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Old 12-19-2004, 11:09 AM   #46
strikingviking OP
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Stumbling Through the Clouds
November 11, 2005
Airborne Over Madagascar

From five miles up, I drift into a sensation of whirling displacement, staring out the dual-Plexiglas window of a roaring jet missile. While suspended in motion among idle puffy clouds, a muted fiery sun rises against the curve of the earth. Trapped in the disorienting daze of the continental-hop, while on a precarious slide into the role of uneasy alien, I wrestle to contain images of primal cultures I’ll soon invade.

In 1988, when first returning to California from living in Asia, culture shock did not strike me until re-encountering familiar surroundings. Even promptly barging back into old routines with lifetime friends, social adjusting took a year. No one but other long-term travelers understood the misalignment that occurs when attempting to return home. Similar feelings intensified in 2002 when completing my South American ride, resulting in an about-face from Palm Springs for a four-month retreat to Central America. After that, still restless inside, I embarked on another extended visit back to Mexico, only to return to California long enough to organize the present journey. So where does all this wandering lead?

There is a psychological line that long-term international travelers cross that marks a point of no return—that is when we surrender to the lure and take the expatriate plunge by deciding to live in a foreign country. I grapple with these sentiments daily, often by the hour—what to do once back in the US or where to finally settle and grow old. This morning, when boarding a plane crowded with package-tour Europeans exiting Bali, culture shock exploded like a series glaring light bulbs. One would assume that with time spent in sociable Indonesia, these tired tourists would have adopted some friendliness and lost the unpleasant frowns.

To smooth jagged edges of a harsh life in the Developing World, no matter their circumstance, everyone smiles. As learned in Tsunami ravaged Banda Aceh, not even the horrors of nature’s ruthless rampage could smother the local’s heart-spun smile. If by chance I encounter a native not smiling, I fire one first and immediately that little brown face erupts into a mouthful of sparkling pearls. But smiling at strangers causes suspicion in the West where it signals attempts to manipulate, or becomes a cocktail waitress’s favorite tool. The most dreaded effect aboard this hurtling capsule is being trapped in the awkward chill of subdued spirits.

Since most hotels in Bali were empty, it was an annoying surprise encountering partitioned rows of emotionless Caucasians with sunburned faces and worn expressions. And how is it I can be so uncomfortable with my own kind? Have I become the dog who has played with the ducks so long, he thinks he is a duck? In thirty years of wandering seventy countries, from Mongolian nomads to Amazon Indians, I have interacted with almost every major race and culture except Black African. And now, to the dismay of those at home, that questionable exploration awaits when this 747 lands in Cape Town.

When first explaining to friends and relatives wild ideas of continuing my global ride after unfortunate events in Colombia, there were long faces with forced smiles. They may share the splendor of adventure reading these journals but they also suffer unfairly worrying about the pitfalls. Even though the South American adventure turned out for the best, the horrendous hell my loved ones endured for five weeks not knowing if I was dead or alive took its toll, probably more on them than me. Announcing I was subjecting them to a second round of grating anxiety had a price.

Although everyone appeared positive and feigned excitement, no one but my closest brothers really understood. Cracks and distances between rock solid relationships widened in the deepening gloom of an approaching departure date. None of us could stand the strain of another emotional train-wreck. India, first of the two biggest risks on this route, has passed with only a stomachache and frazzled nerves. Now, a glowing African sky pulsates with forbidding images of genocide, famine and disease, jabbed with sporadic states of civil war. But somehow, I know it is going to be different and the Dark Continent will welcome this curious Gringo.

When first committing to embark on this odyssey, I told Brad that I would only be gone a year with no intentions of leaving the pavement. I aimed to confine the ride to developing nations but also to sidestep even the most remote hazards. And today, with recent pledges to be home by January, my course has veered again. So far, I’ve been a traveler without an established itinerary, just a general direction around the earth that was subject to change by political barriers or weather patterns. Originally, Africa was not an option, but a lengthy conversation with a fellow traveler, stimulated further consideration. “Glen you have to do Africa, life won’t be complete without visiting the Masai of Kenya.”

That very same afternoon an experience while questioning a cashier in a Seattle convenience store cemented my determination. While paying for a tank of gasoline, hearing a shiny-black-skinned girl’s unfamiliar accent sparked my curiosity. “Okay, you’re not British or Jamaican, where are you from?”

In a laughing voice behind sincere brown eyes, she answered in a series of soft jingling bells, “I an fron Eet tee oh pee ah.” A homely girl with a happy face--she flowed lithe as a hand-carved ebony figurine and during twenty minutes of dialogue between attending to customers and answering her cell phone, she spoke of a distant homeland. “I con to Ahmeerica to be weet my famalee but I mees my contree so much. I an goin back to there soon.” Her comment caught me off guard. From the security and affluence of America, how can anyone miss the suffering of Ethiopia? What could cause such yearning for the tragedies reported about one of Africa’s poorest nations?

As of that moment, the solution was simple, I had to go and find out for myself. Now when meeting black Africans while traveling, I startle them by boldly announcing “I’ll be in your country next year.” But I am not proceeding blind--this time I am protected by omens.

Is there such a thing as prediction and prophets? There had better be. While standing in line transferring planes in Malaysia, an Indian Sikh sitting in cross-legged meditation suddenly opened his eyes to wave me closer. With his bulging head layered in a white linen Turban, he radiated a sage’s wisdom. From behind a scraggly beard framing a tan wrinkled face, he stared direct into my eyes--uttering simple words “Many great things lie ahead for you.” As abruptly as he surfaced, he cast down his gaze and retreated to where he had been journeying, and I, with no further apprehension, took another confident step ahead toward the immensity of Africa.









Yes that's a bird's nest







And how does one escape an empty desert with a six inch slash in a rear tire--complicated by not having a spare?


After a few days pondering and running out of water, the solution became simple. Just use the same sharp volcanic rocks that originally ripped the gash to pound the locks off of a security cable and fashion a tournaquet.

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Old 12-21-2004, 01:16 AM   #47
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Approaching Namibia from South Africa





After near extermination of the indigenous tribes, southern Africa developed from European stock in a similar time-frame, though on a smaller scale than the US. Roads, terrain and architecture look the same except that cities are further apart with less development in between.



Entering the Namib Desert north bound.





In Namibia, when I am not camping in the desert, scattered remote farmhouses established by eighteenth century German immigrants provide soft spongy beds in hundred-year-old, but polished clean wooden bunkhouses.







Overnights with old-time homesteaders are refreshing upgrades with outdoor stone bathrooms and communal kitchens to cook fresh butchered lamb chops that farmers sell.





But the repeating scenery grew old as roads toward the coast remained washboard gravel with endless miles of beige colored sand.



Then suddenly Africa erupts into the glory of geological splendor.













Approaching the celebrated Red Dunes of Sussusvlei, diesel truckloads of young European overland voyagers rumbled in for their share of tourist gouging. Prices are shockingly high. With southern Africa lacking a competitive industrial base, most goods are imported and heavily taxed while greedy merchants also take advantage by exploiting budgeting travelers who have no choice where to shop. Compared to Asia, this region is unreasonably expensive, so trucking overlanders spend most of their trips camping, with occasional evenings in Backpacker hostels for hot showers and Internet connections. Before the rampage of civil war in Sudan made it too risky to traverse, the common route for these hearty adventurers was through Eastern Africa, beginning from Cairo and ending in Cape Town.



But recently, combined with the open banditry of Northern Kenya, the new course has become Nairobi to Cape Town. (Now the genocide in Darfur can continue with fewer witnesses.)

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Old 11-03-2009, 10:05 PM   #48
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Wicked A Note from the Management

Because of the loss of photos from the original SV Bumming the World thread and the subsequent removal of the journals due to publishing contracts, Glen has allowed me to compile this thread from various sources in a way that doesn't get him in hot water.

