22 by 14 by 9
In the late spring and early summer of 2010, I left behind my life of the previous two years and lived out of a 22" x 14" x 9" suitcase, following my dreams to take my first trip to Paris, contribute to a volunteer project in a Central Asian country and visit a city I knew nothing about except what I had read in a memoir.
An organized and fairly risk-averse person at heart, I owe many of the seeds for this journey to my dear friend Igor who encouraged and cajoled me to stop planning and take to the road.
As a result of these travels I am no longer the same person who left San Francisco in mid-April. My horizons are vastly expanded, there is little I now fear, I know a great deal more about teamwork, I can navigate any airport with confidence and I have a deeper appreciation for our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multilingual world than ever before. With every border crossed, I now intend to cross that many more.
Here are some of the people and organizations that inspired and supported my journey (click each image for a link and more infomation):
The 4-Hour Workweek - Tim Ferriss convinced me that while I may never achieve early retirement, a "mini-retirement" at any stage in one's working life is a very attainable goal.
Istanbul: Memories and the City - Reading this book was the beginning of my romance with Istanbul.
Ferghana.ru - The best site I know of for up-to-the-minute reporting on events in Central Asia
Habitat for Humanity Global Village Tajikistan - The "build" of a lifetime
ParisMarais - Look no further for a luxurious stay in Paris
KAYAK - Using this site I built an incredibly affordable itinerary for all of my European and Central Asian destinations.
CheapTickets - I've used them for years and they are what they say they are (in a good way)!
Turkish Airlines - They fly everywhere, their departures and arrivals were always on time and you can earn miles by flying their Star Alliance partners as well (including United and Lufthansa).
World Nomads - This company offers comprehensive travel insurance for you and your stuff.
Don't travel without it.
The MSI Wind - This lightweight netbook has a huge battery life, fits in a totebag, entertained me on long-distance flights and enabled me to send dispatches from the road.
DAKINE - Okay, so I don't windsurf, skate or mountain bike, but this company makes great luggage that accommodates a lot of gear in a small space and its distinctive plaid fabrics are a stand out on the baggage claim belt.