Sunday, June 11, 2006
My last day in the 'reer, and the parting is bittersweet. Today I officially pack my belongings into the back of the Jeep and begin an indefinite stretch of "walking the Earth." Following a road trip around the Southeast with my little sis and my two youngest cousins (ages 13-15), I'll spend the next 1.5 months bouncing between family and friends in Florida, D.C., Philly, NYC, and the northeast. On July 20, I depart the U.S. for what will tentatively be 17 months of travel through the U.K., India, China, and Malaysia.
Currently, the ever-evolving itinerary is looking something like:
*July 20-31: London and southwestern Ireland
*Aug-early September: India, mostly in and around Delhi
*September: depart for overland route from Delhi to Beijing (a bit iffy at the moment, but hopefully I can work this one out)
*September-late December: China, mostly Beijing and Hong Kong
*late December-late March '07: Malaysia, mostly in Kuala Lumpur, hopefully w/ some backpacking and diving in east Malaysia
*late March-late December '07: back in India, based in Delhi, but hopefully w/ some opportunities to jaunt about.
As I've said before, friends and family are not only welcome, but ENCOURAGED to come visit. It's going to be lonely out there for an inexperienced southern boy far from home, so I hope at least some of y'all will take me up on this offer. I'll also post my Watson and Fulbright research proposals + personal statements online in case you want to get a sense of where my head will be at with all this researchy stuff.
Finally, while I've got your attention, I want to point to one other item that really has nothing to do w/ my travel plans, but which I think is important nonetheless ;)
This story may be old news to those of you who, unlike myself, have had no difficulty traversing the ol' "digital divide" in recent weeks (alas, the life of a construction worker...). But here's a recent note from the good folks at Riseup.net, my email provider:
==> Stop AOL Email Tax <== AOL is adopting a system called CertifiedEmail, which is a threat to a free and open Internet. This system would create a two-tiered Internet in which affluent mass emailers will pay for the ability to deliver mail to AOL users but the rest of us will be left with increasing unreliable service. The "email tax" works by requiring a payment for each message sent to an AOL user. If your email provider doesn't pay, your message is more likely to get blocked. This will have grave consequences for small email providers like riseup.net and any non-profit which sends out large email blasts to its members. For more information, or to sign the protest letter to AOL, see http://www.dearaol.com.
==> Yahoo is evil <== In addition to being boring capitalists, yahoo.com is in the practice of helping to jail Chinese reporters and dissidents. On December 2003, Chinese dissident Li Zhi was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment for inciting "subversion" using evidence provided by yahoo. On April 2005, Shi Tao (a journalist working for a Chinese newspaper) was sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking details of a censorship order, again using evidence provided by yahoo.
This horror is not isolated to yahoo: gmail, hotmail, and aol all make it standard practice to turn over requested documents without even attempting to contest the request. The much reported refusal by google to turn over historical search statistics to the US government misses the fact that they already allow the government to scan all gmail traffic (as do yahoo, hotmail and aol).
We encourage you to stop using yahoo and the other services it owns (flickr, del.icio.us, and geocities, to name a few).
Well, that's it for now folks--I've got some packing and driving to do. Sorry for my slackness in corresponding in recent weeks; I promise to try and do better.
Till then, much love to you all,