Think of it as sort of a "photo companion" to the new book.

As additional photos become available, they will be added in-line with the others. I'll post a note when such additions are made as you'll have to go back in the thread to view them.



Because of the "Ghetto-IT" that was required to pull this off, you may notice irregularities with post dates and other technical oddities. Let me assure you, the content is entirely SV's and has been in no way altered or censored by us.



Thanks for defining EPIC, Glen. It's good to have this back.
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Yes, I have a Dakar problem -- that there are 50 weeks of the year without Dakar!

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Get your sweet Pyndon DakARTwork here

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Old 11-03-2009, 10:09 PM   #49
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The Man Behind the Lens

If you'd like to discover more (much more) about the man behind the lens and keyboard, check out Glen's contribution to the ADV Interview Series.
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Nate in N.E.

Yes, I have a Dakar problem -- that there are 50 weeks of the year without Dakar!

They don't expect you to finish. That's why it's the Dakar. -- PPiA


Get your sweet Pyndon DakARTwork here

Pyndon '13
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:37 AM   #50
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This is one of the trails that led me to Adv

Thanks SV

and thanks for all the hard work Pac!
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:57 AM   #51
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SVs travels are what brought me to ADV also.
thanks to PM for the work of putting this together.

Just read the new book, and the added photos here compliment it nicely.
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:11 AM   #52
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Stay tuned for Africa
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:53 AM   #53
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superb

Fantastic journey,and some gorgeous women............
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:57 PM   #54
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Wink and I all I can say is Wow

Thanks again Amigo - this is the STUFF!
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:34 PM   #55
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top stuff mate , The best world babe fest I have ever seen .
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:49 PM   #56
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Old 11-11-2009, 06:50 AM   #57
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Ordering the book today. Old boy has an eye for the ladies.
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:14 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockjohn
Ordering the book today. Old boy has an eye for the ladies.
Old...boy...now that is a perfect description.
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:34 AM   #59
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................
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:01 AM   #60
strikingviking OP
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Stumbling Through the Clouds
November 11, 2005
Airborne Over Madagascar

From five miles up, I drift into a sensation of whirling displacement, staring out the dual-Plexiglas window of a roaring jet missile. While suspended in motion among idle puffy clouds, a muted fiery sun rises against the curve of the earth. Trapped in the disorienting daze of the continental-hop, while on a precarious slide into the role of uneasy alien, I wrestle to contain images of primal cultures I’ll soon invade.

In 1988, when first returning to California from living in Asia, culture shock did not strike me until re-encountering familiar surroundings. Even promptly barging back into old routines with lifetime friends, social adjusting took a year. No one but other long-term travelers understood the misalignment that occurs when attempting to return home. Similar feelings intensified in 2002 when completing my South American ride, resulting in an about-face from Palm Springs for a four-month retreat to Central America. After that, still restless inside, I embarked on another extended visit back to Mexico, only to return to California long enough to organize the present journey. So where does all this wandering lead?

There is a psychological line that long-term international travelers cross that marks a point of no return—that is when we surrender to the lure and take the expatriate plunge by deciding to live in a foreign country. I grapple with these sentiments daily, often by the hour—what to do once back in the US or where to finally settle and grow old. This morning, when boarding a plane crowded with package-tour Europeans exiting Bali, culture shock exploded like a series glaring light bulbs. One would assume that with time spent in sociable Indonesia, these tired tourists would have adopted some friendliness and lost the unpleasant frowns.

To smooth jagged edges of a harsh life in the Developing World, no matter their circumstance, everyone smiles. As learned in Tsunami ravaged Banda Aceh, not even the horrors of nature’s ruthless rampage could smother the local’s heart-spun smile. If by chance I encounter a native not smiling, I fire one first and immediately that little brown face erupts into a mouthful of sparkling pearls. But smiling at strangers causes suspicion in the West where it signals attempts to manipulate, or becomes a cocktail waitress’s favorite tool. The most dreaded effect aboard this hurtling capsule is being trapped in the awkward chill of subdued spirits.

