One Year By Bicycle
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Up
Prelude
March 1-10
March 11-20
March 21-31
April 1-10
April 11-20
April 21-30
May 1-10
May 11-20
May 21-31
June 1-10
June 11-20
June 21-30
July 1-10
July 11-20
July 21-31
August 1-10
August 11-20
August 21-31
September 1-10
September 11-20
September 21-30
October 1-10
October 11-20
October 21-31
November 1-10
November 11-20
November 21-30
December 1-10
December 11-20
December 21-31
January 1-10
January 11-20
January 21-31
February 1-10
February 11-20
February 21-28
Epilogue

Epilogue

March 21st; San Jose, California

Home again and back to work. Overall it was a wonderful trip and I feel very fortunate that I was able to take time off for this adventure. For the most part the big things went as I expected though some anticipated adjustments needed to be made (e.g. flight problems prevented me from going to Hawaii... I lost a bicycle frame...).

There is a long list of people to thank for both support and logistics in making this trip possible. I'm fortunate HP allowed me a leave of absence and thank my managers for allowing it in time of change/turmoil for both tech industry and the company. My tennant kept my condo in good order and my parents helped in many ways including web site, checking mail and paying important bills. Many small favors done and helpful people particularly in Australia and India as mentioned on those pages. I feel very blessed to have been able to take off a year for this adventure.

I'm now back... on my last week of malaria bills (and without malaria). My unused new touring bicycle is here and ready to ride. My broken bike frame is at bike shop and I'm riding my Cannondale to work. Materials for taxes have arrived and I'm ready to get started there. As I anticipated, coming back was both a whirlwind of activity and some small adjustments.

On the activity front, back at work my first exercise was finding an interesting position. The old groups I'd managed had new managers and had been reorganized, so I felt fortunate that Hewlett-Packard allowed me a leave of absence and thus kept open a job... After looking at a few possibilities, I've taken a project management spot in Fort Collins, Colorado. I'll be moving at end of March and starting in Colorado on April 1st. I'm excited to head back to Colorado as this is where I grew up and also worked the first six years with HP. Also a bit closer to my parents. I'll still be keeping my condo in San Jose and expect to be back occasionally. My stuff was all still packed in my storage bedroom and so not too much unpacking before it all gets moved again. I have found it different though to sleep in same place and so not have to pack up all my worldly possessions each morning for the next day nomadic trek.

A few other small things I've noticed:

  • Driving on the right isn't too hard after 10 months of left riding traffic. Very occasionally notice on an empty street, but otherwise quite natural to switch.
  • I am however much more concious of which hand I use to hand over money. In India I made an explicit (and unnatural) switch to right hand and so still notice this.
  • Folks say I've lost weight and look "trim". Don't notice and haven't weighed, but useful to keep a bit more in shape. My car is sold so I'll be cycling everywhere for now.
  • Things sometimes seem very expensive. I was taking a taxi from HP to the airport and with $2 flag drop, the fare was already $2.50 before I left the parking lot. I saw myself thinking... wow, that would be almost 250 Rs!
  • Most of this "stuff" I've kept in my storage room, I can do without on a daily basis. Good motivation to reduce and get rid of additional things.

I've spent some time organizing photos and web sites into a more coherent multimedia CD ROM. In total I took some 5480 pictures or 1.7 gigabytes of information. Hoping to put together a small CD ROM with selected bits. I'm working to have it done by April or so. Mostly a friends and family thing, though if interested send me email and I may send a copy for nominal fee. A sample slide show (11 Mb) can be found here. Note: this is a huge Windows executable, so slow to download over modem. Hence, my CD ROM.

Coming back from a trip like this is always a dangerous time to start dreaming and scheming for the next big adventure. My list of places I'd like to go has only grown rather than shrunk. For example: Rajasthan India, Mauna Kea, gulf of Carpeteria, my missing 8 US states, south Island of New Zealand,... all seem to be added to the list since I left... However, one thing I don't necessarily see my self doing is riding one of the "really big rides". Some examples would be overland from Europe to China, from US to Tierra del Fiego or Africa from Capetown to Cairo. In some sense these would be the next "natural" progression. Instead I expect to have shorter week or two type rides for a while and then perhaps sometime another long adventure.

Thanks to those who have read along with this journal and occasionally sent words of encouragement. Getting a real sense of Australia, India or New Zealand and meeting and interacting with people was definitely a highlight of this adventure. I hope I've inspired a few to travel or even get on a bicycle and tour. Let me know of your cycle travels as I cycle vicariously as well as physically. Even if not that, take care with cyclists you see on the road.

Mike Vermeulen

Unless otherwise specified, this page Copyright 2001-2002, Mike Vermeulen