Travel By Numbers and Other Musings


I can hardly believe it, but three months ago today I arrived at my first destination – Vienna, Austria. I therefore feel it’s time for an update on the trip overall that’s less about what I’m getting up to day-to-day but how this whole thing is panning out!

Plane rides: 16
Train rides: 11
Boat/ferry rides: 11
Airlines flown: 10
Books read (not including travel guides!): 12
Mosquito bites (cumulative): 40 plus, easily!
Longest time without a shower: 3 days
Family members travelled with: 2
Times I have said I’m Canadian: Several
UNESCO sites visited: 14 (I thought I was doing great here…until I found out there are 897 more to see)
Dollars spent: About $4,500
Biggest local currency exchange rate to the dollar: $1 = 2080 Madagascar Ariary

-Carrying my entire life on my back has made me realize how little the average person needs to get by. However, even though I only ever have a maximum of three outfits to choose from, I still manage to agonize for far too long about what to wear. How did I make it to work every day with my entire wardrobe available to me each morning?

-There’s something about traveling that makes travelers feel compelled to have seriously deep conversations with one another and spill their deepest and darkest within moments of meeting. I suppose it’s a ‘ships that pass in the night,’ sort of thing, or strangers on a train. Then we remember about Facebook…

-I am not yet liberated enough to let go of my eyeliner, and I miss my high heels and my Marc Jacobs bag. There, I said it.

-If you don’t know how to drive a stick shift car (which I don’t), learn. It’s often all that’s available overseas and is much cheaper than hiring an automatic anyway.

-Toilet paper, baby wipes and plastic bags are sacred.

-Patience, patience, patience. I don’t know why it takes four people half an hour to examine my passport, or why taxi drivers just pull over to have a chat with their mates when I’m paying them to get somewhere, but these things are the gateways to all the things I want to do and see, so I must just chill out, max out, relax all cool…and wait.

-I appreciate even more how lucky I am to be both British and American and the opportunities that affords me.

-Sometimes, out of nowhere (like, when I’m buying soap or something), I miss home (both my homes, East and West) and all the people that I love and I get all teary. Then I remember I wouldn’t be here without them and feel so lucky. Then I get panicked about having to go home at all- what am I going to do with my life?! Then I remember that I MUST live in the moment. Then, after this roller coaster of emotions, I pick out the soap and move on.

-Sometimes time flies and sometimes the minutes seem to go on forever, but it goes just the same and it’s all I can do to just BE!

Susie Hughes
Susie Hughes is a UK transplant to the United States, moving from London to Connecticut as a teenager. For five years she worked in technology public relations in San Francisco, quietly putting money away into "The Travel Fund". In May 2010, Susie left San Francisco to realize a lifelong dream of an extended trip around the world - seven months visiting more than 20 countries on four continents.
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