Where do I begin to end this story?
We’ve been traveling for nine months out of a single suitcase. I’ve been wearing the same two pairs of jeans, the same two pairs of shoes, and yes, the same five pairs of underwear. We’ve slept in 69 different beds (if you also include airplane and bus seats as beds). We really miss our dogs and our cat, our cute new apartment in San Francisco, and especially our friends and family. And of course we miss our daughter, although we would have missed her just as much if we had stayed home, seeing as how she went off to college.
With all that, we’re not the least bit ready to be home. But here we are.
A number of people wrote me at the beginning of this adventure to say that they couldn’t imagine spending nine months in such close quarters with their significant other without killing each other or running out of things to say, or both. I’m happy to report that this didn’t happen to us. Oh, yes, we bickered once in a while, mostly about really stupid stuff (we once had an argument about how to zip up a suitcase), but we are unquestionably as close as we’ve ever been. During the past nine months, we always had something to talk about. Often it was about where we’ve just been or where we were about to go, but just as often we talked about the future and all the fun we still have in store for us. We talked about our daughter and our twenty seven years together.
We reminded ourselves how we’ve always taken risks. We quit our jobs in Hollywood and went back to school. We moved to Japan and then DC and then back to California. We quit our jobs again, sold our house, and went on a world tour because it sounded exciting and because it was the sort of thing people only talk about doing. We’ve reinvented ourselves four or five times, and we’re about to do it again.
More than anything, though, we’ve had fun. Lots and lots of fun, and we’re both sad to see this little escapade come to an end, because it’s been just magical. People have said that it was brave to do what we’ve done, but I’m not so sure. I think it’s a little more like eating dessert first. It’s unconventional, but I don’t think there will be any lasting negative side effects. I also think that there is room in almost anyone’s life to eat dessert first. Obviously, a trip like this may not be in the cards for everyone, but you might be surprised to learn what you’re capable of.
I’ll be very curious to discover what life will be like when we reenter society. Will we slip right back into the old rhythms and the old grind? Somehow I doubt it. Will we want to settle down and sleep in the same bed for a while? Maybe for just a little while, although believe it or not, we’re already starting to think about when we can do it again.
And now, since you asked, here’s a pile of facts and figures:
Days away from home: 270
Countries visited: 17
Miles traveled: 68,864 (give or take)
Number of Airbnb apartments: 21
Nights in those apartments, surrounded by all that Ikea furniture: 123
City with the fastest internet: Budapest (30.69 megabits per second – the first thing I would do when we checked in somewhere was run an internet speed test using Ookla)
Nights spent in friends’ apartments: 57
Nights spent in an RV: 17
Nights spent on overnight planes or buses: 9
Nights spent in a hut in the African bush: 3
Next time: A long list of things we learned, stuff we couldn’t do without, and a very brief recap of highlights.