Young men to go around world hoping to find their life goals

September 12, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

Chris Bolton and Joshua Noppenberger embarked Saturday on the trip of a lifetime.

When the young men return home after a year-long journey, they will have ridden elephants in Thailand and camels in Egypt, and partied at a rock concert in Seattle.

The two have dug deep into their savings to travel around the world "to see everything while it's still there," said Mr. Noppenberger, 18, of Catonsville.

Outfitted with backpacks containing camping equipment, books and a deck of playing cards, the pair left Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 2:40 p.m. Saturday, bound for London.

"It would be cool to see Stonehenge," said Mr. Bolton, 19, of Ellicott City, who graduated from Howard High in 1992.

The trip, which will cost the two friends a total of about $30,000, includes visits to Greece, Egypt, Kenya, Thailand, Tibet, Hong Kong, Australia and India.

Although the youths will return to the United States early next September, their trip won't end then. After flying into Los Angeles International Airport on Sept. 10, 1995, they plan to begin hitchhiking up the West Coast to attend a memorial concert in Seattle for rock star Jimi Hendrix.

"It's pretty exciting," said Chris' father, Bob Bolton, who plans to meet the pair in Nairobi in January. "I've been traveling, but never around the world."

When his son decided to take the trip, Mr. Bolton said, he had no definite career goals or plans to attend college.

"He didn't know where he wanted go career-wise," said Mr. Bolton. "He sees [the trip] as a significant thing to do in his life."

Mr. Noppenberger, meanwhile, said he didn't want to spend the rest of his life working in convenience stores, washing dishes or doing housekeeping -- jobs he has held since earning his General Equivalency Diploma in 1992.

Although he is traveling around the world, his other friends "will be stuck in Catonsville for the rest of their lives," he said.

Travel agents said such an extensive trip for two young people is unusual.

"There's a lot of things that could happen to you," said David Coffman, a travel consultant with Bennett World Travel in Ellicott City, who helped arrange the pair's journey. "I ordinarily would be hesitant to send them to places where language barriers would be a problem."

But Mr. Coffman said he warmed to the idea after he realized how serious the young men were.

"This is not a lark for them," he said. "They really sat down and gave it a lot of thought."

For three months, Mr. Noppenberger and Mr. Bolton added and eliminated locales from their travel plans. At one point, they planned to visit Malaysia and Indonesia. But they said that anti-American sentiment and health concerns dissuaded them.

They also said that gathering information for the trip was difficult. "When we needed information, we had to go to 10,000 different sources," Mr. Noppenberger said.

To make planning easier for others following in their footsteps, the two intend to write a book about their travel experiences. "Any question you'd have would be in it," Mr. Bolton said.

And once they write the book, the pair want to continue their travels. "Our goal within the next five years is touch all seven continents," said Mr. Bolton.

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