844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

Other Plans (Kalinda - Sumatra, Indonesia)

For an updated version of this post, go here

June 8th, 2009 -  I hath landed in Sumatra and maketh my way to a small town near the sea named Kalinda. The journey from Jakarta took over eight hours. It shouldn’t have but I played the ‘drive around in circles because all the signs direct you to a toll road that does not allow motorcycles’ game. I’ve played this game before and I am not a fan. Playing requires constant and prolific use of the F bomb and an unflinching desire to scream at the top of your lungs.

A constant string of directional inquiries finally led me to Merak, the town from which to catch a ferry to Sumatra. I found the two and a half hour ferry ride to be rather pleasant. There was a cool breeze and the ferry was large enough to avoid that cramped ‘I can’t wait to get the hell off this boat’ sensation. It was a welcome surprise, as is the town of Kalinda. A quite little town with a wonderful sea breeze and a laid back vibe.

John Lennon once said, 'Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans'. I was going for a quick ride to check out the nearby beach. I didn’t bring my camera. Not surprisingly I went the wrong way...again. I found myself driving along a coastal road which winds through a series of small villages. Daylight was in short supply but I kept telling myself I would drive a little bit further to see around the next bend. The road was smooth and the s-curves gentle. I realized I was driving for the sheer pleasure of it. When’s the last time I’d done that? Not sure. I like Indonesia but the roads don’t often beckon you forward. It is more like a semi-violent tug to your next destination. The main road in Sumbawa was pleasant at times and the winding mountain roads in Flores were engaging but not like the short simple drive I made this afternoon. I went the wrong way. Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.

Although I’ve felt this sensation before the most memorable instance was on a small island off the northeast coast of Madagascar. The isle of St. Marie. That was the first time I'd driven a motorcycle. I have the scar to prove it. The fear and frustration that characterized the first hour or so of my baptism by fire was complemented by an unrelenting desire to kill my friend Andy. He made me do it. The bastard made me do it. But I soon gained a bit of confidence and started to relish the drive through this small tropical island in the Indian Ocean.

Children ran out of their homes along the road to wave and scream as we drove past. The views were breathtaking and the only thought drifting through our sun-soaked brains was, We need to keep going. We went as far as daylight would allow and then forced ourselves to turn around. We never did reach the end of that road and the derelict lighthouse on the coast. We meant to go back the next the day but never did. We busied ourselves with a ‘you might frolic with a Blue Whale’ tour, riding our hogs on the beach, and almost drowning after underestimating the stamina required to swim to a small adjacent island. Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.

So today I found myself making my way on a road near the sea and was presented with one postcard picture after another. I was only going for a quick ride so I neglected to bring my camera.  The sun was setting, casting its dusk lighting upon rocky beaches, old stone houses, and rickety wooden harbors. Beautiful. But of course, I did not have my camera. I wonder. I wonder if the moment was made more beautiful, more intense because I forgot my camera, because I knew I had to turn around before darkness fell, because I went the wrong way, and because Life happens when you are making other plans. 

The villages I passed through were quaint, tidy, a bit sleepy even. I found myself a bit tranquilized. I doubt the locals see many lanky white folks on Honda Phantoms making their way through their village. Some bore expressions of surprise, others appeared a bit wary but most were smiling and inquisitive. A young man invited me to fish with him. Another wanted me to pull over and sit a spell. A pretty young girl smiled at me as I drove past. I responded in kind and added just enough mischievousness to my grin to elicit an outburst of giggles as I passed. I went the wrong way. Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.

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'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim