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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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  • Without wheels, traveling toward the rising sun

    Posted on December 27th, 2010 Nicolas 58 comments
    Hong Kong, almost New York...

    Hong Kong, almost New York...

    While in Bangkok, I start the maddening work of finding a vessel sailing to Los Angeles, U.S.A. so I can load my truck as soon as possible. One good thing is that there is a lot of traffic between the two points which results in a price war between shipping companies.

    Lashing the truck in a container for the last time. I don't think I will miss that.

    Lashing the truck in a container for the last time. I don't think I will miss that.

    After going back and forth between two competitors, I select China Shipping as they lower their price to US$2,200 including all fees at the departing port. And it is going very fast. Two days after I find myself again in a container. Everything at the port is easy and well organized. As in Malaysia it is very straight forward to go through the procedures and I just spend two hours there. Because the container is going to the U.S., there are few more formalities than usual. Once the doors are closed, the truck is fumigated with bromide and the container later goes through X-Ray. Contact information for shipping is provided at the end of this post.

    Just before loading the truck, Aline took a picture of me and Sin. Never saw this truck that clean in ages...

    Just before loading the truck, Aline took a picture of me and Sin. Never saw this truck that clean in ages...

    In the meantime, I try to arrange my visa for China. The original plan was to take the 25-hours train from Hong-Kong to Beijing, and later a ferry to Incheon, South Korea. Unfortunately, as often, that doesn’t go according to plan. Following a dispute between France and China regarding a decision from Paris to give the Dalai Lama honorary citizenship, the Chinese officials retaliated in making visa availability more difficult for my compatriots. Basically, embassies overseas now want travelers to present a return ticket, hotel reservations, detailed itinerary and an invitation letter. In addition, the expedited service had been suspended, making the process last more than a week.

    Lippo Centre, a strange building in Hong Kong.

    Lippo Centre, a strange building in Hong Kong.

    Having arranged everything else and being on a tight schedule, I have no other choice but to skip the un-inviting country.
    Few days earlier, shortly after arriving in Bangkok, I moved in the apartment of Sin and Aline, friends of my acquaintance Jeff, a newspaper mogul in New York. It’s fantastic to be able to use their place as headquarter to prepare the next few steps which involve a lot of work online. First I book a ticket to Hong Kong, and then I try to find an inexpensive hotel in the city. But I hit another bump here. Who would have thing that one of the world financial centers is also a popular destination for Christmas? It turns out to be very complicated to find a place there that fits my budget. Fortunately few emails later, Kat who traveled with me few weeks ago, arranges for me to stay with her friend and ex-coworker MinJung. MinJung works for the Wall Street Journal Asia and gracefully will make some space for me in her flat. I also book a flight to South Korea.

    Hong Kong butcher. By now you know my favorite places are markets.

    Hong Kong butcher. By now you know my favorite places are markets.

    Evenings in Bangkok are nice, and dinners always a treat. Sin and Aline live in Bangkok for a long time and they know the places to go to get some amazing street food. I am sad to leave that behind and I try to take advantage of it as I am here and in good company.

    Hong Kong skyline.

    Hong Kong skyline.

    Transportation is effortless in the capital, and on one given trip it is not uncommon to use a boat, the subway, and hop behind a motorcycle driver for the rest of the trip. Everything is very cheap too, and the city seems to be a great place to live in. Finally, it is time to get to the airport and fly to Hong Kong (US$ 161).

    Taking the boat across the harbor.

    Taking the boat across the harbor.

    There, and as expected, I meet with MinJung who welcomes me in the city. I am here for such a short time – two days – and I am up early in the morning so I can explore most of the metropolis in a hurry.
    Downtown Hong Kong has an unexpected effect on me. Nowhere did a city remind be more strongly of New York. As I walk the streets and watch people going to work, I realize it will be soon my turn to be one of them. I am not sure how easy it will be to re-adapt. Spending most of my time at work and watching weeks and months going by at lightening speed is somewhat daunting. Soon I will have hot water every day, broadband internet and a cell phone. Maybe I will go for drinks on Friday nights and overhear people debating loudly if they need the newest iPhone this week-end or if it can wait for next week. How will I feel when I will not be on the move anymore? Without the constant pressure, the fights at the ports, the intricate work of getting visas, weeks spent by myself, weeks when I meet many people soon to be friends and the early coffees on mountaintops, will I be able to be happy? Living in a small apartment in a densely populated city will not be easy especially after treating the whole world as my living room.
    I feel that the one key for my happiness will be to find a very challenging – and exciting – job. I hope it will also allow me daily to use my problem-solving skills, something I have the weakness to think I am good at. Some action and travel would be good too.

    Another face of Hong Kong.

    Another face of Hong Kong.

    Anyway, one thing is sure: despite the multiple questions on this topic I got from my readers, only now I realize I am on my way home. All these months on the road have been so busy and intense that I feel I have been away for years. But readers shall see on this website how well I will readapt once back home.

    From the tramway, going back home.

    From the tramway, going back home.

    There are several reasons why Hong Kong reminds me of New York. The city is made up of older and sometimes decrepit buildings along with very modern ones. As in New York, you can feel that the sea is never far. Temperatures are colder too, and I didn’t feel that since Peru. A light jacket is now welcome as I go around surrounded with many people running everywhere. I walk a lot and go across the island to see less dense areas. Earlier, I took the boat to cross the harbor and have a view of the skyline.

    Incheon, third largest city of South Korea.

    Incheon, third largest city of South Korea.

    But there’s not much time and soon I am back at the airport getting my luggage back from a locker. The next stop is Incheon, South Korea where I arrive in the evening after a quick flight (US$ 300).

    The building used to be Incheon's mayor house.

    The building used to be Incheon's mayor house.

    When I arrive there, it is ice cold out. I use to dream about such weather when I was in the deserts of Ethiopia or Djibouti, but when the realty takes the appearance of a freezing wind slapping my face, it doesn’t seem like a dream anymore. South Korea hasn’t seen such temperatures in the last 30 years, and this is the time I chose to visit. At night, the mercury drops as far as -26 C (-15 Fahrenheit), and I can just run to the first hotel I see before falling dead.

    Street food. The place looks quite popular.

    Street food. The place looks quite popular.

    Another bad news is that I am back in fully developed countries, and I have to drop US$ 35 to get a room to sleep in what turns out to be a “Love Hotel”. Hotels of this type are common in Asia as well as in Central America. Basically, I am speaking about hotels were unmarried couple meet. These hotels are pretty good and clean, often with more amenities than tourist hotels. Each room as a computer you can use to go on the internet, which is pretty convenient. Also available are channels you would not want your kids to watch…

    It's cold out. Needs some dumplings to warm up...

    It's cold out. Needs some dumplings to warm up...

    I wake up in this motel on Christmas day, and despite the biting cold I go out to visit the city. Incheon is the largest port on the east coast of a country that can be compared to an island. North and South Korea are still technically at war since never signed a peace treaty after the Korean War, and nothing crosses the border. So you can only fly or take a boat to get in the southern peninsula.

    Underground shopping alley. As in Canada, a must in countries where winter is bitter cold.

    Underground shopping alley. As in Canada, a must in countries where winter is bitter cold.

    Chinatown is probably the most atmospheric area to visit, but I also see a few markets and large underground shopping arcades. As always, I am excited about trying the food, as I was a big fan of Koreatown in New York. I am not disappointed by the dumplings I get in the small restaurant where I take refuge from the cold. Few hours later I am in the subway to Seoul.

    INFO FOR TRAVELERS:

    So far I have been very happy with the services of Transpeed. Just remember to always shop around and get quotes from several companies before finalizing the deal. I wanted to work with them because they are used to ship vehicles. Their price was initially higher than other companies, but they were able to negotiate with their shipping company and bring the price down.

    Contact Beer at Transpeed Co., Ltd.
    beer@transpeed.biz
    3360/6-8 Soi Manorom Rama 4 Rd.
    Klongton, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110
    Tel.: 66 2 249-9001
    Cell: 0816148836

    Be Sociable, Share!

58 Responses to “Without wheels, traveling toward the rising sun”

  1. Charlie A (Santa Clara, Ca.)

    Are you going to provide flight arrival info for LAX?

  2. This recent post reminds me of one of my favorite quotes about traveling:

    The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.
    – G.K. Chesterton

  3. Charlie: sure I can once I will have it.
    All: A little update for those who wonder where Nadia is. She is moving to London where she will participate in a new restaurant opening. She is well and I hope to see her soon, even if I am not sure to know when it will be.

  4. Hi Nick! :-)

    Once again, love the pictures and descriptions!

