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ABOUT THIS BLOG

In the summer of 2009, Nicolas Rapp decided to take a break from his Art Director job at The Associated Press to attempt a one-year overland travel around the world in a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. He was back in New York in February 2011 after traveling 15 months and 37,000 miles.

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  • Saying good-bye to southeast Asia…and to many friends

    Posted on December 20th, 2010 Nicolas 53 comments
    Around Vang Vieng, Laos.

    Around Vang Vieng, Laos.

    It’s a two-day drive from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. The weather is pretty bad, and it still takes me few days to get rid of my cold. I am driving across mountains, most of the time above 3,000 feet. There’s a heavy fog that forces me to drive slowly. Northern Laos is decidedly spectacular, and I am glad I didn’t miss that.

    Can’t see much with this fog. Can’t drive faster than 20 miles an hour.

    Can’t see much with this fog. Can’t drive faster than 20 miles an hour.

    I stop for the night in Vang Vieng, an area famous for the limestone cliffs surrounding the city. The night I spend there marks the last night I am sick, and when I wake up in the morning, I am in great shape and ready to fight. Vang Vieng is a strange place. Westerners stop here for few days not only for the incredible landscapes, but also because drugs are easily available. Not my scene.

    Arriving north of Vang Vieng. Spectacular landscapes reward the traveler.

    Arriving north of Vang Vieng. Spectacular landscapes reward the traveler.

    My cold is better, but not my back. For some reason, the country seems to have the worst mattresses I saw during my journey. Don’t take me wrong, I am OK with hard mattresses. But seriously, harder than concrete? What kind of technology do they use to produce it? This will remain a mystery.

    Laos’s kids are always welcoming and excited to see travelers.

    Laos’s kids are always welcoming and excited to see travelers.

    I arrive in Vientiane the following day and as I am now feeling better, I locate a place to camp along the Mekong River. I am glad I went to bed early, principally because a military battalion wakes me up at six in the morning. They dont let me alone until the tent is packed. What can you do? Some days are like that. I fix myself some coffee and go check in a guest house for the following night (Phorntip guesthouse, US$8, recommended). I do know that officials are still not wild about foreigners roaming around like I do, and they prefer us to be registered in hotels…

    Camping on the banks of the Mekong River in Vientiane.

    Camping on the banks of the Mekong River in Vientiane.

    “That Dam”, one of Vientiane’s oldest Buddhist stupas.

    “That Dam”, one of Vientiane’s oldest Buddhist stupas.

    Vientiane is the kind of capital I love. Small with 200,000 inhabitants, it is exactly as big as Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. For some reason, Laos is not a big sex tourism destination, and I hope it will remain this way, as Vientiane is quite innocent compared to other capitals in the region. This apart, I found the city a little bit less interesting than Phnom Penh, with its charming streets lined with French bistros…
    At the guesthouse I meet again with the two crazy French girls I crossed path with in Phongsaly. They are on their way down to Bangkok where they are supposed to catch a flight to Myanmar. We spend the evening together and have a great pizza that reconciles me with the city. (Swedish Pizza & Baking House, best pizza I had since ??)

    Sandrine and Valerie trying to figure out the route.

    Sandrine and Valerie trying to figure out the route.

    In the morning we meet again for breakfast. They attempt to buy train tickets for Bangkok, but are told that the train is full. They have to be back in Bangkok in two days time, otherwise they will miss their flight. Few hours later I am rearranging the load in the truck so I can drive these two crazy Frenchies.
    We leave at noon and pass the Thailand border without problems as nobody on either side seem to be interested by who we are and what we carry. Unfortunately, few miles later, during a stop to get lunch I notice that there’s something wrong with the vehicle.

    My truck is tired, very tired. Unlike Valerie playing ping-pong with one of the mechanics.

    My truck is tired, very tired. Unlike Valerie playing ping-pong with one of the mechanics.

    For some reasons, probably involving the crazy ride up to Phongsaly, three of the right front wheel bolts broke. The wheel is now just holding by three remaining bolts. Incredibly, the problem is solved quickly as we find a shop swiftly enough. I can’t believe the chap has all the parts I need here, but he does. After two hours pit-stop, we are back on the highway.

