About the Journey
This page tracks the progress of the trip west and discusses future plans. I looked into putting some sort of google map tracker here but decided not to. I read A LOT of travel blogs and I can’t remember the last time I glanced at someone’s tracking map. It’s also not very functional for this type of travel (sailing). A large, broad map doesn’t show the detail of the small islands we visit and a small, detailed map doesn’t show the broad expanses of ocean we cross. Instead of a google map, I stick to smaller, static maps. That being said, here’s a broad map to show you the area of the world we are currently touring.
June 28, 2010
Today we’re back in the states. Greensboro, Georgia to be exact. We’re psuedo running a Bed and Breakfast and at the same time starting a new company to hopefully pay for the next big journey. All-in-all I visited about 25 countries over the past four years since my original departure from Charleston in Jan. 2006. Margie joined me in September 2008 and although she missed some beautiful spots in the Caribbean and Latin America, there is no denying she was there for the most beautiful and adventurous part of the journey. We can’t go to a beach without comparing it to the sands of French Polynesia or One Foot Island on Aitutaki. In some ways it’s depressing; in others, it’s inspiring. We will be back there one day.
Everyone always asks, “What was your favorite place?” I have the hardest time with this question. Are you asking about my favorite scenery, food, people, culture, beer, etc… My answer depends on what you want to know. I can tell you Bora Bora was absolutely gorgeous and one of my favorites in terms of scenery but the food was expensive and terrible. I enjoyed the raw culture (but not the Government) in Ecuador but found it to be one of the uglier places on Earth. No matter what I say, everyone is always like, “come on…there must be one place above them all.” Alright, if you insist. It’s a tie.
1) Aitutaki – Through a combination of people, prices, company, and scenery Aitutaki, Cook Islands stands out. When you arrive at the island and see the pass, you know you’re in for something special. Most people come here from French Polynesia where wallets are stretched thin. We were stressed and staring at our bank balance by the time we got there wondering how we were gonna make it to the end. This island came to our rescue. We spent 11 amazing days cruising this island on our cheap rental scooter. We ate in amazing restaurants like Cafe Koru and Cafe Tupuna. We saw fire dances. We swam in the lagoon and visited the resorts. Aitutaki brought back the reality of what we were the doing. It reminded us to step back and appreciate the opportunity before us, forget about whether we could afford to eat by the time we made it to NZ, and visit the South Pacific like we’d never see it again.
2) Jamaica – It shocks a lot of people when I say Jamaica was one of my favorites. Most people know very little about this country other than it can be dangerous and it’s reportably unsafe to leave your resort. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, Kingston is a questionable place and Ocho Rios is a typical sketchy cruise ship port. But who on Earth goes to Jamaica to visit Kingston or the city of Ocho Rios? (No offense to David and Janeen…my friends in Kingston!) Port Antonio is certainly one of my favorite places. It’s Jamaican culture and cuisine at its finest. Pan chicken, patties, curried goat make my mouth water! It’s also one of the coziest, naturally beautiful harbors I’ve ever seen. The issue with Jamaica is that you cannot go there and interact with the locals in any sort of timid fashion. It takes a certain type of person to turn a legless beggar looking for a buck into a smiling buddy offering you bananas from his yard. It’s not for everyone and those that cannot change their attitudes and open their minds are missing out on one of the friendliest cultures on the planet.
As for the runners up, here’s a quick list of other places I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again.
Pucon, Chile – amazing scenery, hiking, great little town filled with Chilean and Argentinean vacationers in the summer
Buenos Aries – what a walkable city. so much to do at such great prices, food is spectacular
Itaparica Island, Salvador Bahia, Brazil – it was probably because I have friends there but I enjoyed my time on this little island so much. it’s like stepping back in time.
Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia – Fara, Youri, Lydiane, and the whole family. You changed our whole experience and we can’t wait to see you again!
Bora Bora, French Polynesia – scenery like you cannot imagine but I would NEVER pay the prices to stay in a hotel here. Stop in at the yacht club and Bloodys but the real gem is the eastern side. Marge and I still talk about our anchorage in the lagoon between the St Regis and the Four Seasons all the time!
Niue – what an adventure this place was. whales, trails, and good friends. there is no place else like Niue!
Vava’u, Tonga – Good times with good people in a darn pretty place. Vava’u is easy living. Make sure you get down to Mananita Island.
Melbourne, Australia – We would live here if our families and friends would move with us!
Hong Kong – I dream of Pork Belly Noodle Soup and skyscrapers