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Monday, November 7, 2016

3 Year Cliffhanger!!! The summary of the rest of the Global Walkabout and beyond... The final Global Walkabout post!

First off I am sorry that I left you all hanging. It was my intention to finish this up and move on to the next one but I kept making excuses and not finishing. So here is my attempt at a summary of the rest of my trip:

Africa:
From Capetown, we did a 6 week 14,500 KM overland trip up to Nairobi. We went through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania including Zanzibar (when read should be sung in your head or out loud) & Kenya. Here is a brief recap of what happened on this trip.
Heaps of Animals: Lions, (1) Rhino, Giraffes, Lilac Breasted Roller, Leopards, Tons of Elephants, Water Buffalo's, Cheetahs (I was licked by one), dingos, wild dogs, hippos, monkeys, baboons and so much more.

We saw sand dunes and game parks, the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, white water rafting on the Mighty Zambezi, Chobe National Park, Learning to carve wood in Malawi, exploring Zanzibar, checking out the Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti national park. Ending in Nairobi, Kenya where the next part of my adventure would be taking me.

The best part of this is that I started dating Sherry (who is now my wife!) and we fell in love on this trip and continued our travels together.

After Kenya, I flew to Turkey to meet up with my sister Aleen. We had 3 weeks to travel around Turkey and it was epic. We checked out Istanbul, Troy, Gallipoli, Cannakale, Pummakale, Izmir, Ephesus, Fethiye, 3-day blue cruise to Olympos, and then up to Cappadocia where we stayed in a cave of sorts. It was awesome to be with someone who has known me for so long and to have quality time with my big sister to have adventures together. About a week into our Turkish adventure Sherry and I had decided that we didn't want to wait to meet up again so we figured we would meet up in Morocco in about a month and a half. After Turkey and Aleen flew home I took off for Austria with plans to head to visit my friends in Reutlingen shortly thereafter. Once I arrived in Vienna I found some wifi and was told that one of my best friends Christian was home in Reutlingen and my friends there wanted to help me surprise him. My time in Austria got cut short and after not being able to buy a bus ticket found my way back to the train station and hopped on a night train to see my friends in Germany.

I made it to Reutlingen and was picked up by my favorite tourist Volle and had time to grab a much-needed shower before surprising Christian for lunch. The look on his face was worth the crazy travel day that it took me to get there. I was able to attend their local wine fest which was so much fun! I will be going back one day to do it again! I stayed for a week as a guest of Marc in his amazing home. It was so nice to be able to set up home for a few days and be with friends swapping stories and meeting kids and seeing their homes and just hanging out. It was a great way to recharge after Africa and Turkey and just what I needed. Afterward, I headed down to one of my favorite places in the world Interlaken, Switzerland. It had been 5 years since I had been there and it was evident that the tourism industry was booming. Prices had skyrocketed even by Swiss standards and the cute little backpacker's villa hostel that I stayed at so many years ago had turned into a factory hostel just churning out backpackers just as fast as they were bringing them in. The scenery was still as amazing as ever and it was truly gorgeous and so much fun being back. After that, I headed to Basel to stay for a night before my flight to Morocco where I would meet back up with Sherry. I couldn't wait!

Landing in Marrakesh was awesome! I was back in Africa and couldn't wait to find Sherry somewhere in the Medina. After seeing her again for the first time in person in 6 weeks I knew that I didn't want to let this woman ever get away from me. We explored the Medina and then headed out to explore the Sahara. We came back after our camel rides checking another item off of our bucket list and meeting new friends. We had a friend from Africa that was there with another group that same night in another location. We waved to you Esther we promise! We then headed back to Marrakesh for a few days before we took off for the next leg of our trip.

