For my absolute final entry on this blog (I swear, this is it!), I would like to take a few moments and a few kilobytes to thank everyone that was part of this trip, or that made it possible, in any and every shape and form. The previous entry was really the last page; so think of this as the epilogue, or simply as the credits. If there's one thing I've learned on this trip, it's that it's not where you go, it's who you meet; and that it's not places, but people, that make a big trip (and life in general, really) such an amazing experience. I hope I've remembered everyone of import here; but if I've missed you out, then I deeply apologise — and feel free to post a scathing comment, in which you make yourself and your significance known for all eternity. We do ask that you remain seated, and that you leave your mobile phones switched off, until the blog has come to a complete stop in front of the terminal building. Once again, thank you for flying with Jaza's World Trip, and we hope you enjoyed the flight.
Thankyou Gilbert, the Israeli who guided me into the big bad world of Mexico City on that crazy first night of my trip. Thankyou Jackeline, for making the first night of my trip a blast. Thankyou Matthias and Kanako: even a year and a multitude of countries later, I still haven't met any other travellers even remotely approaching your level of intrepidness. Thankyou Kyden, and good luck for becoming President one day. Thankyou Shay — you are the king of Israeli hippies, and you're so nice that surely it's illegal to be that nice. Thankyou Laura, for everything. Thankyou Alan, and Tara and Dan, for some magical days in the jungle.
Thankyou Canadian Chris, for your great presence and your taste in movies. Thankyou Irish Dave, for a truer Irishman I never did meet. Thankyou Sophs: you're amazing and you're hilarious, but please just lay off the coke. Thankyou Tony from Wisconsin: keep up the trekking and the windsurfing, and hope those cheap Mexican kitchenhands just keep on coming. Thankyou Anna and Marie, for being, ehhh, so french. Thankyou Leila and Christina, hot pair of girls #403 who (sadly) have boyfriends back home. Thankyou Kate: you're beautiful, inside and out. Thankyou Einat: you drove me meshooga, but I love you anyway.
Thankyou Patrick: great week we had romping through Ecuador. Thankyou Terry, and good luck with the local girl, you dirty old bastard :P. Thankyou Tony: Cotopaxi was amazing, and your diving advice came in handy down the track. Thankyou Paul, but for heaven's sake will you stop stalking me. Thankyou to all the fun and memorable travellers at Patanuk: Finlandia, Sarah and Jordan, Travis, Simon and Anna, and Ed. Thankyou BA Swedish chick: you're hot, and don't you know it. Thankyou Annemie and Hendrik, and the best of luck in your incredible overland adventure. Thankyou Tom, my mate on Ilha Grande.
Thankyou Ayuko, and good luck with your English. Thankyou Christina, and yes I am a hypocrite, wotcha gonna do about it. Thankyou Jochen and your wife, for the company in lonely times, and for some delicious wine. Thankyou Thierry and Wilson, for our fun wanderings upon freezing fortress hilltops. Thankyou Lisa, for a few of my favourite things. Thankyou to everyone at Snowbunnys: especially Craig, Sarah and Kade; Nikolas and Viktor; and Jake and Mitch (can't take you boys anywhere). Thankyou Emmanuelle and Miguel, for sharing the New Year with me in style.
Thankyou to Marie and Claire, and to Sonny: I'll never forget Pai, and I'll never forget any of you. Thankyou Manchester Chris, for being from Manchester. Thankyou Adam, for the crazy quad-bike riding and all the rest. Thankyou Robert, and yes your tan is looking great. Thankyou Iris and Andrea, and go easy on the weed why don't you. Thankyou German Mathias, and all the best with the sound production. Thankyou Stewie, and sorry I can't party like a sheepshagger does.
Finally, some thankyous for a few very special fellow travellers. A big thankyou to Alex and Caroline, who plunged to the depths of the sea with me; and Alex, thanks so much for carrying me home after the bucket night, and it's been great seeing you again in Sydney. A big thankyou to Oly and Stef: we had good times when we first met in Lake Titicaca, and more good times up in Quito; and Oly, thanks for the many, many juicy steaks that we enjoyed in Buenos Aires, and good luck with your new life in Argentina. Thankyou Jack, for sharing two of the most memorable (if stupid and perilous) days of the entire trip with me, and for being one of the best blokes I've ever had the good fortune to meet. Last but certainly not least: my G-d, Chris, what would I have done without you? Thanks for making the effort to rendezvous, thanks for an incredible time on the road, thanks for being a friend then and always, and the very best of luck with your new job.
Thankyou to everyone that I met at the OSCMS Summit in Sunnyvale; you're all doing fantastic work, and you're the best community that anyone could hope to be a part of. Thanks for pulling off a thoroughly enjoyable conference. Thanks Bill for letting me sleep on your couch, when I missed the last train back to San Fran. Thanks Ian for the Peruvian connections. And thanks Chx for giving me the chance to finally meet you offline.
Thankyou to the amazing folks at Amigos Spanish School, who did so much more than merely teach me a truckload of Spanish. Thankyou to my loving host family, who fed me mountains of food, and who gave me love and friendship even in difficult times. Thankyou to all my fellow students — Louis, Monica, and all the others — for some very good times. Thankyou to my devoted teachers, Ursula and Merly, to whom my Spanish ability owes the world. Thankyou Jacinta, and good on you for coming back and helping out at the school. Thankyou Ricardo, our talented Peruvian cooking teacher, and Abram, our patient Salsa dancing teacher — because there's far more to Latin immersion than merely learning Spanish. Thankyou Juan Carlos, for being the rock of Amigos, and for being the amazing example that you are of human achievement. And lucky last: thankyou Jesus, for setting up an awe-inspiring school and foundation, for your passion and your dedication, and for being a friend whom I'll never forget.
