Maybe it started when I read Jack Kerouac's On the Road, but it was probably in my blood before that. My family had always taken long vacations together. Maybe it was all those PBS shows with Marlin Perkins and Jacques Cousteau or National Geographic magazine. Whatever the cause, it was time to see the world.
In January of 1992, I embarked on a four and a half month solo journey to Asia. Having spent most of my life in the sleepy college town that was my home, I expected for the trip to change my life, and it did. What I didn't realize was how totally unprepared I would be for the beauty of the land, and the interesting people I would meet. My original intention was to teach English in Japan. A college friend had just returned and had saved a good deal of money and learned a little Japanese in the process.
However, after a week on the job in Sapporo and a fair amount of soul searching, I decided life was too short to become a bad ESL instructor. So I bought a ticket to Bangkok and spent the next three months traveling from Thailand to Indonesia, going through Malaysia and Singapore along the way. During my journey, I slept on the floor of a Buddhist monestery and stayed with a Thai family on their rice farm. I hiked through the hills of Sumatra, and slam-danced with a sturdy British dude in Bali. I probably made an ass of myself on occasion. And just as importantly, I grew up a bunch too.
I've included some of my better photos from the trip. Thumbnails are imbedded in the text. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger jpeg of the image. There are a few links to other sites in the text.
Much of this travelogue comes from a diary I kept at the time. Other parts come from the vivid memories I keep to this day. Each of the sections is pretty self-contained. I've also encluded an Appendix of packing tips you might find useful. Recently, I've started releasing about a chapter a week. So visit this site again. There should be more to see.
When you're done, send me feedback. It will make my day.
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Copyright 1997 by Jason Thomas James. All rights reserved.