Thursday, August 7, 2008



After over eight months of traveling, I have stepped foot back home in Andover, MA, U.S.A. completing an around the world trip that took me through Asia and Europe.

Everyday on the journey I was amazed by the kindness and generosity of the human spirit. I never felt in danger and nothing was ever stolen from me. Fears like pickpocketing, kidnapping, corrupt officials, robbery, rape, &c &c &c never materialized and perhaps are only figments of the spectacular media and overblown personal accounts. I dare say that most people in this world treat each other with respect and honesty, even if only on the surface of things.

I also now believe that a traveler can survive
in almost any society without speaking a word of the local language using only body language and signs (money always helps, too). Pointing and grunting is enough to feed and house a feral wanderer.

While on the road, I realized what I like & dislike about my home, sterile America. Having a government that answers to its people is indispensable. Power easily corrupts and the poor always feel the pinch. However, in developing nations there are great personal liberties, to a degree anyway. Communist and junta governments typically don't regulate social matters like if you drink on the street, drive without a license, work underage, start a business, or where your dog poops. In America, laws, laws, and more laws govern so much of our day. Some of these laws are beneficial, but when driving a motorcycle in Vietnam its easy to think about all the actions the American bureaucracy doesn't allow. Why is it that I cannot buy Novacaine in an American drugstore?

In America, life takes place in plastic cul-de-sac bunkers, door-to-door driving in personal bubbles, all very much sealed away from the world. In Asia, life is pushed out onto the road for all to see. Main street is the marketplace, housing, bus stop, sewer, and playground. It is hard to feel alone when dodging shoulders and rice carts. My dream community would be a hybrid of the two worlds. American capital (and plumbing) combined with dense population and localized markets.

Bottom line: the world is different than America, America is not the world. Stay tuned for more deep thoughts.