    Preparing tea for breakfast in a Khon Kaen street. Gipsies?

    Preparing tea for breakfast in a Khon Kaen street. Gipsies?

    We stop to spend the night in Khon Kaen an unremarkable town in eastern Thailand. The road leading there didn’t have much appeal either, and I am glad I have some company to keep me awake.

    Wat Arun, along the river. Taking the boat is a convenient way of moving around in Bangkok.

    Wat Arun, along the river. Taking the boat is a convenient way of moving around in Bangkok.

    We arrive on Thursday night in Bangkok, where the girls give me a quick tour of the Banglamphu area. They have to be at the airport very early in the morning and we don’t stay out late. I am pretty tired as well, as we drove 500 miles in the last two days in a pretty hot weather.

    A shopkeeper in a market of the Chinatown section of Bangkok.

    A shopkeeper in a market of the Chinatown section of Bangkok.

    But there’s not much rest for me neither the following day, as my time is filled with engagements with shipping companies and other customs brokers. It turns out I should be able to stuff my container in the beginning of the week, and the truck should be in Los Angeles around the end of January. Perfect.

    The amulets market. People with dangerous professions come here to buy an item to protect them.

    The amulets market. People with dangerous professions come here to buy an item to protect them.

    The Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho.

    The Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho.

    Regrettably there is soon enough another obstacle. The Chinese embassy doesn’t grant visas to French citizens without a return ticket. I decide to postpone the resolution of this matter until Monday. Anyway there’s not much I can do during the week-end.
    In the meantime I visit the western part of the city and spend time in restaurants, in an effort to take advantage of the Thai way of cooking before I am gone for good. I find myself alone in the city after many weeks of gathering with a lot of people. Vikas, Kathryn, Philip, Valerie, Sandrine… After such a long time alone on the road as I was crossing Africa or the Middle East, it has been a lot of human contacts lately. It is probably a good training for me before being back in the U.S. where my social life will start again. At least I know that I am still a normal human being… Or almost normal…

    Dipping lotus buds in water for luck, before seeing the Emerald Buddha.

    Dipping lotus buds in water for luck, before seeing the Emerald Buddha.

    When I have time, I begin to organize my bags since I will have to continue the trip without the truck. I will soon be in much colder places and will have to be ready. The temperature in Seoul, South Korea, is only in the 30’s so I have to dig clothes I didn’t use since Peru, which are located deep in the trunk.

    Painting restoration in Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok.

    Painting restoration in Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok.

    The next step will be to switch from southeast to northeast Asia. Apart from the wintry climate, another challenge will be to return in more costly areas where I will not be able to get inexpensive hotel rooms as I do here. Also, without my camping gear, I will have to eat out constantly. Regardless, it’s exciting to be on the move again, soon to discover new horizons.

    Wat Phra Kaew. Disneyland?

    Wat Phra Kaew. Disneyland?

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53 Responses to “Saying good-bye to southeast Asia…and to many friends”

  1. Charlie A (Santa Clara, Ca.)

    It is very sad that this journey is quickly coming to an end for all the followers of your Trans World Expedition.
    It hardly feels like over a year ago that you started this quest for adventure. I for one am looking forward to the last few installments as you make your way back to the states. I wish I could be one of the people that are there to greet you in L.A. when you arrive. I bet you will be very surprised by the turnout.
    Have as much fun as you can in these last remaining weeks Nick. I can’t wait for my autographed, first edition, copy of your #1 best selling book.

  2. Nick,

    I don’t know how much news you hear but please do not go to Korea. They appear to be on the brink of war with North Korea and it could be very dangerous there in a matter of days. Once again, fabulous pictures and stories. The Laotian children are too cute! Travel safe!

  3. Nick, I imagine you hear quite a bit more news without the western slant! Seems to me that the North is doing what they’ve done for years, rattling their sabers to try to improve their bargaining position. Now mind you, I’d stay away from the DMZ… =) Regardless, I think by this time you’ve learned how to take care of yourself.

    Glad to see that Sir Nick, the Man With the Perfect Coffee (as you will henceforth be known) is as chivalrous as he is adventurous! It was good to hear about you helping the girls out, I’m sure you enjoyed the company! Enjoy the last few weeks of your adventure, I’ll be sad to see it end.

