Places Visited

World Tour

Mouse-over the years on the map to see the routes

2000

  • Trip 1:  Dec 05 — from Austin, Texas by rental car to Beaumont, Texas

    ...to say goodbye to my parents.

  • Dec 07 — by rental car to Kokomo, Indiana

    ...to say goodbye to my sister.

  • Dec 10 — by car to Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dec 11 — by plane (overnight) to Tokyo, Japan; by plane to Fukuoka; by car to Kurume City

    ...this was the official start of my world tour, and I departed the U.S. in one of the worst blizzards I've ever seen; I stayed in Japan while Kumiko settled her affairs (winding down her piano-teaching career), and prepared to move out of her apartment; and, of course, we had many visits with family and friends to say farewell.

  • Dec 16 — by car to Fukuoka; by plane to Okinawa
  • Dec 18 — by plane to Fukuoka; by car to Kurume City
  • Dec 29 — by car to Nagasaki
  • Dec 30 — by car to Kurume City
  • Dec 31 — day-trip (or rather night-trip) to Fukuoka

    ...to see New Year's fireworks show.

2001

  • Jan 01 — day-trip (by car) to Ogori City
  • Jan 08 — day-trip (by car) to Fukuoka
  • Jan 13 — day-trip (by car) to Fukuoka
  • Jan 16 — by car to Fukuoka; by plane to Tokyo

    ...shopping spree at REI to get Kumiko outfitted for our travels.

  • Jan 17 — by plane to Fukuoka; by car to Kurume City
  • Jan 25 — day-trip (by car) to Fukuoka
  • Jan 28 — day-trip (supposedly) by car to Oita; then on to Beppu

    ...to eat Fugu; got snowed in and had to stay overnight in Beppu.

  • Jan 29 — by car to Kurume City
  • Jan 31 — by bus to Ogori City

    ...stopped off in Kurume to say goodbye to Kumiko's parents.

  • Feb 01 — by car to Fukuoka; by plane to Ishigaki Island

    ...the southern-most point in Japan; we went there to get Kumiko certified in scuba.

  • Feb 06 — by ship (overnight) to Keelung, Taiwan; by train to Taipei

    ...we arrived just in time for the Chinese New Year festivities.

  • Feb 13 — by plane to Hong Kong, China

    ...just another big city, with a decidedly British feel to it; but a good place to get visas for mainland China.

  • Feb 17 — by bus to Guangzhou

    ...I wasn't that impressed with Guangzhou; not my favorite city in China.

  • Feb 19 — by plane to Guilin

    ...I was even less impressed with Guilin (the first time I visited); but on return visits, I finally discovered the charm of the place.

  • Feb 20 — by night-train to Hanoi, stopping first in Nong Yao (Chinese border control), then in Dong Dang (Vietnamese border control)

    ...I should call this the sleepless night-train, what with the stops for passport control, which took 2 hours in China, and more than 3 hours in Vietnam.

  • Feb 24 — by night-train to Hue

    ...where I got sick from drinking bad water; the worst case of Traveler's Disease I've ever had.

  • Mar 01 — by plane to Ho Chi Minh; by plane to Singapore

    ...Singapore is, without a doubt, the cleanest city I've ever seen anywhere in the world; they even have laws against possession of chewing gum!

  • Mar 05 — by train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    ...this city was on my personal must see list; but it just didn't grab me like I had imagined it would.

  • Mar 06 — by train to Butterworth

    ...not a pretty city at all; but this is where we were to meet up with the Oriental Express.

  • Mar 07 — day-trip (by bus) to Penang and back

    ...it was a nice day, except for the bad food that Kumiko ate at a sidewalk restaurant; she got sick the next day and couldn't eat any of the delicious meals on the Oriental Express.

  • Mar 08 — by Oriental Express (overnight) to Kanchanaburi, Thailand

    ...riding on the Oriental Express is a once-in-a-lifetime experience - absolutely wonderful; I highly recommend it; on our way up to Bangkok, we stopped off for an excursion to see the Kwai River bridge.

  • Mar 09 — by Oriental Express to Bangkok

    ...Bangkok can be quite overwhelming for the first-time visitor.

  • Mar 12 — by plane to Siem Reap, Cambodia

    ...to visit Angkor Wat - which is really amazing!

  • Mar 15 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Mar 16 — by bus to Na Cha-ang; by night-train to Chumphon; by ferry to Koh Tao

    ...spent a week diving, snorkeling (with sharks!), and relaxing in the sun; we were in bungalow #1 - about ten meters from the beach.

  • Mar 24 — by high-speed ferry to Koh Samui

    ...more lazy days in the sun - actually, after a week in the intense tropical sun, we stayed in the shade; again, we had bungalow #1 - right on the beach.

  • Mar 27 — by ferry to Don Sak; by bus to Surat Thani; by plane to Chiang Mai

    ...rode an elephant and a bamboo raft (though not at the same time). ;-)

  • Apr 02 — by plane to Bangkok
  • Apr 03 — by plane to Kathmandu, Nepal

    ...oops, change of plans - needed to stay an extra day in Bangkok; by then the only flight we could get was to Delhi.

  • Apr 04 — by plane to New Delhi, India

    ...ah... Delhi... another huge, overcrowded city with too much pollution. :p

  • Apr 06 — by train/bus to Kathmandu, Nepal

    ...oops, another change of plans - the guy at the tourist bureau recommended that we see India first because "it's hot and getting hotter.  Nepal is much cooler."; and, since we had arrived the day after the Indian govt. halted all public transportation, we booked a tour by auto (complete with our own driiver) of the western state of Rajasthan; sounds like a good scam by the travel agency, eh? :p

  • Apr 06 — by car to Jhunjhunu

    ...visited Khetri Mahal; Bihariji Temple.

  • Apr 07 — by car to Bikaner

    ...visited Junagarh Fort, Lalgarh Palace, and Karni Mata Temple (euphemistically called "Mouse Temple", where thousands of holy rats are worshipped).

  • Apr 09 — by car to Jaisalmer

    ...The Golden City - visited Jaisalmer Fort, Jain temples, and many beautiful havelis; Doug wasn't feeling well, so we skipped the camel safari (two days on a camel in the hot desert sun; sleeping in the open dunes - No thanks!).

  • Apr 11 — by car to Manvar Desert Camp

    ...our favorite hotel, with a pool, far from anything remotely resembling a city; went on a Jeep safari to see the real Indian village life and visit sand dunes for the sunset (which was hazy); finally did a camel safari, much shorter and cooler (at 6:00am) than the one planned in Jaisalmer.

  • Apr 12 — by car to Jodhpur

    ...The Blue City - visited Meherangarh (the Majestic Fort), and Umaid Bhawan Palace.

  • Apr 13 — by car to Ranakpur

    ...this was Good Friday (the 13th); visited Chaumukha Temple, with its 29 halls supported by 1444 columns (no two alike) and black-faced monkeys all around (outside, that is); in the evening, we visited a village house nearby to watch a wedding dance (the bride was only 13!!).

  • Apr 14 — by car to Udaipur

    ...The Venice of the East - because of Lake Pichola (which was all but dried up); visited City Palace, Fateh Sagar, and Moti Magri.

  • Apr 16 — by car to Pushkar

    ...not much to see (the lake was also almost dried up); stayed in our second favorite hotel of the trip - owned by the maharaja (who was lounging in the lobby when we checked in), it had a pool, as well.

  • Apr 17 — by car to Jaipur

    ...The Pink City - visited Hawa Mahal, City Palace Complex, Amber Fort/Palace (where we rode an elephant), and Royal Gaitor (cenotaphs of the royal family).

  • Apr 19 — by car to Agra

    ...to see the Taj Mahal, of course (which was magnificent); also went to Agra Fort, and Akbar's Mausoleum.

  • Apr 21 — by car to New Delhi

    ...we decided to cut our stay in India short by a few days and skip Nepal altogether (after two false starts); our goal from the beginning was to tour Europe in Spring/Summer and we realized we were cutting into that time by staying longer in Asia; after reading the Nepal guidebook, we realized we needed to be there much longer than we had planned in order to do it justice.

  • Apr 25 — by plane to Athens, Greece

    ...after a looooooooooong check-in process (1:30 to 4:30am!) and NO sleep that night, we arrived in Athens sans luggage; we got it two days later!

  • Apr 28 — by bus to Delphi
  • Apr 29 — by bus to Pireas; by night-ferry to Naxos

    ...by the time we arrived in Naxos, the weather had turned sour (very windy and rather chilly).

  • May 01 — by night-ferry to Santorini

    ...because of the high winds, all ferry services were suspended; so we ended up staying in Naxos, which you could easily see in an afternoon, for four long, boring days; we spent most of our time inside playing backgammon.

  • May 03 — by night-ferry to Santorini

    ...when we got ready to depart for Crete (finally!), they let us board the ferry - no problem - and only after we had pulled away from the pier did they inform everyone that the seas were too rough for the crossing and that they would stop on the leeward side of Santorini to wait for a break in the weather; almost instantly, there was a long line at the check-in counter with passengers (including ourselves) trying to convert seated bookings to sleeper cabins; nice "scam" the ferry company has going there.

  • May 07 — by night-ferry to Iraklio, Crete
  • May 10 — by bus to Phaestos; by bus to Matala

    ...first we toured the ancient site at Phaestos; then went on to Matala (where we found a nude beach!)

  • May 12 — by bus to Mires; by bus to Agia Galini; by bus to Rethymno; by bus to Plakias

    ...this was a full day of travel:

  • May 13 — by bus to Iraklio

    ...we were too early in the season for the west-bound bus service; had to backtrack.

  • May 14 — day-trip (by bus) to Rethymno

    ...stopped for lunch and a walking tour of the town; then on to Hania.

  • May 14 — by bus to Hania
  • May 16 — day-trip to Samaria Gorge

    ...long day! - by bus to Omalos; trekked through Samaria Gorge (six hours) to Agia Roumeli; by ferry to Hora-Sfakion; then by bus back to Hania to catch a night-ferry to Athens.

  • May 16 — by night-ferry to Pireas; by bus to Athens
  • May 18 — by bus to Nafplio
  • May 20 — day-trip (by bus) to Olympia and back

    ...in case you're wondering... yes, this is where the Olympic games originated.

  • May 20 — by bus to Patras
  • May 21 — by night-ferry to Brindisi, Italy; by train to Villa San Giovanni; by ferry to Messina; by bus to Taormina
  • May 23 — by train to Syracuse
  • May 24 — by train to Pozzallo; by high-speed ferry to Valletta, Malta
  • May 25 — day-trip (by bus) to St. Julian's and back
  • May 26 — by helicopter to Gozo; by taxi to Marsalforn, Gozo
  • Jun 01 — by taxi to Ganjsielem; by ferry to Cirkewwa; by bus to Valletta
  • Jun 02 — by ferry to Catania, Italy; by bus to Palermo, Sicily
  • Jun 04 — by bus to Trapani
  • Jun 05 — by ferry to Cagliari, Sardenia
  • Jun 07 — by narrow-guage train to Arbatax; by bus to Cala Gonone, Sardenia
  • Jun 13 — by bus to Arbatax; by ferry to Civitavecchia; by train to Rome
  • Jun 16 — by train to Florence
  • Jun 18 — day-trip (by train) to Pisa

    ...to see the leaning tower, of course.

