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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
— T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

I scrawled these words onto the final page of the moleskin I brought traveling, as a reminder to make my travels worth something more than the time and money that I spent abroad. As a reminder to acknowledge the changes within myself and the adjusted lens through which I now see the world. And with these things in mind, the transition back into America has been a breeze. I mean, spending two weeks basically on vacation in Northern California certainly wasn’t a challenge, but even coming home to Baton Rouge. While I usually curse the town where I was raised for all it’s faults, I found myself looking at the advantages to living here and noting all the improvements that have been made to the city since I’ve been away. But I really felt that I had come back to the place where it all began when we touched down in New York. It’s where the idea for this trip was born, and being back felt like the end — but in a good way. In a, man, we really did it, kind of way.

I think travel affects everyone differently. And I’m happy to say that the things I’ve noticed about myself that weren’t here before are for the majority, positive improvements. I feel more optimistic, more patient, and more accepting of people just as they are. The trick to making long term travel worthwhile is holding on to these things. Not losing the positive effects of being out in the world in strange places surrounded by strange people and eating strange food, but to embrace those things by letting yourself change on the inside and not let go.

But it’s true what Eliot says: We shall not cease from exploration. Everyday can be one of exploration, of satisfying new curiosities. And the way to keep life interesting is to stay curious, even about things just around the corner.

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Stop over in Salt Lake City

by becca on June 29, 2010

When I had the chance to make a four hour stop in Salt Lake City instead of flying direct from Oakland to New Orleans, I took it.

Phil picked me up at the airport and we drove around downtown, admiring the very creatively named streets… they’re all numbered radiating from a single point in the middle of the city where the Mormon Temple sits. We both nursed hangovers at Phil’s favorite little place, Park Cafe (delicious!) and then took a ride through Big Cottonwood Canyon where in May, we had a legitimate snowball fight. I returned to the airport just in time for my flight to be delayed four hours, but it was totally worth it.

Nate made a similar trip a week later. He ended up taking a free shuttle bus from the airport to the Mormon temple where a group of girls gravitated toward him like magnets and “were really nice, but were trying to get inside me.” Metaphorically speaking of course, asking stuff like “Isn’t the world pretty? Isn’t this such a beautiful and fascinating world? Don’t you wonder where it came from? Some one had to make this right? That’s God.” (Insert dramatic pauses at will.) Phil came to his rescue: a romantic spot for the sunset, some chinese take out, and a few beers at Phil’s place. Not bad for an extended layover.


The Time Actually Spent Traveling

June 14, 2010

What do you think of when you think of traveling? Excitement? Relaxation? Comfort? I used to, but long term traveling is a different story. Down time. Sitting around. Hurry up and wait. And most of all, transportation. Buses, boats, trains, planes, you name it. Our time in Asia added up to 222 days, or 5,328 […]

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Oakland Art Murmur

June 12, 2010

There is no doubt about it: Oakland is awesome. I’ve heard people call it the Brooklyn of the Bay Area (which I disagree with mainly because the Bart stops running at midnight and a taxi costs way more than a Lower Manhattan –> Brooklyn ride). Nevertheless, it’s just over the bridge from SF. It has […]

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Getting to know San Francisco

June 11, 2010

When moving to a new city, I think it’s important to do a round of touristy stuff to get to know the city from that point of view that you may never have again. While we stayed with Leah in April and May, we made sure to do just that. — Clam chowder at Fisherman’s […]

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Road Trippin’ to Santa Cruz

May 5, 2010

Hop in the car with some of your favorite people. Roll the windows down. Turn up the music. Stop when you have to pee. Stop when you’re hungry. Stop when you see people kite surfing and you want to have a closer look. It’s a real road trip — something completely different from what we, […]

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Sipping Our Way Through Sonoma

May 5, 2010

Decent wine and real cheese are hard to find in Southeast Asia. And while we wouldn’t call ourselves connoisseurs, we missed both dearly while abroad and thought it necessary to spend a few days catching up with our old friends. What better way to reacquaint ourselves than a day trip from San Francisco up to […]

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Welcome to America!

April 27, 2010

We’re back in the states and experiencing less culture shock than anticipated. We arrived in San Francisco where we’ll spend a few weeks with the lovely Leah Wolfe (Nate’s sister, my good friend, and our match maker) who’s big smile and palpable energy greeted us at the airport. To our surprise, as we exited the […]

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A Quick Escape to Seoul

April 26, 2010

En route to San Francisco, we had a 10-hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. When we arrived, we checked into our 5:15pm flight and hopped onto bus 6005 to the city. On our way there, we kept feeling like we were cheating the system, visiting a city where we were supposed to be confined to […]

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Perhentian Paradise

April 23, 2010

We spent our final week in Southeast Asia on a fabulous stretch of beach on the smaller of the two Perhentian Islands. I tossed my shoes off the boat that ferried us to the silky sand and didn’t put them on again until we returned to the mainland. Our time there was beautiful and relaxing, […]

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