As we’re closing up, I wanted to share a small collection of our favorite photos from the trip. As I posted recently, we took over 14,000 photos over the course of the year, all with a point-and-shoot camera (a Pentax Optio WP). Like all our photos, these are untouched with the exception of minor cropping.
OK, on to our favorites:
This little girl just happened to step right into place at the Amber Fort, Jaipur, India.
A violent curl at Kaena Point, Oahu, Hawaii
Cyclo in the monsoon, Hoi An, Vietnam
Brother and Sister, Sri Lanka
If you like these, I bet you'll dig the panoramas.
This is such a hard thing for us to do. To list the best or worst experiences, countries, cities, etc. is like trying to list a year’s worth of your favorite foods. The complexity and variety of a year's places or experiences can’t be boiled down to a list so easily. So, we’ve done our best to provide a few lists that reflect some of the highlights and lowlights of the trip. The items in the lists are in no particular order.
The links below link to corresponding dispatches or keywords on the site.
Favorite Countries Overall
Japan New Zealand Thailand Italy Holland Sri Lanka ( Norway ) Lofoten Islands ( Russia Siberia) Hong Kong Portugal
- Riverboarding in
Queenstown, New Zealand
- Elephant Training in
- Driving the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle, Norway
- Trans-Siberian Railway
- Ger Camping in
- Franz Josef Glacier Hike
- Tokyo's Tsukiji Seafood Market
- Riding the Bullet Trains in
- Sumo Wrestling Tournament, Tokyo, Japan
, Mt Kanchenjunga Sunrise at Tiger Hill, India 6 Days Down China's Yangtze River
- Worlds End,
Horton Plains, Sri Lanka
- Overnight Doubtful Sound Cruise, New Zealand
- Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Kaikoura, New Zealand
- Dog Sledding in
Banff, Alberta, Canada Rome, Italy by motorcycles with Robin and Giovanni Eating Baby Ducks in Cambodia with Mongkol
- Surprising Lee's Parents on Their 50th Anniversary
- One Whole Day for a Plane Ticket in Singapore
- Losing Our Phone in
- Ruining Our Camera at the Great Barrier Reef
Attempted Scam by Taxi Guy in Hanoi, Vietnam
- The Road to
- Sachi the Stinger Magnet
- Lee's Shoulder Dislocating in New Zealand
- No Hotel in
- Dealing with Street Hawkers in India
- Minibus Ride from Vang Vieng to Vientiane, Laos
- 9 hour bus ride Sihanoukville to Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Da Lat, Vietnam
- Hot Boxing in
- The Quickest Sickness in
- Rental Vehicle Broken into in
Tokyo, Japan Barcelona, Spain Wellington, New Zealand , The Amsterdam Netherlands Hong Kong Mumbai, India Lisbon, Portugal Osaka, Japan Venice, Italy Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Hanoi and Saigon,
Vietnam Copenhagen, Denmark
- Luang Prabang,
- Prague, Czech Republic
About halfway through the trip, we bought a video camera and started creating short videos to capture a different view of our experiences. Making the videos consumed me soon after. I fell in love. These are some of our favorites (the links go to corresponding pages on this site). All videos can be viewed here.
The Trans-Siberian Railway was an experience we'll never forget. This video was from an afternoon of heavy vodka consumption with Russian locals and travelers that ended in yours truly losing a few hours. I think it captures the experience:
The Vodka Train (02:30)
Before we got the real video camera, we shot some video with my point and shoot Optio WP, which is waterproof. When Typhoon Prapiroon hit Macau off the coast of China, we went out into it with the waterproof camera:
Typhoon Prapiroon (02:42)
Somewhere along the way I was inspired to eat strange things on camera - I call it the Jackass Effect. This one is shot from Beijing, China. We hear about this video a lot from friends and family:
Scorpions for Dinner (02:47)
You might also like the video from Hong Kong where I almost barf eating a Century Egg (fermented egg).
I tried to get a little stylistic in the industrial city of Ekaterineburg, Russia, which seems like a classic post-Soviet city in recovery. I really sensed a feeling of coldness and dispair while we were there. It's not that bad, but I tried to capture what I that feeling the best I could. The music is "The Cold Part" by Modest Mouse.
Leaving Siberia (02:30)
The highest rated video on You Tube was also shot in Russian Siberia at Lake Baikal, which is the oldest and deepest lake in the world. I think part of the appeal is related to the video being educational. The music is "You Can Have It All" by Yo La Tengo.
Incredible Lake Baikal (02:52)
From an emotional perspective, the video we shot of surprising my parent's on their 50th anniversary is the best. I can't watch it without getting a little misty-eyed.
Coming to America for the BIG Surprise (03:28)
This video was a surprise. I had no idea Sachi was shooting it, but it is so funny now to see. Watch how my feet react to the pain of a tattoo:
Tattoo Foot Dance (00:09)
Throughout the trip, when the inspiration struck, we would type a few travel tips into our phone. The majority of the tips below came from spur-of-the-moment revelations on the road, now in more organized and long form.
