About Me

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I am a new traveling fool. I've been a corporate travel junkie for one too many sales quarters and am ready to spend my hard earned cash... I'm taking a "sabbatical" for a while and hitting the road to travel. The trip should take me to six out of the seven continents if I don't run out of cash early.

Friday, December 31, 2010

more pix from NYE

Sydney Harbour View New Years Eve Fireworks

The water was beautifully illuminated...

The bridge was awesome...

they did a heck of a job with that bridge....

big "x" - don't ask me why. No one seemed to know why either. My guess was for 2010..

Paul and I walked two hours to get to this spot. It should have taken about 90 mins but we had a few detours with our hosts Al & James at a pub.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Happy New Year Everyone!!

Paul and I arrived this morning. We took the train for 10AUD from the airport to our first of many accommodations. We're in Waterloo, Sydney, NSW. We've booked a room through craigslist for new years eve +1 night. We dropped the ball and didn't pre-book this trip until a week or so ago and were abruptly notified that everything in Sydney was taken!

Thank god for James and Al who took us into their apartment. James is awesome! He works at Phillips as a product manager and took us for a cruise this afternoon over to Bondi beach! He showed us the "local" spot on the rocks (not the beach). It was heaps fun.

Lunch was on the beach and I'm already working on my tan.

Tonight we'll head out and hopefully catch some fireworks to ring in the new year and start out our trip. Its very surreal at this point. I keep finding myself thinking about "why" and "what" am I doing? I'll hopefully let go of the "why" and start focusing on just doing...

Paul is antsy as ever, the kid won't sit still so at least I know I'll be busy.

Miss everyone dearly already!



Our first new years eve beer, Carlton draught! (a bit bitter but still enjoyable. Of note: it is 1.4 standard drinks per beer! Lets just say thats a multiple that I will need to get used to).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to all!

Its a white Christmas here in Chicago. I'm really glad to be having a good dose of snow before I head out on my trip. Paul and I have been busy booking flights for our asia pacific travels. Thus far we've ironed out the following:

  • Dec 31st Arrive Sydney
  • Jan 9th - Sydney to Townsville
  • Jan 18 - Cairns to Auckland
  • Feb 2nd Christchurch to Melbourne
  • March 2nd Perth to Bali
  • March 10th Bali to Bangkok
  • March 11th Bangkok to Hanoi
Lots to get prepared for but it has been a blessing to catch up with old friends and family. This past week has brought me many "lasts" in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Illinois. I head back to San Francisco for three more days this Sunday. I'll have to finally put all of my gear into my backpack.

Portia came over this afternoon and helped me go through my packing. I was so rushed to get stuff out of San Francisco and into my moms garage for storage that I didn't label any of the boxes. Turns out I have a lot more kitchen stuff than I thought (the Ari's are laughing right now b/c of that comment). Anyway, moral of the story is that Portia asked to come in my backpack for the trip and I told her we needed to measure her to see if she'd fit. I bought an "exo-mesh" for my backpack so people can't slash into it and so I can lock it up on all of my overnight train trips. It looks like she's going to make it!

Thank you to all of my friends for meeting up with me and wishing me well for my travels. I know I will miss you over the next year but hope to have a few entertaining stories for you when I return. I promise no boring slide show picture presentations though... just stories about all of the trouble Paul and I get in / avoid?

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the first of many "lasts"

I just had lunch with Christian and it was the "last" time I'll see him until I return. Saying goodbye has been a weird experience so far. I feel like I'm in denial, as if I'm going on a vacation but I'll be back sooner than a year.

Lunch was awesome, he bought! What a gentleman! Anyway, we were talking about both of our separate futures. Topics circled around what would change while I'm gone, where I'll be in a year and where he thinks he'll be in a year.

Christian was my first "bro" when I got to San Francisco. Every guy needs a go-to wing-man on their home turf and when I got to San Francisco I was lucky to be put on his kickball team. The funny part of this "wing man" thing is that we're both in very stable & lengthly relationships right now. Looks like we didn't let each other down?

So, back to the "lasts." I'm headed to Boston this weekend to see my brother, sister-in-law niece & nephew for the "last" time until I return. Things are starting to feel very final and I'm still in a daze of acceptance and denial.