  • Jun 18 — by train to Corniglia

    ...Corniglia is one of five quaint little costal villages collectively referred to as Cinque Terre (five lands).

  • Jun 21 — day-trip (by train) to Milan; then by train to Chivasso

    ...after a walking tour of Milan, we were trying to make it to Courmeyeur, but were forced to stop for the night in Chivasso.

  • Jun 22 — by train to Torino; by bus to Aosta; by train to Pre St. Didier; by bus to Courmeyeur

    ...we arrived too late to catch the cable car over Mont Blanc, had to stay the night in Courmeyeur

  • Jun 23 — by bus to La Palud; by cable-car to Chamonix, France

    ...by spectacular cable car over Mont Blanc to Chamonix, where we enjoy some lovely hikes in the mountains, and even tried paragliding.

  • Jun 25 — by train (several wrong trains actually) to Olten, Switzerland

    ...to meet the man who would rent us a VW camper; called him in the evening and found out he was actually in Solothurn.

  • Jun 26 — by train to Solothurn

    ...to meet up with Casper, the friendly camper, as we ended up calling it.

  • Jun 30 — by caravan to Bern

    ...our first night in our new camper, at a beautiful caravan park by the Aare river almost in the heart of the city; we "floated" in the rushing currents of the river in VERY cold water.

  • Jul 03 — by caravan to Emmendingen, Germany

    ...we were on our way to see Ayako, a Japanese girl we had met in Taipei, who was living in Freidburg, Germany (where we thought we were heading, but upon closer inspection of the map, we were actually nearing Freiburg); Friedburg was another half-day's journey, so we just found a place to camp for the night.

  • Jul 04 — by caravan to Friedburg

    ...finally connected with Ayako.

  • Jul 05 — day-trip (by caravan) to Munich

    ...mostly for shopping; Ayako had found a small market that had just about anything a homesick Japanese national would desire.

  • Jul 06 — day-trip (by caravan) to Dachau
  • Jul 06 — by caravan to Innsbruck, Austria
  • Jul 08 — by caravan to Salzburg
  • Jul 11 — day-trip (by caravan) to Werfen

    ...to see the Eisriesenwelt Hohle (ice caves); WAY cool (freezing actually); Hehe. ;-)

  • Jul 13 — by caravan to Vienna

    ...Ayako had departed by train from Salzburg the morning we left Vienna.

  • Jul 17 — by caravan to Melk

    ...nice campsite; great place to ride our bikes.

  • Jul 21 — by caravan to Krems

    ...just in time for the Apricot Festival - yum!

  • Jul 23 — by caravan to Prague, Czech Republic

    ...on the way, I thought I was going to get stopped for speeding by the Czech police (and I didn't have any local currency yet), but it was a false alarm; they waved me on and stopped the car behind me.

  • Jul 29 — by caravan to Nuremburg, Germany

    ...best preserved (meaning completely rebuilt after WWII) town of our trip.

  • Jul 31 — by caravan to Nordlingen; by caravan to Rothenburg

    ...via the Romantic Road, a beautiful drive through the German country-side; stopped off in Nordlingen, but found it to be less interesting than the guidebook touted; had lunch and then went on to Rothenburg.

  • Aug 02 — day-trip (by caravan) to Wurzburg

    ...where we visited the Residenz, which was magnificent, the most beautiful place we had seen thus far on our trip.

  • Aug 02 — by caravan to Bamberg

    ...where we were to meet up with Ayako again.

  • Aug 03 — by caravan to Friedburg

    ...met Ayako at the train station; did a walking tour of

  • Aug 04 — day-trip (by caravan) to Munich

    ...bacll to Munich so Kumiko could get more food and supplies from her favorite Japanese store.

  • Aug 04 — by caravan to Joditz

    ...did a walking tour of the city during a short break in the rainy weather.

  • Aug 05 — by caravan to Magdeburg

    ...along the way, we drove past many trees broken and felled by high winds.

  • Aug 06 — by caravan to Potsdam; by caravan to Berlin

    ...drove through Potsdam on the way and tried to see two sites (which were closed), including the site of the conference of the allied nations at the end of WWII; in Berlin, we stayed with new friend, Helmut, and went wild-boar hunting.

  • Aug 10 — by caravan to Rostock

    ...cheapest campsite thus far (with a coin operated gate).

  • Aug 11 — by ferry to Gedser, Denmark; by caravan to Møns Klint

    ...beautiful cliffs overlooking the sea.

  • Aug 13 — by caravan to Copenhagen
  • Aug 17 — by caravan to Ljungby, Sweden

    ...to visit our friends Curt and Helen (and family) whom we had met in Koh Tao, Tailand.

  • Aug 21 — by caravan to Gränna; by ferry to Visingsö

    ...camped on a small island in the middle of a huge lake.

  • Aug 22 — by ferry to Gränna; by caravan to Vadstena; by caravan to Trosa

    ...did a bike tour of the island; drove to Vadstena to see a beautiful abbey; then on to Trosa.

  • Aug 23 — by caravan to Stockholm

    ...with so many beautiful, tall, blonde, blue-eyed ladies.

  • Aug 29 — by caravan to Sala

    ...camped at a rest-stop (free); had a great dinner (the menu was explained in English by a guy that was half-Japanese, half-Swedish).

  • Aug 30 — by caravan to Särna

    ...visited a silver mine in Sala; then drove on to S

  • Aug 31 — by caravan to Hamar, Norway

    ...the nights were getting much colder and we were encountering a lot more rain; so we decided to change our plans, which had us going farther north in Sweden; we headed northwest into Norway instead.

  • Sep 01 — by caravan to Ål

    ...after a beautiful drive through the Norwegian countryside, we camped by an equally beautiful river.

  • Sep 02 — day-trip (by caravan) to Flåm

    ...after driving through more stunningly spectacular scenery, we did a boat tour of two fingers of the Sognefjord (Aurlandsfjord and Naer

  • Sep 02 — by caravan to Bergen

    ...after our day on the fjords,we drove on another 300km - through 51 tunnels! - to Bergen.

  • Sep 04 — by caravan to Geilo
  • Sep 05 — by caravan to Oslo

    ...met up with Heidi (whom we had met in Malta) and had dinner one evening at her house; also, this is where I contracted borrelia.

  • Sep 08 — by caravan to Göteborg, Sweden

    ...just a stop-over on our way back to Ljungby.

  • Sep 09 — by caravan to Ljungby

    ...back at the home of Curt and Helen; they diagnosed my malady as borrelia (got some penicillin from a local doctor).

  • Sep 11 — by caravan to Odense, Denmark

    ...we had only planned to stay a couple of days on our way back thru Denmark to the mainland; but then we got the news about the terrorist attacks in the U.S., so we stayed a few days to watch the news coverage.

  • Sep 14 — by caravan to Helsingborg; by ferry to Helsingør, Denmark; by caravan to Odense

    ...tried to connect with a friend of mine, but was never able to.

  • Sep 15 — day-trip (by caravan) to Egeskov

    ...stopped off to see Egeskov Castle (a half-hour from Odense) which turned out to be our favorite castle of the trip, complete with mote and drawbridge, set in a most beautiful collection of gardens, hedge-mazes, and wooded hills.

  • Sep 15 — by caravan/ferry/caravan to Hamburg, Germany
  • Sep 16 — by caravan to Bremen

    ...toured Beck's Brewery, where we met Jia-qi, a Chinese girl who lives in Shanghai.

  • Sep 17 — by caravan to Amsterdam, Netherlands

    ...hated it (mainly because this is where our bicycles were stolen).

  • Sep 19 — by caravan to Lexmond

    ...woke to heavy rains in Amsterdam, so we decided it was time to leave; got a late start (after filing a police report for our bicycles), got stuck in afternoon rush-hour traffic; decided to exit and look for a campsite; found one run by the friendliest folks we had encountered at any campsite; even though they were officially closed for the season, they let us stay - for free!

  • Sep 20 — by caravan to Antwerp, Belgium
  • Sep 22 — by caravan to Brugge

    ...the weather was rather nasty, so we just passed on through the rest of Belgium on our way to England.

  • Sep 23 — by caravan to Coquelles, France; by chunnel train to Folkestone, England; by caravan to London

    ...drove from Belgium, through France; then took the Channel Tunnel from France to England; quite an experience - but very expensive!

  • Sep 25 — by caravan to Northampton

    ...we tried to visit Princess Diana's grave, but it was only open to the public during July and August.

  • Sep 26 — by caravan to Avebury

    ...visited the stone circles of Avebury (similar to Stonehenge).

  • Sep 27 — day-trip (by caravan) to Stonehenge

    ...visited Stonehenge on our way to the southern coast of England (to catch a ferry across to the Normandy coast of France).

  • Sep 27 — by caravan to Portsmouth; by ferry to Caen, France
  • Sep 28 — day-trip (by caravan) to Normandy

    ...toured various battle sites of the D-Day invasion of WWII, including Omaha Beach and Point Du Lac.

  • Sep 28 — by caravan to Rouen
  • Sep 29 — by caravan to Paris

    ...the main point of interest for Kumiko was the Eiffel Tower (I had seen everything I wanted to see during my trip in January, 2000).

  • Oct 01 — by caravan to Versailles; by caravan to Blois

    ...drove first to Versailles, but being Monday, it was closed; drove on to Blois, where we camped at a rest-stop on the highway; enjoyed a great sunset.

  • Oct 02 — by caravan to Poitiers

    ...just a stop-over on our way to Laudinie; couldn't find a caravan park that was still open; camped in the parking lot of a shopping center; washed up and brushed our teeth at McDonald's the next morning.

  • Oct 03 — by caravan to Laudinie

    ...got an early start to go see Chateau Chambord (which was stunning); then drove on to Laudinie and stayed at the home of my expat friends from England, Andy and Sue, in their beautiful 12th century villa.

  • Oct 05 — by caravan to St. Jean de Lux

    ...found a beautiful campsite with a great view of the bay.

  • Oct 06 — by caravan to Santillana, Spain

    ...enjoyed a beautiful drive along the northern coast of Spain.

  • Oct 07 — by caravan to Cadavedo

    ...went into the mountains but it was very windy (like 35-40 knot gusts), so we decided not to do any hiking.

  • Oct 08 — by caravan to Lisbon, Portugal

    ...the next stop was supposed to be Portugal, but Kumiko and I reached the "last straw" and decided to separate; we backtracked toward Switzerland (to return the camper), then decided to detour through Barcelona on our way back.

