JANE: One day, I was talking with Koji, my son, about how I longed more than anything to see more of the world. I kind of noticed the wheels turning around in his mind…
Several weeks later, he announced that he would like to take me on a ten-day “mystery vacation” – “mystery” because he wouldn’t tell me where I was going until the day I arrived at JFK airport. He said he would only give me a packing list. You can bet that I took him up on the invitation.
KOJI: Given the global nature of my job, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel extensively around the world. My Mom works very hard with two jobs and also takes great care of my grandfather, so she is not able to travel very much. I also know that with the coming birth of my son in January, she will be doing a TON of babysitting, and what better way to thank her than to thank her in advance?
JANE: The title of this blog was inspired by John Steinbeck’s 1962 classic, Travels with Charley: In Search of America. One amazon.com review (A Book Full of Truth, 7/18/03) says that Steinbeck writes…embracing life as he travels around the country. The review comments that the America Steinbeck wrote about doesn’t exist any more, and if we followed his exact route today, we would encounter something entirely different, both because of the passage of time and because of our varying perspectives. While Steinbeck’s “America” no longer exists, Americans still do.
Koji and I also “embraced life” during this trip. We first visited Dubai, a brand new, modern city that didn’t even exist 40 years ago. And after that, Bangkok — an ancient city filled with smiling, warm people and others who smile while they try to rip you off…perfectly understandable as their standard of living doesn’t come close to the wealthy tourists they serve. Finally…to Koh Phi Phi, an island in the southern-most part of Thailand that was decimated eight years ago by the tsunami.
The passage of time certainly does change things. As the world changes, though, people are still people.
I hope that our travelogue reflects a respect for others whose lives are so much harder and challenging than the comfortable lives we lead. And…the world is as small as it is big, filled with such beauty that renders us speechless and leaves us in a state of awe.
P.S. Here’s a video of our trip that Koji put together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YewyZxSHCR8&sns=em