Back. Trip done. And frankly, so is my mojo to write more for this blog, but some sort of conclusion I think is needed. So, concerning my trip, with nowhere now to look but retrospectively, where has it taken me?
To answer this question in the easiest manner, I would say 60,762 miles, to be precise. That equates to 2.5 trips around the world at the equator, or 17% of the way to the moon. On a more personal level, this meant in my year of travel I averaged 166 miles per day. And how did I do this?
With 652 different vehicles, to be precise. (My favorite was when I hitched a ride in the Ghanaian ambassador’s personal limousine in South Africa). It also took three pairs of shoes. So, for the contest, this means Luke wins with his guess of 420 vehicles, and my dad wins with his mileage guess of 53,205.
But, while these statistics tell you one story –that I traveled fast and furious for a good while– it brushes over the nuances of the land and the people I came into contact with. So, here are some more statistics:
Times Filmed For Television: 6 (Denmark 1, China 2, South Korea 3)
Village Chiefs: 4 (Ghana)
City Council Members: 5
Royal Counts: 1 (Namibia)
Haircuts to Swords Owned: 5 : 1
Times Cameras Were Broken: 6
Rooms lived: 72 (or a different room every 5.5 days for a year)
Times in Jail: 1 (Accidentally in Belarus)
Number of Acrobats Friends With: 7 (Shanghai, China)
Rugby Games Attended: 2 (South Africa)
Fights: 1.5 (South Africa, France)
Times Jumped into Amsterdam Canal: 1
Times Received Negative Response for Being American: 1 (Australian 40 Year-Old)
Times Had to Panhandle for Money to Legally Cross Into Zambia: 1
Fish Massages: 1, Tickled, Really Had to Pee (Cambodia)
Coldest Temperature: -37 F (Siberia, Russia)
Typhoid? Ty-fun! 1 (Ghana)
Familiar Faces: Friends Met I Knew BEFORE This Trip: 4
Goat Face (Ghana), Chicken Gizzards (South Africa), Ox Tongue (Russia), Gelatinous Bone Marrow (France), McDonald’s (Austria), Snake (China), Snake-Skin (China), Cold, Pickled Chicken Feet (China), Cooked Duck Head: Cold, Sliced Like an Apple (China), Horse Tongue (China), Fermented Chicken Embryos (Cambodia), Beef Intestine With Red Fire Ants: Cooked, Served With $1.5 Pitchers of Beer (Cambodia), Meal Actually Intended For 4: accidentally Ordered (China)
I’ve also spent a really long time putting together a well-synched video of my trip, but youtube won’t let me play it with audio. Apparently there are still these things called copyright laws. Anyways, here it is a little more bland and silent, but nonetheless representative of my life this past year in 3 minutes and 35 seconds (that’s 58 days a second, for the record).
Now comes the less glamorous and even harder portion of this experience, and that’s actually making this worth something more than just a heckuva’ experience. I mean, it would be pretty selfish to spend all of someone else’s money and to not make this investment payoff, right? Well, I’m preparing to enroll in the University of London Royal Holloway’s Geography program to study sustainable development, and I’m looking to tailor my education to focus on transportation of the poor. In the few weeks I’ve been back it’s been undeniably my time in Africa and Asia seeing how bikes are able to be a ‘up by your own boot straps’ approach to fostering development. So, while I guess this marks the end of the blog, it also heralds a whole new start towards my Watson odyssey.