August 2, 2000
Maybe I'm just feeling sentimental now that the other trekkers have gone home. Kavitha, Abeja, and Jasmine just went home to for San Francisco last week. The first couple of days after they left Beijing, I missed them so much - so much more than I had expected to actually. Perhaps without even realizing it, I had grown to be quite attached to them during our travels through China together. I had thought that once they were gone and the World Trek was officially over, I would somehow just store the memories of them and of the Trek in a special compartment in my head, then move on to prepare for the next stage of my life, here in Beijing. But it hasn't worked like that at all. Thoughts of the trekkers, of our travels, and of our dispatches continue to linger in my mind every day. On the one hand, I'm happy to finally have some quiet time to myself again. But on the other hand, it's sad to think that a part of my life has left and gone back to San Francisco. I know that part of me is still there, back in California, but it just feels so far away.
As I think back now on my five-week adventure with the World Trek, it's hard to believe all the crazy things I went through. The daily battle against computer viruses, trying to purchase tickets on overbooked trains, reading undecipherable Chinese signs, struggling to turn dispatches in on time, constantly reorientating myself in new places: each day with the World Trek presented a unique set of challenges. The Trek never let us go for too long before placing us in another new, unfamiliar situation. I couldn't wait for a break from the uncertainty and madness! Now my life is back to normal again with a much quieter routine. I've been spending time with relatives in Beijing (I hadn't realized my family is so big), learning Chinese calligraphy from my grandmother, reading up on Chinese history, fighting the hot summer heat, and watching cartoons with my little cousin. Things have calmed down since the trekkers left. I still deal with occasional challenges, like figuring out how to take the bus across town using nonexistent bus maps and convincing my grandparents to do their laundry in the washing machine instead of by hand, but it's nothing like my days with the trekkers. Every once in a while, I find myself wishing I could just get a taste of the madness again.
See, that's the thing about the World Trek. It works in mysterious ways. When it's there in front of you all the time, bugging you to read the dispatches every week, you start to forget how special and rare the stories are. But, when it's over and when there are no more new stories to be read, you find your thoughts coming back again and again to the faces and the places that The Odyssey has seen and visited.
p.s. - Please e-mail me at ...firstname.lastname@example.org
Jasmine - Homecoming
Kavitha - The End! World Trek is Done!
Kevin - Bienvenue à Paris! Welcome to Paris!
Monica - We're Comin' to America! What Next??
Jeff - Our Founder says Farewell to the World Trek and Hello to the U.S. Trek
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