Given the state of things on the Eastern seaboard, New Yorkers Shannon Holman and Erica Harris figure they may as well take their chances against southeast Asia’s giant spiders and dengue fever. On November 2nd, 2002 they begin a year-long Chautauqua through Thailand, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and southern India.
In previous travels, Shannon’s life was saved by a bobbing coconut in the waters off Padangbai, Bali, and Erica worked as an "arts educator" (read: she shared her markers with the local kids) in Oaxaca. Their travels together include visits to McCarthy, Alaska, Black Mountain, NC, and the Outer Banks.
13: Gili Gila (Island Crazy)
Erica and Shannon thought they’d spend two nights on Gili Trawangan, off the northwest coast of Lombok. They ended up staying a month.
Catch Up On The Journey
12: Juni in Bali
With birthdays at the beginning and end of June, Shannon and Erica spent the month wandering Bali with Shannon’s parents.
11: Savage Tans in the Andamans
Hearing about somebody else’s beach-hopping holiday is probably about as exciting as hearing about their dreams, but nevertheless, Shannon Holman sends us an update.
Erica reports from Sapa, Vietnam, where she and Shannon joined up with a roving band of Hmong girls and drew less stares from the locals than the girls did.
9: Thanh Quit: Mr. Phong’s Neighborhood
As the daughter of a career Marine who survived two tours in Vietnam, it was strange for Shannon to shake hands with a former VC soldier, but she’ll never forget that day.
8: Hoi An, Vietnam: Vestiges of Interest
Hoi An is home to about 200 tailors and cobblers – and Shannon may have bought something from all of them.
7: Southern Cambodia to Saigon
Shannon did make it to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat – Wonder of the World and all that – but it was sometimes hard to feel the proper awe when surrounded by thousands of other people doing the same thing.
6: Northern Cambodia: Goats, Missiles, Chickens, and Fighter Planes
A new country, a new language and a greater appreciation of how local people are effected by the actions of governments far removed from the consequences of their actions.
5: Northern Laos: The Laap of Luxury
Our heroes float down the Mekong and up the Nam Ou, live the sauna-and-pate life in Luang Prabang, are momentarily taken in by the Bad Man Mr. Thandy, play with dead bats in Muang Nan, and eat silkworms in Xainabuli.
4: Northern Thailand: The Miss Hill Tribe Pageant
By far, the highlight of Shannon’s visit to Soppong was the Bang Ma Pha district festival, featuring several different hill tribes.
3: Inle Lake to Mandalay: Bus-ted
One of the things Shannon likes most about travel is being wrong so often. Taking a wrong turn after dinner one night, she ended up having one of the happiest times of her life.
2: Burma (Myanmar): Teapots and Toilet Paper
Despite amazing sights and amazing people, Shannon thinks twenty years from now, what she’ll remember most vividly about Burma is the toilet paper.
1: The Body in Bangkok
After 21 hours of flight time, Shannon and Erica had their bodies wonderfully pummelled at Wat Po, Bangkok’s massage center.