This is from a series originally posted on my original blog: Seefahrer Thayer. While I don't recommend it, you can view the original posts here. Because the content had value and useful tips I've decided to repost them here, however, they've since been heavily edited and updated.
Every time I leave for a trip like this I feel like I'm on my deathbed. People offer gifts, money, and of course plates of food, people start being really nice, and you start seeing and talking to people you haven't seen in years. And it always seems like goodbyes are treated like it's the very last one you'll ever give (because, of course, you're never coming back. You basically have one foot in the grave).
I've received an overwhelming amount of support and generosity from my family and friends, including their concerns and good wishes. I greatly appreciate it. I had no idea I had such an enormous pool of friends and relatives interested and invested in my life and travels (and whether I live or die).
So there's no sense in writing my obituary yet, I'm coming home, I swear.
Anyway, I love and miss ya'll already.