“One day, not very long ago, I noticed I’d never been to the Pyramids. So I quit my job, left my apartment, and made a list of places I’d always wanted to go. And here’s the proof.”
That was how I kicked off the webpage documenting the round-the-world trip I took years ago. It was 1998. People were still paying for Netscape. Few of us used the Web regularly, and all of us had dialup, but I was determined to try it: I documented my journey online as I went. I’m ashamed to admit I began by using Courier.
Everyone logs their trips online now, but no one was doing it then. I was a pioneer. It took real effort. Flashpacking didn’t exist. I had to seek out Internet cafés and without WordPress or Blogspot to rely upon, I had to hand-code everything in basic HTML, and I was forced to seek out crude FTP programs (Fetch!) to get my writing online.
I didn’t put my travels online for Web fame or to garner a following, the way so many backpackers do now. There were no affiliates or appeals for free lodging, and I was years away from collecting my first paycheck for travel writing. Then, it was simply so my family and friends could follow along and know I wasn’t lying dead in some South African ditch. It also saved money at the STD ISD in India if I could simply upload some writing and pictures for everyone to follow. (I also tacked on a first-person account of 9/11 two years later because I didn’t know where else to post it at the time. That’s republished here.)
Technology and I have progressed somewhat, to say the least, but for all these years I have left my online diary online, quietly stashed in a corner of the Internet as a sort of museum of myself and of travel blogging.
I invite you to peer into the past to see how I did my online Web journal. There is some stuff that could really get me in trouble here, but just remember how young I was. Read about hippo attacks, angry mobs in Jordan, and false positives for syphilis. Learn about the traumatic event that made me call my RTW journey Stap Vinnig Oor.
Here’s the link, for as long as it lasts. Go:
It’s as much a journey into the Web’s past as it is a trip around our planet.