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Like A Frog With No Limbs

Posted: February 15, 2005

DAY 483:  On a world map, the island of Penang off the coast of mainland Malaysia at roughly 6° N latitude, 100° E longitude is a mere speck, if it’s even there at all.  However, when you zoom in on that little speck (by Googling for a better map), you see that not only is the shape of Penang Island that of a frog laid out on its belly with its limbs torn off, but that it is an island with an area of over 90 square miles, a formidable area of land that can’t exactly all be covered on foot.

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V Day in K.L.

Posted: February 16, 2005

DAY 484:  Huh?  Where are we? I wondered, all groggy-eyed when I woke up on a motionless train in my sleeper berth.  Everyone was getting off the Kuala Lumpur-bound train at 6:40 in the morning.  Are we there yet?  We’re not supposed to get there for another half hour.  The train continued its state of inertia, and so I just disembarked.  We had in fact arrived at KL Sentral [sic] station ahead of schedule.

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In-Flight Entertainment

Posted: February 17, 2005

DAY 485:  “When you go to Los Angeles, you go to Universal Studios or Disneyland,” Geow the CalPoly-grad told me in the truck as we drove in the pre-dawn darkness of 6:30 a.m.  “When you go to K.L., you go to Genting Highlands.”

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Where It All Began

Posted: February 19, 2005

DAY 486:  “Visit Historic Melaka means Visit Malaysia,” says one of the tourism slogans for the former capital of Malaysia.  As another tourism slogan goes, Melaka is “Where It All Began.”

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The Freeloaders

Posted: February 21, 2005

DAY 487:  If you’re like me, you’ve probably read through the past couple of entries in the category “Malaysia” and are thinking (in italics of course), Is this all there is to Malaysia?  Old colonial port towns, a big modern metropolis, and an amusement park?  What the hell?  Isn’t this supposed to be a developing southeast Asian country with like, villagers and stuff? 

The answers to these ponderings came to me like a ton of bricks when I was sitting on the toilet bowl taking a dump at the Travellers Inn in Melaka.  No, it wasn’t another mind dump like when I contemplating Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in the Galapagos; conveniently placed on the door in front of me was a wordy but catchy flyer for an eco bike tour to the outer villages for those wishing to see a more authentic Malaysia in the countryside away from the standard tourist sites of the city.

And so, I washed my hands, booked the tour, and wiped my ass — not necessarily in that order.

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A Fine City

Posted: February 22, 2005

DAY 488:  Singapore, the island off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, was once a part of Malaysia.  However, the former English colonial port seceded from Malaysia in 1965 and went their own way due to “creative differences;” apparently the Singaporeans were a lot more uptight than the rest of the country.  They soon developed a modern city state with a reputation for being boring, clean-cut, and above all, very anal retentive, so much that locals, ex-pats and tourists alike jokingly started calling it “a fine city,” a pun pertaining to the many steep fines imposed for really benign offenses:  littering, jaywalking, spitting, carrying durian fruit, and even chewing gum.  (Concurrently, less benign offenses result in the death penalty; everyone knows the story of the Australian backpacker who was executed for possession of marijuana a couple of years back.)

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Uniquely Singapore

Posted: February 23, 2005

DAY 489:  Singapore is a hodge-podge of other cultures — Malay, Chinese, Indian, British — all masked by a sleek façade of modernization.  The city-state has often been criticized, even by its own people, of having no real Singaporean identity.  While Carol’s boyfriend Zac described Singapore culture as “like Malaysia, just more Chinese,” Singapore struggles to find its unique place on the world culture stage, other than its regular reputation of being a boringly clean haven for multinational corporations with business in Asia.

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Friends From Little India to Indonesia

Posted: February 24, 2005

DAY 490:  The city-state of Singapore is small enough that one can see all of its points-of-interest in just two or three days, and this being my third day in town, it was time to wrap things up before heading off to Indonesia that night to catch up with my old friend Henricus.  However, before catching up with an old friend, there was still time to make a new one.

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Indonesia In A Day

Posted: February 24, 2005

DAY 491:  “You should see the outside,” Henricus said to me in the living room, which had been converted to a guest room with the simple folding out of the futon.

“Yeah, I know,” I said without looking away from the television screen.  I was fully enthralled playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on his PlayStation 2 since the night before.  Between that and Metal Gear Solid 3 (which I had been itching to play since Tokyo Game Show 2004), I was fully entertained just being in the apartment.  However, it made sense to take advantage of the fact that Henricus had no work to do that day in his life as a freelance designer.  And so, I turned off the PS2, took a shower, and got ready to see Indonesia.

