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some good reads on the road and invaluable backpacker tools

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

now that i have returned from my magnificent journey, i thought i’d pass on a few titles of books i read while on the road as well as some handy tips for any of you considering long-term travel, i.e., what to bring that will save oodles of headaches along the way and what you don’t really need to bring along but which other travellers perhaps found necessary.

i read a LOT of books last year. it’s not that i had nothing but idle time on my hands, rather i had a substantial amount of in-transit time and time loafing on various beaches without strenous activities to partake in while soaking up the sun. some notable books i read are as follows: ‘jonathan strange and mr. norrell’ by susanna clarke – it’s all about magic, olde worlde style. an eloquently written first novel by clarke, a fat volume, and which made the otherwise quirky topic of early 19th century magic enjoyable for me (thank you Mr.L for the loan); ‘shantaram’ by gregory david roberts – another fat volume (a whopping @950 pages!) of an autobiographical nature vividly describing the life and times of an aussie ex-con on the lam in bombay’s mafia. fascinating and gritty. i mentally plugged my nose at his descriptions of bombay’s slums; ‘no country for old men’ by cormac mccarthy – having read ‘the road’ i knew i’d enjoy this tragic tale of the battle between texas outlaws and sheriffs; ‘eat pray love’ by elizabeth gilbert – a must read for all solo female travellers. a bit righteous on her ‘god-seeking’ path, but not too preachy. funny and insightful as can be. [read on]

the end of the road

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

well dear friends, i’m rapidly approaching the end of the road of this great odyssey. there are just 4 days left before i will be landing on familiar (relatively) terra firma once again.  my plane departs denpasar international airport at about 16.40 on janurary 19 and i will, shiva willing, land at LAX about 4 hours later on the same day. incredible to travel around the whole planet and yet it only takes 4 hours! this is a little delusion, of course, as i am well aware that the other 2o hours i’ll spend in transit will not be a figment of my imagination only. at any rate i have no less than utter trepidation about my imminent return. there is much to do and think about for my future and i am steadfastly denying all of those thoughts for the moment and plan to continue to do so well after my arrival back into the US, at least as long as i can get away with it. on the up-side, i do look forward to seeing some faces i have not seen in quite a few moons, and this gives me much happiness. still, the faces i’m leaving behind for some more moons, quite probably, cause me no shortage of sadness and despair. if my emotions are this mixed NOW, before i even leave bali, what do you reckon my state of mind will be when i get off the plane?

i know i got lazy on the egypt entry and also omitted quite a bit of tanzania that i’ve been meaning to share. perhaps those days were too profound or too personal to put down into a public/private blog. maybe i’ll get around to putting something down for those of you still interested in ME ME ME after i return and collect my thoughts and select the appropriate words. or, maybe i’ll just keep those thoughts for the memoirs…

as they say here on the island i’ve been marooned on these 2 1/2 months, salamat jalan dear travellers. bon voyage. bien viaje. see all you fine folks back in the good ole yoo ess of ayy.