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At present I am less than comfortably lodged in one of the least expensive establishments in Vientiane, trying to recover from some nameless catastrophic illness which, having struck without warning, now persists without mercy, an illness which I came down with in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Laos, en route to my final destination, which is, as you already know, dear reader, the edge of the world.

Has any traveler yet made it so far as the edge of the world? Apparently not. At any rate, history is silent on this point. Perhaps it is not until now that it has been conceived of as a possible destination. But if no man has yet mapped this mysterious place or even so much as seen it with his own eyes, all of us have heard it mentioned. We know that it exists, and we know that, unlike our cities, countries, and nations, it always has existed and always will, for as long as the world itself does. It was not built or fabricated. It cannot be settled or colonized. No one is ever going to “develop” this region. It exists in its own realm–one beyond the reach of history.

There are many who think that the unexplored territory is a thing of the past, but I am afraid that I cannot agree with them, for on the off chance that I survive long enough to reach the edge of the world, there is every reason to believe I will be the first to set foot there.