When I left on this trip, I started a notification list for my friends and family. I originally thought I'd send emails for a few months and that would be that. Now that I've been on the road 2 years without any real intention to stop anytime soon, I decided to put them all on the web page so new readers could get the whole story if they like.
Each email shows the date and subject for the email, followed by the text exactly as I sent it out. If I have anything to add, I add a note in blue text just like this. The date and subject are shown in bold teal text with a line over it.
The page you're seeing now contains the emails I sent before I left, and everything through Vietnam. If you want to follow the story as I wrote it, read this page and follow each link as you see it. When you're done with the linked page, use the back button to come back here. The first email was sent out to pretty much everyone I knew. After that, I only sent to people that specifically wanted to be on the list. If you want to be on the list, send me an email at
Text in this blue color was added later to clarify things that may have changed since I sent out the emails, but for the most part they're collected here just as I sent them.
As most of you know, I'll be taking off for a few months to do a quick bike tour around the world. I expect to be back sometime around May, 2001 more or less. In the meantime:
If you're receiving this it means either you work at IMPAC and asked to get my itinerary, or you're one of my friends and family members so you'll get it whether you want it or not<g> This email will give my roughly planned itinerary for my trip, answers to some common questions, and some funny quotes from the a few of the IMPAC people that replied to my offer for a mail list.
My last full-time day at IMPAC will be this Thursday. I'll spend Friday moving all my stuff up to storage in Sonora, and then I'll be hanging out and visiting various family members and friends until the 24th, although I expect I'll wander through the office from time to time between Thursday and the 24th. My current travel plans are:
Q: Are you really going to ride that funny looking tricycle through Vietnam?
A: Yes, if I ever get the dang thing.
Q: Maybe you didn't really understand. What I meant is are you REALLY SERIOUSLY going to ride that funny
looking trike through Vietnam.
Q: Why Vietnam?
A: I'm not really sure. I'm a history buff and have wanted to see Vietnam for quite a while. I saw a brochure for a ride from Hanoi to Saigon a few years ago, and idea just stuck. Once I had that idea in my head, there just wasn't any real way to dislodge it. This entire trip has been built around the Vietnam bike tour, with everything else bouncing around from week to week.
Q: Why France and Egypt?
A: France because I wanted to visit Noelle. Egypt because it's right on the way and I want to see the Pyramids<g>
Q: I'm jealous | envious | really wish I could do that | <insert other emotion here>. How'd you do
A: Just decided I wanted to do it and did it. I think anyone that really wants to do something like this can do so. It's just a matter of making it a priority. If you're curious about how to make it work, a great book on the subject is "The Practical Nomad" by Edward Hasbrouck. You can save a ton of money on airfare ($2500 for SFO-France-Egypt-Thailand-Vietnam-Australia-New Zealand-Hawaii-SFO, which is about $300/segment. If I hadn't waited until the last minute I could have gotten it for less than $2000.
Q: Are you insane?
A few of the people at IMPAC replied to the last email with humorous remarks. Here are the best of them:
Please add me to your list. I figure the messages will stop once your laptop gets stolen, so this will
be the easiest way to figure out what country it was last seen in.
(I had 2 laptops stolen in the last 6 months)
Can I subscribe to your "The Outdoors Programmer: Desert & Jungle Survival Tips"
newsletter? It'd be interesting to follow your adventures, just remember if you happen to meet any rebels
wherever you are, don't start arguing with them about the niceties of their religion ala Jeffrey Schilling!
(I'll keep that in mind)
That sounds pretty cool - Please put me on the "Wacky Wade's Wild Ride Around the World" email
list. I look forward to it!!!!
(I'll have to use that for a subject, sooner or later)
Are you going to be in the office Thursday afternoon? I plan to bring the baby and stop by.
(This one isn't funny, but who can resist a baby<g>)
Yes, I am in fact alive and still traveling. Anyone who bet I'd lose my laptop before Vietnam is out of luck. I've been in Hanoi for about a week, and leave on the bike journey at the end of the week.
I will now regale you with the tale of the trip so far. I don't know how much or how little to write, so I'll write until I get tired. Odds are good it's too long, but all of us have to suffer a bit in life.
I'm writing my journal in the form of a web page. To find the first page, go to my home page at www.wademan.com and the link is in the first paragraph. You can also go directly to the first page here. It's currently complete through Egypt.
To clear up some earlier confusion, please feel free to send me email and write all you want. Before I left, I implied I didn't want long emails, which is incorrect. What I meant was to not send jokes, pictures and other assorted worthless junk. I love getting email from my friends, so feel free to write all you want. I'd also appreciate the occasional comment on the story, it's format, length or whatever. I'm writing a journal with about 3,000 words per day, and the web pages are distilled from that.