The next portion of our trip was a whirlwind through Europe. We headed to Madrid for a few days of exploring and then Barcelona which we had a great time in. From there we were off to London to meet up with Arjouth, Sherry's cousin, and had a great time. I saw the Palace guards the ones with the fuzzy hats. Rode on a big red double decker bus. Had fish and chips, not as good as I thought it would be, had a proper night out in the pub with friends and rode in a London taxi. We also danced Gangnam style and killed it! From London, we took off up to Bristol to hang out with our friend Cordelia from a part of our African adventure. It was a cool city to check out and also got to hang out with a friend from my time in Buenos Aires. I loved being able to meet up with people who we met in other parts of our trip and a lot of us let them stay with them. It helped so much and I hope to anyone who let us stay with them please know you are always welcome to come visit and stay with us! Just please let us know in advance. From Bristol, we flew to Berlin and stayed for a day or two and then headed down to Prague to stay with our friends Hynek and Jitka in Pilzen. We had so much fun and also got be their personal guests at the Prague State Opera to see Carmen. It was an incredible experience. Hynek hooked me up with a suit to borrow so I didn't look like a complete bum. After the quick trip to the Czech Republic, it was back to Berlin to explore the street art and the history. I really loved Berlin it was such a cool city with so much energy. Also, I could totally survive on the food served in the train stations pretzels and mini pizzas it was heaven. From Berlin, we were off to Warsaw, Poland. We took a night bus and got there super early in the morning. Sherry set up for us to couchsurf in Warsaw and Monika and Tytus picked us up from the metro and took us to get donuts. It was great to stay with locals and then we were able to meet up with Uncle Vlodi our friend who traveled with us from Capetown to Nairobi and saw us at the beginning of our relationship and seeing us as it progressed. We had dinner and got very drunk and swapped stories and had so much fun catching up. It was so hard to say goodbye. After Warsaw, we were off to Israel.

Israel had been on my list for a very long time! I was so excited to be able to go there on this trip. We landed in Tel Aviv and headed straight to Jerusalem once we figured out the buses. We stayed in Jerusalem for a few days it was incredible exploring this city and learning about the history and how much has happened in this holy place. We also took off and saw Masada and floated in the dead sea. Floating in the dead sea was very odd to me. I felt like I was an ice cube taking a bath in olive oil. I am glad I did it, not sure I would do it again. We then headed back to Jerusalem and then off to Tel Aviv for a few days to meet with friends and hang out by the sea. It was good to catch up with more friends from South America but our time was short and we headed to Jordan to fly to Bangkok for the next leg of our trip.

We landed at BKK and headed to our hostel and we were so beat from traveling so fast. We were ready for some island time. We headed South after a few days and getting our visas sorted for India. We hung out on the island of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao before heading back up to Bangkok to collect our passports. The islands were great and we had a chance to relax and reflect on what we had been doing for the past few months and really appreciate where we were. We then headed into Cambodia to Siem Reap which is the town that has Angkor Wat. It was such an amazing set of temples and so glad we had the chance to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat. We stayed in Cambodia for a couple of more weeks and checked out the capital Phnom Penh. It was intense going to the killing fields and learning about the Khmer rouge and Pol Pot and what Cambodians had to overcome to be where they are today. It really struck me as something that needs to be remembered so that we don't ever repeat this again. After that, we headed over to Vietnam and spent a month going from South to North. We saw a ton of towns but I definitely enjoyed Northern Vietnam more than the South. I enjoyed the craziness of Hanoi and had to learn how to cross the street there. Hint: Just keep walking the cars and motorbikes will go around you just don't stop! Vietnam was beautiful and not at all what I expected. We spent Christmas in Hanoi in a hotel room that cost us $15 USD and it was awesome. Vietnam and Cambodia were definitely one of the cheapest countries I have traveled to date. After Vietnam, we wanted to have an epic New Year. So we headed back to Thailand and headed back to Koh Samui for a week and attended the New Years Full Moon Party that was nuts and Sherry photobombing random strangers was pretty hilarious. We ended our time there and then headed up to the North of Thailand to Chiang Mai. I loved this area it was beautiful and peaceful and had a ton of expats which was nice to experience a little bit. We stayed for a while and then headed into Chiang Rai and then onwards into Laos. Laos was the final new country for Sherry on her trip and my final one with her other than India. We had a great 2 weeks through Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Phonsavan, and Vientiane. It was fun to explore and ride a motorcycle and see some caves and temples and learn about the culture.  We headed back to Bangkok for a 12-hour layover and then we were headed to India.

We got to India without incident and made it through customs, got to our hotel, showered and then caught the first train North to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. It was incredible it actually took my breath away when I first saw it. I purposefully didn't look up pictures of it prior to going and it was worth it. After that headed back to our hotel to stay one night and then head South to Kerala to meet Sherry's parents. We got into Kerala and was picked up by Jenu and Sheila, Sherry's parents and some uncles. We took a ride to one of the uncle's homes where we were fed and they were able to test me on how spicy I could take my food. We then went to their home which was a few hours drive away and got to stay there for a little over a week. It was amazing being welcomed into their home and being taken care of. It was hard because I knew Sherry was staying and I would be leaving to continue my trip for a couple of more months. It was very hard but we said our see ya laters because it was definitely not goodbye. I was off to Singapore.

