That’s it; I’m taking a trip around the world

October 22, 2007

Seriously. Around the world in thirty days. Many of my close friends know of this little dream of mine already, but it’s showing the first signs of coming to fruition. For that month in between ending my job and starting law school, I’m going to pile clothes into a backpack and spend a month circling the globe.

I first got the idea when Anne encouraged me to visit her in China next summer. My first reaction was, “Yeah, a visit to China would be fun, but how can I justify the cost?” It then occurred to me that I hadn’t seen my uncle/godfather Todd (who lives in London) in almost a year, and that I hadn’t been to Europe since I was twelve (an age at which one can’t really appreciate all that the continent has to offer). Since my senior year of high school, I spent every summer working full time and every winter and spring break resting at home. Taking trips to exotic places was something I never really got to do. I’ve been to Mexico and Jamaica for either mission trips or vacations, but those hardly count as adventuring.

Yesterday Todd and I spoke for the first time in months. His being the CEO of Cadbury Schweppes makes not talking for a few months totally and easily forgiveable. My tentative trip plans came up, and he said that he’d be happy to host me while I was in London. With the city being the most expensive in the world, I’m definitely going to take him up on his offer 🙂 I then checked out airfare from here to London and also from Beijing to LAX – collectively, the tickets were less than a thousand bucks. Only a thousand to travel across two gigantic oceans. Hot diggity damn. I’m so doing this.

As it stands, here’s the plan:

1. In mid-to-late July, fly from Dulles to Heathrow and stay with Todd for a week. He’ll probably be occupied for the most part but will still have some time to venture out with me. Aside from taking copious amounts of photos of landmarks I adored when I lived in London as a wee lad (Big Ben being chief among them), I plan on spending plenty of time exploring pubs and walking about the city.

2. Buy an unlimited or 5-country railpass on a student-discounted rate and travel around Europe for two weeks, sleeping in hostels, feasting on cheap local food, and taking full advantage of the nightlife. This part of the plan is largely amorphous and will obviously require some more thought, but I’ve got a rough idea of the itinerary. I’ve never been to Spain and can kinda-sorta still speak Spanish, so Madrid or Barcelona would be the first stop. I don’t have much interest in visiting Paris (at least not as a single American), so I’d probably go from Spain to Italy and visit Venice, Florence, and Rome. Next, I’d take a train north through the Swiss alps and spend a few nights across several beer-soaked cities: Brussels, Amsterdam, and Munich. Mmmm, Belgian beer… and German beer from an authentic stein! Though apparently they don’t call it that (“stein” means literally means “rock” in German).

3. Visit Russia! Rail fare from Munich to Moscow is surprisingly cheap. The Russian embassy makes getting even a tourist visa a bit of a pain, but it shouldn’t be anything I can’t manage. I’d probably spend only a day or two there to visit some historic sites and museums.

4. Take the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Beijing. Five days of cramped, showerless, rustic travel across the largest country in the world. People who’ve braved the route have plenty of interesting stories to tell and mostly look back on the experience fondly. The lack of electrical outlets means no laptops or iPods will last longer than a few hours. After getting used to being so gizmo-dependent almost every hour of every day, being away from them for nearly a week will be an initially painful but largely welcome change. I’ll be sure to bring plenty of books, take lots of photos, and converse with as many sweatsuit-wearing east Europeans as I can.

5. Stay with Anne in Beijing for about a week. She swears that the city is dirt-cheap and awful fun to boot. There are plenty of places to visit, including temples and Tiananmen Square. Plus, I’ll be there during the Olympics! Ahh! The city will probably be a madhouse as a result, but man, there should be no shortage of excitement.

6. Fly from Beijing to Los Angeles and visit the Durfster for a few days. My last stay there was quite a lot of fun, and that was even with school in session. Plus I’ll have the chance again to visit a few friends that I hardly ever get to see otherwise.

7. Fly from Los Angeles back to DC, get furniture and other worldly possessions from storage, move to wherever my law school happens to be, move in to my new apartment, and start the semester!

Wow, I’m almost giddy with glee right now. It’s going to take saving almost every penny I earn from now until then and learning at least a few basic conversational phrases in Italian, German, Russian, and Mandarin, but I’m going to make this happen.

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One Response to “That’s it; I’m taking a trip around the world”

  1. anne said

    YES! That is such a killer, killer itinerary. I hadn’t thought about it being a round-the-world trip, but WOW, what an awesome idea! Are you sure you can’t do it in a balloon?

    Seriously yo. August 2008. China may never recover from this…

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