Ihita…as a monsooner with me in Russia in the Winter of ’16, you were wonderful. As my guide to Kuwait and Oman a month before I went, you have been indispensable. Thank you for introducing us to your guide in Oman, and for all the tips on where to get the best hookah in the region.
Stephanie Kely…for pages worth of recommendations of where to go, see, and eat during our 22 hour layover in your hometown of Munich. And it’s funny to think we had met almost exactly a year ago when you came over to my place for Thanksgiving, only to find out later on we both shared more than a scary number of mutual friends around the world!
Lauretta…my colleague at Weiler Hospital, for all your recommendations on where to go and eat in your native Prishtina, Kosovo.
Resham…for becoming friends as we took USMLE Step 2 together at the Prometric testing center (who even becomes friends over that?!) leading you to introduce me to your mother and grandmother 4 years later when I found myself on a random trip to St. Maarten to study for USMLE Step 3, all the while not realizing that you actually grew up in St. Maarten! Fate is weird. 07/19/17.
Nadi Kaonga…for writing to me so randomly on a January morning in 2013 after seeing my blurb on the Columbia Alumni Class Notes. At the time, you had introduced yourself by encouraging me to visit Subsaharan Africa and that you would show me around whenever I would decide to organize a trip there. As fate would have it 3 years later, we would run into each other in Malawi unplanned; you and your grandfather then drove us around your motherland, and then you parachuted in a week later for our weekend trip to Namibia. You taught me what serendipity looks like, and I’m grateful for how we’ve collided over these years.
Morgan Hill…for biking to my place during a rainstorm just so you could give me leftover Kyrgyz money you somehow acquired from a friend who collects random cash. The money ended up saving me a lot of headaches and covering my butt in both Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Almaty, Kazakhstan!
Mohsen Ali…for helping Hassan with translating my Pakistani visa sponsor letter into Urdu.
Sadaf Malik…for helping Hassan with translating my Pakistani visa sponsor letter into Urdu.
Hassan Baber…for both translating and typing out my Pakistani visa sponsor letter onto Microsoft Word for the final visa application.
Shaifa Farooqui…for getting your mother to help translate my Pakistani visa sponsor letter into Urdu.
Meher Farooq…for writing out the translation of my sponsor’s visa letter into Urdu by hand, and then finding your friend Hassan to type it out for me.
Silvia Mancebo…for giving me advice on where to go in Nicaragua within seconds of receiving my email letting you know I was there.
Jen Gao…for sending me pages and pages of what to do and see in Quepos and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica after you had just been there only a few days before.
Cristina Handal…for introducing me to your two childhood friends Andrea and Marie when I arrived into your hometown of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Diana Cahill…for giving me so much advice on the safety updates and where to go/eat/stay in Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It’s so sad you were away on vacation to Peru and couldn’t meet up with us in Honduras. Next time, though!
M Jannat Akhter…for providing me valuable information on where to hang out in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Ashley Tagg of AIESEC…for putting me in touch with all her AIESEC colleagues abroad in Spain so that I could make new friends and get a side of the country I wouldn’t have otherwise!
Erica K…for convincing me to take a detour to Gibraltar when I was literally on the fence. Thanks to you, I’m seriously going.
Alina Masters…for being my personal travel agent when it comes to traveling around Spain.
Iona Mochado…for consistently providing tons of unsolicited advice on our winter ’11 trip to Spain, even though we had only met for 5 minutes when you interviewed at my medical school. One of these days you’re going to have to join us.
Naina Sharma…for gently nudging me to choose Belize for Thanksgiving, which I eventually did.
Dalea Dyer…for insisting (and convincing) me to go to Belize for Thanksgiving, and keeping up with me through the duration of the trip. Wish you could’ve came with us.
Evan Jones…for contacting his local friends in the Middle East about the situation in Syria and advising me whether or not I can still get a visa as a U.S. citizen.