    I’m going to send ya an email about a job idea for your return to New York! :-)

    Be Blessed, Be Safe, Enjoy the Journey! :-)

    Beth

  5. Nick, your response to the cold in S. Korea caused me to laugh out loud… “I can just run to the first hotel I see before falling dead.” I am a native of California living in the deep freeze of Iowa. Though I’ve been here since 1986, I still have that same reaction every single winter! I am so glad to hear you say that we will be able to follow your experiences of readjusting to life of ‘everyday man’ when you arrive home. I’ve dreaded the end of your trip feeling as if I’ll be losing a friend! Thank you so very much for sharing your travels. What an adventure it has been.

  6. wonderful entry. true to form, you’re looking ahead. realize that you aren’t the same person you were when you left new york. in the future the simplest comment will take you back to someplace on your trip. you’re soul is deeper now. you’re understanding of humanity and the world is deeper now. that was one of your goals; you wanted change; you wanted depth. it’s probably why you’ll need to write it all down – just to get it out and put it in perspective. you’ll readjust. just look how you reacted to Hong Kong. by the way, thank you for letting us see this wonderful city through your eyes. your eloquent use of language put me right in the city with you. i could almost smell the street food and feel the bitter cold.

    it’s good preparation for new york. they’re getting hit right now with a wicked snow storm all up and down the coast. it’ll be over by the time you get there, but thought i’d throw in some perspective :-) .

    you cut your hair!

    one step at a time – now :-)
    suzanne

  7. Norbert Cassegrain

    Ok young man,

    And now, a short trip into Paris ?

    Best,

    NC

  8. Look at that truck sparkle! Cleans up nice! As always – love the pictures and narrative. I would never have imagined bitter cold in South Korea. Thanks also for the update on Nadia. You definitely have friends all across the globe.

    Good luck on your final legs of the journey.

  9. Ahh, you are making me homesick for Korean street food. :-P Stay warm!! Last year, I got stuck in the worst snow storm in 100+ years in Korea and missed my flight back to the U.S. which was a huge pain. I can only imagine how cold it is there with the record low temperatures. Have a great time!

    p.s. your truck is so shiny that I almost didn’t recognize it. :-)

  10. Nick,

    Ive been following your trip since you were in Central America. I always look forward to reading your new posts. Someday, I hope to accomplish what you are doing! Anyway, I am in So Cal and would love to take you to dinner when you pass through Los Angeles if you have time. Shoot me an email at matt@carterinc.net. Stay safe.

    Sincerely,

    Matt

  11. Hi Nick, I have been following your blog since day 1. Very informative and encouraging. Just curious, have you had a chance to write to Al Podell or did he write to you in these past 15+ months? Also, are you keeping track of all the languages (just the name of the language) spoken in the regions you passed by in these 15+ months?

  12. There appears to be a La Nina right now, which is why the Northwestern Pacific is very cold, and the US west coast has lots of rain as well as the east coast having lots of snow. I’m pretty blessed to have a relatively mild winter here this year, which allows for more days on doing stuff outside. :)

    So Nick, the first picture is in Causeway Bay over Hennessy road right? That’s a good pic of Repulse Bay (the beach); I don’t think I got such a good one while on the bus! You took the bus to Stanley I presume? Is the pic of the fishermen by the Hung Hom ferry pier? Seems like a good quiet fishing spot for them there. I always saw people fishing there last year. The area used to be the Whampoa docks (one of the big wharfs in early HK) until redeveloped into housing estates in the early 90s.

    Did you manage to get some pics of Nathan road at night? Many post cards you see of HK are of that road at night, which I’m sure you already know. :) How about the Christmas decorated Victoria Harbour skyline at night? I managed to get a few pics of it the last night I was in HK from the Avenue of the Stars. I didn’t want to miss that hard to get opportunity as the harbor is most beautiful during the holiday season. I’ll share some with you as soon as I finish sorting through them.

    If you don’t mind, let me know what your plans are for Japan that way I can help you can maximize the time you have there and get as much fun as you can. Japan is a pretty big place and transportation isn’t cheap. So you don’t want to needlessly take the time and money to go to places you don’t need to. ;)

  13. Good to hear you had a great Christmas. It looked fun from the pictures. Glade to hear about Nadia, Say Stunt Chicken said what what up. i was a Foreman last night on one of the China shipping Ships in Seattle unloading 20′s and 40′s also loaded back some as well. Was in there steveodre breakroom I praticed written Chinese. learned how to write Welcome, No smoking, Put out in ask tray, and No access. They got a kick outof it. Sad to see this come to a end. It will fill weird I’m sure one your back home too.