  • Oct 08 — by caravan to Logrono

    ...couldn't make it all the way to Barcelona in one day; stopped here for the night.

  • Oct 09 — by caravan to Barcelona

    ...toured the city, taking in most of Gaudi's works (La Familia and Gruel Park); on Oct 12, Kumiko flew back to Japan.

  • Oct 15 — by caravan to Aix en Provence, France

    ...I had planned a quick trip across France on my way back to Switzerland without getting any more local money; all campsites were closed for the season; had to stay in a hostel; met such nice people there, I decided to stay and do some sightseeing.

  • Oct 18 — day-trip (by caravan) to Cassis

    ...drove south from Aix and stopped in Cassis for a quick walking tour of the city.

  • Oct 18 — by caravan to Ramatuelle

    ...from Cassis, I drove southwest along the French Riviera; found a great campsite set in some beautiful wooded hills overlooking the Mediterranean.

  • Oct 19 — day-trip (by caravan) to St. Tropez

    ...in the morning, I drove to St. Tropez, where I stopped for a walking tour and lunch; very touristy

  • Oct 19 — by caravan to Antibes

    ...continued along the coast enjoying stunning views; in the evening, met up with Pierre and Samantha, a couple I had met in Copenhagen; had dinner at their house with them and their two boys.

  • Oct 20 — day-trip (by caravan) to Nice

    ...drove to Nice to meet Hilary; left the van there and went by train to Monaco for the day.

  • Oct 20 — by train to Nice, France

    ...back in Nice, I slept in the van in front of a hostel (as I had done in Aix).

  • Oct 20 — day-trip (by train) to Monaco

    ...drove to Nice to meet Hilary; left the van there and went by train to Monaco for the day.

  • Oct 21 — by caravan to Aix les Bains

    ...the drive north from Nice, through the French/Italian Alps, was absolutely gorgeous; along the way, I helped a horse in distress.

  • Oct 23 — by caravan to Solothurn, Switzerland

    ...returned the camper; had a great photo session with Isabel; spent Halloween night at the house of another new friend, Martin (no connection with Chalet Martin).

  • Nov 01 — by train to Interlaken

    ...did a hike with Neal (from Canada); went out on the town with three ladies who worked at the hostel; did a driving tour (with one of the ladies) around the lakes and ate at an outdoor restaurant up in the mountains (not frequented by tourists) with stunning views.

  • Nov 05 — by train to Gryon

    ...decided to visit Chalet Martin in Gryon on a recommendation from a fellow-traveler in Interlaken, and was glad I did; I had planned to stay two days; ended up staying eight.

  • Nov 13 — by train to Florence, Italy

    ...tried to meet up with one of my new friends from Chalet Martin, but couldn't connect.

  • Nov 14 — by train to Rome

    ...met up with my Romanian friend, Lia (from my trip in January, 2000).

  • Nov 19 — by train to Naples

    ...toured the city; had an interesting trip on the Train to Nowhere.

  • Nov 21 — day-trip (by train) to Pompeii and back

    ...went with a young Australian named Tom; the ancient site was quite amazing.

  • Nov 23 — by train to Milan

    ...did a walking tour with Monica (from Colombia).

  • Nov 24 — by train to Gryon, Switzerland

    ...for more relaxing and socializing; stayed another eleven days this time.

  • Dec 04 — by train to Zurich

    ...just to catch a plane back to the States.

  • Dec 05 — by plane to Fort Worth, Texas

    ...where my sister is now living; home for the holidays, to see family and friends, take care of personal business, and to prepare for the second year of my world tour.

  • Trip 2:  Dec 28 — from Austin, Texas by plane to Kawaguchi, Japan

    ...to visit Kumiko and see if there was anything left of our relationship to salvage.

2002

  • Jan 09 — and backday-trip (by bus) to Nikko

    ...a long, difficult trip to see a so-so waterfall.

  • Jan 15 — by plane to Sapporo; by bus to Furano

    ...ski-trip to the mountains of Hokkaido.

  • Jan 18 — by bus to Sapporo; by plane to Kawaguchi
  • Jan 27 — by plane to Fukuoka

    ...to visit Kumiko's family and friends.

  • Jan 29 — by plane to Kawaguchi
  • Feb 04 — by train to Yokohama; by train to Nagoya; by train to Osaka; by train to Kobe

    ...stopping at five Hard Rock Cafes along the way.

  • Feb 05 — by ship to Shanghai, China

    ...the proverbial "slow-boat to China"; timed our visit to coincide with Spring Festival (the Chinese New Year); I saw (and heard) more fireworks in one night than I've ever experienced in my life.

  • Feb 14 — by night-train to Beijing

    ...to see the Great Wall and Forbidden City... and to fall in love. ;-)  Kumiko and I had decided that we just weren't meant for each other and had split up again; she went on to Beijing a couple of days before I did, but I had promised to celebrate her 40th birthday, so I met up with her again the day I arrived; the next day I said goodbye and put her on a train at 3:30, then met Jia-qi at the same station 2 hours later. :p

  • Feb 21 — by night-train to Shanghai

    ...to spend more time with my new girlfriend, Jia-qi.

  • Feb 24 — by night-train to He Fei

    ...I was trying to get to Xi'an, but all flights and trains were booked because of people returning home from Spring Festival.

  • Feb 26 — by bus to Nanjing

    ...still couldn't get a train to Xi'an; backtracked back toward Shanghai; got as far as Nanjing.

  • Feb 28 — by train to Shanghai

    ...more time with Jia-qi.

  • Mar 03 — by train to Xi'an

    ...finally got a train booking; went to see the Terracotta Warriors.

  • Mar 07 — by night-train to Shanghai

    ...by now you know the reason. ;-)

  • Mar 19 — by plane to Kunming

    ...one of my favorite cities in China.

  • Mar 23 — by plane to Dali; by bus to Dali

    ...very touristy; didn't enjoy the boat excursion; Dali had frequent blackouts.

  • Mar 25 — by bus to Kunming

    ...more time in one of my favorite places.

  • Mar 29 — by plane to Guilin; by bus to Yangshuo

    ...this was really a pleasant place to visit; I met and hung out with a group of Chinese university students.

  • Apr 02 — by bus to Guilin

    ...hadn't planned to stop in Guilin, but changed my mind after meeting the university students; they invited me to visit them at their school in Guilin.

  • Apr 05 — by night-train to Guangzhou
  • Apr 08 — by night-train to Guilin

    ...didn't like Guangzhou much; applied for a visa extension; when they told me it would take eight days, I decided to go back to Guilin instead of staying in Guangzhou; visited more new friends.

  • Apr 14 — by (non-)sleeper bus to Guangzhou, then by (regular) bus to Shenzhen
  • Apr 18 — by bus to Guangzhou

    ...to meet up with Jia-qi (who was there on a business trip).

  • Apr 19 — by bus to Wuzhou

    ...together with Jia-qi to visit some of her friends.

  • Apr 22 — by bus to Guangzhou; by bus to Shenzhen

    ...Jia-qi had to go back to Shanghai from Guangzhou; I stayed a few more days in Shenzhen.

  • Apr 25 — by bus to Guangzhou; by night-train to Guilin

    ...to visit friends yet again before my final visa expired.

  • Apr 29 — by night-train to Guangzhou; by bus to Shenzhen; by bus to Zhuhai

    ...went with another new friend for a couple of days touring Zhuhai.

  • May 01 — by bus to Shenzhen; by plane to Shanghai

    ...yet again. ;-)

  • May 11 — by plane to Hong Kong

    ...forced by an expiring visa to leave mainland China, I made it only as far as Hong Kong (no visa required); I knew of an Internet cafe where I could connect my laptop, so I stayed long enough to update my web site.

  • May 23 — by train to Shenzhen

    ...met up with Jia-qi for an extended weekend.

  • May 28 — by train to Hong Kong
  • May 31 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...I finally reached escape velocity and left China behind.

  • Jun 05 — by bus to Ban Phe; by ferry to Koh Samet

    ...during the rainy season, this island gets the least rainfall of any in Thailand.

  • Jun 11 — by ferry to Ban Phe; by bus to Bangkok

    ...again, I found an Internet cafe where I could connect my laptop; decided to stay and do more updates to the web site; also started looking for a job in Bangkok (to no avail).

  • Jul 05 — by car to Huahin

    ...a beach on the coast, not far from Bangkok; not the nicest beach in Thailand by any means.

  • Jul 07 — by car to Bangkok

    ...more work on the web site.

  • Aug 01 — by plane to Shanghai, China

    ...decided to leave Bangkok and start making my way down to Australia; but I wanted to visit Jia-qi in Shanghai once more before I got too far away from China; I rented an apartment for one month.

  • Sep 04 — by night-train to Beijing

    ...Jia-qi joined me for some sightseeing over the weekend, and I did more photos with one of my favorite models. ;-)

  • Sep 12 — by plane to Seoul, South Korea

    ...met many locals and got invited to a Chusok (Korean Thanksgiving) party.

  • Sep 16 — by train to Suwon; by train to Andong
  • Sep 18 — by train to Seoul

    ...back to Seoul for the Chusok party.

  • Sep 27 — by train to Naejangsan

    ...visited Naejangsan National Park.

  • Sep 29 — by train to Mokpo
  • Sep 30 — by ferry to Jeju-do

    ...an island off the southern tip of the Korean peninsula.

  • Oct 03 — by night-ferry to Busan; by train to Daegu
  • Oct 04 — day-trip (by bus) to Haein-ri and back

    ...to see Haeinsa Temple, where the 81,000+ wooden tablets of the Tripitaka Koreana are stored.

  • Oct 05 — by bus to Gyeongju
  • Oct 06 — by train to Seoul

    ...stayed another few days to get together with, and say goodbye to, some of the many Korean friends I made during my visit; got interviewed by a TV reporter.

  • Oct 11 — by bus to Seongnam

    ...one last weekend getaway with one of my Korean friends. ;-)

  • Oct 13 — by bus to Seoul; by plane to Manila, Philippines

    ...a popular honeymoon destination for young Korean couples; they can be identified easily because they always wear matching shirts; in the queue at passport control in Manila, I counted no less than twenty newlywed couples.

  • Oct 21 — by bus to Naga City
  • Oct 23 — by bus to Legaspi

    ...to swim with whale-sharks at nearby Donsol; but, as it turned out, it was the wrong season.

  • Oct 24 — by plane to Cebu City

    ...the plane was a small turbo-prop and flew at "see" level.

  • Oct 28 — by bus to Panagsama

    ...during the trip, locals got on and off the bus carrying everything from huge sacks of produce to live chickens.

  • Nov 04 — by van to Cebu City

    ...anywhere you go on Cebu Island, you have to do so via Cebu City; all bus routes radiate from there like spokes of a wheel; and it's nearly impossible to get to where you're going in one day.

