As I write this, Rie is somewhere over the South China Sea, on her way back to the U.S. to visit her daughter, move in with her boyfriend and interview for a new job. I wish she could have stayed on in Chiang Mai so we could share the final weeks of this amazing year of travel. But I understand her reasons for heading home, and 10 ½ months on the road together is pretty darn good.
In fact, it’s been a fantastic time, and it wouldn’t have been half as much fun without my big sister. So here’s a toast to Rie, who helped keep the cheers level high despite flat tires, collapsing ceilings, would-be purse snatchers, and the big hairy rat in Indira Gandhi International Airport. Together, we traveled on all-night buses, crowded colectivos and shaky taxi-brousses. We shared power outages, water outages, a plague of frogs—and several 30 Rock festivals when the challenges of travel temporarily got the better of us.
|Cataracta Gocta, Peru|
|Machu Picchu, Peru|
Rie turned out to be a great spotter of distinctive potato chip flavors—Tomato Mischief in India, Nori Seaweed and Hot Chilli Squid in Thailand—and of distinctive cross-cultural fashions, like the super-cool dude strutting with his posse through the gare routière in Madagascar, wearing dark glasses and an “I [heart] Ben Affleck” t-shirt.
|Huayna Picchu, Peru|
|Mirador de Patagonia, Punta Arenas, Chile|
|Isla Navarino, Chile|
|Parc national de L'Isalo, Madagascar|
I intended to get trip t-shirts made up for us featuring a phrase from an email one of her friends sent early in the trip. He’d been reading the blog and said something about how “seemingly fearless” we were. ‘If only he knew!’ we thought. By then we were all too familiar with our own and each other’s recurring anxieties, from missing planes to getting robbed to running out of toilet paper. But together we managed to get past all those fears and keep the adventure going.
I’ll make sure we have lots of T.P.
|Chiang Mai, Thailand|