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Travel is a privilege, not a right, and there is no way I could have undertaken such a voyage right after College without my parents blessings. They have always allowed me choose my own path in life, and fully supported my trip around the world from the beginning. For that I am eternally grateful. The trip taught me a lot about what they’ve sacrificed and gien for me, and made us, in the end, closer.

Of course, this book is really about the countless people I met during my trip. Any encounter in a world as large and diverse as ours is extraordinary. People make the voyage and you all made my trip special. There’s a place in my heart especially for Bine, Rama, Jyoti, and all the students in Nepal and Thailand, who taught me the power of a smile and helped me overcome some of my greatest fears.

Thanks to those who read my book in its early forms and gave invaluable, critical feedback: Ann Foo, Carman Luk, who took time to read the entire book, and, especially, Kher Ying Tey, who’s feedback, support, and encouragement was with me throughout the seven year process of writing, editing, and publishing. Yes, that’s the same Ying I met through Couchsurfing in Malaysia. Also thanks to Fei, Monoswita, Varun, Jamie, Porscha, Melody, Vanessa, and Nicole, who critiqued excerpts and chapters.

A special thanks to Rennie Saunders and the Shut up and Write! Meetup group he started in San Francisco, California. Probably half the book was written or edited at SH&W meetups. Having a structured schedule to write around helped me conquer every writer’s greatest barrier to finishing a book: self-discipline.

And, finally, thank you to all the writers before me whose words inspired me to join their ranks. Nothing I’ve ever done in my life was harder or more fulfilling than writing this book. Here’s to this being the first of many.

Nithin Coca
Overland Park, KS, USA
27 March 2014