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Shawn Dispatch

Leaving on a Jet Plane :-(

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Shawn enjoying the good life on Lago Atitlan

As I sit and watch the great cascade of Victoria Falls tumbling over the rocks and creating giant clouds of mist which come raining down on me, I take a moment to think about my journey on the Odyssey and how my life has changed over the last six months. It is bittersweet for me to sit here in this amazingly beautiful place so far from home and think about this great journey, because I know that very soon I will be getting on a plane and returning home. After months of being sick and in pain from my arthritis I have decided that it is time for me to fly.
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Land at last! Hey wait, this isn't La Palma!
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Travelling around the world isn't always as glamorous as it seems. You get to deal with mosquito's, weird bugs, funky illnesses, and lack of sleep. And quite frankly, I am pooped! I suppose the Odyssey might look like a piece of cake to some, but sometimes it has seemed like a stream of bus rides and internet cafes. In half a year, I have been in 16 countries and spent more than 500 hours on buses. After awhile, it takes its toll! My heart really, really wants to continue to Mali, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Turkey, India and China, but my body just isn't going to make it.

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Who will win - Shawn or the computers?
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It certainly has been a dream come true, though. It will be hard to ever match this experience again. I have traveled from San Francisco to Buenos Aires by bus and boat, I have met three Nobel Peace Prize winners and literally thousands of other really amazing people. I have seen nearly every type of landscape that exists from towering mountains to flat, empty desert. I have lived with indigenous people, and seen plants and animals that I didn't even know existed. The Odyssey has pushed me to my limits physically and emotionally and I have learned more in the last few months than in two years of college. Although I must go home, it is very comforting to me knowing that the team will continue on their journey! There have certainly been times when we all had our doubts about whether it could keep happening, and I am so proud that Monica, Kevin, Kavitha and Abeja have stuck it out and are ready for the next stage of the trip. Although we all get along pretty well, this job can be very stressful and we have had our share of differences. But, I think what I will miss most about the Odyssey is travelling with such an incredible group of people. I think I have learned as much from them as from my travels. It has truly been an honor to work with them and I will miss them all terribly for the next year and a half until our big reunion party in San Francisco.

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No wonder Thomsini and Senzo liked my long hair!
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As much as I will miss my travels, there are few things I am looking forward to about returning home. Mainly lots of long naps. I think right now I could sleep for a month, no problem. I miss my cat and my sunny apartment and of course my friends and my family. Things have changed since I left, my roommate is getting married, and the girl I was most looking forward to seeing, well let's just say she has moved on. I am certainly not looking forward to going back to some regular job, since I have had the best job on earth. It seems now just about anything else will be so boring. But, whatever I decide to do I will bring with me a whole new portfolio of experience and wisdom.

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Shawn and the rainforest - from 100 feet up!
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My portfolio includes many images of beauty, smiles and joy. Well, here I am taking one last look at my surroundings. The waterfall never seems to cease. Water from central Africa trickles into streams which flow into tributaries that merge and form the great Zambeze River. It tumbles and sprays over the rocks, and has a reddish tint from the African soil that it carries with it. It divides nations and cuts huge canyons into the earth and then pours into the Indian Ocean. I sit and watch this for a minute lost in the dreamy spray, I have never seen anything quite like Victoria Falls. How many times on this adventure have I sat in front of something new and marvelous? Yes, the Odyssey has had it's share of obstacles and sacrifices, but as I watch the water tumbling past on it's long journey and the shadows growing behind the fiery African sunset I know the hardest part will be saying goodbye.

Shawn
 

Monica - Bon Voyage Shawn!
Kevin - When Intolerance Rises to Intolerable Levels
Kavitha - Old Ways to Make New Changes
Abeja - You Reap What You Sow
Kavitha - From Drought to Surplus, a Tale of Success
Abeja - Visiting a Tobacco Auction
Making A Difference - Send A Message!

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