I took off to Singapore which was quite the culture shock and wow was it expensive in comparison to Southeast Asia. I loved it though and was able to catch up with cousin Richard who took me around to some local spots and it was great to catch up and know someone in the city. I also had some time to explore this awesome city which I knew I would come back to one day. After Singapore, it was off to Australia to Sydney to be exact for a few days and enjoyed my time there and did a free walking tour which was great to see the major spots. I then took off to Melbourne to the Yarra Valley where my friend Esther lived and stayed on her family's alpaca farm. It was a lot of fun and she took me to an animal sanctuary where I got to see Koalas and Kangaroos and heaps of birds. When we got back for dinner that night we had Kangaroo steaks for dinner. I was a bit hesitant but they assured me that it was not the kangaroo that I pet earlier that day. With that knowledge, I dug in. It was pretty tasty probably not the first choice of things to eat but I would have it again if it was offered. Then headed back to the city of Melbourne and stayed with a good friend Prav who I met and traveled with in Peru. Had a great time catching up and relaxing before I was headed over to New Zealand the last new country of my trip. When I got to New Zealand I was picked up by my mate Eddie who traveled with me to Argentina. He gave me a couch to sleep on and plenty of new friends to hang out with. It was so much fun and he helped me figure out my plans for New Zealand. I flew down to Christchurch and picked up a 1980 Nissan station wagon that I was going to be camping in for a month driving around the South and then North Island of NZ. It was going to be epic and it was. New Zealand was incredible. I stopped the car around every turn when I first started out the scenery was incredible. The people were so friendly and went out of their way to help. To all of my Kiwi friends thanks for the hospitality and also thanks for your peoples who looked out for me on the road. I had an incredible month driving around and exploring and did not want my trip to end. I got back to Auckland and returned the rental and got picked up by Eddie in his fire truck. I got a lot of rides while on my trip and so many different modes of transportation from Camel to Airplane but this was a first. I spent a few days in Auckland before heading to Hawaii to spend the last few days of my trip.

I then flew home to California where my parents and sisters picked me up. The trip was done I had gone around the world! I did it! It was a great feeling to be home but I wasn't truly home until I was back with Sherry. I had been in cahoots with Sherry's best friend Karen in Atlanta where Sherry was staying and was planning a surprise visit. I landed and was able to surprise her and also meet her dog, Max. We spent a week between Atlanta and St. Simons in Georgia and then flew back to California for a week to meet my family and was thrown a surprise homecoming party which was great. We then flew back to Atlanta to buy a car and start a cross-country road trip because Sherry and Max were moving to California with me.

We wanted the opportunity to visit and meet with important people in our lives that we couldn't have met while traveling. It was about 6 weeks in total and 5 or 6000 miles. We went up the East coast as far as New Hampshire and then over to Seattle and down with a lot of stops in between. We stayed with people almost the entire time maybe one or 2 nights in hotels max. We then ended up in the SF bay area and eventually found a place in San Francisco and moved into our Studio.

Since then Sherry and I got married on May 7, 2016! I worked at Intuit doing software sales and liked it for a little while and then ended up back at Caterpillar. We moved out of SF to Emeryville and we really loved it there! I quit Caterpillar, again, in September 2015 realizing that going back to what I was doing before I left on my trip was moving backward. I took off in November of 2015 on a 5-week journey through Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. I took off on this trip to do some self-discovery and work on what I really want to do with the rest of my life other than spending it with Sherry.  My goal after completing this trip was to start my own business that I can do from anywhere in the world and live life on my own terms. I have since started my own business which has taught me a lot. After we got married in May of 2016 we, unfortunately, had to put down Sherry's dog which was the 3rd member of our family.  It was an incredible month for us we had Sherry's parents Jenu and Sheela stay with us, we got married and then traveled with Jenu and Sheela and then the day they were leaving we also had to say goodbye to Max. We had discussed this befoe on what we were going to do if and when Max passed but we had no idea that it would turn out to be this soon. It was a devastating blow and still makes me sad to think about. Since then we decided that we wanted to live abroad while we both pursued starting our own location independent businesses. So over the summer we downsized and moved into a small apartment in Berkeley and started to plan for our departure. At the end of January 2017, we are going to be moving our home base to India at Sherry's parent's place in Kannur, Kerala India. We plan to be in Kannur several months out of the year and continue to explore that side of the world.

If anyone wants to get in touch with me the best way is via email: jason.raybin@gmail.com or give me a call at +1-650-218-5913. Please just drop me a line to say hi I would love to catch up with you all. I look forward to catching up with you all and thanks for waiting for 3+ years for this update. Also please feel free to come visit us wherever we may be in the world.

If you want
Cheers,

Jason

P.S. If you want to follow me on my next project check out www.InternationalMisfitz.com

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