  • Nov 05 — by bus to Daanbantayan; by ferry to Malapascua

    ...this turned out to be one my favorite destinations during my visit to the Philippines.

  • Nov 11 — by ferry to Daanbantayan; by bus to Medellin; by ferry to Bantayan Island

    ...in stark contrast to Malapascua, this is the least enjoyable place I visited in the Philippines.

  • Nov 13 — by ferry to Medellin; by bus to Cebu City

    ...again, in transit from point A to point B, requiring a stop-over in Cebu.

  • Nov 14 — by high-speed ferry to Tagbilaran; by car to Alona Beach

    ...another beautiful place to visit; marred only slightly by a recent fire that destroyed three resorts and two dive shops right on the beach-front.

  • Nov 18 — by bus to Tagbilaran; by high-speed ferry to Cebu City
  • Nov 21 — by plane to Caticlan; by ferry to Boracay

    ...a rather over-developed, touristy place; I couldn't wait to leave.

  • Nov 22 — by ferry to Caticlan; by plane to Cebu City

    ...by this time, Cebu was starting to feel like home.

  • Nov 26 — by plane to Manila

    ...it was my birthday and I wanted to spend it with one of my new friends in Manila.

  • Nov 29 — by bus to Angeles City

    ...after everyone told me I just *had* to visit Angeles City (at least all the males I met said so), well I just *had* to see for myself; it turned out to have more "eye-candy" in one place than I had seen anywhere in the world; a great place for bar-hopping.

  • Dec 01 — by bus to Manila; by plane (overnight) to Melbourne, Australia; by plane to Adelaide
  • Dec 03 — by chartered bus to Ceduna

    ...to see a solar eclipse on the 4th.

  • Dec 05 — by chartered bus to Adelaide
  • Dec 09 — by caravan to Ceduna

    ...with stops along the way in Ceduna (again!?!), Cocklebiddy (what a name), Kalgoorlie, and Merredin.

  • Dec 10 — by caravan to Cocklebiddy
  • Dec 11 — by caravan to Kalgoorlie
  • Dec 12 — by caravan to Merredin
  • Dec 13 — by caravan to Perth
  • Dec 18 — by tour bus to Margaret Row
  • Dec 20 — by tour bus to Albany
  • Dec 22 — by tour bus to Perth
  • Dec 25 — by plane to Melbourne

    ...yes, I was traveling on Christmas Day, thinking that it would be less crowded and hectic - which it was; but, at the same time, I was surprised to see a full plane when I boarded.

  • Dec 26 — by bus to Launceston; by ferry to Devonport, Tasmania; by bus to Hobart

    ...stopped off in Launceston long enough for a stroll through scenic Cataract Gorge.

2003

  • Jan 03 — by sailboat to Recherche Bay

    ...this was the first leg of the trip aboard Yoko from Hobart to Melbourne.

  • Jan 05 — by sailboat (overnight) to Port Davey
  • Jan 07 — by sailboat (overnight) to Melbourne
  • Jan 09 — by car to Moorabbin

    ...stayed at the home of Robin and Val, the owners of Yoko.

  • Jan 18 — by tour-bus along the Great Ocean road; and back to Moorabbin

    ...with stops to see the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge.

  • Jan 19 — by tour-bus back to Moorabbin
  • Jan 22 — by train to Melbourne

    ...finally bid farewell to Robin and Val and moved into the city to be closer to the sights and night-life.

  • Jan 30 — by plane to Sydney

    ...where I met up with old friends (from other parts of the world), made new friends, and had lots of fun in the sun (and rain!).

  • Feb 13 — day-trip (by ferry) to Bondi Beach and back

    ...this was one of the best days of all the many wonderful days I had during my time in Australia.

  • Mar 02 — by plane to Christchurch, New Zealand

    ...on the last day of my visa, I was booked on a flight to New Zealand; but when I got to the airport, I realized my wallet had gone missing; probably stolen the night before while I was watching the Gay Mardi Gras parade in downtown Sydney; so I had to stay and wait for replacement credit cards to be sent from the U.S.

  • Mar 24 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...in order to put off the inevitable job search for as long as possible, I decided to go back to a country where I could live cheaper and stay longer; though still without my replacement cards; thanks to UPS, they were enjoying their own tour of the world - going everywhere, it seemed, except where I was.
    ...using points from my AmEx card, I booked four free flights - Sydney => Bangkok => Tokyo => Manila => Sydney (via Singapore).

  • Apr 06 — by bus to Ban Phe; by ferry to Koh Samet

    ...a quick trip to relax on the beach.

  • Apr 07 — by ferry to Ban Phe; by bus to Bangkok
  • Apr 14 — by bus to Pattaya; by ferry to Koh Larn

    ...another quick trip to a nearby island (not as nice as Koh Samet).

  • Apr 15 — by ferry to Pattaya; by bus to Bangkok
  • Apr 20 — by plane to Tokyo, Japan

    ...to meet up with a potential business partner, an American man I met in Beijing; and to see a couple of ex-girlfriends. ;-)

  • May 03 — by plane to Osaka

    ...to connect with my free flight to the Philippines.

  • May 04 — by plane to Manila, Philippines

    ...the third free flight of my extended itinerary.

  • May 13 — by plane to Cebu City
  • May 17 — by van to Panagsama

    ...fun in the sun.

  • May 21 — by van to Cebu City
  • Jun 01 — by van/bus/ferry to Malapascua

    ...maybe my favorite island in the Philippines - no cars, no noise, no pollution.

  • Jun 07 — by ferry/bus/van to Cebu City; by high-speed ferry to Dumaguete

    ...my first venture to the island of Negros.

  • Jun 09 — by jeepney to El Dorado Beach Resort

    ...decided to try the beach resort at El Dorado south of Dumaguete.

  • Jun 10 — day-trip (by dive-boat) to Siquijor (see-kee-hor)

    ...where that old black magic is still alive and well.

  • Jun 11 — by bus to Dumaguete; by high-speed ferry to Tagbilaran; by van to Alona Beach

    ...my second favorite beach destination.

  • Jun 14 — by van to Tagbilaran; by high-speed ferry to Cebu City

    ...as I said before, you can't go anywhere around Cebu Island without going thru Cebu City.

  • Jun 20 — by high-speed ferry to Tagbilaran; by van to Alona Beach

    ...didn't get enough of it the first time.

  • Jun 24 — by van to Tagbilaran; by high-speed ferry to Dumaguete

    ...didn't get enough of this place the first time either.

  • Jun 27 — by plane to Manila

    ...waited until the last minute to go back for my flight out of the country; okay, not quite, I still had a few days to spare.

  • Jul 02 — by plane to Singapore

    ...the last of my free flights; and they almost didn't let me do what I wanted; my flight was actually from Manila to Sydney with a change of planes in Singapore; when I said I wanted to get off in Singapore, they said they could only check my bag thru to Sydney; but, in the end, they let me go only as far as Singapore.

  • Jul 08 — by night-train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    ...it didn't grab me any more this time than it did during my first visit in March of 2001; only stayed one night.

  • Jul 10 — by night-train to Surat Thani, Thailand; by bus to Ao Nang

    ...I was actually trying to get to Railay Beach, but the only access is by boat, even though it is attached to the mainland, and I arrived too late in the evening to make the crossing.

  • Jul 12 — by boat to Railay Beach

    ...arrived just in time for rainy weather. :(

  • Jul 14 — by boat to Ao Nang; by bus to Phuket

    ...this is one of the two most visited islands in Thailand, yet it wasn't until my fourth trip to the country that I first visited this island.

  • Jul 18 — by van to Don Sak; by ferry to Koh Samui

    ...the other popular island.

  • Jul 21 — by boat to Don Sak; by bus to Surat Thani; by night-train to Bangkok

    ...considered getting certified to teach English at this time, then decided against it.

  • Jul 31 — by night-train to Chiang Mai

    ...met up with Minja, a friend from South Korea whom I met in Australia; during her summer break from teaching, she decided to visit Thailand and wanted me to be her guide.

  • Aug 06 — by night-train to Bangkok

    ...sightseeing, for Minja's sake, in Bangkok.

  • Aug 13 — by night-train to Surat Thani; by bus to Ao Nang; by boat to Railay Beach

    ...performing dutifully as guide for Minja, visiting the places I've been before and liked.

  • Aug 17 — by boat to Ao Nang; by ferry to Phi Phi

    ...on a *very* windy day, providing for a *very* rough crossing. :{

  • Aug 23 — by boat/bus to Phuket

    ...now not pressed for time (to meet my friend), decided to go back and stay a while longer.

  • Aug 29 — by van to Surat Thani; by train to Bangkok; by bus to Ban Phe; by boat to Koh Samet

    ...bypassed Bangkok this time and went straight to another of my favorite islands.

  • Aug 31 — by boat to Ban Phe; by bus to Pattaya

    ...it was raining at Koh Samet (the least-rainy of the rainy-season islands); went to Pattaya to visit yet another Hard Rock Cafe - no really, I swear, I wasn't there for the go-go bars. ;-)

  • Sep 02 — by bus to Bangkok

    ...almost time to leave; things to do before I go.

  • Sep 08 — by plane to Manila, Philippines

    ...back again for the third time; this time, the main reason was to evaluate an internet cafe on the island of Bohol that I was thinking about buying.

  • Sep 15 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Sep 16 — by high-speed ferry to Tagbilaran; by van to Alona Beach

    ...where I met with the owner of the internet cafe I was thinking of buying.

  • Sep 17 — by van to Tagbilaran

    ...where the internet cafe was located, so I could spend a few days hanging around the place, checking it out thoroughly; in the end though, I declined.

  • Sep 20 — by high-speed ferry to Dumaguete

    ...it was raining in Dumaguete and I couldn't connect with my friends, so I left after only one day.

  • Sep 21 — by high-speed ferry to Cebu City
  • Sep 26 — by van/bus/boat to Malapascua

    ...back again to my favorite island.

  • Oct 02 — by boat/bus/van to Cebu City
  • Oct 06 — by bus to Panagsama

    ...another great place to relax.

  • Oct 11 — by bus/boat/bus to Dumaguete

    ...finally connected with my friends; went back to see them.

  • Oct 20 — by ferry to Siquijor

    ...for a few days away with one of my friends from Dumaguete; but our timing was off, we went during a typhoon, so it rained the entire time we were there.

  • Oct 24 — by ferry to Dumaguete

    ...spent so much time here, I really got to like it; decided to stay a while longer.

  • Oct 30 — by plane to Manila

    ...back to prepare to leave the Philippines.

  • Oct 31 — by bus to Angeles City

    ...decided I didn't want to stay in Manila for my final week, so I went to nearby Angeles for some rest and relaxation. ;-)

  • Nov 06 — by bus to Manila; by plane to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Nov 09 — by bus to Ban Phe; by ferry to Koh Samet

    ...with my new-found friends Tom (from Germany), and his girlfriend Nam (from Bangkok), whom I had met on the plane from the Philippines to Thailand.