  4. Hi Nick,
    What are your plans for Christmas day? I hope you can skype with your parents. It’s too bad you aren’t traveling across the US during the spring/summer. I was going to suggest you swing through West Michigan and check out our beaches on Lake Michigan. I’m a beach snob and think we have the best beaches in the world (with great sand and fresh water). Since I’ve only been to the beaches on the east and west coasts of the US, Hawaii, the Caribbean and France, I’m not the best judge. You, on the other hand, would be the only person I would deem worthy to say who has the best beaches. Also, from West Michigan, you could head through Canada on your way to NYC and add one last country to your list. But since it will be winter, you are best off to stay south.
    Have a Merry Christmas.

  5. Hi Nick,

    Great landscapes in Northern Laos. Remarkable trip until now. In retrospect, you took more than an year to come this far.For me, it looks like only you have started very recently. Also, glad that next legs of your trip is more predicatable and on the safer lines (in US, South Korea etc). As others may have pointed out, Don’t even go close to North Korean border….otherwise Bill Clinton (or some French President) would have to make a trip to get you back :-)

    Vijay

  6. Good things must come to an end indeed. I can’t believe it’s been a year already since you’ve taken this odyssey!

    I guess you called the Indonesian trip off, which is too bad.

    Safe journeys into China and maybe our paths will cross in Asia before you head back to the US!

  7. Nick
    Keep up the wonderful stories!

    When you come back to California, I hope that we can see you again.

    -Steve

  8. how wonderful to hear from you again! i always anticipate your blog and your new adventures. i think it’s funny that you say you’re looking forward to being on the move again and discovering new horizons. haven’t you been doing that all along? well, that’s your spirit, i guess.

    what will be your second act? you’re going to have to give yourself time to adjust … not driving 500 miles in two days. moreover, you’ve been in the summertime of the world and now are moving into the wintertime of the world. gotta a warm sweater(s)? life is full of changes and you, my friend, take the cake!

    Merry Christmas! tell us all about it

    suzanne

  9. Hi Nick,
    So sad your journey has come to an end and that you have to skip Indonesia…, maybe next time?
    Agree with Mo in Flo that you’d better avoid Korea for now, so why not spend some time enjoying Bali while waiting for your truck to get to LA? :-)
    Anyway, have a safe trip back to the U.S.!

  10. Charlie A (Santa Clara, Ca.)

    Hey Nick,

    I agree with Helmi but you should drive south as far as you can then hit the inter island ferries and check out Bali. Then ship the truck to L.A.

    Cheers mate, Charlie.

  11. Nick, I noticed your recent most tweet saying you are scrapping the China plans. Why give up so easily? There is so much to see in China. The culture shock for you is not over yet!

    What I do agree with though is flying into Hong Kong first then trying to get a Visa there. It will probably be a lot more easy to get it there than where you are right now. You will need to go to the China Travel Service agency to get the Visa. Beware though, those scammers won’t tell you that you have an option for fast service or slower one, the difference is hundreds of Hong Kong dollars! For more information go to ctshk.com.

    Then from there, fly from Hong Kong into China and return back to Hong Kong before going to further destinations. That will probably be your only way to go if you want to go to China. Is it cost effective? Not really as it is cheaper to fly domestically inside Mainland China itself, but you don’t know anyone that can help you book flights there, which is the problem.

    No matter which part of China you go, there is something to see. Why miss it? Don’t give up!

  12. Hello everybody. Some questions and answers here. I probably forgot some people, hope you will forgive me!

    Edwin:
    Nick, I noticed your recent most tweet saying you are scrapping the China plans. Why give up so easily?

    Oh man, I would like to go to China, but they have problem with French people since the city of Paris decided to make the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen. Result is you need invitation letters, itinerary, hotel reservations and express processing of visa is suspended. I already have my ticket for Hong-Kong, and it would take me more than a week to get the necessary visa. In the meantime, hotels are full and you can only get very expensive rooms at this period of the year. At this point I call it a day…

    Helmi:
    So sad your journey has come to an end and that you have to skip Indonesia…, maybe next time?

