Tuesday May 11, 2010 I leave Roanoke, VA and Radford University to travel with nine communication students (6 women, 3 men; 3 undergrad students, 1 alum, and five grad students). Students will depart on May 12, 2010. It's a fine group and a diverse one in terms of background and experience. All are very good students and I'll looking forward to traveling with them.
Southeast Asia is an interesting place in many respects (it's really my favorite place to travel): food, cultures, history, politics, etc. At this moment, the thing that is on the mind of most people is Bangkok, Thailand. Bangkok is a truly amazing city that is huge and diverse and complicated. The current political situation presents some challenges but my friends tell me that it continues to be safe and a great place to visit.
If we discover, upon arrival, that things have changed we will either fly or take the train to Chiang Mai in Northwest Thailand. I want to make it clear to all (parents, family, and students) that we aren't taking any chances. I have no desire to endanger my students or myself.
I also want to mention that Southeast Asia is a safe place to travel if one uses some common sense and care. One can lose their purse or wallet if they are not mindful of where they are. Drugs are available if one were to go looking for that as are many other things. If students stick together and do the kind of things I have planned, they'll be safe. I've taken my wife and children and they loved it.