Thursday, February 4, 2010

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

Lots of things in life don't die but instead evolve or get reinvented. Such is the case with this blog. This has been a great blog to write and we have had many dedicated followers over the past one and one half years. But now it's time to move on from this blog to... another blog.

I have just published a new book about our year long odyssey around the world: Around the World in Easy Ways, A Guide to Planning Long-Term Travel With or Without Your Kids.


For those thinking about long-term travel, this is a great "how to" guide that will help you with the process. For those who prefer to live vicariously through other people's travels, this book is just one more way for you to enjoy yourself. Either way, you should check it out at www.aroundtheworldineasyways.com. Once there, you will discover a blog feature on this site and it is here where I will continue to blog. So come visit my new site and if you have particular ideas of what you would like me to blog about, leave a comment on a blog post or send me an email via Contact the Author. I would love to hear from you.

PS - If you had a favorite post on the One World One Trip blog, don't worry, the blog isn't going anywhere. You can come back and visit it anytime.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

HOW QUICKLY WE FORGET

Running out the door to go pick my mother up at the airport, I grab a book and bottle of water - it could be a long wait. I find this incredibly great parking space and proceed to the ticket counter in order to get a gate pass; this is my mother's first time flying as a blind person and I feel it's best if I meet her at the gate. It's only been six months since I arrived to this airport from our world travels, but somehow, even in that short period of time, they've managed to rearrange everything. I find security and line up in my cue of five - where is everyone? Isn't this the busiest travel time of the year? Why did I leave myself so much time? As the TSA agent scrutinizes my I.D. and gate pass a light bulb goes off in my head, I've got a knife in my purse. I wasn't the one traveling, so why should I have remembered to take it out of my bag? I ask the agent if there is any place to leave it for an hour or so until I come back. His lengthy reply of "No" leaves me walking back to the car to drop it off. I'm not losing this knife after finally getting it back from Easter Island!

Back at security with that Deja Vu feeling. This time I make it all the way to the x-ray machines. "Excuse me ma'am, is this your bag?" (Why do they call you ma'am? It makes you feel so old.) What could they possibly be questioning in my little tote? It's only a book, newspaper and a bottle of water for my wait. "Ma'am, you can't take this bottle of water, do you want me to throw it out?" I notice he's not giving me a whole lot of other options so I say "Yes" since it's clearly the price I have to pay to get to the other side.

I finally make it to the gate with only twenty minutes to spare. With so little time, it turns out I could have left my purse, book and bottle of water in the car and saved a lot of hassle. My mother comes off the jetway beaming like a little kid; she is so excited to be here. I grab her wheel chair and begin to push, all the while wondering, how after 358 days of travel I could have been caught by security twice. My, how quickly we do forget.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

AGRA

I like thinking back to where I was a year ago. Not only is it an opportunity to relive a dream, it's an opportunity to think of someplace warm. I don't like the cold and having had a year of mild temperatures enables me to always think warm when reminiscing.

My thoughts often go to the obscure. Not the "big picture" of what we were doing or what we were seeing but some oddity that stands out in my mind. A year ago today we were standing in front of the Taj Mahal. You can read about that on Marty's blog from a year ago. I'm remembering Agra; home to the Taj.

We pulled into Agra on November 8th around 8:00 PM. It was dark, but not dark enough. Some places should never be seen in daylight, Agra is one of them. It was crowded, it was dirty, it was seedy, it was... We had heard it was rip-off city, we could see why. Then we arrived at our hotel. Thinking back, I'd say it was the worst of our accommodations. They handed us a pad lock key. You unlocked the pad lock and then, once in the room, you put the pad lock on the inside to lock others out, or to lock yourselves in. It was for just one night I told myself but I knew I wouldn't get much sleep with one eye open.

We wanted to be at the Taj by dawn the next day. This required us to leave all our belongs in the room until we returned to check out. I just knew that upon our return, anything of any value would be gone. The thought wasn't sitting well with me at all. Then I noticed the latch on the outside of the bathroom; ideas began to percolate. I retrieved a pad lock, purchased in Zanzibar, from the bottom of my bag. We placed all four of our suitcases and all four of our backpacks in the bathroom and then placed our pad lock on the outside of the bathroom door. Yes, you're picturing this right. We were locking all our belongings in the bathroom. Even if management had a key to the pad lock of our room, they still wouldn't be able to get into the bathroom. We left at 6:00 AM for the Taj Mahal feeling a little more at ease.