  • Nov 12 — by ferry to Ban Phe; by bus to Bangkok

    ...more fun-filled nights out with Tom and Nam before heading off to Phuket to start school.

  • Nov 14 — by night-train to Surat Thani; by bus to Phuket

    ...this is where I spent four weeks in school to get certified to teach English; it was a lot of hard work, but along with the many new friends I made at school, I managed to have a lot of fun as well.

  • Nov 30 — day-trip (by ferry) to Phi Phi and back

    ...along with a group of my fellow-teachers, we spent the day enjoying the sun and surf in Phi Phi island.

  • Dec 13 — by plane to Bangkok

    ...met up with three other fellow-teachers and enjoyed the night-life of Bangkok.

  • Dec 15 — by plane to Manila, Philippines

    ...flew with Tina, another fellow-teacher who is Filipina-American; she was returning to the Philippines to spend the holidays with family.

  • Dec 19 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Dec 23 — by high-speed ferry to Dumaguete

    ...to spend the holidays with friends there; New Year's Day was pretty wild - and quite loud as well.

2004

  • Jan 01 — by plane to Manila
  • Jan 05 — by bus to Bantangas; by ferry to Sabang Beach

    ...fun in the sun and lazing on the beach while my friend, Tina, got certified in scuba; also met Robert (another American) on a day-trip and went diving with him the next day.

  • Jan 12 — by ferry to Bantangas; by bus to Manila
  • Jan 18 — by bus to Subic Bay

    ...this place had been talked-up in my guidebook and by others who had been there, but it didn't really grab me; only stayed one night.

  • Jan 19 — by bus to Angeles City

    ...to meet up with old friends and, of course, make new ones; it's a great place to spend the last few days before leaving the Philippines.

  • Feb 10 — by bus to Manila; by plane (overnight) to Guam; by plane (overnight) to Honolulu, Hawaii; by plane to Houston, Texas

    ...this was my first time back in the States in more than two years!!!

  • Trip 3:  Apr 04 — from Austin, Texas by plane to Manila, Philippines

    ...Ahhh, it's like coming home. ;-)

  • Apr 08 — by plane to Dumaguete

    ...now this place really feels like home; it's one of my favorite places to just hang out, relax, and visit friends.

  • Apr 17 — by high-speed ferry to Cebu City

    ...my favorite guesthouse in Alona Beach was booked, so I had to go on to Cebu City.

  • Apr 19 — by high-speed ferry to Tagbilaran; by van to Alona Beach

    ...a room became available at my favorite guesthouse, so back to Alona Beach I went.

  • Apr 21 — by van to Tagbilaran; by high-speed ferry to Cebu City

    ...running out of time, had to go back to Cebu City for my flight to Manila.

  • Apr 22 — by plane to Manila

    ...trying to minimize my time in Manila - big, crouded, poluted city that it is - so I got here only one day before my flight to Australia.

  • Apr 23 — by plane (overnight) to Brisbane, Australia; by bus to Surfers Paradise

    ...this was a very looooooooong day of travel; met up again with Jia-qi (from Shanghai).

  • Apr 28 — by plane to Sydney

    ...to visit my good friends, Sean and Krissy - and all their lovely family and friends.

  • May 09 — by plane to Manila, Philippines

    ...after an all-too-short visit to the Land of Oz.

  • May 12 — by plane to Dumaguete

    ...back "home" for a while. ;-)

  • May 20 — by bus/ferry/bus to Panagsama
  • Jun 02 — by bus to Cebu City
  • Jun 16 — by high-speed ferry to Dumaguete
  • Jun 25 — by high-speed ferry to Cebu City
  • Jun 30 — by plane to Manila; by plane to Angeles City
  • Jul 06 — by bus to Manila
  • Jul 07 — by plane to Seoul, South Korea
  • Jul 08 — by train to Busan

    ...to visit Minja (remember Thailand? hehe) and to find a teaching job.

  • Aug 24 — by high-speed ferry to Fukuoka, Japan

    ...all "visa" runs from Busan were to Fukuoaka (3 hours away by high-speed ferry); and I was lucky in that (ex-girlfriend) Kumiko was living in Fukuoka, so I always had a free place to stay.

  • Aug 26 — by high-speed ferry to Busan, South Korea

    ...after 4 months I decided I didn't want to teach kids and got out of my one-year contract.

  • Dec 01 — by plane to Manila, Philippines

    ...had a little time-off before starting a short-term (4-week) job at a university in Busan; decided to take a quick vacation to someplace warm.

  • Dec 02 — by bus to Angeles City
  • Dec 08 — by plane to Dumaguete
  • Dec 13 — by high-speed ferry to Cebu City
  • Dec 17 — by plane to Manila

    ...such a short trip this time - Sigh!

  • Dec 19 — by plane to Busan, South Korea
  • Dec 20 — by high-speed ferry to Fukuoka, Japan

    ...yet another visa run.

  • Dec 22 — by high-speed ferry to Busan, South Korea

    ...to start my new job at Pukyong National University.

2005

  • Feb 03 — by plane to Manila, Philippines

    ...another short vacation to a warm place between contracts.

  • Feb 05 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Feb 18 — by plane to Manila

    ...after a longer-than-usual stay in Cebu City. :)

  • Feb 23 — by plane to Busan, South Korea
  • Feb 24 — by high-speed ferry to Fukuoka, Japan

    ...for my third work visa!

  • Feb 26 — by high-speed ferry to Busan, South Korea

    ...to start my second one-year contract (my first having lasted only four months - hehe).

  • May 28 — day-trip (by bus) to Kyoung-ju and back

    ...went with Minja and Sujin for the day at an amusement park; it was just so-so; I guess I've been spoiled by the really incredible rides at parks in the U.S.

  • Jul 29 — by plane to Incheon

    ...couldn't get a flight to Thailand from Busan; had to spend one night in Incheon (near Seoul); not very exciting.

  • Jul 30 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Aug 02 — by night-train to Udon Thani

    ...even though it was my eighth visit to Thailand, this was my first time to go to the northeast; the plan was to stay in Udon Thani for a week or so, then go to Phuket, and perhaps Phi Phi; but as it was the rainy season, and I was so far from the islands, I decided just to hang out a while longer in Udon Thani.

  • Aug 17 — by plane to Bangkok
  • Aug 20 — by plane (overnight) to Incheon, South Korea; by plane to Busan

    ...because of a mix-up with my flight (which originally was direct to Busan), I spent Saturday night in the Bangkok airport, and finally arrived home at 10:30 Sunday night - after being awake for more than 40 hours; and I had to teach at 9:00am Monday morning.

  • Oct 22 — by train to Seoul

    ...to visit my friend, Tom, from Germany.

  • Oct 23 — by train to Busan
  • Nov 17 — by high-speed ferry to Fukuoka, Japan

    ...Korean holiday, went to visit Kumiko.

  • Nov 19 — by high-speed ferry to Busan, South Korea

2006

  • Feb 10 — by train to Seoul

    ...another trip to see Tom, my friend from Germany.

  • Feb 12 — by train to Busan
  • Trip 4:  Mar 02 — from Busan, South Korea by high-speed ferry to Fukuoka, Japan

    ...to drop some things at Kumiko's place for her to store for me while I traveled again.

  • Mar 10 — by car to Shimonoseki; by ship (overnight) to Qingdao, China

    ...the amazing aspect of this trip was that there were only four passengers (including myself) on a very large ship.

  • Mar 12 — by night-train to Shanghai

    ...19 hours on the top-most bunk of three; difficult to climb up to; not enough head-room to sit up; I could only lie down and read the entire time.

  • Mar 18 — by night-train to Guangzhou
  • Mar 22 — by train to Shenzhen
  • Mar 26 — by train to Guangzhou

    ...like a ping-pong ball - hehe.

  • Mar 29 — by bus to Dongguan

    ...to meet up again with a Chinese friend I had met some years before in Hong Kong.

  • Mar 30 — by train to Shenzhen

    ...more ping-pong.

  • Apr 03 — by plane to Kunming

    ...for a few days in my favorite city in China before heading down into Laos (for the first time).

  • Apr 07 — by sleeper-bus to Mengla; by bus to China-Lao Border; by foot to Laos; by van to Luang Prabang

    ...I arrived just before Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year), so I decided to stay coz the Lonely Planet said it's place to be for Lao New Year; and they were right; I can't remember when I've had that much fun; their New Years celebrations include a water festival - which is really just an all-out, four-day water fight.

  • Apr 16 — by night-bus to Vientiane

    ...even though this was an overnight bus, it had seats only, no beds like some of the ones in China.

  • May 02 — by bus to Udon Thani, Thailand
  • May 08 — by night-train to Bangkok

    ...by this time, I had been to Bangkok so many times, it was starting to feel like "home".

  • May 13 — by bus to Pattaya

    ...'nuff said - hehe.

  • May 15 — by car to Bangkok; by night-train to Surat Thani; by bus to Phuket

    ...this is my first post-tsunami visit to Phuket; it was interesting to see the changes.

  • May 20 — by boat to Phi Phi

    ...this island was also hit hard by the tsunami; and the differences were more dramatic than in Phuket.

  • May 24 — by boat to Ao Nang; by bus to Surat Thani; by night-train to Bangkok; by bus to Ban Phe; by boat to Koh Samet

    ...this is my favorite island destination in Thailand

  • May 27 — by taxi (Expensive!) to Pattaya
  • May 28 — by bus to Bangkok
  • May 31 — by plane to Taipei, Taiwan
  • Jun 02 — by train to Tainan

    ...to visit Pia, a Filipina who was living and working in Taiwan on a two-year contract.

  • Jun 09 — by bus to Kaohsiung; by plane to Cebu City, Philippines; by plane to Davao

    ...this was my tenth visit to the Philippines, but my first time to venture down to the province of Mindanao; my guidebook (and locals I had met before) said it was dangerous to go there because of the high concentration of rebel forces in that part of the country; but I threw caution to the wind and went anyway. ;-)

  • Jun 13 — by bus to Cagayan de Oro

    ...I arrived during one of the hardest rains I'd seen in many months; I stepped off the bus into nearly knee-deep water!

  • Jun 16 — by (sloooooowwww) night-ferry to Cebu City

    ...it was a large ferry, with many passengers (200+, I think); but I was the only foreigner.

  • Jun 23 — by plane to Manila; by bus to Angeles City
  • Jun 26 — by bus to Quezon City
  • Jun 27 — by taxi to Manila

    ...if you're wondering about my mode of transportation being by taxi, Malate and Quezon are both part of the Manila Metro sprawl.

