SUBANG JAYA - Flying around the world may be a dream for many but it has its challenges and hurdles, something to which American Robert DeLaurentis can attest.
In the first two months of his planned three-month journey in his 1997 Piper PA-46 350P Malibu Mirage, DeLaurentis faced unpredictable weather, technical malfunction and other issues that he shared with his followers on social media platforms.
After flying for only five years, reaching for his dream was a huge step for the businessman.
"It has been more than I expected, much more challenging. I've flown in Europe before but once I got beyond Europe, things were very different.
"It has also been much more rewarding.
"I've been shown great amounts of kindness, generosity and blessings," he said.
DeLaurentis said people such as the members of EAA Malaysia Flying Club had been generous with their time and resources.
"They helped me arrange accommodation, maintenance of the plane, doing all the handling and helping me through Customs and Immigration ... all kinds of things," he said.
DeLaurentis arrived in Malaysia on July 7 and left for his next stop - Jakarta - yesterday.
He will continue his journey to other countries, including Australia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, before completing the longest and hardest leg of his travel - from Honolulu to San Diego - next month.
The 49-year-old landowner keeps his blog (http://flyingthrulife.com/) and other social media accounts updated with the latest on his adventures, as well as tips on how to overcome challenges that one faces while travelling in a small plane.
Besides creating an around-the-world solo flying record and sharing his experiences, DeLaurentis also uses publicity from his travels to help charitable causes.
He supports the Charles A. Lindbergh-Albert E. Schweitzer Elementary School in San Diego and the Aviation Owners and Pilots Association Flight Training Scholarship Programme.
"I 'adopted' the Fourth Grade class in the school and we have been sending letters back and forth."
Those who wish to support the cause can obtain more information on DeLaurentis' blog.