As we walked to the Taj Mahal none of us discussed the fact that we had just locked all our belongings in the bathroom; it seemed normal - we were in Agra.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

IT ONCE WAS LOST BUT NOW IT'S FOUND

Once our trip was over, I figured our blog was over too. Not that I really wanted it to end (the trip or the blog); it's just that in my mind, they went hand in hand. Sure, people will check in to see great safari pictures or to hear about our trials and tribulations on the road, but who is going to check the blog now that we are here back in the US living our normal everyday lives. I guess there are a few people out there who might be interested in hearing about our reentry into "real" life, but probably not many.

So, here it is, just about 3 months since our last blog post. I'm sure we've lost all of our readership at this point, but something just happened that compels me to write. Eventually someone out there in the universe will stumble upon this post but until then, I'll just savor this post for myself.

As a pre 9/11 traveler, I travelled for years with my Swiss army knife in my carry on backpack; I never went anywhere without it. It was used for everything and I couldn't imagine being on the road and not having it at my disposal. So in June, 2008, before leaving for our year around the world, I consciously took my Swiss army knife and placed it in my toiletry bag which travelled in my checked luggage. Each time I arrived to a new destination and unpacked, I took the knife out of my toiletry bag and placed it in the daypack that was used for our daily outings. So began the ritual...Packing for a flight, put the knife in my toiletry bag; settling into a new location, unpack the knife and put in in the daypack. It was a flawless practice for 9 months, 18 travel days and 32 locations.

Then, in March of 2009, at the tiny airport on Rapi Nui, I saw the bin of items confiscated by airport security: lighters, scissors, knives. Knives! Oh my God! I'd forgotten to take my knife out of my daypack and put it in my toiletry bag. With my luggage already checked, there weren't too many options left. It was either surrender my beloved knife to airport security and never see it again, or run after our guesthouse host, Sharon, who was still at the airport awaiting her most recent guests on the arriving flight. For me it was a no brainer. I gave my knife to Sharon asking her if she would mail the knife back to me in the US in 3 months time when I would be returning home. She said she would do her best and then I had to let go of the outcome.

Concerned that small packages have a way of disappearing and never arriving to their final destination, Sharon later told me, via email, that she would hold the knife until she herself would be traveling to the US in the summer. Once in the US, she would mail the knife to me. Sharon arrived to the US but I got no package, only an email saying that she had essentially done the same thing - left the knife in her carry on instead of packing it in her checked bags. She passed the knife onto her assistant who was still at the airport as a sense of deja vu permeated the air.

At this point I was sure that I would never see my Swiss army knife ever again. I was tempted to plan a rescue mission, going to Rapa Nui myself to get the knife, but no matter how much I loved my knife or how bad I wanted to visit Rapa Nui again, I couldn't rationalize the thousands of dollars it would cost for the mission to get a knife that would cost me only $25 to replace. Besides, my family loved Rapa Nui as well - I might have to take all of them with me!

Sharon emailed me and told me that she would be coming back to the US in the fall for the birth of her grandchild; she would mail the knife to me at that point. But by this time I had lost all hope. It's not that I lacked faith in Sharon, it's just that I had come to believe that my knife was destined to spend the rest of it's existence on Rapa Nui - not a bad fate if I must say so myself.

But by last week everything had changed. I received an email from someone named Corie which I was about to delete since I didn't know a Corie and certainly all emails from people we don't know contain virus' right? Then I noticed that after her name came the phrase: Thank You and Package Mailed and the mention of the name Sharon. I backed up my computer to protect all my data before opening the email (not really) and there it was - a reference to my knife. Sharon had given my knife to one of her guests, this woman Corie from New York City, to mail to me upon her arrival back to the US. And sure enough, several days later, the knife arrived at my door step.

The knife looks exactly the same as when I handed it off to Sharon at the Rapa Nui airport 7 months ago; but it's not the same. It's no longer just a Swiss army knife, but instead is an embodiment of worldwide humanity. Sharon was a wonderful host when we stayed at Te'Ora, her guesthouse on Rapa Nui; but her obligation ended there. She didn't have to take on the mission of returning my knife to me, but she did. And while it took several attempts to keep her promise, keep it she did. Thank you Sharon for being the wonderfully kind person you are. And Corie who never knew me and most likely never will, she took on that mission as well.

Pick up any newspaper and you will see all the evil that our lives are currently filled with. But I know, after having traveled the world for a year, that this world is filled with incredible kindness. I know this because we were the recipient of it many times over.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

IT'S A BOOK

The One World One Trip blog is now a book available at blurb.com. With full color photos, it's just about an exact replica of the blog which you have been following over the past year. Available in both soft and hard back, it looks great but it's not cheap. Since with photos the book turned out to be over 300 pages, it was costly to publish. I would like to tell you that all the profit goes to charity but I can't - there really isn't any profit to speak of.

