***Now that the trip has ended, I will soon be using this website to start a collection of women’s travel stories. Stay tuned! I’ll be looking for contributors.
“Well I stumbled in the darkness
I’m lost and alone
Though I said I’d go before us
And show the way back home
Is there a light up ahead
I can’t hold onto very long
Forgive me pretty baby but I always take the long way home
Come with me, we can take the long way home
Come with me, together, we can take the long way home”
– Long Way Home, Tom Waits/ Norah Jones (song)
An incredible number of people were part of this journey and I have all of you to thank. This trip has been yours. From the ones who first inspired me to travel to the strangers who graciously accepted me into their homes, I am truly blessed with all your wisdom and grace.
A few people deserve special thanks:
Sally P, for encouraging me despite all my doubts and fears, for all your wise words and pep talks, for always cheering me up, and for always being my number one fan.
My MITOC family – Rachel, Anna D, Aaron, Ben S, Thaddeus, Michelle, Jon, Francis, Nadine, Natasha, Jess L, Michele, Maddie, the Gilbertsons, everyone who worried about me, checked up on me, followed me, and flew to Istanbul to see me. There’s so many of you and you’re the best friends in the whole wide world!
My previous bike companions – Orian, Nate, Quinn, Karen, Ariel, Seager for teaching me all I know about bike touring and inspiring my first bike trips
The bike companions I had on this trip – (Virtual companions) Sage Cohen, Jana and Alex, for guiding my way through the vast expanse of Mongolia. (Actual companions) Mehdi and Mahyar in Armenia, Moshii in Kyrgyzstan, Marko in Kyrgyzstan.
Enesh in Turkmenistan and Ulugbek in Uzbekistan – for becoming my sister and my brother
Sara B – for always making me laugh! Crystal – for your wonderful friendship all these years
Sean Collier and Kate Goldstein – for teaching me the important things in life; the thought of you will forever bring smiles to people. This trip is dedicated in your memory ten times over.
Brother and Philip – for your web and tech savy skills (and dealing with my quirky eating habits for 27 years).
Dad – for being a traditional yet non-traditional Asian parent in all the best ways, and Nancy – for taking care of Dad
Last but not least, Mom, Dai Yi, and Po po — the most courageous women in my life who have struggled through life’s hardships with a love and determination that words can only superficially describe. I know I can be strong because I know I am part of you.
Inshallah, I shall see you all again soon and for many years to come…somewhere on my long way home.