For those of you who know me personally, you will not be surprised that we have been home for over four months and I’m just now posting the summary of our year abroad. The highlights will be from the last 6 months and the stats will be for the whole trip. We are happy to be home and enjoying all of the comforts here, but it was an amazing year and truly a trip of a lifetime. The kids came home and went right back to their old life with family, friends, bike riding, video games ……Les and I were more reflective and were a bit sad that something that was 10 years in the planning was now over. We hope to continue to travel and explore the world, but we will never again get to experience our family or the world in the way that we did this past year.
We are especially appreciative that we were able to stay with friends during our journey. In the second half of our trip we would like to thank Keiko and Paul for hosting us in Japan, Jennifer and Steve for hosting us in New Zealand, Kristi and JD for hosting in Chile, twice!, Jenn and Tim for meeting up with us in Auckland and to Kim and Tom for joining us in Costa Rica. Sharing our travels with friends and family just makes it more special. Here are some highlights of our trip since the 6-month update, in chronological order. To see highlights from the first 6 months visit my post 6 months Summary – Half way.
>Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and having a sea turtle swim right past me.
>Visiting Milford sound in southern New Zealand. Spectacular scenery.
>Watching the kids at horse camp in New Zealand. It was great to see them play with other kids and interact with the horses.
> Swimming and sailing in the Bay of Island in New Zealand. The place is like a postcard and we were able to “swim” with dolphins.
>We spent five weeks in New Zealand and it’s hard to relate all of the amazing things that we saw in such a beautiful country. But in addition to the places mentioned above, we also enjoyed Able Tasman NP, Waitoma Glowworm caves, Wellington, Auckland, Lake Wanaka and much more.
>Visiting Perito Moreno Glacier in southern Argentina. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
>Whitewater rafting on Rio Petrohue near Puerto Varas, Chile. Super fun and spectacularly beautiful.
>Our favorite city that we spent time in was Buenos Aires, Argentina. A fun city with a European flare. Excellent food, beautiful architecture and lots of fun things to do.
>Staying at an estancia near Salta, Argentina. Interesting horseback rides through the countryside. Also, we met some really nice people from all around the world. Good wine, good food, good friends, good fun.
>Hiking around Macchu Pichu early in the morning. Not a surprise that it is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
>Sleeping in a treehouse in the Manu Rainforest in Peru. A very “unique” experience for us.
>Zip-lining and rappelling in the rainforest in Costa Rica. I did not think I would be able to do this, but with a little encouragement from the family, I made it and it was really fun.
>Staying at an amazing house by the beach near Quepos in Costa Rica. What a pleasure stay in such comfortable accommodations. What a way to end the trip!
End of Trip Stats
- Continents: 6
- Countries visited: 26; Iceland, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Turkey, Greece, Tanzania, United Arab Eremites, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica.
- Transit cities/countries (where we only were in the airport or passed through on the train): Copenhagen, Slovenia, Northern Ireland, Qatar, Muscat, Kuala Lampur, San Salvador.
- Days: 348 days
- Planes: 49 flights
- Total Miles: 57,578 miles
- Air miles: 47,180
- Train miles: 1,455
- Road miles: 8,943
Places we slept:
- Apartments/Villas: 28
- Friends’ Homes: 8
- Cabanas: 7
- Holiday Parks cabins: 6
- Red Eye Flights: 5
- Farmhouses/ranches: 2
- Hostels: 3
- Tents: 1
- Motorhomes: 2
- Beach Bungalows: 2
- Barn: 1
- Tree Houses: 1
- Village Home-stays: 1
- Houseboats: 1
- “Sleeper” Trains: 1
- Rental Cars: 15
- Trains: 8
- Buses: 5
- Ferries/boats: 19
- Subways/trollies/local trains: 11
- Audio tours/walking tours/guided day trips: 44
- Cooking Classes: 2
- Museums/Cathedrals/Temples/Ruins: too many to count
Longest Flight: March 4, Auckland, New Zealand to Santiago, Chile 6,025 miles,11 hour and 20 minute non-stop flight
Longest day of travel: June 18. San Jose, Costa Rica to San Francisco, CA, USA 12 hour and 45 minute day of travel, 7 hours and 25 minutes flying and a 5 hour and 20 minute layover in San Salvador. (our last flight)
Most legs of a flight: Tie December 4, Despensar, Bali to Kuala Lampur, Malaysia to Bangkok, Thailand to Chang Mai, Thailand. A 10 hour and 20 minute day of travel. 6 hours and 15 minutes flying and 4 hours and 5 minutes layover time. January 10, Phu Quock, Vietnam to Saigon, Vietnam to Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, to Osaka, Japan. A 11 hour and 55 minute day of travel. 8 hours and 55 minutes of flying and 3 hours of layovers.
Best Airlines We found that most flights outside of the US and Europe are quite comfortable and the service is like it used to be here 20 years ago. We received food and drinks included in our ticket on all flights, even those less than an hour and none charged for checked baggage. But our best flights were on Emirates and Qatar Airlines. Our worst flight was on Icelandic Air. We had a 6 hour flight from Seattle to Reykjavik and they ran out of food for purchase, so we had cookies and crackers. They only came by once with drinks…..
Longest Bus Ride: April 22 Salta, Argentina to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile 12 hours, 266 miles.
Longest Train Ride: December 17 Chiang Mai, Thailand to Bangkok, Thailand 14 hours, 360 miles.
Longest Ferry Ride: October 4 Piraeus (Athens), Greece to Naxos, Greece. 5 hours 20 minutes, 126 miles.
Highest elevation : Paso de Jama over the Andes between Salta, Argentina and San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. 14,173 feet. We just drove through here, but we really felt the altitude We especially felt the effects of high altitude in Cusco, Peru 11,200 feet, we stayed there for 7 days and we had to climb up a steep hill and 3 flights of stairs to get to our hotel room.
Lowest elevation: We never actually got below sea level, except when snorkeling. We were very close to an area below sea level when we were in Kerela, India.
Destination furthest North: Grundorfjorour, Iceland Destination furthest South: Punta Arenas, Chile
Destination furthest from Home: Zanzibar, Tanzania 9,966 miles from San Francisco.
Oldest place visited: The Parthenon, Athens, Greece 447BC
Newest Place visited: We’re not 100% sure, we know that the Westfield Stratford City Mall in London was built for the 2012 Olympics, but we saw lots of brand new buildings in Dubai. Everything there is new and very modern.
Glaciers visited: 4 – Iceland, New Zealand, Switzerland and Argentina.
Rain forests visited: 6 – Thailand, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica
Notable bodies of water explored: Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, Adriatic Sea, Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Coral Sea, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Bali Sea, Hawaki Gulf, Gulf of Thailand, Bay of Islands, Cooks Strait, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Strait of Magellan, Petrohue River, Manu River, River Elb, Danube River, Vltava River, Lake Geneva, Plitvice Lakes, Mekong River, Mossman River, Lake Wanaka. We dipped our toes in many other locations.