  • Jun 28 — by plane to Hong Kong, China

    ...my laptop died three days before I left the Philippines, so I decided to get it serviced in HK; the technician at the Sony Service Center there said it was probably the motherboard, and that it would be VERY expensive to replace it, so I would be better off putting that money toward the purchase of a new one; and that's what I did. :-)

  • Jun 29 — by train to Shenzhen

    ...while waiting for my new laptop to get setup and ready to go, I decided to spend that time in Shenzhen coz I like it better than Hong Kong.

  • Jul 02 — by train to Hong Kong

    ...back to pick up my laptop and to get yet another visa for mainland-China.

  • Jul 05 — by plane to Kaohsiung, Taiwan; by bus to Tainan

    ...to visit Pia once more.

  • Jul 11 — by bus to Kaohsiung; by plane to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...to visit another friend. ;-)

  • Jul 13 — by night-train to Udon Thani
  • Jul 15 — by car to Vientiane, Laos

    ...I felt so comfortable here when I visited the first time earlier this year, this felt like coming home.

  • Jul 24 — by plane to Kunming, China

    ...I didn't intend to stay overnight, but a problem with the language barrier caused me to miss my flight to Shanghai. :(

  • Jul 25 — by plane to Shanghai
  • Jul 29 — day-trip (by bus) to Hangzhou and back

    ...to see beautiful West Lake (with yet another Chinese friend) - but it was SOOOOO hot!

  • Jul 30 — by night-train to Beijing

    ...this was where I was going to book passage on the Trans-Siberian railway up thru Mongolia and across Russia to Moscow; but at the travel agency, I found out the Russian embassy in Beijing doesn't issue visas to Americans - ONLY Americans - everyone else can get a visa, no problem; Sigh!

  • Aug 02 — by plane to Istanbul, Turkey; by train to Eskisehir

    ...Turkey is another one of those places I've always wanted to visit.

  • Aug 04 — by night-train to Izmir; by bus to Selçuk

    ...I met up with Minja and Sujin, my good friends from Korea, and we toured southwest Turkey together.

  • Aug 07 — by bus to Pamukkale
  • Aug 08 — by bus to Antalya
  • Aug 09 — day-trip (by rental car) to Perge and back; by rental car to Aspendos
  • Aug 10 — by night-bus to Göreme

    ...amazing scenery!

  • Aug 13 — by bus to Eskisehir
  • Aug 16 — by train to Istanbul

    ...saved Istanbul for last, and I'm glad I did. ;-)

  • Aug 20 — by ferry to Bandirma; by bus to Marmaris

    ...to catch a ferry to Rhodes.

  • Aug 21 — by ferry to Rhodes, Greece
  • Aug 23 — by night-ferry to Athens; by plane (overnight) to Cairo, Egypt

    ...a very long and exhausting trip; even though it was a night-ferry to Athens, there were no sleeper cabins; then I had to hang out all day in Athens (still no sleep) and board an overnight flight to Cairo. :(

  • Aug 27 — by bus to Alexandria

    ...I had planned to go by train, but when I arrived at the train station that morning, I found out there had been a serious train wreck not far from the station; if I had been up early and on my way as planned I might have been on one of the trains involved; sometimes laziness can be a good thing. ;-)

  • Aug 30 — by night-train to Aswan
  • Sep 02 — by felucca err, train to Luxor

    ...well, I didn't actually make it to my intended destination (Luxor), or at least not by felucca, but that's a long story; I ended up back in Aswan and took a train to Luxor.

  • Sep 05 — by train to Cairo

    ...I didn't see the pyramids when I first arrived in Egypt, so I had to see them this time.

  • Sep 07 — by train to Alexandria

    ...back to visit my friends again.

  • Sep 13 — by night-bus to Sharm el Sheikh

    ...very touristy, VERY hot!!!

  • Sep 15 — by bus to Dahab

    ...possibly as touristy as Sharm El Sheikh, but with a very laid-back, comfortable atmosphere; so it was much more enjoyable.

  • Sep 22 — by bus to Sharm el Sheikh; by bus to Sharm el Sheikh; by night-bus to Cairo

    ...met up with Pao and went back to Sharm and Dahab.

  • Sep 24 — by bus to Dahab

    ...at this point, I had over-stayed my visa, but the guidebook (and the locals I asked) said it's ok; so I just hoped for the best.

  • Sep 30 — by bus to Cairo

    ...well, all was ok with the visa, even though I had over-stayed by 7 days.

  • Oct 02 — by plane (overnight) to Austin, Texas

2007

  • Trip 5:  May 23 — from Austin, Texas by plane (overnight) to Taipei, Taiwan

    ...to try another stint as an English teacher, this time in Taiwan (first time was in Korea).

  • May 26 — by train to Tainan
  • May 29 — day-trip (by train) to Taipei and back

    ...for an interview at a school.

  • Jun 23 — by bus to Kaohsiung; by plane to Hong Kong, China; by plane (overnight) to London, England

    ...an unscheduled stop on my way to France.

  • Jun 25 — by train to Agonac, France; by car to Laudinie

    ...an unscheduled stop on my way to France; after a month of searching (unsuccessfully, probably because of my VERY long hair) for a teaching job in Taiwan, I decided my heart just wasn't into teaching anymore; I got an email from friends in France who needed help moving out of their 12th century villa - so I went to stay with them for a while.

  • Aug 15 — by car to Agonac; by train to Paris

    ...I had to stay overnight on my way out of France in order to go to the US Embassy in the morning before my flight; while staying with my friends, I inadvertently washed my passport (in my pants pocket in the laundry), so I had to get an emergency replacement.

  • Aug 16 — by plane (overnight) to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...I planned to stay just long enough to apply for a permanent replacement passport, but would have to wait until Monday to go to the embassy.

  • Aug 18 — by bus to Pattaya

    ...hotels were booked in Bangkok; decided to spend the weekend in Pattaya. ;-)

  • Aug 20 — by bus to Bangkok

    ...back to Bangkok to go to the embassy; the "turn-around" time on a new passport would be two weeks; decided *not* to stay in Bangkok all that time.

  • Aug 22 — by plane to Hong Kong, China

    ...a quick trip to China.

  • Aug 24 — by train to Shenzhen
  • Aug 26 — by train to Guangzhou
  • Aug 29 — by train to Shenzhen; by train to Hong Kong; by plane to Taipei, Taiwan; by train to Tainan

    ...to visit Pia yet again. ;-)

  • Sep 10 — by van to Kaohsiung; by plane to Hong Kong, China

    ...an unscheduled stop on my way to the Philippines. :(

  • Sep 11 — by plane to Manila, Philippines

    ...feels like coming "home". ;-)

  • Sep 12 — by bus to Angeles City
  • Sep 19 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Sep 21 — by high-speed ferry to Tagbilaran; by van to Alona Beach
  • Sep 24 — by van to Tagbilaran; by high-speed ferry to Cebu City
  • Sep 28 — by plane to Manila; by plane to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...to pick up my new passport.

  • Oct 09 — by plane to Manila, Philippines; by plane to Melbourne, Australia

    ...another long, difficult trip; an overnight flight to Manila, where I hung out all day waiting for my evening departure (and all-night flight) to Melbourne; went there to be with Pao and spend some quality time writing my novel.

  • Dec 30 — by plane to Launceston, Tasmania; by bus to Hobart

    ...we rang in the new year in Tasmania, saw all the many sailboats that had competed in two sailing regattas (one from Sydney, the other from Melboune), and sampled all the delicious food on hand at the Taste of Tasmania festival.

2008

  • Jan 05 — by bus to Launceston; by plane to Melbourne
  • Jan 08 — by plane to Christchurch, New Zealand

    ...one of the conditions of my one-year, multiple-entry visa for Australia stated that I must leave the country every 90 days; so we planned a short holiday to South Island of New Zealand.

  • Jan 09 — by bus to Kaikoura

    ...for whale-watching, but the weather didn't cooperate.

  • Jan 10 — by bus to Nelson

    ...did a walking tour of the city center the evening we arrived; the next day we went on a double-decker bus tour of the city proper; that afternoon, we saw the Da Vinci Machines exhibit at a local museum.

  • Jan 11 — by bus to Marahua

    ..."home base" for our visit to Abel Tasman.

  • Jan 12 — day-trip (by catamaran) to Abel Tasman NP and back

    ...went sailing on a fairly large catamaran; got dropped on a beach where we lazed around for a while (building sand castles and such); then had a long hike back "home" along the coast; during a walk around our campground later, we found some llamas for Pao to pet.

  • Jan 13 — by bus to Richmond

    ...this was as close as we could get to where we wanted to go the following day.

  • Jan 14 — by bus to Murchison
  • Jan 15 — by bus to Hokitika

    ...after night-fall, we went to see the glow-worms, it's a magical sight.

  • Jan 16 — day-trip (by bus) to Greymouth; by train to Christchurch

    ...got up early to get to Greymouth in time to catch the TranzAlpine train, which runs coast-to-coast (west to east in this case) through one of the most scenic regions of South Island.

  • Jan 16 — by plane (overnight) to Melbourne, Australia
  • Mar 15 — day-trip (by rental car) to Great Ocean Road

    ...I did this trip by tour bus back in 2003, but doing it this time in a rental car, with a group of friends, was much more enjoyable.

  • Apr 09 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...my second "forced" exit from Australia; Pao couldn't take time away from uni, so I had to go it alone. :(

  • Apr 15 — by plane (overnight) to Cebu City, Philippines

    ...flights between Thailand and the Philippines were so cheap that it actually cost less to go to the Philiippines via Bangkok than it would have been to fly directly there from Australia.

  • Apr 27 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Apr 28 — by plane (overnight) to Melbourne, Australia
  • Jul 17 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...Pao had finished uni, so we went back to Vientiane (by way of Bangkok) together.

  • Jul 19 — by night-train to Udon Thani; by bus to Vientiane, Laos
  • Aug 09 — by night-bus to Savannakhet

    ...for Pao to visit (and me to meet) her mom, grandfather, and younger sister; it was the tail-end of the rainy season and there was severe flooding in Vientaine while we were away; the bus service from Savannakhet to Vientiane was suspended for a few days, so we got "stranded" there longer than we had planned.

  • Aug 18 — by bus to Vientiane
  • Sep 09 — day-trip (by bus) to Udon Thani, Thailand and back

    ...one of many shopping trips to Udon and Bangkok during my time in Laos.

  • Sep 16 — and backday-trip (by bus) to Udon Thani, Thailand
  • Dec 05 — day-trip (by bus) to Udon Thani, Thailand and back

2009

  • Jan 18 — day-trip (by bus) to Udon Thani, Thailand and back
  • Feb 23 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...a short trip to Bangkok for a much-needed visit to the dentist; I had tried a dentist at the French clinic in Vientiane, but he was so much like a bull in a china shop that even a simple cleaning was a very unpleasant experience; I wasn't about to go to him for anything more serious than that.

  • Mar 01 — by night-train to Vientiane, Laos
  • Apr 12 — by van to Vang Vieng

    ...a nice little holday to Luang Prabang, with a stop-over in Vang Vieng on the way to and from.