Thankfully I've been able to put a lot of things in order. Here is a little list of the things that have been keeping me busy in my free time as I prep for this trip.

  1. Visas: India (check), Australia (check), Vietnam (pending), Bali (get at airport), New Zealand (get at airport), Thailand (get at airport), S. Africa (pending)... the list goes ON and ON
  2. Immunizations & drugs: I've gotten six shots, malaria pills, altitude pills, stomach sensitivity (think india) pills, antibiotics & pain meds
  3. Packing list: I needed a LOT of stuff for this trip. Some of the things that I've enjoyed looking into are; mosquito netting, DEET products, sun hats (stylish yet practical), sleeping bag liner (we're in summer the whole way so we don't need a sleeping bag), DSLR camera, new 18-200mm lens for DSLR, 11" macbook air (yup, I dove RIGHT in), pacsafe stuff (exomesh stuff! + travel safe) AND cool undies!
  4. MOVING! Ahhh! I leave in 14 days and I have to get EVERYTHING out of my apartment. It reminds me of when I came out here from Boston about 18 months ago. Wow, packing is the WORST!
  5. Having many "lasts." That includes friends, coworkers and yup even family... I guess its either convenient or more stressful that all of this stuff is happening on top of Christmas.
OH! I wanted to give everyone my new phone number: 415-347-5863

The deal is that # is hooked up to my google voice account. When you text or call it the folks down at Google will forward your calls or texts onto whatever phone number you want. I signed up for a Skype phone number that will be called by google when you call the number above. Basically this gives you all an easy way to call me while I'm traveling. I'm hoping for late night texts, picture texts and if I'm lucky drunken dialing galore with lots of juicy gossip!

If those past three don't suit you, I guess we could have a regular conversation as well. I'll just need to get my iPod Touch to a wifi area to accept the call.

ALSO, I can facetime with people! So if you have a mac computer, 4th generation ipod touch or the newest iphone we can talk for FREE while I'm traveling.

More information on facetime is here: http://www.apple.com/mac/facetime/

Thats all for now, more to follow later...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Night Sentimental Thoughts

What a weekend!

On top of packing, planning (visa, flights, hostel bookings...) AND work (yup, still working to make as much cash as possible before the trip)... Well I guess the most important thing has been spending time with the people I love here in SF.

Its really crazy to think how much my life has changed over the past 18 months since I moved to SF. I've made great new life friends, seen a whole different part of the country and grown as an individual.

That might be the biggest part of the equation for me that has become so apparent here in the last days of my "mid-20's SF" life chapter.

Leaving the east coast was strangely a big emotional decision for me. I felt at ease there. I had family close, good friends and had mentally decided I wanted to live there when I was younger. Boston was amazing but it was part of a progression in life that pushed me to seek change.

Thus when I had the opportunity to "go west my young son..." I took it and ran.

Little did I realize at the time how much I would grow and learn through the numerous people here in SF that would touch my life.

I can honestly say I'm the happiest version of "me" here in SF than I've ever been. SF friends ROCK!

So to all of those this weekend who surprised me with a bottomless mimosa lunch and an afternoon of kareoke, THANK YOU!

I have only been surprised a few times before in my life and this was by far the best!

Your warm wishes and off-key songs (lol) meant more to me than you can imagine and I'll be thinking about those twelve hours of boozing for a long time.

It was a fitting event since it was during our "kickball practice sunday" that I first realized I was going to be really happy SF and couldn't wait to become friend with all of these awesome people.

A big shout out to Ariana, Ari and Alicia for handling the legwork of the event. I love you guys.

17 days. Its getting a bit sentimental, but its also getting really exciting.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

first MAJOR purchase

I just purchased the first MAJOR chunk of travel for my trip. Up until now I've had minor purchases. I guess by minor I mean I used miles to "buy" flights from San Francisco to Sydney and from Bombay to Cape Town.

Finally I've nailed down my dates.

