwear, sandals, sneakers, and many stories to tell that were not published on this blog.
I spent just over $20,000 in a year, much less than I would have spent living in the US. Taking a leave of absence and traveling for a year is within your reach if you want to do it!
I cannot name any highlights because there are far too many. I do not have a favorite country because I loved something about each of them. There were boring days and days when I didn’t want to do anything. I was rarely homesick and never really got sick (except for that nasty eye problem). I cannot wait to travel again!
I met a millionaire or two and many people who live on a few dollars or less a day. I met people who have changed my life.
On June 29, I begin the journey home, 365 days after I left for Honduras.
But I’m not finished.
I need to reflect more on the past year and write about what it has meant for me. I will revisit my goals and see what I have achieved. I will think about my future and set new goals.
I will continue to write, take pictures and reflect, albeit less frequently, but my posts will not be just about traveling the world. I’m not sure what they will be about, but I have some ideas to get me started.
- What have I learned from taking a year off to travel and volunteer?
- How will this experience shape my future?
- Updates on the lives of some of the people I met and wrote about.
- How can I do this again? What will I do differently next time?
- What resources and tips can I share for those who might want to do something like this?
Feel free to unsubscribe if my thoughts don’t interest you; I will not be offended or disappointed. None of us needs extra emails crowding their inbox. To those of you who have followed my journey, thank you for your time, your comments, your thoughts and good wishes. I have enjoyed having you with me and I do look forward to seeing many of you back at home!