  14. Charlie A (Santa Clara, Ca.)

    :0) Hey Nick,

    Would that be a Saturday arrival by chance? If so, I would make the drive down from the S.F. Bay to finally meet the man that I have been living vicariously thru since you announced your intention to drive around the World. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to all that time while I was unemployed and thanks for making me wish I was still unemployed, if only to make a 400 mile drive to LAX easier for me. I have been telling my wife about your many adventures for the last year and a half and she is now asking me, “where is he now”?

    Have a great time in Korea.
    Charlie.

  15. Nick,

    What a great blog! I think in alot of ways your car held you back. It served its purpose. Now you are unemcumbered. Enjoy the rest of your adventure. See you in L.A.!

  16. Like the end of all trips, reality hits, sometimes harder than others. Good to hear about Nadia. The truck looks great, to be honest I didn’t think you would make it out of the Americas in that truck. I am also glad to hear that we can continue to keep up with you when you get home! Thanks, Nick, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

  17. When is the planned arrival to Cali? Will there be a welcome back party for your west coast followers? It has been so wonderful following your journey, I can only hope the cros country trek in the US can provide some excitment also. I know only good things are ahead of you.

    All my best,
    Betty

  18. Charlie, Betty,
    As of now, thanks to Scott C., I a have a stand-by ticket on Delta Airlines Flight 284 arriving LAX (Los Angeles, California) @ 8:40am on Sunday January 9, 2011. That means I will be able to board only if there’s free space. Scott was able to get a great price on this ticket, which is great.

    Edwin,
    You really know HK very well. Good eye.

    Moorthy,
    Yes, I exchanged some emails with Al this year. He continues his country collection, and by now he must have seen at least 185 countries on 192. This year he went (by plane) to North Korea, Myanmar, and other enjoyable places.
    I didn’t keep track of all the languages and didn’t do much progress in speaking any of those.

    Matt,
    Not sure how it will go when I am in Cali, but I will at least have a small party somewhere. Will post details when available.

    Norbert,
    Mon ami, as tu recu mon email? Il faut qu’on parle bientot. Of course I want to go to France, have not been there for a long time…

  19. So Nick, does it look like you will arrive at LAX early; before the truck/ship arrives? I guess that calls Japan off too then (I am also quite familiar with Tokyo as I spent 3 weeks there last year at my friend’s house). I also did spend almost 3 months in HK last year, so with a place only so big, I went all over HK and got familiar with some places (I also stayed near that ferry pier). :) I also did travel to parts of China during that time too.

    The end of your travels brings back memories of my own as I’ve met a few friends during that time. Staying in touch with them is difficult as we all get back to our normal lives. I hope you keep in touch with everyone you met too.

    It’s looking like the weather will be more normal for the next week in Korea, but do stay warm and healthy still! Your journey is not quite over yet!

  20. Harvey (Naples, FL)

    I read about a man who lost a fight against temptation
    He left the comfort of the ones who loved and cared for him.
    He thought he had to see the world and all the great creation.
    But he never realized the price that he would pay for to begin.
    One morning he awakened from a night of riotous living.
    Searching for a dollar wondering where his friends had gone.
    With his troubled mind so weary, his body tired and lonely,
    His heart said son, “it’s time to go back home.”

    It’s time to go back home, it’s the right thing to do.
    There’s a pillow there to rest your weary mind, and the one you left is still loving you.
    Just turn yourself around, on that path you’ll begin.
    Those footprints that carried you away, will take you home again.

  21. Whenever and pretty much wherever you need a place to stay you might want to check out Couch Surfers at http://www.couchsurfing.org/
    I know someone riding round the world on his motorcycle who has found this a wonderful and safe way to meet the locals.

  22. Nick,

    Have A Happy New Year!!! Thanks for all the updates this past year on your travels.

    ~Steve

  23. Donna in Fort Lauderdale

    Wow Nick, what an adventure it’s been. I’ve followed you since before you left NY and am excited to see what will happen once back in the city. I am curious as to the job you will find and how you will adjust to being back home. I know for me when I go on vacation (ha, 7 days!) that a day after I’m home, it feels like I never left. I hope for you that so many moments that you had will stay fresh within you. Actually you’ll be reliving the experience as you write that book!! :) Also maybe you can make a nice long powerpoint show to send us so that we may see the pictures large and more detailed. God keep you safe!
    With hugs from America,
    Donna

  24. Oscar (El Centro, CA)

    Hi Nick,

    I’ve been following you since day one. I hope to meet you next month in LA.

    Oscar

  25. Nicolas, We are excited and a bit sad that your journey is getting closer to an end. We spotted an article about your trip in our local news paper and have been following your exploration of the world from day one. It has been very entertaining and educational and we were glad we had the opportunity to join you from our computer. If your path ever leads you up into the northern part of Idaho, stop in and visit. (Coeur d’Alene, Id.) We would love to meet you and hear more of your adventures. Good luck and safe travels!

    Dean and Linda Bennett

  26. Dear Nick:

    I was so happy to read that you will be in Los Angeles in January….what good news and what a blessing. It now occurs to me that perhaps I could organize a short one-two day round Seattle area visit from LA. If I understand correctly your truck may not be in LA when you arrive, which could be perfect. That said I see that several of your bloggers live in the Seattle area. So, I am wondering if we could come together to organize a short visit, but of course this would be after hearing from you. If we hear that you would be agreeable and/or interested perhaps I can hear from Seattle area bloggers. Of course, we would love to have you as a guest in our home…so accommodations should not be a concern. I will need to consult others about assisting with arranging an airline ticket. Looking forward to hearing from you Nick. Thanks, and our best.
    -joyMaria

  27. Wow! Dr JoyMaria,

    I’m so jealous, Get to meet Nick and a road trip? How cool is that? Hopefully he comes through Kentucky. Sounds like it might be tough to match a date since his ticket is a standby, keep that in mind. And how great is it that Nick will make time to visit the elderly in Los Angeles? I think that they will greatly appreciate his visit since the chance of them going anywhere is slim. Unlike us younger folks who can but choose not to due to various reasons.

    Manolo

  28. did you learn the languages of the countries you were in, if not, how did you communicate?

  29. what about the license plate on your car, did you ever need to change i?

  30. Nick,
    I know what you mean about the post-trip letdown. It’s always good to get home, but then the re-entry into my everyday life is always difficult. Of course, you’ll have a lot of work to do to start your book and speaking tour across the country. West Michigan is a great place to visit in the summer. My husband and I would love to have you stay with us.

    Just out of curiosity, how many pictures have you taken? I took over 350 pictures when we were in Germany for two weeks. Hmm, multiply that by 63 or so weeks–11,000+ pics. That would make a great coffee table book.

    I feel like I’m going to be losing a friend when this blog ends. I’ve so enjoyed getting to “know” you over this past year. Savor these last few weeks of travel, but look forward to the new adventures God has for you in your future. I have found that walking with Him makes my life an exciting journey.

  31. have a safe trip home

  32. Hey Nick, I just saw you had ATM troubles from your tweet. Did you look for an HSBC or Citi ATM? There are very limited HSBC locations in Japan but lots of Citi. I think they are the only retail operating foreign banks in Japan that also have US operations.
    Here is information for the only two real HSBC branches in Japan (the only other I know of is in Narita airport): http://www.hsbclocations.com/japan/
    Here’s a list of Citibank branch and ATM locations in the Kansai area: http://www.citibank.co.jp/en/bankingservice/branch_atm/kansai/index.html

    Also, if you plan to travel far outside of Osaka, go buy a Seishun 18 (ju-hachi) Kippu… translated: “Youth 18 ticket” for only 11,500 yen. It will give you unlimited rides to any trains but express, limited express, or shinkansen (bullet train). Since it is winter break for school kids right now, it is valid to use and on sale. They sell to anyone, regardless of age limited times of year and valid only limited times of year.

    Once you do have money and plan on using the train/subway (metro) a lot (I don’t see why anyone car-less wouldn’t), I suggest the 2000 yen for an ICOCA card (buy it from any JR West station). 1500 yen is usable for rides, while the remaining 500 yen is a refundable deposit. While it is more difficult to keep track of expenses, it makes life much easier train hopping because you don’t have to waste time looking at the system map board for fare pricing and buying a one way ticket each time. Most foreigners I’ve seen in Japan didn’t use an ICOCA or Suica card. I think mostly due to ignorance.

    I do also recommend going to Kyoto if that wasn’t in your plans. There are rapid express trains to/from Osaka’s Umeda station for about 1100 yen. Trip takes about an hour (the trains go pretty fast… up to 140km/h from what I saw from the Engineer’s speedometer). I recommend staying at Kyoto Hana Hostel. I stayed there 2 months ago; friendly English speaking staff, lots of backpackers from all over the world, and very clean. Price is reasonably cheap too. Just a block north of Kyoto station. Expect to spend 4 days in Kyoto if you want to somewhat leisurely see all the highlights.

    If you have time, don’t exclude yourself from Nara if you don’t plan on traveling outside of the Kansai (Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe) area. It is also worth it. Forget what the books and what people online say. It will take you 2 days to basically see the highlights of it. I’m disappointed myself I only spent 6 hours there and didn’t get to see all the important famous temples/places.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t spend too much time in Osaka. There’s only so much to see compared to Tokyo. But if you really want to see Japan with only a limited time, Kyoto IS the place to go. I have good walking guides that I got from the Kyoto tourist information center from the 9th floor at Kyoto station (it is above the Isetan department store) last year but when I requested them mailed to me this year, it was some hard to read garbage. I can scan and email or fax them to you if you like.

    If you are leaving from Tokyo, then there is actually much to see there. 4 days will just about cover the city. The Japan Lonely Planet book only tells you so much, so I recommend going to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office building in West Shinjuku which has an information center there. There’s a nice map of Tokyo and guides/pamphlets for free. You can also go to the top floor of either tower for a nice view of the entire city, free (unlike the tourist trap Tokyo Tower). There’s another information center supposedly by Ueno station, but I don’t know exactly where it is. Either way, my point is, getting good information is difficult in Tokyo (and Japan for that matter). I made this mistake last year and I hope you don’t so you don’t have to waste valuable time. Also, the ICOCA card from Osaka will work in Tokyo also, so don’t get rid of it when you leave Osaka!

    I’m not going to bore you with too much information of what to do and what not to do in Tokyo, but I do recommend going to arm yourself with information first that way you can at least choose what you want to see by what your mood is. Definitely use Lonely Planet to help you sample the best local cuisine. Do NOT miss the Tsukiji fish market! They plan on demolishing it soon. So go see the biggest fish market in the world before it’s gone!

    Good luck and don’t forget I’m always around to help!

  33. Amanda in Houston

    Nick, I just wanted to wish you a Very Happy New Year and thank you, once again, for sharing your journey and experiences. I know this new year will bring you all the happiness you can handle…including that new job you’re looking for. Please take care.
    All the best!!
    -Amanda

  34. Nick,

    I have never heard of a Capsule Hotel, so I went to capsuleinn.com and watched the video. Very interesting and unique concept. Let us know how you like it.

    Happy New Year, too!!!!

    Jo Bedford

  35. Tweet: Wikipedia “capsule hotel”. Good 2 know that U R not claustrophobic. Please bring in the New Year at a traditional hotel. :)

    Happy New Year Nick, Jolene and all of Nick’s bloggers.

    -joyMaria

  36. Charlie A (Santa Clara, Ca.)

    Nick, have a very Happy New Year.

    Cheers Mate.

  37. Nick,

    Happy that you are in the home stretch and you made it safely. Sad to see the trip end. Thanks for the great journey. Let me know if you are going to make any stops in the midwest US on your way back to NY.

    G-man

  38. NICK

    When you will be back in Los Angeles? Please let me know, so I will calling sick that day to Welcome you back to home USA. I am living in Orange County and I want to take a picture with you.Is it OK.

    HAN DUONG

  39. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU

  40. Had to look up “capsule hotel”, OMG!!

  41. NICK

    IF YOU NEED SOMEONE PICK YOU UP AT LAX. LET ME KNOW

  42. Happy new year my friend, D

  43. Happy New Year Nick. Soon you’ll be back on US soil. Hope it won’t be a disappointment to be ending your trip soon. But, New York awaits you too. One of the greatest cities on earth (going there next week for a few days on business). And that is something to look forward to! Travel safe my friend.

  44. Dear Nick,
    Thank you for the fantastic pictures as usual
    I know you are anxious to be home,but I must say
    I almost hate for the journey to end..
    You have taken me places I can’t ever imagine..
    T hank you for letting me tag along
    GOD SPEED and Happy Nrw Year,,, :)

  45. Wishing you a Happy New Year and a safe trip home!!! Thank you for letting us follow you on this wonderful journey!

  46. It has been a great 2010 thanks in part to you and your travels. I have enjoyed being along for the ride! Thank you for sharing it with all of us. Happy 2011, and good luck finding that “perfect” job. Please do keep us posted on how everything goes for you back here in the US.

