A little late this year, but better late than never.

After 8 days of semi-relaxing family time in Orlando with my nieces and nephew, a visit to Disney World to make Mr. Eisner and the new CEO a little richer, and 16 hours of hellish driving…I am now back in Lexington, Kentucky.

Not for long.

Somewhere, as I type this, a Delta plane with an empty seat bearing my name (I hope) is being fueled (I hope) and prepped (I hope) for my trip to LA and then on to Asia. Today is June 15. I will be stepping off the plane on June 17 — my birthday — with the thick Bangkok humidity sucking my breath away.

What a two-day, sleepless journey. What a birthday to remember — I can’t wait!

I fly from Lexington to LA, spend one night on the floor in LAX, then catch a red-eye flight to Hawaii. Next, from Hawaii to Tokyo (where I’ll eat at my favorite sushi stop) and then on to Bangkok — arriving at midnight.

Once on the ground in Bangkok, I’ll catch a bus to Banglumpoo and wander around like a sleep-deprived zombie avoiding scandalous tuk-tuk drivers until I find accommodation on Rambuttri street — a quieter option in the vicinity of Khao San Road.

I’ve done this routine before, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Saying goodbyes to people I care about and the maddening trip preparation has already sucked away some of my gusto. I’m banking on a week in Bangkok to get my energy aligned and my chi focused on my new timezone (and home).

My missions in Bangkok:

  1. Eat some REAL pad thai
  2. Get some pictures of bullet holes
  3. Figure out what made my favorite people want to start shooting each other in the first place
  4. Try to stay dry during the monsoon rains

That’s about all that I will have time for before flying down to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (AirAsia, $50) next week to set up camp.


Just for fun, here are my total trip costs before even getting out the door:

  1. $120 ticket to LAX
  2. $150 backpacker travel insurance
  3. $110 trip supplies and new gear
  4. $800 flight to Bangkok  (one-way)
  5. $23 to check one bag on Delta (pirate bastards)


My rucksack and daybag weighed in at almost exactly 30 pounds (14 kilos). Not the best that I have ever done, but considering the extent of my work-kit which includes SLR and laptop plus accessories, not bad. My bloated Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring book is probably half the weight!


I am contributing to the NY Times’ About.com to help fund this trip, which means that I will be moving slower than usual.  That won’t stop me from seeking out adventures like those on last year’s trip (ie..whale hunting and finding Komodo Dragons).

My articles are mixed in with others on About.com’s Southeast Asia Guide.

Time to Get Going

The theme at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando is “Its a small world.” It sure won’t feel that small as my plane circumnavigates through 23 hours of world to deposit me in Asia, but I think they may be on to something.

It is a small world…and it’s our playground. Life is good.