Turkey-less Thanksgiving

Turkey-less Thanksgiving

As any good racecar driver will tell you, crossing the finish line is a team effort.  While we praise the drivers, without the crew working tirelessly behind them they wouldn’t make it to the checkered flag.  Traveling the world for an extended period is no different.  We are able to do what we do only because of the support we get from friends, family and total strangers.  While a racecar driver knows their team and works with them, the team behind travelers like us is often unknown until we need their help…and when we need their help, we need it.

Aside from the random acts of kindness from total strangers and new friends, the team that is supporting us has supported us throughout life.  Too often in the daily grind we may not notice or take for granted that friend that we call when we need a diversion, the friend that is always there to help out, or the one that goes extraordinary lengths for you.  When you are traveling the assistance goes very noticed, without it you could be stuck in a country you don’t want to be, run out of money, or not have what you need; they become lifesavers and trip makers.  To them we are adding a page titled “Many Thanks” for their trip assists.  Here are the people that have earned a “trip assist” so far.

Sharad, a lifelong friend. Our China and India trips were made possible by him.  We left the US thinking we could get all the visas we needed on the road, this was not true.  Chinese and Indian longer-stay, multiple-entry, visas are only available in the US, from your nearest consulate.  Sharad agreed to receive our passports, get the visas, and overnight them back to us in Japan.

Our 10-year India visa, made possible by Sharad.

Brian, a helpful cousin. AirAsia is a great, low-cost, way to fly around Asia, sadly they do not accept US credit cards.  Having tried over 30 times, speaking with AirAsia and my banks, it was clear that AirAsia was not even trying to charge it.  At wits end I called my cousin in Singapore and asked, “can I use your credit card to buy a ticket?”  He responded, “it’d be easier if I gave you my number and you did it.”  Done, he saved us over $2500 on two flights.

Random Takeshi, an iPhone owner. We had run out of the train station hoping to catch a taxi to the airport.  The taxi driver told us it would cost 150,000 Yen ($200USD).  We ran back into the station and saw a college-age person, I asked, “do you have an iPhone?”  He responded by handing me his phone, no questions asked.  I checked into our flight, explained our situation, then he said, “I’ll help you get there, we need to change trains.”  He guided us to checkin where we begged our way onto a flight to Korea.  Without him we would have missed our flight.

Other random people that let us cut in line when we’re in a self-created emergency.  This goes out to many people who have and will help us.  All too often we find out that a 20 minute taxi ride takes an hour due to random parades, road closures and miscommunication, causing us to be running late.  If it weren’t for random people helping us out we would have missed flights, trains and had a much more frustrating experience. This happens countless times, but never do we take it for granted.

Haibo (Beijing) and Sylvia (Shanghai) who treated us to the best meals we had in China.  It wasn’t only their ability to read menus and order that made them fantastic, it was the wonderful restaurants they took us to.  It was because of them that we were able to sample the best of Chinese cuisine.

Hong Kong Michael. Without his help we wouldn’t have been able to see, enjoy and stay in Hong Kong as long as we did.  As I wrote in Refriending, it was more than a place to stay or someone to show us around town, it was rekindling an old friendship.


I used to say, "I am the funniest person I know." That was true until I met Takeshi, our Tokyo Couchsurfing host. He takes his drinks four at a time and is the most fun person I know.

We went to places that wouldn’t have been possible without couchsurfing and the hosts that are willing to open their houses to us.  More than sleeping on their floors, beds and couches, by sharing meals and laughs with locals we are better able to understand their lives, cultures and ask questions that wouldn’t be appropriate on the street.  They helped create some of our best memories such as sleeping on a Taiwanese bathroom floor, riding on a car elevator and Teacher Bill stories.


Facebook “likes”. As this blog has progressed from a journal to keep in touch with our friends to something bigger, we need a definable metric to readers.  We decided to use our Facebook audience, so thank you to everyone who has “liked” us and if you haven’t please click below to do so.

Lunch givers. We would be eating a lot more ramen if it weren’t for the generosity of the following people that have donated to our trip via the “buy us lunch” button on the right side of this page.  I can’t express our appreciation for your kindness.  This includes Mark, Paulette, Susan, Diane, Travis, Terry, Cindy, and David.

Parents. Without being able to live in your homes, eat your food, and have you receive our mail while away we don’t know what we would do.  There is an amazing amount of logistics lack-of-preparation travelers like ourselves require and without your help getting supplies to people meeting us we would be much dirtier, smellier and grumpier.

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» Mom A :
Nov 21, 2011

Not just on Thanksgiving, but every day, I am thankful for all the good people around the world! Because there are lots and lots of good people everywhere. They have been there for you, they have been there for us, wherever we have gone. It is a big reason for people to travel and experience one of the best things that is universal in the world! Write that book! Help get people out there, whatever their pocketbook and take confidence with them!

I am also thankful that you are thankful. Travel does change people, often enhancing their personal traits! It is fun to see this post so close to Thanksgiving here in the US!

» Bka :
Nov 28, 2011

This was well done……..THANKS to you as well…….peace……bka

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Nov 26, 2014

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.


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