  47. Nick have a stand-by ticket on Delta Airlines Flight 284 arriving LAX (Los Angeles, California) @ 8:40am on Sunday January 9, 2011.

    Anyone who work with Delta Airlines can help Nick get a seat????

    My Family is going to meet him at LAX. Anyone want to give him a welcome home party, or a room to stay when he is in LAX, please let me join in or we can organize something for Nick. Please email me at duong_viet_thuan_han@yahoo.com or hduong1@uci.edu

  48. HAPPY NEW YEAR! :-)

    suzanne

  49. Nick have a stand-by ticket on Delta Airlines Flight 284 arriving LAX (Los Angeles, California) @ 8:40am on Sunday January 9, 2011.

    My Family ( me, my wife and my 3 years old son) is going to meet him at LAX @ 8:40am.Anyone has any plan or party for Nick, Please let me join in or we make one for Nick. Please email me at : duong_viet_thuan_han@yahoo.com or hduong1@uci.edu

    we have one week to prepare.

    Nick! What is your plan? and how long you will stay in California? and when you willl get your car ??? Did you already have some places to stay in California??? Please let us know

    We may drive with you couple hundred miles….

  50. Nick

    What do you want first thing ( eat, drink,….) when you are leaving LAX?…. We want to “refill” your stomach at Osaka Seafood Buffet Restaurant. Any suggestion?

  51. Happy New Year, Nick and all the followers!

  52. Han Duong:

    What great news and how good of you, and your family. I met Nick in last April in South Africa and know firsthand what a treat it will be for you. :)

    May I suggest that you post your message again regarding Nick’s January 9 arrival….perhaps next Monday or Tuesday? I am afraid that with the holiday and all many bloggers may not get around to reading their weekend mail or blogs, etc. I know that all will work out well. Take care,
    -joyMaria

  53. Thanks Dr. JoyMaria

    Nick have a stand-by ticket on Delta Airlines Flight 284 arriving LAX (Los Angeles, California) @ 8:40am on Sunday January 9, 2011. That means he will be able to board only if there’s free space.

    My Family ( me, my wife and my 3 years old son) is going to meet him at LAX @ 8:40am.Anyone has any plan or party for Nick, Please let me join in or we make one for Nick. Please email me at : duong_viet_thuan_han@yahoo.com or hduong1@uci.edu

    we have one week to prepare.

    Nick! What is your plan? and how long you will stay in California? and when you willl get your car ??? Did you already have some places to stay in California??? Please let us know

    We may drive follow you couple hundred miles….….If you don’t mind !!!!

    I will post this message again next Monday or Tuesday.

  54. HI Nick,

    Great Pictures.

    “Happy New Year to you”. I wish you a very safe and prosperous year ahead. Hope you finish this trip successfully and I really wish you get a job you would like.

    Let me know if you are coming to Maryland anytime after you return to New York.

    Vijay

  55. Happy new year!!!

  56. Happy New Year Nicolas !!!!

    Wow, the moments you have lived in these past couple years!!!! We haven’t been on in a long time, but do plan to catch up, but wanted to wish you a wonderful and fulfilling 2011!! We still have the ofter open, if you are ever in Minnesota we a have wonderful meal with your name on it!
    Congratulations, for living your dreams, very happy for you.
    Enjoy all the wonderful seconds in your great moments!!

    Dan, Lisa & Bryce Podgorsek

  57. Hi all,
    Edwin, thanks for all the great info. I am planning on using it, and was able to get cash at Citibank in Kyoto.
    Dr. Joy Maria, unfortunately, I will be very busy in LA, and it’s too tight to attempt to fly up the coast. I seriously hope we can catch up in Brooklyn.
    Han, OK man, if you can round up few people, we should go have breakfast when I get in LA. No need for accommodation as I have an old friend living in the city. Thanks!

  58. Glad to help any time Nick. I’m happy to see they were of use to you. :)
    If you require further Tokyo information, don’t hesitate to ask me. Like I said, I am quite familiar with the city and am working on moving there (dealing with governments suck, as you already know).

    Happy New Year and hope you have fun!