    Definitely. Going to Indonesia would have been great, but I wasn’t feeling like organizing another shipment. Money is becoming tight as well…

    Mindy:
    What are your plans for Christmas day?

    No plans really. Will probably be in Incheon, South Korea that day… I hear they have fireworks already going on…

    Juan:
    I was wondering if Phillip was doing a similar trip as you were, and if he was only using a motorcycle for transportation.

    This year, Philip went to India, is now in Asia and will ship to Australia soon. But he did cross the Americas and Africa in a previous trip with his wife. You can read more on his website http://theroad.ch

    Jack, Jacob and Max:
    You really need to come to Worthington, Ohio. Us kids at Phoenix Middle School are hoping you’ll be able to come near us.

    Hey guys. I would really like to see you, but I am not sure I will be able to. I am supposed to pass south of you for now. But if the plan changes, I’ll make sure to let you know. There’s also the possibility for me to come visit few months after my return to New York…

    Melissa:
    I was curious as to whether or not you’ll have a photography exhibit of your expedition once you return to the U.S.

    No plan yet but that sounds like a good idea. Maybe a bar would be interested. More to do when I am back!

    Mowgood:
    During all your trip so far.. how often did you need to use the car in 4×4 mode?

    Hard to say since this generation of Land Cruiser is a full time 4×4. But I would think that if I had to switch, it would have been pretty rare, less than 1% of the distance I guess.

    Edwin:
    So Nick, when are you going to put the New York license plates back? I don’t think you’ll get much trouble anymore from the locals except for curious ones bothering you with questions about your excursion.

    I just did that two days ago. Even so the areas are not dangerous, I just wanted to avoid that someone would steal the plate as a trophy…

    Michael:
    I don’t know what one does after something like this but I have a feeling that it will be done completely differently than it would have been before you started this adventure.
    Do you still think that you picked the correct vehicle for the trip or if you could make a switch to something else what would it be to? Did your choice of vehicle have an effect on how the people you met interacted with you, ie.. does a vehicle like that give you some level of “street cred” since it is used so much by the international community? What will you do with the vehicle when you get back to the states?
    If there was one additional thing you could have taken with you on the trip that would have made the trip a little more enjoyable, what would it have been.
    When the trip is over, do you think you will be able to live in a big city like New York again or do you think you will be drawn to somewhere more rural?

    I am not sure how easy it will be to re-adapt to the regular daily life and going to an office every day. Hopefully I will not feel the need to spend my life on the road…
    The vehicle was about right. It would be better to have an older generation Land Cruiser, the carburetor one, just because they have it in every country. My model is considered too luxury in most country, and was not marketed in many areas due to its high price.
    The car is a good way to start a discussion with strangers in many places. They are always fascinated by it, and have many question. In India, they seem to be still quite impressed by tubeless tires, strangely.
    When I get back to the city, the truck will probably becomes my week-end ride. Although I suspect that it may completely collapse few weeks after I return…
    The one thing I wish I would have done is to install solar panels. In hot countries, I couldn’t stay more than two days in a place before my battery was running out.
    I really look forward to be back in NY, but it is true that I hope to have the time to go camping pretty often during the week-ends, something I never did in the past.

  13. Nick, I might be able to ask my friends in Hong Kong if they can find you a cheap hotel (not meant for foreigners) so you can extend your stay there; but it’s a long shot.

    How long do you plan on staying in Hong Kong? Your next destination is South Korea I presume? Are you going to Japan too?

    Since your truck will be in LA at the end of January, I guess you will be back in the States by then. If that is so, I probably won’t be in Tokyo yet. If I’m still here, I hope you are coming through my way (Dallas) and you are more than welcomed to stay here. I can also help you with any service needs before you complete the final 1100+ miles to NYC.

    Please don’t hesitate to email me if you need assistance. If you would like to share your tentative plans so that we plan for a meeting, you can email me too. :)

  14. Edwin,
    Thanks for the support my friend. Because I couldn’t find cheap accommodation, I already booked a ticket from HK to Korea on the 24. It will be a very short time in HK. After that, I will be able to spend some more time in Korea and Japan.
    Too bad I didn’t meet you down in Texas when I left. I don’t think I will be able to get down there this time. But I will come down later on, when I am back on my feet in NY…

  15. On foot the rest of the way a little twist to end the story! Good to see your friends pop up again for ya. Seen you all had good laughs.