One Mom, One Dad, T...
By By: lisa Shusterm...


Check it out!

Also, coming soon (or not so soon) to a publisher near you...

I am in the process of writing an indispensable guide to planning long term travel. This won't be a book to tell you where to go or what to see. This will be a book that tells you all the steps you need to take in order to make your long term travel a reality. It's the book that I wanted to read when we were planning our trip, but couldn't find. I'm hoping that this book will make it easier for other people to take their trip of a lifetime. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

THE LAST BLOG (OR NOT)

In January 2006, three and one half years ago, I said to Marty, "If we are ever going to take this trip, we had better start planning it." At that point I really wasn't convinced that this trip would ever occur but I was certain of one thing, if we didn't start planning it, then for sure it would never happen. Just thinking about it or even talking about it was not going to make it a reality.

As we started to make plans in earnest, book flights, arrange for accommodations, obtain VISAs...it became clear that this trip was really going to happen - sort of. I still found myself saying "We are PLANNING on taking a trip around the world." It was so difficult for me to say "We ARE taking a trip around the world." Even at this late date was I still scared that it wasn't going to happen? Or, was I scared that it really was going to happen?

Well, it did happen. Of course I don't need to tell you that, you watched it unfold right here on this blog. And the most amazing thing of the whole year was just that; that it did happen. We took a dream and made it into a reality. We didn't let the myriad of obstacles that could have gotten in our way, get in our way. We didn't let the abundance of emotional issues that surfaced stop us either.

Taking this trip was the biggest thing that I have ever done in my life. And at this stage of my life, it may be the biggest thing that I will ever do. The good, the bad and the ugly of it all doesn't really matter. Just having made the trip made it a huge success. It was empowering, it made me stronger and if I can do this, I can do anything - as long as I can hold onto this feeling.

Avocet and Siena are young; they have their whole lives ahead of them. They will probably do something that will surpass this experience. That's OK. This wasn't their gig, it was ours. For them, this was a gift. An opportunity to see a world greater than the microcosm in which they live. An opportunity to have a different perspective as they grow and mature. And an opportunity to have a lifetime of memories that they can share with us.

I will miss writing this blog. For over a year now, this has been an important part of my life. Whether you were a religious follower or one who just popped on for a peek now and then, I thank you. While we will always have this blog as a family memento, knowing you were out there reading and going with us on our journey, made it that much more enjoyable to write. It was a great ride and I'm glad you all came along.

lisa


For me too, this process feels like it started decades ago. At the beginning, the onset of the trip was a lifetime away. What I didn't think about was the end of the trip. You plan for the things that must be done, the itinerary, the visas, the accommodations, etc. Those are “easy” in the long haul to work on because there is an excitement, an anticipation...even though they felt “hard” at the time. Now, after 42,000+ miles, what is there to look forward to? We won't be doing this again, at least the way it was done the first time. Av and Si's next adventure will be one of their own, maybe backpacking in their early twenties. The old farts of the family, lisa and I, will do something travel related in the future but not soon. A year on the road takes it out of you. So what is the next frontier? Job? Career? New Hobby? Volunteering? Green business? Astronaut? Run for President (not)?

I have discovered that the past year has reminded me that life is an adventure. It is too precious to not consider it so. I know that on the cusp of fifty five years of age that I don't have even forty good healthy years left. Doing something just to make money or to please someone or to conform...forget it. This year was the adventure of a lifetime. But maybe just one of the adventures. There are many more to come. It was a GREAT, GREAT year.

Marty

Sunday, June 14, 2009

WELCOME HOME BRAIN

We've been home for going on two days now. I still haven't adjusted. No altitude or time zone issues...it's a brain issue. I'm running on slow speed. When we unpack I do it in slow motion. I have the motivation of a slug. I do want to get stuff done but my mind and spirit are saying pole, pole (go slow, go slow in Swahili). I feel like I'm a step out of “the” world but haven't yet stepped back into “my” world. I want to talk to people about the trip but also want to shy away from it because....I really don't know why. I'm whacked!!! What I want is a simple project that I can do by myself where I don't have to talk to anyone. One whose complexity only uses 10% of my brain and can be done with a cerveza in my hand.

Being a traveler is diametrically opposed to being an efficient, functioning person of society. On the road you enjoy, observe and ponder. Being back in America requires thinking, planning, scheduling and analyzing what goes on every day. It is the sad epitome of being “local”. I guess I don't want to give up being “global” yet.