Today I'm resting for a day in Nha Trang, which is on the coast of central Vietnam, about 2/3 of the way through the cycling part of my Vietnam trip. Tomorrow I leave for Dalat in the central highlands. I'll be in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in 7 days. Yesterday I passed the 1,000 km (650 Miles) mark on my bike. We've been riding around 75-120 km (50-80 miles) per day, and the hardest day so far was 110 km (72 Miles) with a climb over a 1200 m (4,000 foot) pass which is climbed in about 10 km, and then you drop right back to sea level. This is roughly equivalent to riding from Mountain View up Page Mill Road to Skyline two or three times in a row. I've been riding with five other very good cyclists. There are two couples from Belgium, and the guide who is from Belgium but now lives in Northern Thailand. I'm having a great time, except for the fact that I'm the weakest rider in the group :(
I've added a page for my stay in Bangkok. I probably won't write much about Vietnam until I get to Ho Chi Minh City in a week, but I have a lot to write about it. The short version is I really love this place, and think everyone should visit it.
To see the Bangkok page, go here.
I'll be staying in Saigon for an other two weeks for a couple of reasons. The first is that I just like the place, and arbitrarily decided to stay here for a week before traveling back to Bangkok by bicycle instead of flying (it's only a thousand miles). The second week is because I have some problems with my teeth, and found a fabulous dentist here. Since she's very good, I'm going to fix a few other problems with my teeth while I'm at it. The cost is about what my share of the cost at home would be after my insurance pays it's share. I'm also going to buckle down and do a couple of weeks of work to try to get ahead of my work schedule a bit.
I've started a photo gallery on my web page that includes about half of the total pictures I've taken. I have it complete through Bangkok now, which is about 70 pictures. I have another hundred or so from Vietnam, which I'll publish when I finish the narrative for Vietnam, which should be sometime next week. I'm finding writing up Vietnam to be very difficult, as I have a lot to say and I'm having trouble making a coherent whole out of it.
I've also added a table of contents page to make it easier to navigate when you come back. To get directly to the table of contents, go here. You can also just go to the main page and click the link in the first paragraph.
I've had my first serious unpleasantness of the trip, but it turned out OK in the end. Whoever bet on my laptop being stolen in Vietnam can claim half the pool. Here's the story. I was headed to the dentist's office to get a tooth glued back into my head that had fallen out. I was a bit early, so I went to a park to sit on a bench for a few minutes. Since I was sitting two meters from the bike, I just left the pannier bag with my computer on it, which I never do. Some kid came and talked to me for a few minutes, and then a Vietnamese woman walked by in front of me and pointed where the bike was. Guess what, NO BIKE. The little weasel talking to me was a decoy, and some other kid came along and took the bike. Fortunately, he couldn't ride the bike or I would have been well and truly hosed. As it was, I came very close. Someone from across the street saw the kid take it, and ran across to point out the direction he went. He and I took off running up the street that the thief went down. After about a block, a moto driver came along, which makes him the first one I've been truly happy to see yet. I jumped on the back, and he took me another block and I saw the kid pushing the bike. I took off running after him. He heard me coming up behind, dropped the bike right in front of me and took off running so fast he left his shoes behind. I tripped on the bike and went down before I could grab the little weasel. Then I had a choice of chasing after him or staying with what I came for, and elected to just let him go. In the end, he didn't really get anything and I got a valuable lesson in life.
It's time for dinner now. I've gotten a bit tired of Vietnamese food every day, so I'm going to eat at a genuine Country/Western steakhouse that serves steaks from Australia. I'll consider that a warm-up for my trip to Australia.
When I received my fifth "Where the heck are you?" email today it occurred to me I've been a bit lax in letting people know my whereabouts. Well, the answer is that I'm still in Saigon. I really like Vietnam, and I've stayed here to enjoy it for a bit longer. I've made some friends in Saigon that I'll really miss, and I've just been enjoying every day. I'll be leaving for Australia to get my lazy ass back on the bike on April 29. That will put me at just over three months in Vietnam.
I've been working on my Vietnam web page, and expect to finish it sometime in the next week or two. Since all of my previous pages combined only covered five weeks and I've been here for three months, the Vietnam page will be a bit lengthier. I'm also having a bit of trouble getting all my thoughts down properly in a coherent fashion.
So, if you've been wondering where I'm at, now you know. As usual, feel free to write if you like. I have a pretty good email system now, so feel free to send photos or whatever you like.
Next - Australia