Sunday, January 18, 2009

Moving forward

I've been thinking a bit about what I want this blog to be in the coming months, as I embark on this crazy adventure. Thinking so much, in fact, that I've been too preoccupied to actually write-- sorry about that.

When I was in China, there was a lot on this blog of "then we did this, then we did this." I got plenty of positive feedback for the way in which that sort of thing was executed, but it was very much a day-by-day recounting. I want to do that, too, to be sure, but I've had much more exposure to blogs since that year and I know there are other options. I want to get more comfortable with shorter entries (see the past few for examples), as well as more in-depth discussions of little ideas, links to interesting content elsewhere, things like that. I have to admit that I'm not really well-versed with all that Web 2.0 stuff, which is part of why you haven't seen much of it (or anything) in this space. But I want that for this blog; it's something to aspire to in any case.

I also have been thinking a bit about how personal I want to be in this space. The China part of my blog did not have nearly so wide an audience as this coming portion will have. How much of my anxieties, fears, quirks, and embarrassing mistakes can I share here without crossing a line, or without opening myself up to criticism and mockery? I'm not sure. I'm going to try to be frank and hope people will reserve judgment.

So, with this in mind we move forward. I'm quite behind, as I've been out living Australian life the past 11 days and haven't been keeping you all up to date. I imagine that the entries to come as I catch up will have to be quite heavy on the "then I did this" sort of content. But I will try to make it as colorful as possible. Believe me, it's been wonderful. I want to do it justice.

A bit of background, before I launch in:

I graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut last May. I decided that this year would be a year to have adventure. I moved home to my parents' house (rent free), got a temporary project-based job at a local engineering firm writing content for a biographical website, and saved money like a fiend. During that time I discovered Couchsurfing, an amazing worldwide movement that has changed my life (with no exaggeration.) The idea of couchsurfing is that you open your home to travelers in your area, and when you travel other people open their homes to you. This helps keep costs down, but more importantly it means you meet real people who live where you are, learn about daily life and culture, get great inside tips on what to see and what not to see, and so much more. I did a bit of hosting with my family in Boston, and now I will be surfing around the world. I am also a member of SERVAS, which is basically a UN-sponsored version of Couchsurfing.

From May until December 2008 I worked full time and planned a yearish long trip that will take me through Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, and a great deal of mainland Europe. I read travel blogs and guides, applied for four different visas (China, Vietnam, India, and Australia), went to 7 shoe stores looking for light hiking boots, and took approximately 100 separate trips to REI. And then on January 2 I departed, and Things began to happen. There will be a separate entry on "how to plan a trip around the world," but that is the basic story of how I started on this epic adventure.

Now: onto San Francisco.

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