A quick update:
Here are some new pictures and I have been typing a journal entry but it’s not edited/finished yet so I am going to cop out and just paste my “final reflection” essay for my Lit class. It’s really not good but it’s better than nothing I guess. Yes, I know some of the pictures are ridiculously tiny but I resized them incorrectly and I will fix them tomorrow.
Love to all- hoping you guys get a snow day tomorrow!!
Can’t wait to be HOME!

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An old picture from Ho Chi Minh City of me and Jess on motorcycles…a little bit frightened as you can see.

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The Captain and I at the Ambassador’s Ball (kind of like prom/homecoming)

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Me and the SS boys at the ball (too bad Brandon’s eyes are closed)

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Jess, Pete, Melissa, and I at the ball

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SALSA Practice- our ending position

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Salsa- the night of the performance

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Natalie, me, Carri

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SALSA Team!!! or Jimmie’s Team as we like to call it

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Last Chance Dance- me and Aparna

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first night in hawaii- Carri,Natalie, Drea, me, Lindsay and Roy

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Waikiki Beach

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Tranquil Water from my porthole

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Dean Tymitz and I on the last day

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me and Roy at our last dinner (before they put cake on Nicole!)

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Luggage. Need I say more.

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Brian- keep in mind the gangway was on 5. It was HILARIOUS to see people with all of their bags trying to walk off the ship.

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I really was that sad.

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Sunrise on our last day. I watched it with Aparna- listening to random songs like Sweetest Goodbye, Landslide, and the aarti. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

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MY PARENTS!! waiting for me in san diego- what a day.

Aparna Kothary
Literature of Travel
One Final Reflection

As Theroux heads home after four months of travel he arrives at some perceptive conclusions about both himself and the travel writing genre. Similarly, as our voyage comes to its end we are faced with the same questions we asked ourselves in the beginning except now we expect to have arrived at an answer. What is my purpose in life? What is my calling? Where is my place in the grandeur of this world? What can I do to better serve humanity? We began this voyage with such introspective questions in hopes of coming across the answers somewhere along the voyage. Unfortunately, it did not cross our minds that perhaps we would not be able to be as reflective as we had hoped. After all, we still had classes, exams, papers, friends, and extracurricular activities to worry about. We also had to digest our travel experiences; an act which left us both mentally and physically exhausted.
A voyage of discovery they call it and I would have to disagree. It is more a taste of discovery. Although each country we traveled to offered such rich culture, tradition, and customs we barely had enough time to experience them fully. We wanted to leave with a good impression of the country, so whether it was subconsciously or consciously we chose to subject ourselves to the best that each country had to offer. At times, we were afraid to delve deeper into what we thought might mar our image of the country. Visiting a country for only five days is already limiting our exposure, but visiting a country for five days and only seeing the tourist sites is unfortunately inevitable and at the same time detrimental. When you are consumed with a desire to see all of the major sights it is easy to ignore the sights that are less popular, poorly advertised, and usually phenomenal. However, I strongly believe that you must be a tourist first and a traveler later. Although you can be both, you are undoubtedly compromising one or the other.
“Travelling over a long distance becomes, after three months, like tasting wine or picking at a global buffet. A place is approached, sampled, and given a mark. A visit, pausing before the next train pulls out, forbids gourmandizing, but a return is possible. So from every length itinerary a simpler one emerges…Kyoto was like a wine bottle whose label you memorize to assure some future happiness. (page 328)” This passage sums up perfectly the underlying theme of this voyage; a taste of discovery.
Chronicling our journey has also proved to be much more difficult than we imagined. How do you put in to words the emotion you felt when the HIV positive patient in India writhed and yelled out in pain when you were standing next to her bed? How can you write about the boy in the school for the blind who caressed your face with his fingers to see if you were smiling? It is equally as difficult to write about our experiences without sounding pretentious. Theroux accurately observes “that the difference between travel writing and fiction is the difference between recording what the eye sees and discovering what the imagination knows. (page 379)” The recurring theme of discovery appears again except this time referring to the discovery of the true meaning of your observations according to your own personal beliefs.
Theroux wishes that he could “reinvent the trip as fiction.” At times I wish I could embellish on my experiences to make them sound as unbelievable as people expect them to be. I have realized that the tone of travel writing greatly depends on the intended audience. The difference between a personal journal and a widely read travel journal is evident in not only the sensitivity of the divulged information but the writing style as well.
“All travel is circular…after all, the grand tour is just the inspired man’s way of heading home, (page 379)” says Theroux. Looking back on this journey I understand when he says “all journeys are return journeys. The farther one traveled, the nakeder one got, until, towards the end, ceasing to be animated by any scene, one was most oneself…(page 332)” Once the novelty of the voyage wore off, we slowly let our guard down in hopes of absorbing as much of this experience as possible. I sat down one day and read my journal from beginning to end starting with Day 1 and I was amazed to see how much I had changed and how evident the change was in my writing. Theroux says “But he does not know – how could he? – that the scenes changing in the train window from Victoria Station to Tokyo Central are nothing compared to the change in himself; and travel writing, which cannot but be droll at the outset, moves from journalism to fiction…(page 332)” We do indeed get so caught up in observing the sights that we forget to observe ourselves. Hopefully by the end of the voyage we have arrived at some realizations about ourselves that will allow us to assimilate back into the world we once knew with a newfound sense of identity, individuality, and integrity. The most monumental comparison to be made is not between countries but between the individual who embarked on this voyage three months ago and the individual who is disembarking with a new view of the world and himself.


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