Eight whole months down, part of one to go, and damn, I travel humbly, for no gal is an island, and all of this galavanting is only possible because of the truly awesome crew of people who stand with me and who contribute to the experiences along this journey.
I thank my lucky stars to know you and have you all with me.
A shout-out is most definitely in order, and as I said once upon a web page, I most definitely raised a glass in your honor. My memory of it may be vague, but I swear, there was a toast and there was alcohol!
Melanie, thank your for the awesome camping food in Torres del Paine; I will never forget precisely how satisfying cold cheese ravioli satisfies during a wretched downpour. Katie, thanks to you, Graham and I sample Chilean vino to our heart’s content, memories of Palisade close to our hearts. Dianne, thank you for picking up an extra tab here and there in Japan and China and for carrying half my wardrobe back to the states so that I travel pack-lite but wallet-heavy. Brittany, I know you don’t necessarily intend for it to be used as such, but thank you for amending me to new SLR camera right when my old one quits, just as my departure day looms large. Erin, thank you for the chocolate-covered espresso balls; they sustain me through some rough patches in Asia.
Bonpapa, thank you for New Year’s in Belgium and for a suitcase full of chocotoffs and other delicacies; I am still holding on to that extra kilo as a souvenir. Nathalie, thank you for the Swiss subsidy, for with it, I ski, snowshoe, relax, cook, walk, vacate and just generally have a kick-butt time. Vincent, thank you for a day skiing Verbier; fantastic! Mimiche, thank you for the literary companion and for the reminder that a fresh shower is always possible. Rosine, thank you for an awesome post-engagement dinner of Argentinian stew and beverages; it seems fitting to celebrate your gift in the country where you brave the horrendous traffic. Laurence and Stéphane, the Vistadome train ride up to Machu Picchu is stellar; thank you!
Mike Ruston, thank you for coming out of the woodwork and sending me off with an honest-to-god sushi dinner in, where else, Japan. My awesome Amélian co-peeps, thank you for night after night of hostels in India; your shenanigans keep me away from the deep end in this maddening place.
Paty and Chad, thank you for playing storage facility and letting me stash a house full of crap in your attic for the year; your generosity and support is priceless. You are my RTW angels.
Yannick, thank you for being the willing receiver of all things formal and important, like my taxes, and for being such a diligent caretaker of my “real” life and debts. Oh, and for storing all of dad’s furniture from Belgium; that renaissance painting is quite the prize.
Bob, thank you for taking Lynx and Bear in as your own during Graham’s sabbatical and our reunion. I know they are in excellent hands, and I fear they may never want to leave the Michigan sanctuary upon our return.
And, because I literally wouldn’t be here without you, thank you Maman and Papa for being the best parents ever. Thanks to you, not only do I get to do the coolest stuff, like trek Nepal and splurge for Machu Picchu, but I never would have leapt off the proverbial bridge without your words of support, encouragement and love. You are my most steadfast and dedicated cheerleaders, and I am here as much for me as I am for you, a dream we capture together. Je vous aime tres, tres fort.
Don’t worry, babe.
I save the best for last–thank you, Graham, for inadvertently calling my bluff, and, coincidentally, your own. Thank you for playing both mom and dad to our critters while I depart. Thank you for loving me.
Thank you. Merci. Gracias. Dhondybat. Namaste.
(Disclaimer: If you gifted me and I fail to mention you, it’s because I suck. Not you. Call my blatant disregard for your awesomeness. It must be a massive mind fart on my behalf.)