Thoroughly enjoyed reading your tale. I'm glad you enjoyed Australia. We Australians, although most of us don't know any better, tend to think of ourselves as 'the lucky country'. There was one technical fault with your diary: the picture of Brisbane was actually a picture of Melbourne. I hope you go on another trip soon so I can read about that one too.
[ Oops! I just KNEW that was going to happen somewhere in the journal! :-) I've changed it to the real Brisbane picture. Thanks! -Russell ]
Nice trip, great pictures. I'd definitely like to visit Sydney and Australia now! What you say about Amsterdam is a little predictable (well, I lived there most of my life) and you seem to underestimate Brussels (top Jugendstil sites, best food of Europe).
Incidentally, Norelco IS Philips and Amstel Beer is the same company as Heineken. Lots of luck in Africa.
I really like the concept behind your site, and I definitely will tell others about it. A friend of mine is about to do exactly what you did. And, I love it when people share their stories - it's such a fundamental tenet of our culture etc. etc. (we've heard all that stuff before, I know). However, something in your journal kind of rubbed me the wrong way and I'd like to point it out to you. On your rant about American Tourists in Venice, etc., you emphatically said something about no other country having the high standard of living the U.S. does. Ah hem, pardon me, how about Canada? Actually, on a per capita basis, Canada has less poverty than America does. So come on, don't be so short-sighted. Just look a little farther north. There is a huge country (yes, even bigger than yours) between the U.S. and the North Pole.
I'm not sure if I'm really happy or really unhappy to have come across your page... I spent 13 months doing a trip much like yours (though I went in the opposite direction), at the same time as you were traveling; in fact, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if our paths crossed in Thailand (I'll have to go back to my journal, and see what the exact dates were). Ever since my trip, I've had a hard time walking past the travel section in bookstores, and I still can't bring myself to read my journal - I have the travel bug, and there's no hope for a cure. I went back to Europe for 2 months this summer, but it wasn't the same; there's nothing quite like making the road your home.
My only factual quibble with your journal is that, so far at the Thai people are concerned, their beaches are NOT topless! They are actually offended by the foreigners who disregard their culture, and go topless. It is understandable that you would think that these beaches are topless (since everyone there has no top), but this is really a matter of tourists (principly Germans) imposing their culture on the area.
I also thought it was interesting that you thought that Americans were the rudest tourists. I found the Germans to be much less interested in adapting to the local customs, and to be much less worried about offending the locals. This is most noticable in places like Africa or Asia, but I found it to be true in Europe, as well. Maybe we just had different encounters...
Thanks for the bitter-sweet travel reminder, and for a way for me to share a little bit of what travel is like with my friends (who have all grown sick of hearing my stories :-) ).
Well thanks, now I really have the urge to go travelling again and it's only Monday afternoon! I did enjoy reading your experiences even though I was frustrated at times because you have such different priorities from mine - you say near the beginning that you were glad to get back to big cities (Australia?) I don't care if I ever see another big city. If you write some sort of book (get help) forget the pronunciation guides - some of them were quite wrong too, Interlaken is pronounced Inter-larken not locken and Berne is like Bairn not burn - you gave the typical English pronunciations. Dublin is certainly not part of the UK and the IRA wasn't formed in 1969 - it was part of the 1916 uprising. Still, it's good to fire the imagination, I'm thinking of a 6 month tour of the USA next year to see the parts I haven't got to yet, in case you wonder I'm English and have seen a fair amount of Europe though none of Oceania or Asia. You mention that you may have staved off a mid-life crisis, I don't believe that - you have set yourself up for a lifetime of knowing that there is so much more of the world you could experience.
Anyway, thanks for sharing your trip, I hope you get to go to all the places you missed.
Bob Palin, Massachusetts, USA