Have you ever taken the long way home, just for the experience? I’ve done it, no doubt about it. Sometimes when we go outside our normal path we find new things that we didn’t know about before. Sometimes we learn new things, sometimes it’s good, sometimes the experience is not so good, but it is almost always interesting.
Last week, I met a fellow who has taken the long way home, and he has taken the phrase to an entirely new level that few of us can say we have even considered. The fellow I am speaking of is named Dave. I promised Dave that I would not use his last name here, and I will explain why later in this article.
Dave is literally taking the long way, and he’s been on his journey for a number years now. Dave is actually not only taking he long way home, he is taking The Longest Way Home. You see, Dave has a website all about his journey, at the URL that I linked to, and his website is all about his trip along the longest way home!
OK, ok, let me quit beating around the bush… Dave is taking a journey where he is traveling over land, all over the world. When I say “over land” I mean that he travels by car, walks, hitch-hikes, whatever means he can find to travel. He started out in Europe. He passed through Europe, Turkey, Pakistan and all the way to China. Dave has passed through some very out of the way places like Pakistan and Iran too. He spent time in Tibet and other parts of China too. When it was time to leave China, he came to the Philippines. The trip from China to the Philippines was Dave’s first “non-land” travel of the journey. Obviously, you can’t travel over land to the Philippines, since it is a group of Islands. So, Dave flew to the Philippines from China.
Dave has actually been in the Philippines for more than a year now, his ability to stay here longer on a tourist visa is coming to an end, so it is time for him to move on soon. His next stops will be in Malaysia and Indonesia, although I can’t really share exactly where those spots will be.
So far, Dave has been on his way home for 4 and a half years! When he stopped by my house last week, I asked him when he was going to go home again, and he said that as of now, he had no plans. The truth is that I think Dave really doesn’t have a home anymore! He is a traveler with no fixed location that he calls home. Since had has been in the Philippines for more than a year, I am sure that he currently thinks of the Philippines as his home, or at least a long resting place on his journey home.
I am an expat. Really, everybody who writes on this site is an expat to one extent or another. An expat is a person who lives in a country other than the country where he was born or raised. Dave, though, is not an expat. He is a traveler. He doesn’t have a home to live away from. Dave’s journey is a search for a home, or a journey to get away from home as much as it is the long way home.
Dave came by my house and had some of my self-roasted coffee. He seemed to enjoy the coffee a lot too. I had kind of expected maybe a 30 minute meeting, or an hour. I don’t know what Dave expected. But, our meeting went on for several hours! We seemed to feed off of each others experiences. I enjoyed the meeting immensely.
I had been in contact with Dave in the past, and he reads several of my websites, although not that regularly. I am looking forward to being in continued communication with him, and I hope our paths will cross again sometime in the future.
Oh yes, why don’t I mention his last name? Well, Dave explained to me that he travels to some places where access in the future could be a problem. Sometimes he publishes stories or even photos that the authorities might not like to have out on the web. For example, he was in Tibet during some serious unrest, and he photographed his experiences there. If his last name were known on the web, it could possibly prevent him from going back to some places in the future. So, I promised Dave to honor his wish to publish only his first name.
Enjoy the trip, Dave! If you make it back to the Philippines, be sure to stop by. I’ll save some coffee beans for you!