By the Numbers
Number of Days Traveled: 407
Countries Visited: 31
Continents visited: 5
Pictures Taken: 17,781
Flights (not counting connections): 23
Overnight Trains: 4
Buses: Too many
Phones Stolen: 2
Stolen Phones Recovered: 1
Emergency Room Visits: 1
Food Poisonings: 1
Serious injuries, sicknesses, arrests, kidnappings, threats, violent attacks, crashes, wild animal attacks, lost bags, flashers, property damage: 0!!!
- Gorilla and Chimp Treks: Hiked through the jungles of Uganda to see the extremely rare Mountain Gorillas and found ourselves in the middle of a very loud and active Chimpanzee group running and screaming all around us. (Blog post: Gorilla and Chimp Trek)
- Safaris: Traversed the expansive Serengeti to see giant packs of African mammals in Tanzania and combed the dense vegetation in South Africa to track down animals outside of Kreuger National Park. (Blog posts: the Serengeti and South Africa)
- Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia: Conquering my fear of heights and sailing over the unique rock faces in Cappadocia, Turkey with 100 other colorful hot air balloons was a sight that pictures can't do justice. (Blog Post: Hot Air Balloon)
- Salar de Uyuni: The four-day trip through southern Bolivia covers a very diverse landscape, from red lakes, to volcanoes, to geysers, to the stunning views of one of the largest salt flats in the world. (Blog post: Salar de Uyuni)
- Volcano Boarding: There is something that is quite fun and unique about sledding down an active volcano at over 40 KPH (Blog post: Volcano Boarding)
- Historical Wonders: We were able to visit some of mankind's most interesting ancient architectural achievements, such as Machu Piccu in Peru, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque in Turkey and the ancient temples of Kyoto, Japan.
- Beautiful Nature: Whether it was just the two of us (and a dog) hiking around a crater lake in Ecuador, or thousands squished together taking pictures of the breathtaking rockfaces and green water where they filmed the movie the Beach at Koh Phi Phi Island in Thailand, we could not get enough of the gorgeous nature that we got to experience. Some of the other nature highlights (that haven't already been mentioned) included the Alps, Victoria Falls in Zambia, the beaches of Southeast Asia, Croatia (in particular Dubrovnik and Plitvice Park), Cape Town South Africa, Japanese gardens, Skocjan Caves in Slovenia, the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica and Zanzibar Island.
- Cultural Experiences: It can be hard to get an "authentic" cultural experience while traveling. While we certainly saw our fair share of manufactured tourist traps, we were able to get some genuine cultural experiences as well, whether it was our stay in Caitlin's former village in Zambia from her Peace Corp days, a home cooked meal with some local friends in Denmark, teaching a class in Uganda, getting a Turkish Bath, eating streetfood in Southeast Asia or a strange conversation with an older Japanese man in a 6 person bar. Sometimes the littlest interactions can have the biggest impact.
- Cities and Towns: Sometimes the most enjoyable part of our travels is just wandering around a city, soaking in the environment, enjoying the very different culture and getting an awesome view of the city from above. Some of our favorite cities and town we visited were Dubrovnik (Croatia), Tokyo and Kyoto (Japan), Istanbul (Turkey), Prague (Czech Republic), Budapest (Hungary), Salzburg (Austria), Berlin (Germany), Quenca (Ecuador) and Granada (Nicaragua).
- Food: Eating food from around the world is many people's favorite part of traveling, including ours. Our favorites were definitely the middle eastern cuisine in Turkey, Sushi and Teppenyaki in Japan, everything in Southeast Asia and Ceviche in Central and South America. (Blog Post: Food Photos)
- Friend and Family Visits: Caitlin and I saw a LOT of each other. We got along surprisingly well, but it was always nice when friends and family came to visit to break things up a bit and to experience our travels with loved ones (especially when they lighten our blogging duties by writing guest posts). My parents came to Switzerland, my sister and her family came to Costa Rica, Caitlin's family came to the Czech Republic, Austria and Peru and our wonderful friends and guest bloggers came to Eastern Europe (Poland and Hungary) and Nicaragua.
- When Caitlin tripped and banged her knee in Poland, and then passed out multiple times due to the pain and we had to call a Polish ambulance to take her to the emergency room. The paramedics' lack of English and refusal to let me go with them in the ambulance led to a very tense and uncomfortable situation.
- Almost getting run over by a train in Peru. (Blog post: Peru Train)
- A car alarm that would not turn off and derailed our whole day (Blog post: Car Alarm. A must read):
- When my contact ripped and a small piece got stuck in my eye for 3 days
- Having two phones stolen and one lost.
- The constant horn honking every second in SE Asia and Central and South America
- Very, very long bus rides where we often feared for our lives as we sped around cliff faces.
- Bucharest and Kathmandu. There was not a lot to do or see in Bucharest and Kathmandu is very polluted, noisy and congested. Kathmandu was one of the poorest places we visited and I can't even imagine how they must still be trying to deal with the effects of the earthquake. They can certainly use your donations still!
- Extremely depressing and sad museums, such as Hiroshima, the Killing Fields and Auschwitz. Not really a lowlight, as they were still very meaningful experiences, just sad days on our trip.
Our worldwide trip certainly had many highlights, and a few lowlights, but it was well worth the months of planning, travel stresses and uprooting of our lives. We would do it again in a heartbeat and highly recommend everyone considering doing something similar, if at all possible, even if it is for a much shorter period of time to a lot fewer places. If you are willing to rough it a bit, it can be a lot cheaper than you imagine (we will have an upcoming post on budgeting and planning for a world trip). It's well known that spending money on experiences rather than material things leads people to greater happiness. Even though we are currently living in a bit of limbo while we look for jobs and decide our next move, we wouldn't change a thing...except maybe we would spend a little less time blogging.