  • Apr 13 — by van to Luang Prabang

    ...we timed this trip to Luang Prabang to coincide with Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year) because it is just SOOOOO much fun there; we met up with Tou, one of Pao's friends who had recently moved there, and some other farang (foreigners) we met on the way; a great time was had by all.

  • Apr 17 — by van to Vang Vieng
  • Apr 18 — by van to Vientiane
  • Jun 16 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...a pit-stop in Bangkok for more dental work on my way to the Philippines to do some web development work with an American man living on the island of Palawan.

  • Jun 20 — by plane (overnight) to Manila, Philippines; by plane to Cebu City
  • Jun 25 — by plane to Puerto Princesa

    ...found a great guesthouse, with a very laid-back atmosphere and a great bunch of people who ran the place.

  • Jun 26 — by van to Binduyan

    ...this is where I stayed and worked for a few weeks, until I decided that the living/working arrangements just weren't right for me.

  • Jul 08 — by van to Puerto Princesa
  • Jul 09 — by plane to Cebu City

    ...took a break from Binduyan (and all the nasty little critters that were biting my legs morning, noon, and night) and escaped to Cebu (with a side trip to Malapascua with Pia).

  • Jul 10 — by bus to Daanbantayan; by ferry to Malapascua
  • Jul 12 — by ferry to Daanbantayan; by bus to Cebu City
  • Jul 19 — by plane to Puerto Princesa
  • Jul 20 — by van to Binduyan
  • Jul 28 — by bus to Puerto Princesa
  • Jul 29 — by plane to Manila; by plane to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...with my travel funds nearly exhausted, I decided I needed to return to the U.S. to "regroup"; wanted to go see Pao in Vientiane once more before leaving Asia for an unknown period of time.

  • Aug 01 — by night-train to Vientiane, Laos
  • Aug 08 — by van to Vang Vieng

    ...we made a weekend excursion to Vang Vieng for one last nice trip together before I left for the States.

  • Aug 09 — by van to Vientiane
  • Aug 17 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...back to Bangkok for the flight "home". :(

  • Aug 19 — by plane (overnight) to Austin, Texas

2010

  • Trip 6:  Nov 21 — from Austin, Texas by plane to San Francisco, California (stayed overnight); by plane (overnight) to Hong Kong, China

    ...since I totally zoned-out when booking my flight, I ended up with a 16 hour layover in San Francisco; ended up getting a room at a hotel instead of spending a sleepless night in the airport.

  • Nov 25 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...back in Bangkok for the umpteenth time. ;-)

  • Dec 23 — by night-train to Vientiane, Laos

    ...essentially a visa-run, but decided to stay at least through the holidays.

2011

  • Jan 07 — by night-bus to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...back to Bangkok, but this time I rented an apartment (by the month, that is).

  • Jan 21 — by car to Bonok

    ...a stop-off on the way to Koh Phayam.

  • Jan 22 — by car to Ranong; by high-speed ferry to Koh Phayam

    ...one of the newer "destinations" in Thailand - a wonderful little island with no cars (but many motorbikes), and very friendly locals.

  • Jan 27 — by high-speed ferry to Ranong; by car to Khao Sok NP (pier); by boat to Nang Prai Floating Resort, Khao Prai NP

    ...stayed in a floating bungalow on a beautiful lake with clear, emerald-green water, surrounded by dramatic scenery.

  • Jan 28 — by boat to Khao Sok NP (pier); by car to Chumphon
  • Jan 29 — by car to Huahin
  • Jan 30 — by car to Bangkok
  • Feb 28 — by night-train to Surat Thani; by bus to Krabi; by boat to Phi Phi

    ...my first trip back to Phi Phi Island in long, long days (since shortly after the tsunami in Dec 2004). It has become even more developed and touristy (not to mention expensive!). Heavy sigh!

  • Mar 03 — by boat to Krabi; by bus to Hat Yai

    ...my first visit to Hat Yai. I was there just to catch an overnight train to KL. I was surprised at how many farang (westerners) I saw there.

  • Mar 04 — by night-train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    ......I decided to give Kuala Lumpur one more try. My first two visits only lasted one night each, and I couldn't get away fast enough. During this third trip, I found the charm of the place - probably because I finally found the right part of the city to stay in.

  • Mar 09 — by train to Singapore

    ...headed down to Singapore to... a) see the Marina Hotel/Casino... and b) catch a cheap flight to the Philippines.

  • Mar 10 — by plane to Angeles City, Philippines

    ...back to the Philippines for the 13th time. ;-)

  • Mar 13 — by bus to Manila
  • Mar 15 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Mar 25 — by plane to Puerto Princesa
  • Mar 28 — by plane to Manila
  • Mar 29 — by bus to Angeles City
  • Apr 03 — by bus to Caloocan
  • Apr 04 — by taxi to Quezon City
  • Apr 05 — by taxi to Pasay

    ...was told there was a Dell Service Center here - and, actually, there was - but they didn't do the type of service I needed.

  • Apr 07 — by taxi to Makati
  • Apr 09 — by bus to Angeles City

    ...had to get away from the pollution of the Manila mega-tropolis so I could get over my chronic cough.

  • Apr 27 — by plane to Singapore
  • Apr 28 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand
  • May 21 — by plane to Kiev, Ukraine

    ...my first "new" in quite some time. After spending so much time in Asia, seeing so many tall (very tall), blonde Ukrainian women was quite a change for me. ;-)

  • May 30 — by night-train to Odessa

    ...my first time to see the Black Sea - something I've always wanted to do, but, since I grew up during the Cold War, I never thought it would even be possible for me.

  • Jun 06 — by bus to Chisinau, Moldova
  • Jun 13 — by night-train to Bucharest, Romania

    ...my first visit to Romania; it has always been one of those intriguing places I just had to visit sometime in my life.

  • Jun 17 — by train to Brasov

    ...so I finally made it to Transilvania - something (probably) most Americans dream about. I mean, as an American, growing up with Dracula-lore, this trip was pretty much inevitable.

  • Jun 18 — day-trip (by bus) to Bran; by bus to Rasnov and back

    ...headed straight for so called "Dracula's Castle" - which was the home of Vlad Tepes, from which the Dracula legend originated.

  • Jun 19 — day-trip (by train) to Sinaia and back

    ...I arrived too late to join a tour of the inside, but, judging from the exterior, it's more impressive than Bran (Dracula's) Castle. At least, it was prettier, better maintained, and nestled in a beautiful setting.

  • Jun 20 — by train to Sibiu
  • Jun 22 — by train to Cluj-Napoca

    ...I found a hostel I liked (not to mention a Starbucks) at a time when I needed to get some work done for my client. And the fact that it turned rainy and cooler the day after I arrived made it not-so-great for sightseeing anyway.

  • Jul 05 — day-trip (by car) to Turda and back

    ...to see a salt mine - quite amazing, actually!

  • Jul 08 — day-trip (by train) to Sighisoara

    ...I was told I just "had" to see this cute little town, so I stopped off on my way back to Bucharest. The Citadel area of the city was nice, but after an hour, I had seen it all, so I'm glad I didn't plan on an overnight stay. I did have one of the best meals there out of all my travels in Eastern Europe.

  • Jul 08 — by train to Brasov
  • Jul 09 — by train to Bucharest

    ...back to Bucharest, to re-join my Moldovan Lei, which I had left at the hostel hoping that some traveler headed to Moldova might buy it from me. I ended up arriving in Romania with a significant amount of the Moldovan currency, only to find that no one in Romania would exchange it.

  • Jul 11 — by train to Galati

    ...out of desperation to convert almost $200 worth of Moldovan Lei, I made a quick trip to Galati, the Romanian city that was nearest the Moldovan border. My plan was to take a morning bus across the border, do a quick exchange, then back to Galati for an early afternoon train that would get me back to Bucharest in plenty of time for my 11pm train to Sofia, Bulgaria. The only kink in the plan... there's only one bus each day between Galati and the nearest border town on the Moldovan side - departing Galati at 1pm, returning the next morning at 6am. So my plan didn't work out so well after all. But I got to see another Romanian city, and enjoyed another great meal in the process - this time, it was a salmon steak.

  • Jul 12 — by train to Bucharest; by night-train to Sofia, Bulgaria

    ...the post-script to the Moldovan Lei story is that I finally decided to contact the wonderful folks I met at the Chisinau Hostel and ask if I could send the money to them. Then they could send it back to me via Western Union. They agreed, so I sent it off from Sofia (with fingers firmly crossed).

  • Jul 20 — by bus to Skopje, Macedonia

    ...for those of you who don't know how to pronounce this city name, as I didn't, it sounds like "Skopia".  My hotel (no hostels) was on the perimeter of the extensive pedestrian streets of the "Old Town" (which isn't all that old these days.  All in all, a pleasant place to spend a few days.

  • Jul 23 — by bus to Tirane, Albania

    ...this city seems to have a lot of potential.  Unfortunately, I visited just a bit too early... the main area in the city center was a huge construction site. :(

  • Jul 26 — by van to Shkoder; by bus to Ulcinj, Montenegro

    ...Lonely Planet talked about all the coastal towns in Montenegro in one short (rather uninformative) sentence, as LP is known to do on occasion, and followed it with "Try Budva." But from talking to other travelers, I heard that Budva was packed at this time of year, and that Ulcinj (pronounced OOL-sin), with it's 12km beach, was much better. So that's where I went and was vary glad I did.

  • Jul 31 — by bus to Budva; by bus to Herceg Novi; by taxi to Dubrovnik, Croatia

    ...what a beautiful town this is - especially the Old Town - hands-down the best preserved (or, rather, "restored") old town I've seen in all my travels.

  • Aug 02 — by bus to Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

    ...due to the fact that, whenever I heard anything about Bosnia(Herzegovina) in the news, it was always preceded by "war-torn", I never thought I'd ever actually visit here. But if you stay away from all the unexploded ordinance, everything's fine.

  • Aug 03 — by train to Sarajevo

    ...I walked "Sniper Ave" and passed buildings with bullet-ridden exterior walls.  But for the most part, it's a beautiful city, with few remaining reminders of the 3-year siege they endured back in the 90s.

  • Aug 07 — by train to Belgrade, Serbia

    ...Lonely Planet said, "Belgrade is not a pretty city... even Belgraders will admit that."  But I found it to be just the opposite - at least as attractive and interesting as most of the other places I've visited so far in Eastern Europe.  All in all, a pleasant place to spend a few days.

  • Aug 10 — by night-train to Bucharest, Romania

    ...Back to Bucharest for the third time... mainly because I missed going to the Hard Rock Cafe (didn't know they had one, actually) - but for another reason as well (which shall remain a secret). :p

  • Aug 14 — by plane to Istanbul, Turkey; by plane to Dubai, U.A.E.