  16. Congrats Nick on finishing your journey. Although you will be flying to Japan and South Korea, I am looking forward to reading about it as well as looking at the amazing photographs.

  17. Nick,
    I have followed your exploits from before you even left! Are you going to be throwing a welcome-back party when you get back to New York? I live in Park Slope, and would love to meet you and thank you for entertaining me so much in the past year and half.
    Best,
    Gregg

  18. Hey Nick,
    Great to hear about the nothern adventures! After the villa, (Still not done but nearly!) The Land cruiser is my next project!
    For China, 1st class tickets are usually fully refundable, Buy one to show the embassy, But now I see in your comments there are other obsticals. I cant imagine the Chinese visa is so difficult!
    Merry Christmas from Phuket!

  19. Hi Nick,

    Like the others that have posted, I can’t believe that we’ve been following your adventures for more than a year. When I first read about your trip I mentioned it to one of my employees he didn’t think it was possible (that was with your original plan to go through Sudan. etc…).

    Congratulations on making it around the world in 1 piece and without any major mishaps – you have had so many people following you and wishing you well that you have had great Karma following you.

    When you get back I have a friend with a wine shop in Brooklyn (Fort Greene) that hosts different collections on a rotating basis – if you decide you want to possibly exhibit in some different types of venues hit me up and i’ll ask him.

    Congratulations again and enjoy the last part of Asia. It’s really cold In NY right now & CA is getting pounded with rain. Hopefully by the time you get back here things will be a bit more settled across the country. In an earlier post you mentioned your dad might make the drive cross country with you-is that still happening?

    Take care & be well.

  20. Hello Nick,
    I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when you were commenting on the not-so-comfortable matteress in Asia. This, coming from a man that has spent over a year sleeping on top of a Toyota! Listen Man, I hate to see the trip coming to an end but I hope you and your ride arrive in California safely and that you take in all of America and experience all it has to offer. You always have a clean comfortable place to stay with us in North Carolina should you so desire. Let me know if I can help you with travel from Asia to the states and thank you for sharing your travel experience with me.

    Gods Speed and be well my dear friend,

    Scott

  21. Andrea,
    That sounds good. I used to live close to Fort Greene and hope to get a place around there when I am back. An exhibit sounds great. And yes, my father will definitely be with me as I cross the U.S. See you in NY!

    Scott,
    Thanks a lot for the offer, I will be emailing you soon. I will probably fly from Japan in the second week of January.

  22. David,
    Hey man, how is life? Hope you are all booked up for the holidays. I booked a ticket to show to the China Embassy, but they wanted more. When I canceled it, the company kept US$50. What can you do…
    I am flying this afternoon to HK, then will hop to South Korea.
    Thanks again for everything!

  23. Gregg,
    Stay tuned, I will definitely get some drinks when arriving in NY.

  24. Dear Nick:

    Thanks so much for the photos and for keeping us informed about your trek through Southern Asia. Question, did you ever name your Land Cruiser? I love the idea of a photo exhibition at a bar or other such locations in New York State. Why….. I think you could probably exhibit your photos in a museum. But certainly in addition to the book we all know you must write, perhaps you could think in terms of several books, and even a coffee table photo book. Okay, my ideas keep coming. Please do remain prudent on this last leg of your journey. Others have mentioned Korea, please approach cautiously and methodically when responding to authorities.

    Okay, stay safe and many blessings your way. Your friend,
    -joyMaria

  25. Hello Nick,
    Ray Manalo from Seattle and I wanted to thank you from all of the pics and stories told from all of the places you have been. Well it is definitely winter time here in the U.S.so choose your route well when you get to U.S.highways due to snow storms and some flooding in the California from the heavy rains. If you are ever on your way up Pacific Northwest stop by Seattle area and you are welcome to stay at my place. Thank you again and take care and be safe on your next journey.

