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May 6-8: Sabbatical Ending :) ! :(

Saturday, May 16th, 2009


To end the trip, we decided to go back to the west coast in Seminyak (close to where we were when we arrived).  Kids wanted the surf (east coast didn’t have any – they wanted to practice their surfing).  The following pictures are our ending shots of Bali and the trip:

night shots of the hotel grounds – may not be that interesting, but it provided a nice ambiance



The kids were asked to write about their final impressions:  what they liked, learned differently about the cultures and people met, what they learned about themselves, and what did they see or feel or understand about America/Tahoe differently after having been away from their “homeland”.  Below are some of their thoughts (abbreviated)


Annika’s (our “animal magnet”)  Final Thoughts  (8yr old): I liked how I made friends, got to pet lots of animals, favorite place Tioman Islands, learned about Balinese, Hindhus, and Buddhist offerings made to the Gods (don’t step on them), was afraid of losing our luggage, Asia has a lot of motorbikes, people, and crowded, noisy with honking and talking and dogs barking, and very hot.  America is much cleaner and quieter and smells better.  


Natasha’s Final Thoughts (11 yr old):  What I like most about the trip was the activities but most of all the silver making classes.  The food was really good (Singapore food was more international, Malaysia was rice and noodles – got tired of it, Thai was really good, and India curry’s also).  The trip was good.  I knew it would be different going to the bathrooms, but didn’t think they would be squat toilets.  I knew the way people lived would be different – Vietnamese had a lot of Chinese influence, Singaporian people looked a lot more Chinese than I thought, I didn’t know what the Thai people were like at first – some nice, some more rude, and the Indian people are like I thought they were.  I realized I am more scared of dogs that I thought.  I am lucky to live where I live in a bigger house, nice area, and plenty of food.  Tahoe and America are really nice and clean compared to other countries.  We have a lot more technology.  I really feel fortunate to live in Tahoe because it is beautiful, not hot, not really busy and clean.  In America you don’t have people “hounding” you and I got especially tired of that.  We have more opportunities and it’s easier to get a job.  In Asia, families live together so adults can watch over others kids while they are gone. The people are poorer.  I appreciate my house more because it’s a big house or even that I have a house! I now know what “HOT” is.  America is kind of like Singapore, clean, organized and has more technology.  I love where I live.


Josh’s Final Thoughts (14 yr old):  I liked the trip….in general.  Some of the highlights would be learning to scuba dive, dive trips, kite surfing, surfing, snorkeling,  and overall the whole experience. I learned in Asia that people “always” take their shoes off before entering the house.  Thailand has a lot of “ladyboys”.  The Vietnamese way to say thank you is basically sounding like the english words “come on”.  India is very hot and smelly, and a ton of Aussies go to Bali.  I have realized I am lucky or more fortunate to live in the states.  Also that I have a lot more opportunities for having a career.  I have also seen that our country is very free.  Singapore Airport is amazing, cities are cities whether in America or Asia ( I don’t like crowds and noises), what I saw as most beautiful or admirable is the giant fort in Jaipur or the Taj Mahal and the Himalayas in India, the rice fields in Vietnam stretching on forever and the hills poking out from in between them (Ninh Binh), the beautiful white sandy beaches of Thailand – but they are not “home.”  I felt the heat of Asia with sweat running down by back 24-7.  I was homesick a lot and would get angry at my family more often, but am not quite sure.  I could feel bad for a family living in poverty, but that is no different from feeling bad for a homeless guy at home.  What I understand about Asian countries and ours: I see in the USA th at we have a lot more opportunity here, we have more strict laws in some cases and cleaner cities because of those laws or government, the living class in Asia is more poor because in the states we live in bigger houses and drive bigger cars. In Asian countries, you see only Thais or Vietnamese or Indians, but in the States, you see many races, which is good.  My overall understanding of America and Asia is that America is more wealthy and spends more money with a bigger economy and Asia is poorer and more conjested not to mention HOT.  But they still are loving and connected people….not a bad place to be.   


Our last night in Bali.  Dinner and sunset right on the beach.


Tim and Natalie Final Thoughts:  Sabbatical 2009 South East Asia: 

Traveled to/over/on: 7 countries, 29 cities, 7 islands, 2 mountain ranges, 6 bodies of water/seas, 14 modes of transportation.   At times it seemed like it would never end, yet in the end it seemed to speed up and is hard to believe the trip is at its end.  Wow, we did it!  It has been amazing with respect to what we accomplished: traveling with 3 kids doing what we did, seeing what we saw, and traveling how we traveled (good and bad; easy and hard).  As has been mentioned in the past – a trip of a lifetime.   It also was a little more “work” than what we imagined with respect to the constant planning and decisions that had to be made on a daily basis.  We had envisioned a little more “down” time, but I guess we would then need to cut out places and sights and just hang out to do that.  But, that doesn’t seem to be the Johnson way.    We also want to say that we are grateful to all of you who have followed this blog and shared our experience with us. Hopefully, it’s brought the world a little closer to everybody!


The airport is built out into the bay.  When you land in Bali, you feel like you are landing on water and then the tires hit land.  This is the parting shot of walking to the plane with the waves breaking in the background.


Picture just for fun.  Because it is so humid outside and the with the AC inside, you get this misting/fog taking place inside the aircraft


Singapore Airport.  We didn’t leave the Transit area for a couple of hours so the kids could go to a whole gaming area set up for free (internet, Xbox, computer games , and movie hall).  You see Josh here inside a Formula One race car simulation.  It is like driving the “real” thing (seat, car, steering wheel, gas pedal, and breaks via a computer screen.) The whole car moves on a scale.  Josh said when he would crash the car into a wall, he could really feel it.


