Lexington, Kentucky

Don’t be fooled, the picture above of Lexington’s quaint downtown area was taken in the Summer, when weather is generally tolerable in Kentucky.

I came home to an entirely different scene. Dirty icicles clung stubbornly from tire wells. Mountains of snow pockmarked sprawling fields of concrete outside of Wal-Mart and other superstores.

Inside people were queued up to make the CEOs fatter and meaner.

Home. I’ve actually been home the last few months, and sadly have let my blog rust away as I pursued other endeavors…like getting back on the road. You’ll have to believe that staring down this outdated WordPress screen took far more courage than anything I’ve done in recent memory.

Aside from the apocalyptic amounts of rain turning my street into something kayak-worthy, this year’s cycle of being home hasn’t been too bad. I’ve found enough photography work to make my hands cramp; I sit and admire the hard-earned callous on my shutter finger.

My closest friends are home from their respective war zones, so we work hard to spend all my hard-earned photography money on craic and embellishing stories from decades of adventure together. Although many of my cohorts now have kids and wives, we still manage to keep the pub’s rent paid most months.

As always, this victorious return home from six months abroad started at a peak, then tapered off gradually as I realized more and more that nothing here wants to kill me. There isn’t a climbable volcano in sight and men seem to have traded their loin cloths and spears for suits and mobile phones.

I must seem an odd site to them with my flip-flops, torn shorts, and rotting travel bracelets where a nice watch belongs. πŸ™‚

Whenever I feel the home-too-long blues creep in, I reread the Tao te Ching and keep my mind in the present. Things don’t last forever; better to enjoy them while we have them. Only a few short months ago I was craving a hug from family and even the loving eyes of our lap-addicted cat. Sure enough, I’ll miss the familiar feel of her sharp claws in my crotch once I’m back on the road.

When not viewing the world through a viewfinder, I have spent a lot of time getting ready for the launch of the new GoAsia site for the New York Times About.com. I get to manage the site, write content, and generally act as a Guide for anyone interested in Asia and India — a cool gig that can be done from any corner of this planet! Details to come as soon as we go live.

On the other hand, my mind is constantly in Asia as I write, while my muscles, bones, and guts sit in Kentucky looking out the window. Seeing soccer moms swim their giant SUVs up the river I once called a street can get a little depressing. I love my hometown, however, it is undeniably a suburbanite’s paradise.

The Future

If I had a dime for every person who has asked me when I am leaving again, I would fly to Thailand in my own learjet. I think folks are trying to get rid of me. πŸ™‚

I’ve pushed my date back from the first week to the end of June to accommodate a roadtrip with family. Tickets have gone up, but I’ve got enough price alerts out there to bog down Kayak’s servers in a hunt for deals.

Sumatra is in my sights for this summer. Borneo last year was a small taste of what a gigantic, wild island crawling with orangutans has to offer in terms of adventure. Philippines? Myanmar? I definitely want something different this trip, but I prefer to do it without getting an AK shoved up my bottom.

This Blog

Now that the ice has been broken, the plan is to start updating the blog regularly again. Hopefully I can shock some life back into this creature; resurrect it before I hit the road in June.

Five years running and close to a million pageviews is enough to make me refuse to give up. That’s a lot of eyeballs soaking in my grammatical atrocities.

Maybe I should join the blogging masses and start making posts such as: “Top 10 Ways to Scratch Your Ass While Traveling”; or my favorite: “Top xx Travel Bloggers You Should Be Following on Twitter Because I Want Them to Retweet This So That My Blog Full of Generic Top-10 Posts Can Suckle on the SEO Teat of Larger Sites.”

Something like that, anyway.

May there always be a road!