  26. Nick,

    So excited for the rest of your trip! I was born in Korea and lived my first 12 years there, and I can tell you Seoul is a very exciting place–lots of things to do and with so much deliciousness to be consumed! I so wanted to go for a visit this winter but I went last winter and I just started a new job so it didn’t work out. Hopefully I can live vicariously through you a little! But it is COLD there so make sure you keep yourself warm. Don’t catch the cold again!!!

    As always, thanks so much for your pics and updates. What a treat it is for us!!! Good luck!!!

    nari

  27. Can’t wait to see what your new outlook is (if any) on American life and it’s people after being gone for so long. Should be interesting to see how you re-adjust to the hectic, indulging, expensive, lifestyle. Are you concerned or worried about coming back to the USA? Or are you excited to get some normalcy back in your life?

  28. Really enjoyed this post, all your comments made it feel so personal. As always amazing pictures. When I read that you would “stuff your container…” and “end of January” I was a little taken aback. The end is coming!! I agree with all who say to be careful in Korea! Stay safe, enjoy and NO MORE SICKNESS!

  29. Nicolas,

    Two thumbs up for your journey so far…and it looks like we will have more posts to look forward to when you continue without your wheels. As always, your pictures really help show us the places we will never really visit and give us an idea of what you are seeing. I say that South Korea should be safe enough that you don’t need to worry about it. Leave all the worrying to the nervous followers back here!
    I am amazed that more than a year has gone by! It will be great when you get back to the states.
    Don’t rush home too quickly and of course keep us posted!

  30. Here’s hoping that Nick, his family, friends and followers all have a happy and safe holiday season. Merry Christmas everyone. :)

    Kara

  31. Joyeux Noel Nick

  32. NICK, I HAVE WRITTEN JUST A FEW TIMES DURING YOUR JOURNEY BUT HAVE FOLLOWED ALONG THE ENTIRE TIME. I AM AN ACTIVITY DIRECTOR IN A SKILLED NURSING HOME AND YOUR BLOG HAS BEEN A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION EACH WEEK AS YOU BEGAN YOUR TRIP. SOME OF THE OLD FOLKS HAVE RECALLED AND SHARED THIER OWN JOURNEYS. TWO LADIES WHO HAVEN’T MISSED AN “EPISODE” ARE 101 YEARS AND 103 YEARS OLD, WHEN I MENTIONED THAT YOU WILL BE COMING TO THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES THEY ASKED IF I WOULD TRY AND CONTACT YOU TO SEE IF YOU WOULD VISIT US AT THE NURSING HOME, SO WE COULD MEET YOU IN PERSON. WE ARE APPROX. ABOUT 50 MILES NORTH OF L.A. IN VENTURA COUNTY. YOU ARE AN OFFICIAL CELEBRITY HERE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR STORIES, PHOTOS, AND DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF YOUR JOURNEY, YOU HAVE BROUGHT LIFE TO MANY WHO CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT THE WORLD WOULD ACTUALLY BE LIKE. WE ARE ALL GLAD YOU ARE SAFE, AND WE WILL CONTINUE READING YOUR TRAVELS. FROM THE OLD FLOKS IN CALI

  33. Catherine, sure, I’ll come. I will send you an email.

  34. Nick, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas. Hope the day is a good one for you.

  35. NIck,
    Great to see you are doing well, and have had a great time in Asia. I am sure the that the joy we all shared for you was only a drop in the bucket compared to the feelings you had meeting up with others that you could spend time with while on your adventures. I noticed that you are traveling through Arkansas, I am the Food and Beverage Operator for a Country Club on the route you will be traveling. We would love to have you come and speak at a Wine Dinner if it would be of interest to you. I hope you have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Best Regards
    Jason

  36. Gary in Nova Scotia

    Nick
    Have been enjoying your stories and pics, just awesome !
    Be safe
    Merry Christmas & all the best in the New Year

  37. Nick, wherever you happen to be on Christmas day in Northern Asia we hope that you are happy and will enjoy yourself. I often think we overdue how we celebrate Christmas here in the USA. Perhaps at some point in time you will share your observations on how Christians in that part of the world celebrate December 25. At any rate, we are thinking of you and hope that again, wherever you are on New Year’s Eve, you are well and happy. Happy Holidays and we look forward to seeing you in 2011. Btw, Happy Holiday to all of Nick’s followers…it has been a pleasure reading your comments and experiencing this very new medium of communication (for me) along with you.

