For the past year, TwinF has been our baby, our home, our object of interest and we are quickly approaching the day when we stop writing here. In fact, we have decided to close the site this coming Saturday, January 6th - exactly one year from the day we left Hawaii for New Zealand. From that point on it will be frozen in time - no new updates. Between now and then, we plan to post lists of our favorite things - photos, videos, experiences, countries etc. It should be fun.
It's a sad moment for us, really. We have had such a great time with the site and it's connection to you as our online companion. It's hard to let go and I'll miss it, really and truly. The connection will end here, but it will sprout in other places, where we'll continue to live online in one form or another.
For those of you who want to continue to keep up with us through my writing, photos, videos, etc., tune into Lee LeFever dot com. I've already started blogging a little there and it will turn into our personal home on the Web. In fact, I'm committing myself to posting one picture per day to the site for all of 2007. Don't expect to be impressed on a daily basis. :)
If you're interested in our consulting business, it has also come back out of "hibernation" to give our business a home on the web once again. See: Commmon Craft - Social Design for the Web.
Again, keep an eye out for our favorites and other goodies coming your way soon.
It was never really possible for us to have an itinerary until now since we made it up as we went along. Now that we're home though, we have the completed list, now with fancy hyperlinks. The info below was copied from the Itinerary page. Enjoy.
All told, we were away from home for just over one year and in that time visited 29 countries and 4 continents. The list below represents our basic intinerary. The links go to page that are organized by location.
December 4-8th: Workshop in Banff, Canada
December 11th: Leave Home for Long Term
December 11th-15th: New York City
December 16th-22nd: Carolinas with friends
December 23rd-30th: Christmas with Lee's family in North Carolina
December 30th: New Years with Sachi's family in Hawaii
January 6th: Leave Hawaii for New Zealand.
January 8th: New Zealand
February 9th: Brisbane, Australia
February 25th: Singapore
March 4th: Sri Lanka
March 15th: Malaysia
April 8th: Phuket, Thailand
April 15th: Ko Lanta, Thailand
May 30th: Back to Bangkok, Thailand
June 13th: Chiang Mai, Thailand
August 3rd: Macau to Hong Kong
October 4th: Oslo, Norway
October 7th: Copenhagen, Denmark
October 13th: Enschede, Holland
October 15th: Berlin, Germany
October 18th: Prague, Czech Republic
October 22nd: Milan, Italy
November 6th: Lisbon Portugal
November 9th: Cadaques, Spain
November 12th: Barcelona, Spain
November 23rd: New York City, USA
December 6th: Route 66, USA
December 8th: Los Angeles, CA, USA
We may be home, but we've got a few more weeks to go on TwinF. Our plan is to stop blogging on the site within a month. From then on, it will continue to be available online for many years. So, we have about a month to get out everything we want to say about the trip.
If you'll hang around here for another month or so, we'll be posting some best-of lists, a year in review, more pictures, a couple of videos and some things we wrote but never posted. It should be a fun way to end up.
I've come back to an online world filled with all sorts of fun little social tools that can keep us connected in stange and interesting ways. The one we're experimenting with using on the roadtrip is called Twitter.
Twitter enables me to post something that is a bit like a blog post, but a small and posted more frequently. I can use our mobile phone to send a text message (SMS) to Twitter that then posts it online and on our blog - notice the new format of the "Currently" block on the home page.
Since it is so easy to post something new, I plan to be sending multiple updates a day to Twitter. Most will be goofy and mostly useless, but homefully fun. This little badge will also keep up with the action:
We are both continually amazed at how having this web site has connected us with people we would have otherwise never known. Just a couple of nights ago, we had dinner with the sister of a friend’s former roommate, Maria. I was asked her in an email how in the world she knew about us. Here is the connection…
Maria was a housemate with my long time friend JJ in
If this wasn’t enough, Maria also reminded us that we help her brother too…
My brother Fernando and his wife printed out all your
Crazy. We both think it is pretty amazing that suddenly, because of blogs and the Internet that these sorts of connections are possible. What a world in which we live. What a world.
We've been asked many times about our process and technology for keeping this site updated regularly. So, we decided to shoot a short video showing all the tools we use (hardware and software) and our process. We're not sayng it's the best way - it's just how we do it.
In the video we mention a number of resources. Our camera is the Pentax Optio WP. Our computer is the Sony VGN-T350. This site runs on the Drupal platform, which is hosted and supported by Bryght. Our graphic design was done by Rain City Studios. We share our photos using Flickr. Oh, and the post we created on the video is here.
We recently received a nice email from Nath at Blue Fronier Media. Nath asks...
Firstly, how much has running this blog taken over the 'mission' that you guys have embarked upon?
What a can of worms you have opened. We love talking about this stuff... Let's see...about the mission...
TwinF is a huge part of our experience - I am personally thinking about it all the time - usually in terms of what would make great content and where the next Web connection is going to come from (man, I sound like a junky). As for mission though - TwinF was part of the mission from the beginning. We saw it as an opportunity to travel and experiment at the same time. We had a hypothesis that a new type of travel is possible now because the Internet makes it so easy to collect information and meet new people. In testing this hypothesis, I get to learn new things for my work with Common Craft. So, we're very motivated to keep things rolling. I'd also say that our hypothesis has proven to be true - blogs and the Internet have enabled us to learn about places and meet people we never would have known otherwise. TwinF has helped us make our travel world much smaller and more localized. We call it the "Long Tail of Travel", if you're familiar with that idea.
Has it enriched the trip...something to keep you interacting with your world and -- in the case of a travel diary like yours perhaps -- ensuring that you keep engaging critically with what's going on around you; chasing the next post, as it were).
It's a double-edged sword. It is amazing to know that people are watching and are ready to help, but it's also intimidating sometimes. I honestly worry about looking like a rookie or saying something insensitive. Aside from that, the notion of sharing something on the web has pushed us into places and situations that we may not have pursued otherwise. The perfect example is eating weird things in Asia - that would not have been so fun without video and TwinF as a means to share it. Also, it has made us really think about how a place makes us feel because we want to be as authentic as possible. I have no regrets - I would say blogging has enriched more than detracted by a long shot.
Also, Member Travel Experiences along with comments and emails has enriched the trip immeasurably. We found some of our favorite spots by asking for advice from our readers.
Has it become a pain at times when you'd just rather blow TwinF off and be another hedonistic, aimless vagabonding vagrant?
I have a little voice in the back of my head that is constantly keeping track of the length of time between posts and sometimes it is a bit too loud. However, that voice is not specific to TwinF, I've heard it since my first blog and I'm used to it.
It is the administrivia that gets old... Finding a connection, uploading pictures, trying to use the mobile phone, dealing with comment spam, etc. If wifi was ubiquitous and the technology worked consistently, we would have no complaints.
Blowing off TwinF has never even been a possibility and I think we would both count it as a failure if we did. TwinF is a project that are both committed to seeing through to the end and I think we're lucky that we have such fun doing it.
Flickr is surely one of the best websites evar. We're using it to archive and organize the photos that we'd like to share on the web. Just recently they released a new feature called Geo Tagging that allows you to arrange your photos on a map. So, being the Flickr nerd that I am, you can now browse all our TwinF photos on a Flickr map.
Just a quick note to say that we've just gotten into Shanghai from the boat journey on the Yangtze and Three Gorges. What an experience. We have all sorts of things to say, but we need a little time to get it all together. The boat had dial up Internet, but we abstained. The withdrawal wasn't too bad.
Until then, here's something shiny to look at...