- To save battery power turn off mobile phones - being connected to or looking for the network drains the battery. The same is true for laptops and wi-fi signals. Turn em off.
- When you get to a hotel room, open your computer and look for an unsecured wi-fi signal. You’ll be surprised often.
- Carry two batteries for all gadgets. Though, a computer battery may be an exception.
- If you are using a mobile phone for more than a few weeks in a country, buy a SIM card for a local network when you arrive. It's what the locals use and you would have a local phone number with free incoming calls from home
- If you want to be able to charge more than one gadget at once, get a travel splitter or multiple outlet adapters for each format.
- Always think redundancy - back up often and send home DVDs of your pictures.
- DVDs hold a lot more pictures than CDs for back-up purposes - 3 times the amount. Most internet cafes offer DVD burning services.
- Invest in lots of camera memory (lSD cards, memory sticks). You do not want to consistently be hamstrung by a camera that is full of pictures. A 1GB card with 5megapixel photos was enough for us.
- If you have a laptop, move photos from the camera to the laptop daily. Always leave the room with 2 charged batteries and an empty memory card.
- Take your computer to the Internet cafe and plug it into their network with the Ethernet cable. They will know how.
Europedoesn’t allow this, Asiadoes.
- Wrap your computer in some sort of sealable plastic bag before packing it away. Wetness happens.
- Keep your valuable electronics on your person when in transit. Don't put your computer in a bag under a bus.
- People can’t steal what they don’t see. Limit gadgetry use in public.
- Never, ever miss an included breakfast.
- Many cheap hotels require that you insert the key into a slot in order for the power to come on. While it saves energy, it means you can’t charge electronics while you’re out of the room. Often you can use a business card in the slot instead of a key.
- Don't leave the room for the day without a map, local currency, identification and the room key.
- Try to resist giving the front desk your key when you leave – this is very insecure. Notice that when you return, they will give you any key you request.
- If your hotel does not serve breakfast, remember to go to a store on the way home at night to get something for the morning.
- Unless the city gets full consistently, don't make reservations in advance. Get there; find your favorite neighborhood and then a place to stay.
- If you are going to be in one city for more than a week or so, consider renting an apartment. A kitchen and washer /dryer are so nice sometimes.
- If you know the part of the city where you want to stay, make a reservation in advance for a single night at a hotel in that area, even if it is more expensive. Then, when you arrive, walk around to hotels and find a better deal for the rest of your stay.
- For most major cities, two nights is not enough as it leaves only one full day for exploration. Three nights is usually a good amount if you're on the move. More is better.
- The combination of your padlock is a risk. You may be asked for it if your bags are lost on international flights (they may need to open the bag). Make it unique - not associated with bank accounts, etc.
- When unlocking your padlock for your bag, remember to spin the numbers once so your combination is not displayed for others, like the housekeeper, to see.
- Tear unused pages out if your guidebook.
- In inexpensive countries like
remember to carry small bills and change - go to a bank to get the change you need. Making change is a pain. India
- When wandering a
at night, adopt the moth strategy and go toward the light. new city
- Buy clothes made of synthetic fiber - they are lighter, stay cleaner and are easier to wash and dry quickly.
- Days of the week can start to blend together. The biggest problems happen on Sundays when a lot of businesses are closed and Mondays when museums often close.
- In packing your backpack, make sure you pack it the same each time, giving each item a specific place. When something is missing you'll know.
- Buy a backpack that is built for travel and not camping. The best ones open from the side, allowing access to everything quickly instead of bags that open from the top only - requiring an unpacking to reach the bottom.
- A clean and free bathroom is only as far as the closest McDonalds.
- Take a flashlight.
- In public, you will never be judged or create a spectacle for being too quiet. This is made more difficult with alcohol.
- Look for English language weeklies in cities to find out about events.
- Check local pharmacies for prescriptions that are expensive from home. Beware of fakes in
- Do like the Spanish and have a siesta. Explore for a few hours in the morning, nap in the heat of the afternoon and go back out for the evening. This is sustainable for long periods.
- Only rookies get sunburned. Be liberal with strong sunscreen. Wear a hat.
- When getting up from a park bench, airplane seat or any place where you sat, turn around and look back at the area to ensure you didn't leave anything.
- Use the local mail service to send home items you are not using. Most useful when changing climates.
- Remember that you can’t do everything. Relax, take a deep breath and enjoy what you *can* do.
I think Ha Long Bay, Vietnam and the vicinity is the place that I saw pictures of when I was a kid and wanted to go so badly. We will go there in 2006.
Seth and Julie were just there and described it nicely:
We have just come back from two beautiful days in Ha Long bay (gulf of Tonkin). Those that have been there know just how stunning it is, for those that haven’t, picture a flat sea green expanse of water studded with 3,000 limestone karsts jutting straight up from the water forming tiny, uninhabited “mountain-islands.” As the massive blood orange sun set behind the jagged islands the boat staff taught Seth to catch squid off the side of the boat with a handheld net (which was then steamed up for dinner).