We haven't left yet but 3 days from now we return to the skies to travel half way around the world to Thailand (with a brief stop in South Korea).
The adventure officially begins when we land on January 14. We love to share our experiences with you and see your messages follow us around so keep the messages coming and we'll update you as often as technology allows!
In the mean time to get things started... a list every world traveller should have, so I bring you mine... so far. (Jana's is still in progress)
Confessions of an International Traveler
- I made the decision to travel overseas for the first time as an adult because of a rock concert.
- I spend as much per year on travel as I do on groceries.
- Every single time I go to Europe I debate trading in my car for a Vespa…and then remember I'd die in a traffic fatality in 6 seconds thanks to NOVA/DC traffic.
- I convinced an airline attendant to upgrade me to business class on a DC to Iceland flight because I'm tall.
- I convinced a different airline attendant to upgrade me to business class on a DC to Tokyo flight because I had food poisoning. I later set off a Japanese "body temperature scanner" in the airport meant to detect infections in passengers.
- I like grocery shopping in countries where I can't read the labels and have to guess what I am buying.
- I bought a Slurpee in Singapore…twice.
- I tried to buy a Slurpee in Japan…they don't know what a Slurpee is in Japan.
- I enjoy doing my laundry at a laundromat in Europe but wouldn't go near one in the US.
- I ate at a McDonald's in India.
- I drank unpasteurized milk in India…and paid the price.
- I bartered a 78% discount on a cashmere scarf in an Indian Bazaar.
- I refused to pay a greedy "tour guide" a $20 fee for a 30 minute walk on the basis that his cost of living was lower and therefore his hourly wage should be lower than mine, in the Dominican Republic.
- I've seen a person with leprosy.
- I have eaten foods I couldn't identify or pronounce in more than one country.
- I paid $36 for a doctor to come to my hotel, give a private consultation and send a boy to the pharmacy to bring me unmarked mystery pills. Which I took.
- I skipped a trip to ride elephants in Mysore because of food poisoning.
- I crashed a Muslim wedding in Bangalore…sort of. I then took photos with the bridal party.
- I saw the Eiffel Tower light up on Bastille Day, surrounded by fireworks and 3 million people and thought "still looks like a giant oil rig."
- I ate at a Subway in Helsinki. And ordered half in English and half in Finnish.
- I got my industrial piercing at a rock and metal festival in Turku, Finland in a tent on a beach.
- I got ripped off for $150 by a Romanian cab driver and his buddy.
- I drank orange water from rotting pipes in Bucharest.
- I sang Irish drinking songs at a pub with the staff of the US consulate in Romania.
- I camped in a tent in a terrible thunderstorm outside Dracula's castle.
- I shook up at least 10 bottles of carbonated water in various convenience stores across Scandinavia, then put them back on the shelf when I realized they were not still water. (Sorry, later purchasers)
- I went to Vienna, Austria and didn't try schnitzel or Sacher torte.
- I've been to Bruges, Belgium twice, both times as an excuse to drink too much lambic.
- I nearly got Typhoid…in Aruba.
- I went to Amsterdam but went to a coffee shop instead of Anne Frank's house.
- I stayed in a hotel that included a notice warning guests that if they leave their balcony doors open they will be responsible for any items stolen from the mini bar by monkeys. My friend had to pay for Pringles stolen by monkeys.
- I spent less than an hour in the Louvre. But I did see the Mona Lisa.
- I got cursed by a hijra.
- I went parasailing in Indonesia.
- I rode on the Helsinki tram system without paying…2 or 3 times.
- I paid $60 for a Hard Rock Café t-shirt for a friend just because it said Stockholm on it.
- I paid $25 for a Jack Daniel's burger at TGI Friday's in Stockholm because Jana was tired of "terrible Scandinavian food".
- I made a friend when an elderly Finnish man found me snoring loudly on the bench of a cruise ship.
- I've seen the midnight sun.
- I've argued with a customs official on a train in the middle of the night in Hungary.
- I've been ziplining in Mexico where I hit part of a tree.
- I've survived a 90 minute Thai "massage" in Indonesia for $11. It's something akin to being beaten by someone much smaller than you.
- I walked 3 miles in a downpour with 55 lbs of luggage on my back to catch a departing cruise ship.
- I attempted to learn the flying trapeze in Singapore.
- I spent almost as much time watching MTV in my apartment in Prague as I did sightseeing.
- I've translated a conductor's warning about train strikes from Flemish to English.
- I drank absinthe in Prague and then gave the bottle and my remaining money to a teenager stranded in an airport in Romania.
- I carried painted Easter eggs through 3 countries in my backpack without breaking a single one.
- I participated in the french fry stand off in Bruges between two families who have been fighting for greatness for generations. (The family on the right wins)
- I climbed to the top of the Belfry in Bruges, Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, Notre Dame in Paris, the Powder Tower in Praque and St. Stephens in Budapest. I paid for this right and complained the whole time while making Jana go with me.