Five Months of Travel: A Summary

What does it take to travel across three continents in five months?

Answer: approximately nine donkey rides, three camel rides…

After spending half the year exploring Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, I flew home from Paris exactly five months to the day I left for Hong Kong.

 

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 8.57.04 PM

All 79 stops of my five-month world tour, minus the flight home. 🙂

I’ve been home for two weeks now, and I’ve already gone through a range of emotions.  On the one hand, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the months abroad—the experiences, people and perspective traveling across fifteen countries brought me.  On the other, I am literally scratching my head in disbelief that it’s already over, feeling oblivious as to what’s next.  Figuratively I am doing everything I can to resist scratching that itch to hit the road again that resurfaced after a mere three days.

In many ways, I know I’ll never be the same.  That’s what travel does to us.  It changes us.  That’s why I chase after trips abroad in the same fervent manner that some people chase their life goals.

At the exact same time, however, things are exactly the same. I stood today in the exact spot where I had laid out all of my items for packing.  It looks and feels the same all around me.  My apartment is still here, relatively unscathed. My clothes are all here, too, but they fit differently on me (no complaints there.)  The big questions I had before I left?  They’re still here, too.

As I sort through all these new emotions, I thought it best to objectively summarize my trip. You’ll get a sense of where I went and what it took to get there.  (Why did I take this trip? Catch up here.)

Five Months GraphicBy the Numbers

Days on the Road: 154.
Countries visited: 15. Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, India, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France.
New countries: 11.  Return visits: 4.
Miles traveled: 30,673
Photos taken: 8,341
Money spent: $10,382
Pounds lost: 15.
Jobs lost: 1.
Books read: 21.
Visas: 7.
Border crossings on foot: 4.

Transportation

Forms of transportation: plane, train, bus, automobile, tram, bike, walk, boat, motorbike, metro, rickshaw, donkey, camel, horse cart, camel cart, hot air balloon!
Buses taken: 52.
Trains taken: 25.
Boats taken: 36.
Donkey rides: 9.
Camel rides: 3.
Flights taken: 19.
Car rides/rentals/taxis: I didn’t keep THAT good of track, guys.
Different metros/subways used: 9.

Culture

Religions seen: Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Ba’hai
Languages heard: Chinese, Vietnamese, Khmer, Lao, Thai, Burmese, Hindi, Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French
Different currencies used: Hong Kong Dollars, Vietnamese Dong, Cambodia Riel, Laotian New Kip, Thai Baht, Burmese Kyat, Indian Rupee, Jordanian Dinar, Israeli New Shekel, Egyptian Pound, Turkish Lira, Euro, U.S. Dollar.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 39.
Major landmarks: Pyramids, Acropolis, Angkor Wat, Coliseum (round three), Taj Mahal (round two), Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, Eiffel Tower (round three,) Sphinx, Petra.
Major cities visited: Hong Kong, Hanoi, Saigon, Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Bangkok, Yangon, Delhi, Mumbai, Amman, Jerusalem, Cairo, Istanbul, Athens, Rome, Paris.
Cooking classes taken: 5.
Temples/mosques/churches visited: unknown. A lot.

Nature

Bodies of water scuba’ed in: Red Sea, Aegean Sea, Gulf of Thailand.
Bodies of water swam in: Dead Sea, Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Ligurian Sea,  Aegean Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Thailand, Nam Song River, Nile River.
Bodies of water skinny-dipped in: None of your business! 😉
Major rivers: Mekong, Nile, Ganges, Irrawaddy, Tiber, Seine.
Animals encountered: Monkey, camel, donkey, sheep, goat, cow, pigeon, pelican, snake, rat, pig, elephant, fish, jellyfish (argh…) sea turtle, and many more…
Miles hiked: unknown. A lot.

Times sick: zero.

Times robbed: zero.

Regrets: zero.

