18. Retrospective


We have been fortunate (to some extent because we’ve pressed our fortune) to enjoy quite a bit of travel of different kinds.

As a couple, Leah and I have visited all 50 U.S. states and six of the seven continents. Additionally, I experienced the seventh continent for more than four months.

The end
Us at the end of our Erie Canal walk.

When we flew to Australia, we made no arrangements other than a place to stay and a rental car; the rest was serendipity. On the other extreme, when we walked the Erie Canal Trailway, we had lodging reservations lined up for 35 nights. In Alaska, I cobbled together three series of flights, a ferry, a train, two rental cars and four different lodging sites, all packed in eight days.

However, none of those gave us any in-depth experience in a community and that was something we’ve had on our to-do list for a couple of years.

Along came Catherine and James, offering to host us in an exotic locale. The result was a most memorable opportunity, one that got us closer to our host community than any other.

Carry anythingWhat I will best remember is having our feet on the streets of Ao Nang, walking among the many shops, chatting as well as we could with the shopkeepers and other tourists, feeling the vibes of the community. The sights, while impressive, are secondary.

Leah’s thoughts centered around “firsts.” Scuba diving, kayaking into a karst island among mangrove trees, seeing the elegant mosques, eating outrageous foods … for example.

The climb to the mountaintop temple was also a special memory, in no small part because of the company we had. Because our friends worked every day, each night was a happening unto itself, whether we dined out or at home.

Prow decoration“What would you do differently,” one reader asked.

Every day or two, I downloaded photos from my camera into the computer in order to have some organization across our visit. That was great, but I wish I had spent 10-20 minutes each evening jotting down notes about the day. I know there are little things I will forget and happenings for which I will lose context. These pages will help, but there are so many small events every day.

But that’s kind of like life, in general, isn’t it?

Go forth, make memories and hang onto them.

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