We are back on the road. Our long rest in the Cameron Highlands,
Malaysia is over. We
spent twice as long as originally planned in the cool mountain air. We
were especially sad to leave the modern conveniences, privacy, and large
rooms of the apartment. We have not lived this well in
years and do not expect to again for a long time.
This "normal" lifestyle reminded us of what we chose to give up in exchange for life on
the road. A mainstream life will have to
wait for us to get the travel bug out of our system. Cindie says she
is up for at least another 20 years. I can not imagine two decades
being enough for her. She will never get tired of this. In a
couple years we will be in New Zealand and I will try to talk Cindie in a
three month skiing holiday. This is when we will start work on our
third book about Asia.
The second book about South America is written and 90%
self edited. We will
finish it up and send it to our professional editor by September. Next
comes the long process of hiring people to do the layout and cover design. We
will let you know as soon as it is finished and available. Writing, editing, and self
publishing a book is a bigger job than most people think but completing a
book is a huge sense of accomplishment and personally fulfilling.
We have an eBook
One of the many projects I completed during our rest was converting our first printed book to a
downloadable Electronic Book (eBook) edition. At first I
was skeptical that anyone would be interested in an eBook but since its
release sales have been brisk.
I have learned that reading a book on a computer screen is
not appealing to everyone but for some an eBook is a cheaper or a more
portable solution to stacks of printed books. We have filled many
orders for the
eBook version of our printed book from a variety of people who have
unique lifestyles and are concerned with how much they carry. Many
live in motor homes or aboard sail boats. Others are traveling sales people
who live out of a suitcase or countless other variations of the modern day nomad.
Another group of eBook readers are citizens of countries like China
and Vietnam where the government strictly controls the media and bans bringing non
books into the country. Our eBook easily slips under the censorship
radar. I can now send books to the many people we met during our ride
there. I have no use for laws that defy human freedoms. "Some rules are meant to be broken."
We finally bought our plane tickets to Australia. We
land in Adelaide on September 15, 2006. We have 12 month tourist visas and
plan to ride around a good part of the country. We are excited to start this new chapter of our trip/lives. Australia will be
the first English speaking country we visit and we can not imagine what this
will be like. Learning to speak, or at least the basics, of each
countries language has always been a major part of our travels. In
Australia we will not need to study language learning software or constantly
have a dictionary in our hands.
Our Australian travel plans are flexible but right now we think we will
spend the spring riding towards Tasmania on the Great Ocean Road.
During the summer (December) we plan an extended visit to Tasmania so we can complete
the final touches to the book and will
probably only make it to Sydney in late summer. Fall, winter, and spring
will roughly be spent continuing around the perimeter of the country until
we reach Perth. We have no desire to ride across the vast empty bottom of
Australia called the Nullenbor Plain. This frees up the remainder of our time for
something else. Who knows? In September 2007 we hope to fly to New
Zealand for 12 months of exploring there.
Every country we have visited so far has been in
the developing world and much less expensive. The switch from Asia to
Australia is bound to be
a big culture shock to our senses and financial shock to the wallet (money
belt). To save money we are buying a bigger tent and will live in it for
the next couple years while we visit Australia and New Zealand. Cindie and I miss camping. We will
find a way to adjust our lifestyle to the constraints of our total daily
budget of about US$25.
Australia's legendary hospitality has already started even
before we land. A friend of a friend lives in Adelaide and has offered
to pick us up from the airport and let us stay in his home. This is
sure to get us acclimated with the environment and culture before we continue.
I am sure our heads will be spinning with confusion when we get off that
After Adelaide we are not sure who we still know in Australia.
We have met many wonderful Australians during our travels but do not know
if they are still subscribed to our RoadNews list. If you are Australian please send us email
and let us know what you are up to.
Thailand: Video Postcard from
Our second "Video Postcard From DownTheRoad.org is finally
complete and available for download by clicking on the link below. The
last video was downloaded thousands of times. I originally expected
only 200 or so downloads. I think I am on to something big here.
The feedback from the first video was helpful. Many
people suggested voice narration. This is more difficult than it
sounds because we do all this on the road with a small laptop. When we
tried to record indoors the microphone picked up echoes and when we recorded
outside there is the constant noise from motor bikes and roosters. We
also need a higher quality microphone but it is unlikely we will find one
until we reach Singapore this September. I need to do some internet
research and (better yet) hear some suggestions from you, the subscribers,
as to what kind of microphone is good for recording voice and still small
enough to be carried on a bicycle tour.
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