Since we had to wake up at 4:00am to catch the flight, we spent the night in the departure hall.  We found a restaurant away from the mainstream that had closed down at 11:00pm and tried to get some sleep on the couches.


Arriving in Seattle!  37 hours of travel time with only about only 4 hours of sleep and we are still smiling – we are back in the States and closer to “home”.


Steve Winwood – “One More Morning”  (song’s on my IPod I listened to a lot usually -early mornings/late nights)

In the sky, night is coming. So glad we have this day. We all want, one more morning.  Just to know, the night won’t stay.  If my eyes, to the dawning.  To see life start, again.  Just to see, one more morning.  Just to feel it all, begin.  Just to have this day….. One more day, one more memory. One more day, in the dream.  We all want, one more morning.  Just to feel it all again.

Enya – “Pilgrim” 

Pilgrim how your journey, on the road you chose, to find out why the winds die, and where the stories go. All days come from one day, that what you must know, you can not change what’s over but only where you go.  One way leads to diamonds, one way leads to gold, another leads you only to everything you’re told.  In you heart you wonder, which of these is true, the road that leads to nowhere, the road that leads to you. When you find the answer, in all you say and do, when you find the answer, in you.   Each heart is a pilgrim, each one wants to know, the reason why the winds die, and where their stories go. Pilgrim in your journey, you may travel far, oh pilgrim its a long way, to find out who you are.  

Chinese Proverb: 

The Journey is the Reward       

From all of us, the Johnson’s (Tim, Natalie, Josh, Natasha, Annika),  thanks for sharing in our journey  ! 

May 2-5: Padangbai

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009


We were eager to get back to the beach after being in Ubud for a few days, so we headed to the east coast and the small town of Padangbai. This was  a great place – real quiet and local. There was one main street with a string of small hotels along the water. But the best part was a small lagoon just over a headland- about a 5 minute walk away, called Blue Lagoon. The beach wasn’t “perfect,” but it had inredible coral and reef fish for snorkeling.  Tim and Josh were going to go scuba diving, but the day they were going to go out was windy, wavy, and overcast.  They decided to cancel that day, but never were able to get the diving in because we had to leave the next day. The girls were able to participate in a program of “swimming with the dolphins”.  A huge highlight for them.


Blue Lagoon – great coral for snorkeling and scuba diving.


Our little snorkeling maniac.


We have been on at least 14 different modes of transportation and this was going to be a new one. Except we canceled the dive.


This is where you stand.  It is only about 2 feet across.  The boat only fits 4 people.


We were going to backpacker it for  a hotel.  But when you only get a dark room for $20 dollars, you may as well get this one for $40 with huge, open room with pool and included breakfast.  Was a no brainer for the end of the trip.


Family un shots


If you can not find a wall to paint on, the sand is a perfect legal canvas – Josh’s graphitti


You didn’t see too much of this expression when in India.


The next shots are for Natasha and Annika’s friends.  They got a chance to “swim with the doplphins”.


The cage where the dolphins are kept.  Some may feel this to be cruel, I think the space wa adequate, the water in their own habatat (the ocean), the trainers were real good, and they also trained the dolphins to go outside the pens and “play” while following the boat.




 Hugs and carryingdolphin-4.jpgdolphin-4b.jpgdolphin-5.jpgdolphin-5b.jpg

Shaking hands


April 28-May 2: Ubud

Monday, May 11th, 2009
After a few days in the busy beach area of Kuta/Legian in the southern part of Bali, we headed into the interior of the island, to the "artsy" town of Ubud. It reminded me of a Balinese "Napa" - lots ... [Continue reading this entry]

April 23-28: Kuta/Legion (Bali)

Monday, May 11th, 2009
map-bali.jpg Our last stop, Blali.  Because we are planning to come home early, the number of days in India and Bali were reduced.  You could spend at least whole month in Bali.  The places ... [Continue reading this entry]

April 21-22: Leaving India-Arriving Singapore

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
train-1.jpg Leaving India:  We left Darjeeling, taking a jeep down off the hill, a day long train ride to Kolkata, and then an early morning flight to Singapore.  We left Darjeeling a late ... [Continue reading this entry]

April 18-20: Trekking (Himalyas)

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
up-1.jpg Picture Above:  The climb up to the top of the ridge is about 3000 feet.  These old ... [Continue reading this entry]

April 12-18: Darjeeling

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Above Picture - the look at the Himalayan Mtns from the plane 

Darjeeling:   Another early morning rise and departure, after a late night at our driver’s ... [Continue reading this entry]

April 10-11: Jaipur (2nd)

Sunday, April 26th, 2009
halla-1.jpg  After our lunch break, AC cool-off time, we headed to the following: Hawa Mahal:  the cities most distinctive landmark, a honeycombed, pink sandstone structure.  A five story building constructed in 1799 ... [Continue reading this entry]

April 10-11: Jaipur (1st)

Friday, April 24th, 2009
halla-4.jpg Jaipur:  called the “City of Victory” is totally chaotic and congested, however, it still tickles the travelers pink.  It is also called the pink city, more on that later.  ... [Continue reading this entry]

April 9: Agra

Friday, April 24th, 2009
acar-driver.jpg Above:  the jeep we took on our driving trip to Agra, Jaipur, and back to Delhi  Agra:  home of the one of the seven wonders of the world – the Taj Mahal,  ... [Continue reading this entry]