Long Journey Home and Travel Year In Review

Trip Start Aug 08, 2006
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36
Trip End Oct 11, 2006


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Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Long Flight Home
New Delhi, INDIA to Houston, TX, USA
October 10, 2006, 20:00

As the taxi negotiated through the traffic-laden streets of New Delhi in the shroud of night, I glanced at the blurred, nebulous strings of light from passing cars and motorcycles, and I realized how comparatively fast my world tour had gone by. When I left Houston 64 days earlier, the green leaves of summer outside my window were in their prime. Now the harvesting season of fall had splashed those trees with vibrant colors of scarlet, orange, and amber.

The trans-Atlantic flight from New Delhi to Newark, NJ (outside New York City) took 15 hours. Leaving India at 10PM and arriving in America at 4:30AM, the plane flew for 15 hours in darkness, as it chased the curtain of nightfall descending westward. The world was indeed small and fragile -- I noticed faint, flickering lights over Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Finland, Norway, Greenland, Canada, and upstate New York. It was like a band of light, a path of illumination, that guided my safe voyage home.

After 25,000 miles (40,000 km) in two months, I finally heard a familiar greeting once again, "Welcome to the United States of America." Relief and fatigue gripped me. Having flown on eight different airlines through nine countries, I had been welcomed in many different ways onboard, from flight attendants' bowing in Japan and China to airline personnel clasping their hands in prayer in India. Such interesting, striking cultural contrasts only enticed me to keep moving forward throughout my odyssey -- to acquire new knowledge about humanity and to experience different ways of living and thinking.

I did gain a lot of things on this trip, from a brand new ultra-portable Japanese computer to a new Italian suit. But most importantly, I gained an experience to reunite with dear, old friends and to make new, good friends; to witness three weddings in all their colorful pageantries and local traditions; to admire the vast, changing landscapes across Asia and Europe; to touch history in its diverse, regional glories; and to understand about our existence and struggle together on this small round planet.

In retrospect, I have spent the last year, from October 13, 2005 to October 11, 2006, visiting sixteen nations and two Special Adminstrative Regions (Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Japan, China, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, New Zealand, Tahiti, Mongolia, Russia, Italy, France, Spain, India, Hong Kong, and Macau). It has been a very special year of travel for me, and I hope next year will not pale in comparison. I would now like to share my most memorable pictures of the last year of travel on this blue planet we call home.

All the entries have been completed. Please enjoy them and feel free to share any thoughts that may come across your mind, as I am looking forward to getting feedback from any viewer. Until our paths cross on the next odyssey...
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