So Many Numbers, So Many Favorites!

Nearly 4 months (16 weeks and 2 day or 114 days) later, we are finally home. Now that we are home and trying to get back to reality and settled into our life, we have been asked many questions regarding our favorite places on our trip.

Our trip emphasized quality over quantity – Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, Tibet, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and England. This means if you count Hong Kong and Tibet as separate countries, our journey took us to 10 foreign countries on 4 continents (as well as coming within 500 miles of Antarctica). In order to accomplish this, we flew on 25 flights (11 international, 12 domestic, 1 scenic and 1 helicopter), 2 overnight cruises, 9 day cruises and stayed in 47 different hotels in 45 different cities (not including London and staying with family). We had to pack for 4 seasons, travelled in 6 different time zones, paid with 11 different currencies with various exchange rates, and couldn’t speak 7 of the languages. WHEW!

After getting through all those impressive numbers (yes it took a while to figure all that out), we started thinking about some of our favorite things throughout our time abroad. Here is what we came up with.

Our favorite…:

City – definitely Buenos Aires… beautiful, clean, fun, culture… everything!

TorresDelPaine 139 Country – we had the best time in Chile – the scenery, horseback riding, hiking, food, wine and culture were all amazing. Cambodia comes a close 2nd for me but while I’d love to visit Cambodia again and would recommend it to everyone, I would love to have a vacation home in Chile… I could go back again and again…

Food – Raj and I disagree about this one – I liked Vietnamese or perhaps Thai food the best, but Raj preferred the food in China though I didn’t particularly enjoy all the oily sauces (we do agree that Tibet was the worst food – I will not be disappointed if I’m never confronted with Yak meat again).

Airline – after all those flights we have some clear preferences. we might have a tie between LAN and British Airways – if you took LAN’s media and BA’s seating and food, you’d have the perfect airline.

nz 070 Beach – Cape Foulwind in New Zealand – the surf was incredible and we saw seals and other lovely wildlife – and we were all alone (except for the 1 random person we ran into who took the photo on the left) – so nice!

Hotel – Park Hyatt Saigon was my hands down favorite until we stayed at the Intercontinental Bangkok (our last hotel) – that was pretty darn nice too; it even had a humidor bar in addition to its rooftop pool and amazing gym. It was a very nice splurge to finish off Southeast Asia.

Non-hotel accommodation – Helena’s home in Futaleufu with the long pastures, rivers and horses – she was also an amazing cook and they introduced us to mate. We stayed in their guest cabin that they had built themselves to be like a huge tree-house. It was fantastic!

Week – horseback riding in Futaleufu, Chile – it simply can’t be beat

Cruise 005 Sunrise– the sunrise on the cruise in southern Patagonia where we woke up to the sound of of seals splashing and the red glow of the sun was so lovely- not only the nicest of the trip, but the nicest I can remember ever.

Sunset – with Brian and Eleanor in Dunedin when we saw seals and penguins was gorgeous and we had so much fun.

Culture – Cambodians were lovely and we enjoyed the unique dancing and authentically friendly people

Sky – Tibet – we were clearly closer to it than usual and the color and the clouds were spectacular.

SDC12375 Temple –I can’t even count how many we saw and many were nice, although at some point they all blend together. Angkor Wat, however, was quite extraordinary.

Shopping/market – Hong Kong night market, with a very close Beijing as second with its snack street.

Currency/exchange rate – Cambodia…. and they accept US dollars as well as Riel

Nightlife – ok, this one is obvious – BA

New friend – Romi is best entertainer (in BA) and Fabian in Futaleufu – though Fabian isn’t returning our emails 😦 maybe he didn’t feel the same way – really sucks because we were hoping to plan another trip with him).

Transportation – Hong Kong was the most impressive and easiest to use.

Local Drink – we tried many local beers, teas, mate, pisco sours, local wines. I still crave Stella Artois from BA (it just tastes better – can’t explain it, must be the water it is bottled with there)

As you can see, for the most part, Raj and I agree on the answers; we also agree that this trip changed our perception on travel as a whole. We had wanted to travel to places that we might have a harder time travelling to in the future when we have kids. Now that we did this trip, we realize that while some places will surely be easier with kids, no place will be out of reach. Furthermore, we have completely changed perceptions of what a “long flight” or a “long drive” entails.

A huge thanks to all of you who have followed our blog (by the way, at the time of posting, you may be interested in knowing a few more numbers – we had 1645 number of page views and 756 visits in 19 countries!)

Also, a special thanks to my parents for unexpectedly watching our crazy dogs and making sure our house was ok – we still can’t believe how much you were willing to do, and so graciously. With your help, we were able to explore the world without worrying about what was going on at home.

We leave you with a few of our favorite quotes regarding travel:

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

“The world is a book and those that do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

and my favorite: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

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4 thoughts on “So Many Numbers, So Many Favorites!

  1. wow! thats amazing!! some question friends of mine asked were, how much on average would a four month trip like the one you guys have done set you back? Did you have a budget to start with and did you stick to it or did you blow it or did you underspend? Also which was the most expensive city and which was the cheapest city to visit? Last question, if you had the chance to go back and redo the trip,is there any place you would not go back to?

    Su

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  2. Hey Su! It's hard to say how much a trip would cost on average because everyone travels differently and has different priorities. I think the main financial challenge someone faces when planning a trip like ours (at our age) has more to do with NOT receiving a salary while you are away. I think it is possible to do a similar world tour with a reasonable amount of savings – the OneWorld flight tickets we bought start at about $6,000 US for economy and depending on how you travel, the flights are the main expense. We splurged a bit on some hotels but VERY cheap accomodations are available all over the world if you have flexible expectations. If you are willing to eat at local restaurants, then meals can cost just a couple of dollars.

    We had a loose monthly and overall budget and stayed about on track – actually came out ahead because we skipped Japan and instead went to Cambodia and Vietnam (both of which were incredibly cheap in accomodation and food). We spent more than expected in Chile but it was by choice as we got excited about our trip and simply fell in love with the country and all it had to offer – we just couldn't resist living it up while there. The cruise and our hotel in Torres del Paine were incredibly pricy, but we made up for it while in New Zealand so it was worth it.

    There is no place I would refuse to return to, but if I had another chance at a four month tour, I can think of many other places I'd like to experience!
    Tovah

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  3. Wow. An amazing end blog to what seems like an amazing journey! Finally had the chance to read through it all, and all I can say is.. I'M JEALOUS!

    Loved having you down in london 😦 Wish you could have stayed longer.

    Hopefully I can come see you guys soon! And my future cousin 😀

    Maha

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