The More Things Change…


It has been 23 years since our many-months long journey through SE Asia and the most stunning change has been the digital one. Back in 1991 we travelled with guidebooks,  a film camera and pencil & paper. This time we have one Kindle, 2 smartphones, 1 digital camera and we’re traveling digitally light compared to some tourists on our boat from Siem Reap to Battambang.
A couple a few seats from us have a laptop and a tablet and have been engaged in a movie or 2 for most of our 6 hour trip through Tonle Sap lake. The family of 4 across from us have devices for each kid and the family just up from them upped the ante with a portable espresso maker (some kind of pump contraption).
Happily all but the movie watching couple spent time siteseeing from the roof of the boat and enjoyed the chance to see how people lived in these floating villages.
The things that haven’t changed about this type of travel is the freeing experience of leaving so much real and mental baggage at home and the smiles and playfulness of the kids even amongst great poverty.

Best Part of My Day


Last night I had one of those perfect moments on the bike that I get only rarely. Left work a little later than usual so it was full dark and cold – just about 40 degrees. Not cold for most of the rest of the country but bracing for the ride home. After the first couple minutes I was at temperature and feeling good just as I hit the bike path on the edge of the Bay in East Palo Alto. Nobody on the path tonight except a little gray fox I’ve seen twice this week. And it was quiet. I only have 2 miles or so on this path and it’s such a relief from the busy streets that make up the rest of my ride. I’m on my converted POS MTB fixie and pushing just the right cadence where it feels effortless but still fast. Night riding away from the city lights always feels fast due to the tunnel vision you experience and this was perfect. And fixies are so quiet – I’m just gliding. I think about one thing at a time instead of having multiple things bounce around in my head like usual and I breathe.

I just got an offer for a better job. As I’m riding I realize the only downside is the commute. Sure it’s closer – 7 miles instead of 10 but it’s all on city streets. I would have to go way out of my way to ride a bike path on the edge of all this quiet. Should I keep my job because I like my bike ride so much? Has anyone ever done that?