Diva Datwani…for not only giving valuable advice on Luang Prabang last summer, but also on Dubai for the 2011 trip. One day, you’re actually going to join me and personally show me around!
Felipe Tarud…for setting me up a place to stay in his native city of Bogota and letting me under the care of his best friend
Dara Chen…for giving valuable travel advice on Machu Picchu and Cuzco before I left
Brian Foo…for designing this sexy blog and indirectly teaching me how to decipher & code .css stylesheets
Nilam Patel…for overall emotional support, making it hard to leave, and making sure I have a way to wash my clothes
Isaac Silverman…for teaching me the difference between “tourist” and “traveler”
Jess & Kim…for offering a place to stay, a family as guides in Manila, and advising us to the biggest mall in Asia
Christian Pina…for throwing me a surprise going away party and for setting up a pool of all the diseases I’m going to get
Shyama Rajendran…for meeting up with us in Manila, buying us bus tickets to Banaue, and sharing random stories about her family via gchat
Trina Tran…for demanding me to go to Dalit over Hanoi
Quynh Nguyen…for providing travel advice on Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Singapore, and sharing her 10+ facebook albums
Linus…for being my big brother all my life, making sure my legal docs are intact in case anything happened, and being worried about this trip for me
Avanti Maluste…for chastising me to stay longer in Mumbai instead of going to Goa, and letting me play with her cat when I arrive there
Shivani…for chastising me to stay longer in Mumbai, after Avanti told her to
Van Nguyen…for providing travel advice on Vietnam in the longest facebook message I have ever read
Hong…for providing me travel advice on Vietnam, and a guide whom I will meet for the first time in Hanoi
Shari Setyawinata…for providing pages of travel advice on Indonesia, and making us consider taking airplanes instead of the trains
Lorenzo…for introducing me to his family in the Philippines via e-mail
Huei…for advising me on Malaysia but never really coming out to see me before I left, even though she was 5 blocks away
Jessica…for providing advice on Thailand and giving us the awesomeness that is airbandb.com
Nazeela…for giving indispensibly aggressive advice on India
Sarah Eberle…for providing travel advice on pretty much 60% of the places we’re going to, and tempting us to skip Bali for the Gili Islands
Pamela & Julian…for providing me great advice upon request on Thailand and Singapore
Julian and Genna…for suggesting titles for this blog, especially my favorite: “How Chen Ho Got His Balls Back”
Poh Choo…for providing travel advice on Malaysia and adding Penang to our list
Nazeela Saira Nasseri…for her wonderful support and for her offering of free accommodations in India, clothing recommendations, and her generally awesome personality
Lydii Boyer…for hanging out with Annah all day while she waited for her Indian Visa and making it a fantastic, relaxing afternoon in the city!
Jonas…for letting Annah stay with him when she needed to do some last-minute metropolitan shopping for the trip.
Linda Laderach….Annah’s violin instructor who has been so helpful with tips on safe traveling for women and for pointers on things to check out in all of the places that I will be going. She has also been extremely helpful in constructing Annah’s budget for such a trip.
Nshunge Musheshe…for being Annah’s wonderful roommate, co-conspirator, and fantastic partner-in-crime! She has been so enthusiastic of this trip from the very outset and has encouraged Annah to push forward. Her excitement has helped Annah deal with certain familial issues in preparation for this trip. Nshunge, even though we may want to have single rooms, I don’t think it will ever happen because you and I just can’t seem to get away from each other!
John Chou…for lending Annah his awesome backpack and helping her get ready for this epic trip.
Erica…for helping Annah out when she needed to go to NYC for a quick, one-day, Indian visa.
Becky Echevarria…for her excitement despite the fact that Annah will NOT be visiting her homeland.
Michael J. Novielli…for sending me a super awesome color map of Southeast Asia as a surprise gift
Vaibhav…for advising us and getting us a place to stay in Calcutta and Varanasi
Corinne Fukuyama…for joining us on this trip for the Philippines and Vietnam
Caitlin Halpern…for joining us on this trip for Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore