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Published: August 7th 2011
Saturday August 6th, 2011
Eastern Seaboard, USA
Latitude 40 degrees 54 minutes’ north- Longitude 68 degrees 13 minutes west
Last January when we left the United States, it seemed like the great adventure that stretched before us was somehow all make-believe. Now, we have traveled 44,506 miles circling the globe and weaving our way through all climates, cultures and conditions. What we have found is a world filled with all levels of poverty, prosperity and promise. The surprising thing has been how different people view the world and their situation. The residents in a small village on the Indonesian Island of Lombok have absolutely nothing by our standards. They live in mud floored huts where they have no money, but simply barter for everything with rice they grow by hand. They were friendly, happy and generous. In stark contrast to that tranquility was the extreme poverty and complete desperation of West Africa. The crush of millions of people struggling to survive in a hostile environment where they lack even a basic education or the ability to improve their situation was sad to see.
We are told that the world is a small place and that the internet has
made it even more compact. So, when you fly by jet plane from one continent to another that only seems to confirm this sense of closeness. Humanity is bunched together in known centers of commerce and trade. This is naturally where all major airports are also located. These locations have been shaped over the centuries by the ease of transport for raw materials and resources. These places are crowded, congested and still growing. Many people that travel only visit these major cities. What Jane and I have experienced in our slow and wandering circumnavigation is something quite different. The world is large and it is a long way around. There are vast areas that are barely touched by man. We saw gorgeous islands and lush coastlines which are completely uninhabited. I hope the internet will actually make commerce more accessible to everyone and advances in technology will make it possible to expand the world’s markets and utilize more of these unused areas. Before electricity and petroleum dominated the economy people lived a very different lifestyle where rural areas were much more populated than they are now.
Watching the news you would think that the whole world is in turmoil
and humanity seems destined for chaos. When you actually see the whole world you realize that this is not the case. Ninety percent or more of all people are actually quite happy and content. Everywhere we went we saw people working hard and trying to improve their situation. The world is not filled with suicidal terrorists and religious fanatics.
We have learned many things from many different people and cultures. We arrive back in the States refreshed, rejuvenated and with a more hopeful outlook for ourselves and the world at large. Our travel experiences will shift to a more land-based approach for the next several months as we plan to stay in North America for a while visiting friends and family. Alas, we must press on as the tally is a bit short- we have only lost 42 pounds so far.
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