BootsnAll Travel Network

Lessons Learned

December 5th, 2006

Well, here I am. Back in the “real world.” Re-entry has been interesting. Now I’m busy trying to process everything that has happened during the last nine months, while at the same time figure out what to do next. In looking back at my trip, here are some of the things I’ve learned:

Most people in the U.S. don’t know how to correctly use a round-about.

Oregon is a beautiful place.

I like Eugene, but can also live without it.

Good bourbon is hard to come by.

What makes a place really special is the people you meet there.

The air on top of a mountain smells better.

Nothing beats sleeping in your own bed. (Ok, almost nothing…)

Liar’s Dice is especially fun when played in a foreign country with people who don’t speak english.

Hippos are more dangerous than they look.

Good friends are really, really, really important. Keep in touch and let them know this.

I can do anything I want now.

I don’t know what I want to do now.

There’s more, but I can’t give it all away. You’ll have to go find somethings out for yourself.

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Back in the U.S. of A.

November 15th, 2006

Yesterday evening I landed in Atlanta, GA after a 9 hour flight from London. Although the Delta flight was probably good compared to most US flights, it was the worst flight I’ve been on this whole trip. No personal video screens, no free booze, and the airport security in Atlanta was a hassle. I think I want to go back to Africa. 🙂

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Cruising around the Cape

October 29th, 2006

The last couple of weeks in Cape Town have been a random mixture of non-stop action and sitting around the hostel all day doing nothing. After my last post I was invited by some locals to go up to a little town called Clanwilliam for a big music festival that was happening that weekend. The In-SAN-ity Festival was a big three-day affair ben, outside on the river, with dj’s playing non-stop music while everyone camped out. Picture the Oregon Country Fair, only with trance/house music instead of jam bands, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what this was like. There were three music stages, people swimming and floating in the river, and lots of vendors selling everything from pancakes to magic mushrooms. I drove up with four other people, all from CT, and we camped out in the back of a VW van. Trying to sleep in the van was a little difficult, but we didn’t expect to get much sleep anyway, what with the dj’s playing loud trance music all night long. Sunday morning we packed up and headed back to CT, stopping a long the way at a beautiful secluded swimming hole along the river. It was a great weekend, and reminded me of Eugene quite a bit. 🙂

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Michael Bruce Ramon

October 18th, 2006

(This was originally posted on August 30th as “Friends”. I’ve added some pictures of Mike to this post, so I’m bumping it back to the top.)

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. One thing I’ve learned on this trip is that it’s not always the sights you see and the things you do, but the people you meet that make a place special. This is true not only while traveling the world, but also in this long, strange trip we call life. I’ve been lucky enough to share my life with some really special people, and have made some very good friends along the way.

Unfortunately, people sometimes are taken from their family and friends without warning. On Saturday, August 26th, a good friend and former roommate of mine was killed in a skydiving accident. Mike was defintely one of the good ones, and his death is hard to accept. His memorial service is today, and since I obviously can’t attend, I want to at least post a few words in his memory.

My friend Jason and I lived with Mike for three years, from September ’98 to September 2000. He moved to Washington D.C. in 2001, but during his time in Eugene we shared many adventures. Mike was with me when I ran my first road race, and again when I summited my first mountain. I’ve come to love both of these activities, and I’m sure that Mike’s infectious enthusiasm played a part in that. Mike had a zest for life that was hard to match. He always seemed to have a genuine interest in other people, and had the ability to engage anyone he met in conversation. And he could bullshit with the best of them. I loved that about him, and always hoped a little of that great personality would rub off on me.

Mike, Jason, and I all learned to skydive together, and although Jason and I both gave it up a few years ago, Mike continued to be passionate about it. I can say without a doubt that Mike died doing something he truly loved. I hope we all can be so lucky.

Mike has always been an inspiration to me, and will continue to be forever.

Blue Skies, Mike!!

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Our friend Megan has put together a very nice tribute for Mike. You can view it here.

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For my I-pod loving friends

October 17th, 2006

I was online today while listening to some tunes, and was notified about a new version of I-Tunes that’s available for download. Being the good computer user that I am, I went to the Apple site to see if there were release notes on the new verison before choosing to download the new version. As it turns out, I-Tunes 7 is causing problems for a lot of users.

So, in case any of you were thinking about upgrading, think twice and maybe give it a couple more months so Apple can work the bugs out.



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Back to the City

October 13th, 2006

Man, I can’t believe that it’s been four whole weeks since my last post. Where did the time go? Well, I’ll tell you where it went. It went game driving, safari walking, cheetah feeding, quad biking, beer drinking, table dancing, dune hiking, wine tasting, and t-shirt shopping. 🙂

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Screeech, Crash, Bang!

September 22nd, 2006

Apparently the BootsnAll server crashed recently, and several of my recent entries were lost. I’ve reposted them, but unfortunately the pictures aren’t there anymore. Instead of re-uploading the pics, I’m just going to refer you to my photo site.

I’m woefully behind on uploading pics, and have hundreds more from the overland trip. I’ll get them up as soon as I can.



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September 16th, 2006

The last three weeks have been action-packed, and it’s hard to believe I’ve been on the overland truck for five weeks already. Harder still to believe is that aside from the guesthouses in Zanzibar and the houseboat in Zambia, I’ve been sleeping on the ground in an old A-frame tent for the last five weeks.

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You don’t see this everyday!

August 31st, 2006

Last night we camped on the edge of the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Wildlife routinely pass through the campground, and I woke up this morning to find this outside my tent:

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Overland in Africa

August 27th, 2006

It’s now been 14 days since I joined the overland trip to Capetown. The tour is operated by a UK company called Bukima, and they do trips of varying lengths all through Africa. Some are as short as four days, others as long as 30 weeks. My trip is called African Contrasts, and it is a 7 week tour from Nairobi to Capetown (I actually skipped Nairobi, and met the group in
Arusha on their first night instead). On the way to Capetown we travel through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, seeing such sights as Zanzibar, Lake Malawi, Lake Kariba, Victoris Falls, and Fish River Canyon. Some of the people on this trip are on for just four weeks, others for seven weeks, and a couple for ten weeks, having been on an adjoining three week trip to Uganda just prior.

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