    ...I've always wanted to go to Dubai, but was put off by the unbearable heat. Finally decided to brave it for a stop-over on my way from Romania back to Thailand.

  • Aug 20 — by plane/plane to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...back "home" to Bangkok. ;-)

  • Sep 17 — by plane to Hong Kong, China

    ...the original purpose for stopping off here was to get a visa for Russia, for my second attempt at doing the Trans-Siberian Railway trip from Beijing to Moscow. But, as it was already getting into autumn, and temperatures in Russia were already on the chilly side, I decided to skip it at this time. In the end, it wasn't a wasted trip after all, because I was going to mainland China and had to get my visa in Hong Kong anyway.

  • Sep 22 — by train to Shanghai

    ...my first visit back to Shanghai since July, 2006 (more than 5 years).

  • Oct 04 — by plane to Jakarta, Indonesia

    ...it's amazing that, after sooooooooooo many years traipsing around Asia, this is my first visit to Indonesia.

  • Oct 13 — by train to Yogyakarta
  • Oct 19 — by train to Surabaya
  • Oct 20 — by plane to Kuta, Bali

    ...my first time to Bali, though I've been wanting to go for years.

  • Oct 25 — by van to Padang Bai; by high-speed ferry to Gili Trawangan, Lombok
  • Oct 28 — by ferry to Padang Bai, Bali; by van to Kuta
  • Nov 02 — by plane to Jakarta; by plane (overnight) to Singapore; by plane (overnight) to Manila, Philippines; by bus to Angeles City
  • Nov 09 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Nov 12 — by ferry to Ormoc

    ...first visit to Leyte; Ormoc didn't grab me; only stayed one night.

  • Nov 13 — by ferry to Cebu City

    ...to travel just about anywhere in this part of the Philippines, you have to go through Cebu.

  • Nov 14 — by plane to Cagayan de Oro
  • Nov 17 — by bus to Davao

    ...first trip back to Davao in several years; liked it even more this time.

  • Nov 28 — by plane to Cebu City; by ferry to Dumaguete
  • Dec 01 — by bus to Bacolod
  • Dec 03 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Dec 09 — by plane to Cagayan de Oro
  • Dec 12 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Dec 18 — by plane to Manila
  • Dec 19 — by plane to Singapore; by plane to Jakarta, Indonesia

    ...after waiting so long to go to Indonesia the first time, I made my return trip very soon afterward. ;-)

  • Dec 20 — by train to Yogyakarta

2012

  • Jan 07 — by plane to Kuta, Bali

    ...it was raining when I arrived, and it continued for the next 36 hours... so I left.

  • Jan 09 — by plane to Yogyakarta
  • Jan 14 — by train to Jakarta
  • Jan 16 — by plane to Singapore; by plane to Angeles City, Philippines
  • Jan 20 — by bus to Manila; by plane to Davao

    ...I'm getting to where I like Davao as much as, or perhaps even more than, Cebu.

  • Jan 26 — by bus to General Santos

    ...my first visit to GenSan (as it is called).. didn't really care for it all that much.

  • Jan 28 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Feb 03 — by plane to Singapore; by plane to Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Feb 04 — by train to Yogyakarta
  • Feb 15 — by plane to Kuta, Bali
  • Feb 18 — by van to Padang Bai; by high-speed ferry to Gili Trawangan, Lombok

    ...with it raining (make that, storming) during my last visit to Bali, I wasn't about to brave the ferry over to Gili – so I tried again this time.

  • Feb 20 — by high-speed ferry to Padang Bai, Bali; by van to Kuta
  • Feb 21 — by plane to Yogyakarta
  • Mar 01 — by train to Jakarta
  • Mar 03 — by plane to Singapore; by night-train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    ...didn't really wanna stay in Singapore, but sleepers for the train to Kuala Lumpur were all booked. Decided to go anyway, so I had a very sleepless night in a 2nd-class seat in a very cold coach.

  • Mar 09 — by train to Butterworth; by ferry to Penang

    ...my first time back to Penang since 2001.

  • Mar 13 — by ferry to Butterworth; by train to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...a loooooooooooong train trip from Penang to Bangkok – starting at 14:00 on the 13th until 11:00 the next day – 17 hours; 717 miles (there's a coincidence for my Coincidences page). ;-)

  • Mar 22 — by car to Pattaya; by car to Trat; by high-speed ferry to Koh Kut

    ...my first new island destination in Thailand in quite a while.

  • Mar 24 — by high-speed ferry to Koh Mak

    ...decided to visit two new islands in the same trip.

  • Mar 26 — by high-speed ferry to Trat; by car to Bangkok; by night-train to Vientiane, Laos
  • Apr 09 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand; by train to Chiang Mai

    ...first time back to Chiang Mai in almost 9 years. Decided to celebrate Song Kran (Thai New Year) there.

  • Apr 17 — by night-train to Bangkok

    ...wanted to extend my 15-day visa-on-arrival.  After a LOT of trouble finding the right place to do so, and filling out the required form, getting the required copies, and the required passport photo, I was told that my visa-on-arrival could only be extended for 7 days (not the 90 days I had requested) – and they would be happy to do so for a mere 1900 baht (about $63 US dollars!).  [No thanks!]

  • Apr 21 — by night-train to Hat Yai; by night-train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    ...my best "escape" from Thailand before my all-too-short visa expired was to go by train to Kuala Lumpur.  It turned out to be a 40-hour trip consisting of two overnight trains and an 8-hour layover in Hat Yai.

  • Apr 27 — by plane to Singapore; by plane to Angeles City, Philippines
  • May 07 — by plane to Cebu City
  • May 21 — by plane to Davao
  • May 30 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Jun 08 — by plane to Davao
  • Jun 15 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Jun 18 — by plane to Angeles City
  • Jun 22 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Jul 20 — by night-train to Vientiane, Laos

    ...a quick visa run to Laos.

  • Jul 25 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Sep 21 — by night-train to Vientiane, Laos

    ...another quick visa-run to Laos.

  • Sep 24 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Dec 21 — by plane to Negombo, Sri Lanka

    ...first venture into new territory since my visit to Indonesia more than a year earlier.

  • Dec 22 — by car to Mount Lavinia

    ...not knowing much about Sri Lanka, just took my chance on where to go; booked 4 days... stayed only 1.

  • Dec 23 — by van to Colombo; by train to Mirissa

    ...went to see blue whales; didn't turn out so well; ended up spending more than 12 hours on the boat due to engine trouble.

  • Dec 25 — by train to Colombo; by train to Negombo
  • Dec 26 — by plane to Male, Maldives

    ...I've wanted to visit Maldives for a long time.  Finally made it!

  • Dec 27 — by ferry to Maafushi

    ...Maldives turned out to be one of the most expensive destinations in a dozen years of travel.  It ranked right up there with Japan and Norway.

  • Dec 29 — day-trip (by high-speed ferry) to Picnic Island and back

    ...a beautiful island, very well-maintained; great for a day-trip.

  • Dec 31 — day-trip (by high-speed ferry) to Biyadhoo and back

    ...first went to an island they said was "very nice".  It turned out to be a dump - quite literally.  Opted instead for a pay-for-the-priviledge trip to Biyadhoo Resort.

2013

  • Jan 02 — day-trip (by ferry) to Male
  • Jan 02 — day-trip (by ferry) to Vilingili and back

    ...the island wasn't really as nice as locals said it was, but this was, hands-down, the cheapest ferry trip I've ever had... 18 cents (US) each way!

  • Jan 02 — by plane to Negombo, Sri Lanka; by plane (overnight) to Bangkok, Thailand

    ...back "home". ;-)

  • Jan 29 — by night-train to Vientiane, Laos

    ...another quick visa run.

  • Feb 01 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Feb 23 — by car to River Kwai

    ...first time back to River Kwai since the excursion from the Oriental Express in 2001. This time I stayed in a floating bungalow with the fast-moving river flowing underneath.

  • Feb 26 — by car to Bangkok
  • Mar 21 — by plane to Angeles City, Philippines
  • Apr 04 — by bus to Makati
  • Apr 06 — by plane to Puerto Princesa
  • Apr 07 — by van to El Nido

    ...my first time to visit El Nido.  Ended up getting the same sand flea bites all over my lower legs just as I did back in 2009 staying/working with an American man who lives south of Puerto Princesa.

  • Apr 12 — by van to Puerto Princesa
  • Apr 13 — by plane to Cebu City
  • Apr 23 — by plane to Manila; by bus to Angeles City
  • May 01 — by plane to Bangkok, Thailand
  • May 30 — day-trip (by car) to Poipet, Cambodia and back

    ...a day-trip visa run to the Cambodian border — or, rather, a *failed* visa run.  I *thought* I had an unused second 60-day entry on a double-entry visa for Thailand.  But, as it turns out, they only give 90 days to use both entries.  So, since the first entry uses 60 of those 90 days, that means I could only be out of the country for 29 days in order to use the second entry.  I was away for 41 days, then back in Thailand for another 30 – WAY past the 29 days I had before my second entry expired.  All-in-all, it was a *very* expensive trip to end up with only a 15-day visa-on-arrival.

  • Jun 12 — by night-train to Vientiane, Laos

    ...a proper visa run to Laos after the failed attempt to Cambodia.

  • Jun 17 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Sep 13 — by night-train to Vientiane, Laos

    ...yet another visa run.

  • Sep 17 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Oct 09 — by car to Uthai Thani
  • Oct 10 — by car to Phitsanulok
  • Oct 11 — by car to Khao Kho NP
  • Oct 12 — by car to Phu Taap Buh
  • Oct 13 — by car to Phu Soi Dao
  • Oct 14 — by car to Phrea
  • Oct 17 — by car to Nan
  • Oct 18 — by car to Bo Klua
  • Oct 19 — by car to Chiang Rai
  • Oct 21 — by car to Chiang Mai
  • Oct 25 — by car to Pai
  • Oct 27 — by car to Pang Ung
  • Oct 28 — by car to Maenajorn
  • Oct 29 — by car to Bangkok
  • Dec 13 — by night-train to Penang, Malaysia
  • Dec 17 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand

2014

  • Mar 15 — by night-train to Penang, Malaysia
  • Mar 18 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Jun 14 — by night-train to Vientiane, Laos
  • Jun 18 — by night-train to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Sep 08 — by plane to Chiang Rai

    ...this was supposed to be a 2-day trip, but I got such an allergy attack when I arrived, we cut the trip short and went back to Bangkok the following day (losing our original return tickets and having to buy additional ones). Besides, we didn't much like the place we were staying.

  • Sep 09 — by plane to Bangkok
  • Sep 15 — by plane to Hong Kong, China; by plane to Los Angeles, California; by plane (overnight) to Austin, Texas

2016

  • Trip 7:  Jan 25 — from Austin, Texas by plane to New York, NY; by plane (overnight) to Dubai, U.A.E.; by plane (overnight) to Bangkok, Thailand; by plane to Chiang Mai