October, 2007 — April, 2008
In the first part of 2007, I lost both of my parents, with their deaths occurring roughly two months before and after my 50th birthday in April. My mother’s passing hit me surprisingly hard; my father’s less so. Both had been in declining health and being a firm believer in the quality of life, I was relieved they would not be suffering anymore.
By this time I’d saved enough to stop working. Nor did I have a wife to report to or house to maintain. With mom and dad’s care no longer a con-cern, my own health intact, and a handsome sum of money slated to be coming from their estate, I was free to shamelessly pursue my one true passion: travel.
The time had come to take the trip of a lifetime: all the way around the world.
My motivations were simple: the minute the first Rainy Season squall passed through Seattle around mid-October, I wanted to be on a plane heading out of town, not to return until the dreariness had passed. Say April. In order to circle the planet during that timeframe and stay warm, I would need to head way south, starting with Peru. Then I’d rent an apartment for two months in Buenos Aires to enjoy the late spring before moving on to experience the New Year in Brazil. Crossing the Atlantic, there would be a brief stay in South Africa before I’d suffer the pair of marathon flights to Singapore. From there, a month in Thailand would bring me to the middle of March, at which point South Korea would be but mildly chilly. Or so I hoped!
All told, it would be seven countries in six months, each with its own cul-ture. Never before had I attempted such an ambitious undertaking. While my stamina would at times be sorely tested, my humor never flagged.