It’s been three months since I started my journey, which means I’m approximately half way there (and Livin’ on a Prayer – sorry, had to…). Overall, I’ve seen some amazing things, have traveled way too fast and am still looking forward to more!
Here’s some insights from month three:
- Can’t Stop. Won’t stop. I’m just go-go-go by nature. Getting a little tired as I’ve been sick for the past week or so, but there are things to do and people to see! Croatia is country 13 for me! I’m not sure when I’ll see House of Cards or read my first non-travel related book, but in the next month, I’ll see my mom, sister and friend Richelle. I’ll also visit Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Greece.
- Living in and loving the same clothes. I get a little bored of my clothes every so often and pick up something new, although I don’t think I’ve bought anything in the past month. As I’ve been going back between cold and hot weather, it hasn’t been as much of an issue. I had my first bout of lost luggage – from Switzerland to Bosnia – but fortunately got my bag back the next day. Swiss did much better than American did earlier this year. I’m working on a post about my must haves and just leaves that I’ll share shortly.
- Traveling while sick. Apparently I’m allergic to cold weather. That is my only explanation for my minor sniffles in Scotland and Iceland and my now major something (sore throat, headache, body aches) in Ireland and Switzerland. After a week, I’m finally starting to get my voice back, but still really tired (perhaps I need to not go-go-go so much?). I’ve now learned the price of Ibuprofen in many countries, and really miss being able to walk into a drug store, convenience store or just about any store to pick it up. Here in Europe, you need to go to a pharmacy. Also, the “Sudafed” equivalent of the stuff behind the counter in the U.S. is about four-times as strong per pill, so I spent a good amount of time cutting the pills so that I wouldn’t have a heart attack or be up all night! Been different from my tummy troubles in Morocco, but I’m ready to start feeling better! In case you are wondering about the costs for Ibuprofen (approximately 10 doses):
- UK about $5.50
- Switzerland $11.50 in Switzerland
- Bosnia $4
- Itinerary changes. I mentioned last month that I was going to shift my itinerary around so that I’d have more time in Europe. I’ve made those changes and now head to Japan from Vienna on October 1. I had to vastly trim down the sites in Asia, but will still be visiting Kyoto, Tokyo, Bali, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia. Let me know if you have any tips, recommendations and places to stay or eat!
- Traveling while Female. Although I’ve been treated with respect in most places, there are still times when you recognize that you’re not getting the service, or respect, you deserve because you’re not only a female, but a female traveling solo. I’ve literally been looked over in lines, walked in front of at restaurants and told that I don’t know what I’m talking about by hotel staff. You can imagine this didn’t go over well, but like Taylor Swift, I’ve managed to Shake it Off (with a few choice words under my breath).
- Favorite places. Many have asked what my favorite places have been, and it’s really hard to say.
- I loved my time in Puglia. It’s such a beautiful, unspoiled place and I loved the guesthouse where I stayed there.
- I was also pleasantly surprised by Iceland. I thought it may have already hit its peak, but it was beautiful and well-organized.
- I had a very eye-opening visit to Bosnia, which puts life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness into great perspective. I’ll share more on that when I’m feeling better.
- Places I don’t need to return to. There’s places that click with you and there’s places that you count your days till you leave. Fortunately I haven’t experienced a ton of them, but I will say I’m in no hurry to return to Oslo (although I do want to see the fjords) and I don’t see myself back in Marrakech (although other parts of Morocco were awesome).
- Places I’d like to see more of. My nephew and I had a great time in Ireland and Belfast. But there’s so much more of Ireland that I didn’t get to see. Also, Jen and I loved Scotland, but definitely didn’t have enough time in Edinburgh or to see the other gems like Stirling.
- Where are you from? I get asked this question daily. Without a voice, I’ve been pegged as an American each time! Apparently my six-pack a day squawk, screams New York! However, when I have a voice, I’ve been asked if I am: Italian, Spanish, French, German, Turkish, Moroccan, Portuguese, Canadian, British, Irish (really ?) and Maltese. And I love it! When people find out I’m American (no I’m not saying I’m Canadian), they always have questions about Trump, but most have not been rude (sans the Portuguese-Moroccan and South African who used a lot of colorful language wondering how he got elected).
- Still miss my animal(s). I know I’m going to say this every month. I went two weeks without petting a kitty and it was very tough! Thankfully, we visited a farm outside of Dublin where there was a mama cat and her kittens. It was me and a six year old in the pen… yep. #crazyforcats
- Still having fun, but would like to slow down. I love all that I’m getting to see. It’s been amazing. But after three months with about 4-5 days “off” it does get a little tiring. For anyone looking to travel around the world, I recommend building in days off and trying not to see as much as I have in the last three months!
Three months by the numbers
- Miles walked – Approximately 120 (approximate total for three months 421)
- Different hotels/B&Bs/apartments/tents/rooms/riads/guest houses– 11 (total of 37
- Currencies – (10) — Israeli Shekel, Jordan Dinar, Euros, Moroccan Dihram, British Pounds, Icelandic Krona (although not in cash), Norweigan Krone (also not in cash), Swiss Francs, Bosnian Marks and Croatian Kuna and the occasional US Dollar in Morocco and Jordan
- Languages spoken (or I attempted to speak) – English, Hebrew, Arabic, Berber, Italian, French, Icelandic, Norwegian, Maltese, Gaelic, German, Bosnian, Croatian.
- Pictures taken – 5,500+ on my iPhone. I sent my real camera back home. No sense weighing me down if I’m not going to use it.
- Countries visited – Israel, Jordan, France, Morocco, Italy, England, Scotland, Iceland, Norway, Malta, Ireland (including Northern Ireland), Switzerland, Bosnia, Croatia
- Most common word used to describe U.S. President Trump – Idiot (not kidding here… I hear it over and over).
As I head into month four, would love any thoughts on Japan, Bali, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia.
I did what you’re doing 35 years ago, traveling to eastern and western Europe at the time. Things were not as easy as they are now, with the cold war still going on and travel to the east just opening up. The Berlin Wall was scary, but East Berlin was charming. Prague and Budapest were exquisite and I do so want to return.
I understand your burnout. At times you get overloaded on site seeing and being on the road. Push on and keep going. Exploring the world on your terms and on your own is the greatest adventure, and you’ll cherish it forever.