It’s been a long time since I’ve done a trip of this length – over twenty years, to be exact. I was 25 when I started in Boston on a train to New York. It was August, 2001 and I had just finished an end-to-end hike of the Long Trail, ending up on a hot day at the Canadian border.
I was very skinny at the end of that hike.
From New York I flew to Munich, spent six weeks knocking around Europe in the chaos and fear that surrounded 9/11. I turned 26 while seeing Slayer in Dublin, Ireland. It was an amazing show, even though I’m not really a metalhead.
Next was Nepal, where I hiked the Annapurna Circuit and lost a bunch of weight again. I recovered in Thailand, spending some time in the north before bombing out on Ko Pha Ngan for a while. Hong Kong, then Australia, then New Zealand, then home. I kept a journal the whole time, and spent some time a few years ago turning that journal into a full-length memoir, which I shelved because “26 year old backpacks around the world” was and is not much of an angle for a book sale.
But it was such a wonderful experience, one I still think about many days of the week. Insert the obvious privileged-white-dude caveats here, but it’s amazing to get out there and understand just how big and amazing the world is.
Twenty-plus years later, we are hitting the road as a family. The other direction this time: starting in San Francisco and going west until we get back home. I’m on a leave of absence from my job, Julie has backups for her clients, and Fiona doesn’t start kindergarten until August. The time is right, so here we go!
We’ll both be writing here as often as it strikes us to – this is mostly so that family and friends can see what we’re up to, and to give us a space to write out our thoughts. Travel opens the mind; we’ll see what it does to ours over the next several months.
2 thoughts on “20 Years Ago”
Last time I had a map on the wall of my office with string and thumbtacks mapping “Where in the World is Dan?” Think I’ll do that again but call it “Following Fiona”