    -Joy & Paul (Bellevue, Washington)

  38. Happy Holidays Nick. Let’s get in touch when you get back. I’ll love to help you with my contacts to find a right place(s) to schedule an exhibition.

  39. Merry Christmas, Nick! There are so many people around the world following you and thinking of your adventures every day! You are an inspiration and I wish only the best for you! Happy Holidays!

    Joyeux Noel,

    Jolane Bedford
    Beaumont, Texas

  40. Hi Nick,
    I have been following your blog since December 09. That night I stayed up till 1 catching up all previous blog post. I will miss the blog once you are done with the trip. You are right about India. My first flat tire in the US was after 5 years of driving. I was amazed by the tubeless tires when the les Schwab guy opened it up.

    Would love to catch up if you happened to be in Seattle.

  41. Hi Nick,

    We Just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas..As your Journy winds down I’m sure you have a lot to reflect on..Good luck on the final leg..

    Chris

  42. Merry Christmas and a Happy Ho Ho Ho (if there are any!)

    I want to thank you for the best Christmas gift ever, your blog! Material gifts are cool but when you can have the world placed at your fingertips, priceless!
    I’m curious as to where you will spend New Years Eve, I know the Chinese New Year is not the same date as the rest of the world. And it’s kinda fitting, New Years Eve signifies the end of a year and the beginning of a new one, and it also signifies in this case, the end of your journey with the beginning of a new life after the trip, cool!
    Hoping you are enjoying these last few weeks as your venture comes to an end. I know I have enjoyed the entire trip and I’m sure I speak for all of your followers.

    Thank you again Nick.

    Manolo

  43. Merry Christmas Nick!

    I am hoping that you will have a book in the works when you come back. I would definitely buy it! I can imagine chapters on the truck, preparation, maps, advice, stories we didn’t hear because I’m sure there were too many to include in the blog, etc. You have so much material! :-) Well, one doesn’t have to pile on Work already when you’re just trying to enjoy the rest of your journey.

    Be blessed, Be safe, Enjoy the Journey!

    Beth

  44. Merry Christmas, Nick!

    Peace be with you.

    suzanne

  45. Donna in Ft lauderdale

    Interesting, fire works in Seoul for Christmas.. !! Hope you did take time to enjoy Christmas and did get to see some traditional celebrations of this wonderful blessed day.. Merry Christmas and a safe week wished for you as you head toward the end, and the beginning of a new year.

  46. Merry Christmas and I hope you are happy!

  47. Hey Nick,

    Greetings from Singapore!

    Wishing you a Merry Xmas and a safe New Year! Keep up the good job!

  48. Nick! Wherever you are today… Merry Xmas!

  49. hallo Nick,

    Infrequent commenter here but I’ve read every word, mesmerized by the year of dangerous living. All best wishes for the holidays and a happy new year. I find it touching that you will take time to visit your centenarian fans at the nursing home near L.A. Your year of adventure has brought so many fans together to cheer you around this amazing planet — from elementary schools to nursing homes to schools and homes worldwide.

    At some point after you regroup in NYC, I hope your travels bring you to the Chicago area. We are happy to offer a home cooked meal, quiet place to stay, whatever you might need. You have made us all feel like your personal friends with your easy writing style and captivating photography. Thank you! ~donna b.

  50. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  51. Hey Nick!

    I’ve been in FL and NC celebrating the holidays with family and just wanted to say I hope you had a nice Christmas wherever you were and hope that you have a happy new year! I will be in Vegas doing my own traveling and site seeing for the new year. Thanks for the memories and the blog this year. Lonely Planet asked people to share their most memorable traveling experience this year and I had to admit that it was meeting up with Nicolas Rapp and the Trans World Expedition. I hope this year was one of the best of your life and next year you have time to recover and write that book! :D I like all the others can’t wait for it! Again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Safe travels!

    Djibouti Dave

  52. Nick,

    It makes me smile that you will be visiting Catherine and the girls at the nursing home in Ventura.

    Cheers Mate!

  53. I love the picture of the road and mountains north of Vang Vieng. Good eye.