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All Work And No Play Makes Erik A Dull Boy

Posted: February 25, 2005

DAY 492:  “We can’t go to Bandung,” Henricus, my friend and host in Jakarta told me.  “I have work to do now.”

We had toyed with the idea of taking a drive down to Henricus’ and Linda’s hometown two hours away, but after the freelance meeting the night before, Henricus had to get a presentation all set for the brochure design of an Islamic university in town.  “We’ll just go the next time you visit.”

“That’s okay,” I told him.  “I have work to do too.”

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Cops And Comparisons

Posted: February 27, 2005

DAY 493:  If there’s anything I got out of my short stay in Jakarta with Henricus Linggawidjaja thus far, it’s that I was definitely finding comparisons between Indonesia and the Philippines:  both are archipelago nations inhabited by Christians and Muslims; both have resort islands (Indonesia has Bali, the Philippines has Boracay); and the urban capitals are similar — Jakarta and Manila both have legendary traffic pile-ups, extravagant big shopping malls, and similar-looking people.  The two countries are very similar, although perhaps surnames in the Philippines are a bit easier pronounce.  Go ahead, try and say, “Linggawidjaja” three times faster than saying “Trinidad” three times.

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The Beginning Of The End

Posted: February 28, 2005

DAY 494 (4 days since last Singapore entry):  Flying across the equator from Jakarta back to Singapore was just one leg in a long gradual journey back home.  However, there were still ten days left until The Return To New York, and I had no intention of letting the fun of travel let up just yet.

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The Day That Never Happened

Posted: February 28, 2005

DAY IN LIMBO:  Remember this conversation in India from Day 386: Trinidad. Erik Trinidad.?:

“Which way are you going?” [Bea from the Miami Ski Club] asked me [en route to Udaipur’s Lake Palace].

“The way that you earn a day.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know how when you cross the International Date Line [across the Pacific from the west] and you lose a day but then you gain it back?” I said.  “I’m only gaining a day.”

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Our Greatest Ally

Posted: March 02, 2005

DAY 495:  In a stirring post-Nine Eleven speech that was obviously written for him because I sure as hell know he didn’t write it himself, U.S. President George W. Bush once ended a sentence with the words, “...our greatest ally, Great Britain.”  While historically speaking that may be true (except for that whole little American Revolution thing), I beg to differ (yet again) with the American President.  Based on my experience on my trip around the world, “our greatest ally” is not the UK but Canada, the U.S.A.‘s friendly neighbor to the north.

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The Canadian Identity

Posted: March 07, 2005

DAY 496:  According to a factoid I read, the border between the U.S.A. and Canada is the world’s largest undefended border, at about 5,500 miles long.  This is because Canada, at least to the American majority, is no real threat, almost a counterpart of America anyway — it’s been called by some, “America’s Little Brother” and “America’s Biggest Suburb.”  To quote a line from the song “Blame Canada” from the movie South Park:  Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, “They’re not even a real country anyway.”

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The Ultimate College Experience

Posted: March 08, 2005

DAY 497:  “This is probably the Vancouver experience,” David Sebastian said as we got ready for the activity of the day.  The activity at hand was the quintessential Vancouver sport of Ultimate, a.k.a. Frisbee Football, where each of two teams advances a plastic disc towards its end zone in hopes that Janet Jackson’s boob will pop out at half-time.

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The Island

Posted: March 10, 2005

DAY 498:  One of Canada’s tourism slogans is “Discover our true nature,” a pun that I think is quite clever, even by American standards.  The slogan brings attention to the fact that the main attraction in Canada is its countryside, a magnificent landscape of rivers and mountains and honking Canadian geese.  It is this nature that spawns the stereotypical Canadian image of guys ice fishing while wearing floppy ear flap hats and discussing hockey as a moose walks by.  (I know I’m not the only one who has this image.)

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Worried At Whistler

Posted: March 12, 2005

DAY 499 (Part 1):  Vancouver is a great city for outdoorsy-types as there are plenty of outdoor activities in and around town, from sailing to Ultimate.  While sailing a boat and tossing a Frisbee around are good fun, they weren’t what brought me to Vancouver.  What did that (other than the chance to visit friends) was snowboarding.