  • Australia & New Zealand: Dec 31st, 2010 - March 2nd, 2011 (winging it)
  • Bali & Indonesia: March 3rd - March 12th, 2011 (winging it)
  • Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand: March, 13th - April 7th, 2011 (Intrepid trip)
  • Nepal (everest base camp): April 20th - May 4th, 2011 (intrepid trip)
  • India Taj Mahal & Goa Beaches: May 4th - May 23rd, 2011 (intrepid trip)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One of many

5:45am at O'hare international airport. Flying from Chicago to Los Angeles followed by Los Angeles back home to San Francisco. Although airline travel has lost most of its luster I can't help but still marvel at the excitement it can run through my veins. 31 days from now!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More pix from McEvoy Ranch

This weekend I headed up to the McEvoy Ranch with my roommate Ariana Nicolay. Ariana was kind enough to invite me back to the McEvoys Harvest Party again this year. It was an amazing afternoon in the north bay with great food in good company. I was able to sneak a few pictures with my new camera.

Ariana & Michael!!
Lamb stew! Yum (except for ari, so I ate hers! opps!)

Wedding flowers! Or just another ranch party!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A few pictures from the new Nikon

A nice shot of Alicia and I...
This awesome dog at Frogs Leap Vineyard
Playing fetch with a LIME he must have found in the orchards
Old truck in front of V. Sattui Vineyard, Napa Valley

Reds & Yellows!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Draft Packing List

Been thinking about what to bring on the trip. I'm referring to my one of the most helpful people I know. Brook Silva-Braga is the producer and main star in his documentary "A Map For Saturday." His blog has been ridiculously helpful with prepping for this trip.

Here's what I've been thinking about:

* 1 pair of jeans
* 1 pair of shorts
* 1 pair of board shorts
* 4 t-shirts
* 1 sweater
* 1 polo
* 1 patagonia rain jacket
* 5 pairs of underwear (wow... lets hope this works)
* 3 pairs of socks
* 1 long sleeve sun shirt

* 1 silk sleeping bag liner
* 1 pillow case
* 1 backpacking pack (50L? - 70L?)
* 1 over the shoulder bag
* leatherman
* first aid kit
* tennis shoes
* sandals
* sunglasses
* headlamp
* UV filtered water bottle

* 11" MacBook Air
* iPod Touch
* Nikon D3100
* Int'l Converter Plug

Geeze... this stuff seems to be adding up. I guess I can add or prune as I see fit. I'd like to stick to the mantra that I can get whatever I need when I get there.

Off to drink!

New Toys for Trip

What's a guy to do on a perfectly beautiful Friday afternoon in mid November in San Francisco? Well this guy went shopping for what I'm hoping is going to be the most important thing I bring along on my trip. Yup, you guessed it. My brand spanking new camera.

I dolled out a whopping $849 for a brand new Nikon D3100. What brought me down the road to the Nikon over the Canon? I'll be honest my heart was pulled toward the Nikon since I owned an old SLR from my photo class days at BHS. On the other side I've enjoyed playing with Betsy's Canon DSLR. In the classic Ford vs. Chevy debate I wasn't sure what to do!? The guy at the camera shop told me to take some pictures with each one and see what "felt best." In the end the Nikon was lighter so I opted for a "lighter DSLR." Whatever that means!

I know is this baby gives me 14.2 megapixels of amazingness. I also picked up a second lens. So I have an 18-55mm VR and also a 55-200mm. Hopefully these will get me through my journey with some pictures I can share with my grand children when I get back.

Its funny but I was reading in a travel book about "coming home" and under this section of the book it explicitly says to plan a return party so you can catch up with family and friends. Here's the nugget of gold, "Some travelers have a party with a data projector flashing through their photos in the background - just don't turn it into a slid-show night, because no-one will be as interested as you are in your photos." I LOVE this idea. It cracks me up b/c when I think about "the most important thing" I've been wanting for the trip its really just for me. I guess thats indicative for what this trip is, "its just for me."

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Just booked a ticket with 40,000 United Mileage Plus Miles on South African Airways from Mumbai, India to Cape Town South Africa on May 23rd, 2011. Damn it feels good to pay $58.30 to be in the air for 9 hours. Who said my job didn't get me anything for this trip!? Ha!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Shy Of Seven


One Shy Of Seven = One continent shy of seven in the next 50 weeks. I'll be traveling to the following Itinerary:

N. America
S. America

I only wish I could get to Antarctica but I guess I'll have to save that for another time in my life.

This will be my blog to keep in touch with family and friends on the trip. Check back for updates. T-minus 49 days and counting!