After 19 years of traveling around the world, it’s hard to believe that I’ve never actually gone “around the world.”
I didn’t realize what I was doing at first, it wasn’t really planned, but when I charted the course of my travels over the next side weeks it has be going around the world.
New York –> Prague –> Beirut –> Bangkok –> Kuala Lumpur –> Yangon –> Manila –> New York.
I’ve been traveling for 19 years now but I’ve never done an around the world trip like this before — a sequence of travel that has you circle the globe from point A all the way back to point A. Travel agencies sell ticket packages to do this — I believe they cost in the ballpark of two or three grand.
What did I pay?
I believe it will all come out to around $1,600.
The flight from Manila back to the USA is the most expensive at $600.
This low price is due to the season that I’m traveling in — winter, when people work — and also budget airlines and what I would call quasi-budget airlines, which are basically slimmed down, cheap full service airlines (like Thai Lion and Malaysian Air).
I almost feel like a backpacker again…
Over the course of these travels I should tack on two new countries: Lebanon and Burma. This should bring me up to around 90 countries. I’m going to try to get 100 before the next year is out.
For the first decade or so of my travels I didn’t care too much about counting countries — I actually thought it was a sign of cool not to. But I eventually became aware of the benefit of crossing borders — even if only for a short time. I’ll put it this way: Anyone who says that borders are arbitrary and that culture and people are the same on both sides of one has obviously not crossed many borders in their time. Even the landscape, people, and accent of crossing the border between where I’m from in Buffalo, NY to Ontario, Canada is stark — and this is probably the most culturally continuous border that I’ve ever crossed. Life on each side of every border is different — stepping over the line and taking a look adds to your broader impression of the world we live in, which I suppose is ultimately the prime directive of travel.