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Home Is Where The Nettles Are

Posted: March 12, 2005

DAY 499 (Part 2):  People ask me if I get homesick being on the road for so long.  “Yeah, in the beginning I was, but after a while you just sort of get used to it,” is my usual response.  Traveling from place to place like a vagabond just becomes your norm and it doesn’t phase you. 

“Where do you live?” some would ask me.

“Well, I got rid of my apartment, so I don’t really live anywhere.  I live out of a bag at the hostel.”

“Don’t you miss your friends at home?”

“Nah, most of my friends are on-line, so I talk to them all the time,” I said.  True; my virtual self never left, and being on-line with people at home had been the constant that had kept me sane on the road.  “Home is where the internet is,” I’d say.

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Old School?

Posted: March 13, 2005

DAY 500:  “Staying here is sort of like the movie Old School for me,” I told Aviv at the three bedroom Kitsilano apartment of University of British Columbia (UBC) undergrads he shared with David Sebastian and Adam.  I was of course referring to the 2003 Todd Phillips contemporary comedy classic film starring Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell as thirty-somethings who, in their Thirties Mid-Life Crisis, decide to open a community-wide fraternity so that they might re-live their wild college days of beer funnel parties and streaking nude across the quad and to the gymnasium.

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Preparing For Re-Entry

Posted: March 13, 2005

DAY 501:  “[I have an early class tomorrow, so I probably won’t have a chance to say goodbye,]” Aviv told me the night before I crashed in the living room couch (instead of David Sebastian’s room where he’d be up all night writing a lab report). 

“[Just wake me up, so I can say goodbye,]” I told him.

That morning, he slipped away without waking me, leaving a note instead, which I replied to underneath.  It was a hard copy goodbye, for I would be out of the house and out of their lives (at least for the time being) before the day was over.

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Adventures In Homeland Security

Posted: March 15, 2005

DAY 502 (Part 1; 501 days since last U.S.A. entry):  Although the category for this Blog entry is “U.S.A.”, our story begins in Toronto, Canada, which is okay I guess, considering it was there that I had to clear U.S. Immigration and Customs formalities before my “domestic” connecting flight into the States.  As much as Canadians hate to hear it, Toronto is pretty much an American city anyway (just with funny accents); in fact, it’s the ranked the second busiest American port of entry (after Miami) by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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Homestretch, U.S.A.

Posted: March 15, 2005

DAY 502 (Part 2):  My initial plan for my sixteen-month trip around the world was to end off with a month doing outdoorsy stuff in New Zealand, followed by a classic American road trip from California back to New York.  However, due to time and money constraints (mostly money), I replaced a month in New Zealand with a week in Vancouver, B.C., and a road trip across America with a road trip across the state of New Jersey.  (Yes, I realize this is like trying to substitute filet mignon with the salisbury steak in a T.V. dinner, but hey.)

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The Return To New York

Posted: March 20, 2005

DAY 503:  New York, New York.  The city so nice, they named it twice.  The Big Apple.  The City That Never Sleeps.  If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere — unless, of course you were in my situation and it’s vice versa.

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Songs Of New York

Posted: March 23, 2005

Probably the most frequently asked question people ask me back home in the greater New York City area is, “So, how’s it feel to be back?”  Often my response is, “Great!  I’m actually excited about being home.  It’d be different if I went home to Ohio or something, but this is New York City.”  (No offense to you readers in Ohio of course.)

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Evolution And Realization

Posted: April 03, 2005

My apologies for the lack of Blog entries in the past couple of days (or is it weeks now?); life back in Greater New York has been crazy — but in a good way.  Rather than moping around with nothing to do feeling depressed that I’m not off climbing a mountain or something, I’ve been more than occupied with a lot of projects, and not in a corporate structured nine-to-five kind of way either.  There’s been more than enough stuff for me to do these past couple of weeks since DAY 503 — most of them requiring me to wear the hat of a designer, not the hat of a writer — but it is necessary as it pays the bills.  If this keeps up, I’ll be ready to go around the world again in no time, with a whole new Blog.

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Now Showing: “Elsewhere”

Posted: April 11, 2005

(Click here to skip the drivel below and jump right to the new slideshow.)

I often joke and say that I’m the stereotypical Japanese tourist, because when I’m out traveling, I sure do take a hell of a lot of pictures.  Anyone who’s joined me on the road on my 503-day journey knows that I’ve snapped pictures left and right with my little Sony DSC-U30 digital spy camera like there’s no tomorrow, sometimes not of anything photogenic at all, just so I can remember things instead of jotting them down in a memo pad.