Since most hotels in Bali were empty, it was an annoying surprise encountering partitioned rows of emotionless Caucasians with sunburned faces and worn expressions. And how is it I can be so uncomfortable with my own kind? Have I become the dog who has played with the ducks so long, he thinks he is a duck? In thirty years of wandering seventy countries, from Mongolian nomads to Amazon Indians, I have interacted with almost every major race and culture except Black African. And now, to the dismay of those at home, that questionable exploration awaits when this 747 lands in Cape Town.

When first explaining to friends and relatives wild ideas of continuing my global ride after unfortunate events in Colombia, there were long faces with forced smiles. They may share the splendor of adventure reading these journals but they also suffer unfairly worrying about the pitfalls. Even though the South American adventure turned out for the best, the horrendous hell my loved ones endured for five weeks not knowing if I was dead or alive took its toll, probably more on them than me. Announcing I was subjecting them to a second round of grating anxiety had a price.

Although everyone appeared positive and feigned excitement, no one but my closest brothers really understood. Cracks and distances between rock solid relationships widened in the deepening gloom of an approaching departure date. None of us could stand the strain of another emotional train-wreck. India, first of the two biggest risks on this route, has passed with only a stomachache and frazzled nerves. Now, a glowing African sky pulsates with forbidding images of genocide, famine and disease, jabbed with sporadic states of civil war. But somehow, I know it is going to be different and the Dark Continent will welcome this curious Gringo.

When first committing to embark on this odyssey, I told Brad that I would only be gone a year with no intentions of leaving the pavement. I aimed to confine the ride to developing nations but also to sidestep even the most remote hazards. And today, with recent pledges to be home by January, my course has veered again. So far, I’ve been a traveler without an established itinerary, just a general direction around the earth that was subject to change by political barriers or weather patterns. Originally, Africa was not an option, but a lengthy conversation with a fellow traveler, stimulated further consideration. “Glen you have to do Africa, life won’t be complete without visiting the Masai of Kenya.”

That very same afternoon an experience while questioning a cashier in a Seattle convenience store cemented my determination. While paying for a tank of gasoline, hearing a shiny-black-skinned girl’s unfamiliar accent sparked my curiosity. “Okay, you’re not British or Jamaican, where are you from?”

In a laughing voice behind sincere brown eyes, she answered in a series of soft jingling bells, “I an fron Eet tee oh pee ah.” A homely girl with a happy face--she flowed lithe as a hand-carved ebony figurine and during twenty minutes of dialogue between attending to customers and answering her cell phone, she spoke of a distant homeland. “I con to Ahmeerica to be weet my famalee but I mees my contree so much. I an goin back to there soon.” Her comment caught me off guard. From the security and affluence of America, how can anyone miss the suffering of Ethiopia? What could cause such yearning for the tragedies reported about one of Africa’s poorest nations?

As of that moment, the solution was simple, I had to go and find out for myself. Now when meeting black Africans while traveling, I startle them by boldly announcing “I’ll be in your country next year.” But I am not proceeding blind--this time I am protected by omens.

Is there such a thing as prediction and prophets? There had better be. While standing in line transferring planes in Malaysia, an Indian Sikh sitting in cross-legged meditation suddenly opened his eyes to wave me closer. With his bulging head layered in a white linen Turban, he radiated a sage’s wisdom. From behind a scraggly beard framing a tan wrinkled face, he stared direct into my eyes--uttering simple words “Many great things lie ahead for you.” As abruptly as he surfaced, he cast down his gaze and retreated to where he had been journeying, and I, with no further apprehension, took another confident step ahead toward the immensity of Africa.









Yes that's a bird's nest







And how does one escape an empty desert with a six inch slash in a rear tire--complicated by not having a spare?


After a few days pondering and running out of water, the solution became simple. Just use the same sharp volcanic rocks that originally ripped the gash to pound the locks off of a security cable and fashion a tournaquet.

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