Dear family & friends,

Here's the first newsletter.

We've been thinking about this trip for over a year now (since last year's wedding anniversary - 7/14/96), and planning it for six months. We'll be ecstatic to stop planning and start doing. The movers came July 12, and are expected to arrive in Oregon on or about August 9. We're breaking in our sleeping bags at the moment. We finished our last immunizations (Typhoid) on Monday, and except for my seeing an optometrist and filling our diarrhea and malaria prescriptions, we're ready medically. We're carrying a duffel back with our camping gear, which we'll send back from Johannesburg. We bought two convertible backpack/suitcases (5000 cu. in. and 4000 cu. in.) to carry around the world. We'll have 3-4 pants, 5-6 shirts, 2 pair of shoes, and string to hang up our cotton duds after washing them in the sink. There are less than ten boxes of belongings for us to ship (including my computer). The Salvation Army will come on July 29th to pick up what we don't pack or throw away.

Last Saturday we took our wedding money out of the bank it was in(we hadn't touched it in seven years) and put it into our travel account: $831.14. It felt great to be putting that money towards our trip of a lifetime (so far).

I'm the writer; I'm taking journals. Carol's the photographer; she's got the camera and film. Who knows; maybe we'll produce our own multimedia CD after the trip.

Subject to reconfirmation, here are our flights:

Days @ destFlight AvailableFlight TimesTime ChangeDepart DateArrive Date
Boston - London3.5all6:305T, 8/5 8:20 p.m.8/6 7:50 a.m.
London - Athens4.5all3:352Sa, 8/9 11:10 p.m.8/10 4:45 a.m.
Athens - Istanbul
(maybe bus or train instead)
29all1:20 (Turkey Air)0W, 8/14 ~6:00 p.m.8/14 p.m.
Istanbul - Cairo6.5Tu, W, Th, F, Sa2:000F, 9/12 6:15 p.m.9/12 8:15 p.m.
Cairo - Johannesburg31Tu, Th, F, Sa7:100F, 9/19 4:05 a.m.9/19 11:15 a.m.
Johannesburg - Bombay28M, W, F12:053:30M, 10/20 10:20 a.m.10/21 1:55 a.m.
Bombay - Bangkok5.5Tu only6:501:30Tu, 11/18 2:45 p.m.11/18 11:05 p.m.
Bangkok - Tokyo0.2all5:252M. 11/24 7:30 a.m.M 11/24 2:55 p.m.
Tokyo - Honolulu9all6:455M, 11/24 8:00 p.m.M 11/24 7:45 a.m. (1)
Honolulu - San Francisco0all4:442W, 12/3 9:00 a.m.12/3 3:44 p.m.
San Francisco - Boston0all5:303W, 12/3 4:15 p.m.12/4 12:45 a.m.

(1) we cross the International Date Line

The drawbacks to paying only $3100 each for this itinerary are:
* Notice the number of red-eye flights.
* Many of the flights don't fly every day. If we miss one, especially the Bombay - Bangkok flight, our schedule will blow up.

Within the countries, Carol has planned Africa and I've planned Turkey and India. We both have read up on the shorter stops, and are mostly staying in the cities there. We will have limited contact with people we already know: the System Dynamics conference in Istanbul, a friend's wedding in India (thanks, Dhandu!), and (my paternal grandfather's) family in Honolulu.

Contacting us the rest of this year
We're at our apartment through Friday morning, August 1.
<address deleted 3/1/98>

Through ~ 6 p.m. August 5, we can be reached at Barbie's:
<address deleted 3/1/98>

until December 4, a message left with either Barbie or my mother will eventually get to us:
<address deleted 3/1/98>

Barbie and Mom will have a forwarding address for us in Turkey where we can be reached in mid-August and on Sept. 11 on our way to Egypt. They will also have a list of reservations we've made before we leave (London; Greece; some in Turkey; some in Africa; some in India; Bangkok; Honolulu). We'll be making it up as we go for much of Turkey (three weeks from Istanbul to Hattusas, Goreme, Konya, Antalya, and the Aegean coast), Africa (ten days in Zimbabwe), and India (eight days in Karnataka and 10 days in Tamil Nadu).

From December 4, we'll be in Boston for a week to ten days, then drive west to Oregon, hoping to arrive at Mom's by December 24.

The mailing list
The mailing list itself is sorted (approximately) by when you came into our lives, so family is first (parents, siblings, and cousins: my relatives through Fred Kennedy, then Carol's through the Bob Hilliard), then:
          * Carol's friends (through David Hart. It's clear who the cybergeek is between Carol and me)
          * my high school classmates & Hillsboro friends (through Stephanie Hibbs)
          * my MIT classmates & friends (Vardebedia through Yutaka Nakajima; AEPi through Mike Faas)
          * coworkers and friends (Lincoln & Co., John Monticone CPA, Jump-Start, Arthur Andersen, ALI, The Jacobson Group, Cordada)
          * fellow genealogists
Our announcement that we were traveling & moving in March (which many of you have already seen)
Carol and I are officially moving to Portland, OR. I've even told my family, employers, and most Boston friends. Carol got laid off last month from her job (that she was planning to leave on June 1), and I'm leaving mine August 1. We're going to Turkey, S. Africa, and ... S. India, then returning to Boston and driving cross-country. We expect to be in Oregon by [Christmas]. For a few months we'll be living with my mother, then getting our own place once I get a new job [which I've already done] and replenish our cash.

We've been thinking about this for several months (since July). I've had two papers accepted for the 1997 International System Dynamics Conference in Istanbul August 19-22, and Carol and I had been planning a trip to Africa for this summer already. One thing led to another, and we decided to combine a round-the-world trip with a move to Oregon - to be nearer to family, to have milder winters, and to repot and renew ourselves.

Some musings on leaving Boston
I am occasionally excited about our trip around the world, but Carol and I have thought and talked and worked so much in the last year to make it happen that I'm tired of those aspects. Though I'm sure we'll be elated when we get on the plane, it's hard to get excited much now because it seems like just more talk (we could open up our own travel book store), and because our time here is now so poignant. I'm trying to savor these last few (13) days in Boston: to cherish the people and the places. I'm in the present - my last few days in the place I've spent my entire adult life. Leaving is the right choice, but it also hurts sometimes. We're giving up a lot.

An underlying theme of our trip & move is a search for more meaning and beauty in our lives. Most of our possessions are (or were) functional hand-me-downs without much else to recommend them, and our urban surroundings leave a lot to be desired in aesthetic smell, sound, and sight. Despite my Catholic upbringing, at my most fervent and devout I'm an agnostic, and Carol is less religious, so religion holds no meaning for us. We have no children and no plans for children, which add meaning for many people. Being near family in Oregon will make a difference, but our exploration these next few months will break us out of our existing patterns and give us some new ideas. That's what I am most looking forward to. The Tower of London, the Acropolis, the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, the Pyramids, African wildlife, Great Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls, the ruins of Hampi and the shore temples of Mahabalipuram will be roses along that path.


Tom Forest
Cambridge, Mass. USA
July 23rd, 1997