Compiling this list, I can’t seem to grasp how much life I was able to pack into those five months AND…how alive I felt every day!  I also can’t seem to integrate that feeling with the starkly opposite routine my days have adopted since my return.  It’s great to be jobless, carless, even a little careless when you’re running around Hanoi/Yangon/Mumbai/Cairo/Paris.  It looks a little bit differently you insert yourself back into “real” life and find that you have nowhere to go but your couch.

Translation: How do I reconcile the person I was while traveling with the person I am at home?  

So I find myself a part-time traveler once more.  My equilibrium brilliantly thrown off by the greatest trip of my life to date — I’m again back at my desk pondering the balance between globetrotting and rooting oneself in a home.  And I’ll be bringing you my findings here on Part-Time Traveler, so stay tuned.

What are your questions for me now that I’m back?  I’ll be answering your FAQs — including those I received while I was away — next week!

 


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12 Comments

  1. Welcome back!

    Loved this break down! I would love to know more about your budget while traveling? Does that 10,000 include everything!? Impressive!

    • Thanks, Ashley!

      Yes, that number includes everything. It should be noted that I did stay with friends at times, and I did use miles for my flight home. And it would’ve been a lot less had I not spent my last month and a half in Europe… 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and I will be sure to include more budget info on my upcoming FAQ post!

  2. Budget was going to be my question as well.

    Q1 : Where did you go that you COULD have (if necessary) crossed off of your itinerary.

    Q2: Where do you wish you could have ADDED.

    • Thanks for the questions!
      A1: Nowhere.
      A2: Everywhere.
      I’m just kidding.
      I’ll address these in next week’s post! 🙂

  3. WOW! That post made me happy, sad, curious, enlightened, envious, Amazed, Proud, breathless… But most of all it left me wanting more information. Welcome home! Looking forward to seeing you

    • So perhaps I did a good job of making you feel all the emotions I am feeling? 🙂 More info to come! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. I am obsessed with this post! Can’t wait to read more. I am curious to hear about where your money went the furthest, and what you would have done differently or wish you had known about places before you traveled… ie “I wish I would have taken a train vs flying to this place” or “I could have spent $$ more per night to stay in this crazy/interesting place” or “$$ less a night to stay in similar digs” or “I probably could have eaten that food, but was nervous at the time” … “I should/shouldn’t have packed this item.” Also curious to hear about the people you met and what makes a successful lone traveler. What books were you reading? Did you leave them with people along the way or kindle?

    Anne, I admire you so much. Thanks for sharing all of this.

    xo,

    LG

    (Laura Grifka 🙂 🙂 )

    • LG! I’m so glad you’re obsessed! 🙂 I will definitely breakdown my budget choices in the FAQs, and I’ll absolutely be addressing your destination related questions in subsequent posts (I’m going to cover each place, I have tons of notes!)

      As for packing, I have so many opinions on what I should’ve/shouldn’t have brought along…that post is also in draft form 🙂

      The people I met were absolutely the best part of the entire experience. We travel to see all these sights, and they are amazing…but it’s funny how it’s the human connections we make across cultures and experiences that leave the most lasting impression on us.

      I could do a post about the books I read…I tried to read at least one connected to each country I visited, so I have a great list to recommend! I bought and was gifted a few “real” books along the way (each was donated after I finished it) but of course my Kindle was what was keeping me warm most nights. Haha.

      Be sure to email or comment if I don’t sufficiently answer each of your questions in the forthcoming posts! Thanks for giving me so many ideas of what to share! xo

  5. Loren Vandegrift

    Wow Anne what an amazing summary of the trip! As I get more obsessed with the quantified self trend I find the stat tracking fantastic. You’re making me question why I choose to hang in California so much when I should be exploring more of the world!

    • Hi Loren! Thanks for reading! The stats are fun, and somehow they make a trip like this seem more doable, instead of less.
      Now, stop reading and get out there!! Where’s your next trip?

  6. I’ve been looking forward to this!! Your breakdown is amazing! I cant wait to hear more!

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