Thankyou to the equally awesome fellas at Hampy. Thankyou to Wil, for introducing me to Hampy; and good luck with the Chilean girlfriend, mate. Thankyou to my wonderful friends and fellow volunteers, Stephan and Ashley, for all your help and all those crazy nights. Thankyou Therese, who I didn't even realise was part of Hampy until much later; thanks for everything, and amazing work you did teaching English in Chocco. And, of course, an enormous thankyou to Jorge, for establishing the great organisation that you've got running, and for giving me the biggest opportunity on my entire trip to not just observe the big wide world, but to contribute something back to it.
Friends living afar
Thankyou Mauricio and Lachlan, for showing me around Xalapa, and for welcoming me to Mexico. Thankyou so much to the Cohen family, for having me in your house for a week, and for your hospitality around Vancouver.
Thankyou Antonio and Alexis, for your hospitality in Lima, and for showing me that the global tech community is a small world after all. Thankyou to Rabbi Zalman Blumenthal of Beit Jabad Lima, for welcoming me into your home for a Pesach seder in Lima, and for truly giving me a night that was different to all others. Thankyou Abimael, for welcoming me to the far-flung town of Ayacucho, and for the cuy. Thankyou Linux Carlos, for representing the global open source community even in faraway Cusco, and for coming to chat with me even when I was sick as a dog. Thankyou Meli and Philip, for your boundless hospitality, and for the amazing spread that you laid out in Arica. Thankyou Victor, for your welcome to Buenos Aires, and for a very interesting chat. Thankyou Menachem, for having me at your cosy little synagogue for a very Argentinean Jewish New Year.
Thankyou Garth, for the outstanding tour of Oxford that you gave me, and good luck with your research. Also thankyou Uncle Paul, for getting me in touch with Garth (and for showing us around Harvard). Thankyou Max and Joel, for the dinner at your place in London, and for the sensational jazz show. Thankyou Tom and Fede, for a completely unique and unforgettable (if rather dark) night-time tour of your ancient home city. Thankyou Conrad, for the free board in the rugged Sicilian highlands; and thankyou to my two Sicilian angels, for rescuing me in difficult times.
Thankyou to everyone in Germany, with whom I had a reunion and a great home city tour: thanks Killes, thanks Regine, and thanks Katha. A big thankyou to Christian, for having me overnight at your place in Liège. And an enormous thankyou to Stef and Annick, my amazing Belgian friends from the Salkantay hike, for having me spend the weekend with you in Turnhout, and for the most fun and crazy time that I had in all of Europe.
Thankyou to all the many locals in South America and in Thailand, who gave me so much help when I was a lost stranger, and to whom I'm very much indebted. Your names are too numerous to recall — but in particular, thankyou to all the many, many tourguides and other guides that I've had during this trip, for all the assistance and guidance that you've given me, and for watching out for me when it mattered most.
A mammoth thankyou to my cousins in Boston, for going out of your way for me during our stay; and just as big a thankyou to Tara and Ashki, for having us in your house for two whole weeks, and for letting us use your meteor-sized TV and your beefy Internet-enabled laptops. Also, thankyou Dad, and Ivor and Manuela, for giving me the opportunity to rendezvous with you, and for a very special family reunion abroad.
Thankyous upon thankyous to Mark and Susi, my aunt and uncle in Switzerland, for letting me crash in Zürich for a week, and for absolutely spoiling me rotten. Thankyou so much for helping me to sort out the delivery mess, and to eventually receive my new ATM card, after the terrible ordeal that I'd gone through since being robbed in Italy. Also, sorry that I ultimately couldn't visit my uncle Michael or my auntie Nanda in England — pity it didn't work out this time, and hopefully we'll be able to meet when next our paths cross.
Everyone back home
Last but not least, thankyou to all of you who have supported me from back home during my travels, who have contacted me while I've been away, and who have followed my adventures from time to time on this blog. Thankyou to all my readers, and I can only hope I've lived up to your expectations. Thankyou to my incredible friends: in particular, to Liam and Sepehr — if you must know, you two were the hardest thing about leaving Sydney for a year; and a big thankyou also to Josh, Steve, Honour, Arthur and Qian. Thankyou Daniel for your support as well during my trip, and sorry that I ultimately couldn't make it to Israel to visit you. Thankyou Dave Burnett for everything you've ever done for me, and for everything you've ever been to me, over our many years as friends; and to this very minute, I'm still struggling to accept the fact that you are tragically no longer with us.
And to really finish everything off, I must thank my loving and supportive family, without whom this trip simply could not have happened. Thankyou to my cousins Talia and Michaela, and to Ivor and Manuela; and thankyou to my cousins on the other side, Josh, Dana and Natalie, and to Linda and Peter (thanks for the Thailand tips!). Thankyou to Nana and Poppy, whom I've missed over the long months. Thankyou to Dad, Sharon, Lara, Nattie, George and Judy, for everything and so much more, including for storing all my possessions in my absence, and for giving me a bed when I returned. And thankyou Mum, for managing my finances and admin tasks, for attempting to marry me off despite (or because of?) my being out of the country, for moving on with your life and thus helping me to move on with mine, for worrying about my laundry and my eating habits from the other side of the world, and for being the best Jewish mother that any son could ask for. Thankyou to all my family, for being there for me before, during and after this trip, always and forever.