And then we came to the end (Part 1)

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

Continents: 5

Miles traveled: 68,864 (give or take)

Flights: 37

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)

Hotels: 28

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.

12 thoughts on “And then we came to the end (Part 1)

  1. Eric,
    i have truly enjoyed reading your posts. I would get to the end of one and look forward to the next, like a good book that I can’t put down. Maybe it was because Janine is like my sister and it was my way of watching over both of you. Regardless, I am glad to see sad that they are closing, and yet relieved that there is a happy ending and you both are coming home safely. i am so proud of you both and looking forward to hearing more about your adventures in person, maybe the stuff left out? 🙂 Love you both!

  2. Thanks so much, Eric. I loved the photos and the chance to live vicariously. But most of all, I loved the great writing — so fun to read!

  3. WELCOME HOME!!! Wow! I feel a little sad that your amazing trip is done. Love that you are thinking if when to do it again!!! It has been a true delight to accompany you on this journey and to devour these beautifully written posts. I will miss them. I hope we can find time to connect this summer. Tons of love. Sigrid

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. J & E, I had great fun following you around the world. Bravo for doing it when you’re young. Shirley & I quit our jobs, bought a VW camper and spent 1973 touring North Africa and Europe. Best move we ever made. More people should take chances and have dessert first. Pat LaGrave

  5. What a great adventure! Happy that you made it possible to follow you and I finally had some of that magical tipple you left behind in Joburg, last week. Thank you! Hope to see you before the end of the year.

  6. I am not sure how I came upon your blog in the first place, but I am so glad I did. Vicariously following you both across the globe has been so much fun, and has motivated me to stop putting off the things I want to do, I wish you both the best in your return, and hope that you venture forth again!

  7. I welcome you home and absolutely enjoyed this wonderful world tour that you took. I am so proud of both of you for taking that next step in life and discovering each other In such a real way. We can’t waiit until you are available for a long lunch – say three or four days? So when is the next show or movie you guys are going to be doing? Possibly something about a world tour? We want to hear everything, but most of all welcome home family. We love you so much! Bill and Scott

  8. You are so surprising. You did not go around the globe, but two thirds of the globe more than 3 times. It looks as if you wanted to serve the dessert for the next journey.

    So I am not able to predict, if you will mostly
    a) dig into the amenities of this great town called SF
    b) settle in a mountain hut for fishing, BBQ-ing and gardening
    c) explore the backroads of California
    d) stop by Peter Luger every so often
    e) commute to places of culture (old and new)
    f) become vegan or
    g) just waonder around from one great place to the next.
    The only thing sure is, that you will have much fun.

    Thank you for taking us along with your journey.

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