This is the final posting from our Eat, Play, Love round the world journey. It is one of reflection and also a listing of places we’ve been and other fun stats.
Hohenshwangau Castle, Fussen, Germany.
Since we’ve been back in New York we have been asked similar questions by friends and family alike so I thought I would use these questions as a jumping off point for my reflections of our trip.
1. What was it like to travel for so long?
I actually thought traveling for four months would wear on us more and that we would grow tired of living out of a suitcase and rushing through airports. But surprisingly we didn’t and both Francesca and I wished we could have continued to travel. In fact, we did brainstorm several ways to extend our trip to South America, one of two continents (along with Antarctica) that we did not reach on our journey.
It is interesting to note that four months is considered a long time to travel only by Americans. In Europe and Australia/New Zealand it is not uncommon to travel for 5 or 6 weeks for a normal vacation from your job and an RTW trip of eight to eighteen months is the norm. On our trip we met many travelers who were on quit-your-job-and-travel journeys of six months or more, but none that were on journeys of four months or less. They all looked on us with sympathy, shook their heads sadly and said “Only four months? Awww….you poor Americans.” Of course, in our case it was a lack of money and not a burning desire to get back to work that limited our travel time.
Sultan Cafe, Istanbul, Turkey.
2. How did traveling together for so long affect your relationship?
Francesca and I are getting divorced. JUST KIDDING! Our relationship and marriage is very much in tact and in fact we are now worried about what we’ll do when we get jobs and don’t get to see each other 24×7. Can you say codependent?!
In truth, it wasn’t all champagne and roses and we definitely found ourselves with shorter fuses, bickering over little things more than we had previously. But we tried to remain conscious of the fact that it was the stress of travel and the constantly being together with very little “me time” that was the cause and that would often diffuse any tension.
Many people asked us if we ever got to a city and went our separate ways for the day, but other than a solo jog here and there and a shopping trip in Ubud for Francesca while I visited the Monkey Forest, we really went everywhere together.
I think it may have been healthy to split up every now and then, but we are generally on the same page as far as things we like to do and see and are very flexible with what we want to eat, etc. so it was never really a problem to stick together. Plus, Francesca is my best friend and I wanted to share every amazing moment of this trip with her.
Villa Cipressi, Lake Como, Italy.
3. What was your favorite place you visited?
This is a difficult question to answer, but we knew we would get it so we thought about it in advance. Of course there is no one answer to this question because there were numerous places that were favorites for different reasons. For example, the Amalfi Coast in Italy was a favorite for the landscape, while Luang Prabang, Laos was a favorite for the fellow backpackers we met and still, Queenstown, New Zealand was a favorite in terms of adventure sports and livability (yes, we considered staying there!).
We also found an inverse relationship between our expectations for a certain city and our enjoyment of that city. For example, we had very low expectations for Budapest, Hungary – bleak, former Iron Curtain country, what could it possibly have to offer? – but we had one of the best single days of our entire trip. We’re thankful we didn’t let our expectations dictate our itinerary or we would have missed this gem of a city.
City Park, Budapest, Hungary.
Here is a list of countries and cities we visited as well as some other interesting stats we kept a record of during our four month sojourn. [Apologies if this comes off as boastful, but I wanted to have this recorded for posterity and it was fun tracking the numbers as we went along].
For those of you interested you can see a complete listing of countries and cities by visiting our “Countries & Cities & More” link from our home page or by clicking here.
Languages Encountered: 25
Currencies Used: 18
Plane Flights: 31
Buses/Mini Buses: 15
Rental Cars: 7
Cable Car/Funicular: 3
Tuk Tuks: 3
Chair Lift: 1
* We included a city as long as we left the airport and went into the town to do or see something (even if we didn’t stay overnight). So Dublin is included, but Doha is not (since we just had a several hour layover in the airport).
Adventure activities engaged in on our Eat, Play, Love RTW Trip:
– Dune Bashing in Dubai
– Great White Shark Dive in Kleinsbaai, South Africa
– Horse Trekking in Sossusvlei, Namibia
– Sand Boarding in Swakopmond, Namibia
– Safari in Mkuze Falls, South Africa
– Sea Kayaking in Halong Bay, Vietnam
– Zipline in Queenstown, New Zealand
– Jet Boating in Queenstown, New Zealand
– The Lost World, Abseiling & Caving in Waitomo, New Zealand
– Harbor Bridge Climb in Sydney, Australia
– Surfing in Lombok, Indonesia
– Mountain Biking in Bali, Indonesia
International Friends** made on the trip:
** As defined, of course, by whether or not they are now our Facebook friends.
– Andrea, Elenor & Nika, from Croatia (owners of Villa Elly in Dubrovnik)
– Martina, from San Francisco (met at La Perla Hotel in Praiano, Italy)
– Sharon and Norm from Michigan (met on boat to Capri)
– Allison Bryan from Oregon (we met Allison and her sister-in-law Gina in Tuscany and latter met up with her in Prague where she is living as a teacher).
– Guiseppi from southern Italy (met at B&B in Florence. Studying to be a doctor).
– James Abraham and his wife from the United Kingdom (met in Plazza del Michaelangelo, Florence).
– Massimo Bernadini from Italy (owner of Cantine Bernadini in Lucca, Italy)
– Bea Juvancz from Hungary (Wharton/Lauder ’98 & friend of JL we met in Budapest)
– Michaela Ponweiser from Austria (JL’s friend in Vienna)
– Ruthanne & Nate Heyward from Wisconsin (met in Vienna and Prague)
– Micheal Kavan from Pittsburgh (met in Prague)
– Eva Leitner & Schnaps Ziggy from Austria (met in Prague on Halloween night)
– Sabine Berthele from Germany (met on the train from Munich to Fussen)
– Seda & Nisa Kilic from Turkey (met in Istanbul. Friends of John Lusk)
– Rona Shedid from Egypt (met in Dubai, fellow Wharton grad a few years behind me)
– Aparna Verma from India (met in Dubai, brother of my friend Ashwin)
– Nadine Orossa from the United States (met in Dubai, friends of JL)
– James & Emma from the United Kingdom (met in Kleinsbaai, South Africa on our Great White Shark dive)
– Anja Becker from Namibia (she was the guide on our overnight horse trek)
– Emmy Andersson & Julia Lindesson from Sweden (met sandboarding in Swakopmund, Namibia)
– Ron & Cora from Holland (met at the Mukuze Falls Private Game Reserve)
– George Marchetti from North Carolina (met in Morandava, Madagascar)
– Mike Fitton and Sarah Laundy from Canada (met at a Luang Prabang, Laos cooking class)
– Duncan Murray & Alysan Higgins from the United Kingdom (met in Luang Prabang, Laos and met up with in several other cities)
– Elisabeth Gager & Andi Mertl from Austria (met on our Halong Bay tour in Vietnam)
– Eugene Arutyunyan & his wife from Russia (met in Kuala Lumpur)
– David & Charlie Smith from the Channel Islands (met on our Waitomo Caves adventure)
– Jan Russell & Avi Hazuria from Ireland and India (met in Bali, Indonesia where they founded a magazine called Kabar for expats and run a publishing business in Ubud)
– Brian Aldinger from Queens (the owner of Naughy Nuri’s restaurant in Ubud, Bali)
– Mike & Kim Krupnick from New Mexico (met in a yoga class in Ubud, Indonesia)
Bayon Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
We hope you all enjoyed following along with our journey. It was great to keep in touch with so many friends and family while we were away and to share with you all the stories and images of this amazing voyage.
Our round the world trip is over for now…..but keep an eye out for RTW Redux some time in the future……