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If It Wasn’t Entertaining, It Wouldn’t Be P.C.

Posted: April 14, 2005

pcmagtop100.gif It has been brought to my attention that this little Blog here has caught the attention of the editors of PC Magazine, purveyors of great technological wisdom, who have just awarded this website with inclusion in their annual list, the Spring 2005 “Top 100 Sites You Didn’t Know You Couldn’t Live Without” (in the travel category).  Isn’t that great?  I feel truly honored; this means that my travel Blog now joins the ranks of other things the editors at PC Magazine have deemed as “Editors’ Choice,” like the EPSON Stylus Photo RX620 printer, the Motorola V551 mobile phone, and the Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital Elph camera.  Let’s compare:

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Best Place Ever

Posted: April 18, 2005

Not surprisingly, the most frequently asked question I get is, “So, what’s the best place you’ve been?”  This of course is a loaded question, and rather than go into a tiff about how it is in fact a loaded and unfair question, my automatic quick answer is “Bolivia.”  I then continue briefly about how jungles, villages, and cities begin to look the same across continents, but it was unique sight of Bolivia’s reflective salt pans of Uyuni that I have not seen anywhere else.

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Special Delivery

Posted: April 24, 2005

“WHAT’S UP?” my mother asked me that rainy Saturday morning.  Yes, I was still living under her and my father’s roof, working my way through some small debts — an inevitable post-trip curse — while saving up for new opportunities in travel and/or real estate.

“I’m going out to deliver these postcards,” I told her.

“Why don’t you just mail them?”

“That’s not the point.”

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Today in U.S.A. News…

Posted: April 27, 2005

Thanks to Blogreader Udda‘s comment, I now know that this here blog has been recommended by the travel writers at, in a blurb in the special Bonus Section, “Smart Travel.”  This recommendation, like the PC Magazine award, is a great honor, as my blog has now officially made national news — international too, since USA Today is distributed worldwide.  It’s not nearly as big as most world news — tsunamis or the selection of a new Pope, for example — but at least it’s something.  (By the way, did anyone else win a bet on Pope Benedict XVI?  Booyah!)

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When Erik Met Rick Through Jen…

Posted: May 04, 2005

Who would have thought that when I sported a hot pink bra in Montreal, it would get me a mention in travel guru Rick Steves’ website?

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Amazing Fantasy #9

Posted: July 06, 2005

Greetings, true believers!  It has been brought to my attention that there is a minor Marvel comic book character very loosely based on… me!  Seriously!  This means your favorite real life mild-mannered travel blogwriter is now a part of the Marvel universe with the likes of Wolverine and Spiderman — and I mean the ficticious one, not the dress up guy wandering around the streets of Manila on New Year’s Eve.

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The Global Trip LIVE!

Posted: September 22, 2005

In the tradition of motivational speaker Tony Robbins and many countless evangelists, The Global Trip is coming to you LIVE!*

*provided you’re in Greenville, NC, USA on September 16th

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SIXTEEN MONTHS AROUND THE WORLD (in chronological order):









Praised and recommended by USA Today,, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the “Top 100 Sites You Didn’t Know You Couldn’t Live Without” (in the travel category) in 2005.

“Warning: If this site doesn’t give someone the travel bug, nothing will.”

- Colleen Clark and Megg Mueller Schulte,

“We’ve scoured the web for helpful tips, travelogues and photographs and it is safe to say that your combination of humor, attention to detail, and artistry have made your page by far the most interesting and informative.  You really manufactured a tremendous web page.  As we have read more and more of your entries we have come to trust your perspective.”

- letter to Erik R. Trinidad from Roger M. Brown, Senior Legislative Assistant, Office of U.S. Senator Wayne Allard

“Seeing your no holds barred, real life, real person take on the countries you traveled to, and getting genuine information on the whos, whats, wheres, and whys, somehow made everything seem more accessible… I just [want] to say, with all sincerity, thanks.”

- Luke Kesterton, UK

“[Other travel blogs don’t] even come close to being as good as Erik Trinidad’s The Global Trip… It really is the best travel blog out there.”

- Jen Leo, travel writer (Condé Nast Traveler, L.A. Times) and editor of travel anthologies Sand In My Bra, Whose Panties Are These? and The Thong Also Rises.

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