I haven’t yet concocted a suitable epitaph for Spencer and my summer exploring the globe or written a grand essay about what it all means to me. There’s still a long list of potential blog posts in my journal, and someday soon, I hope to write a few more stories and put them up (along with mini travel guides for the places we went).
Until then, though, consider this my sign-off for the summer travel extravaganza. Here’s a bullet version of what we did this summer.
- Spent three months on the road, traveled in four foreign countries (Mexico, Italy, Vatican City, India), touched down in two others (Canada, Germany) and visited a total of 13 states or regions in the countries we went to (Oaxaca, Puebla, Mexico, DF, Veneto, Toscana, Lazia, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu)
- Took 12 flights, eight trains, 25 buses, 17 subways and metros, 12 ferries, innumerable taxis, autorickshaws and a few hikes to cover a total of 31,736 miles (51,071 km)
- Visited two of the world’s megacities, each with a combined urban population of over 20 million people (Mexico City and Mumbai)
- Lived out of a backpack with four t-shirts, one pair of pants, one skirt and four pairs of underwear
- Read a total of 21 books, mostly about the countries we visited (see them all here), left 11 of them on planes, in hotels or at libraries and bought another 11 while traveling
- Fell in love with tejate in Oaxaca, bhel puri in Mumbai and deepened my love for gnocchi in Italy
- Found myself in awe of how old human history is after seeing the Colosseum, the Taj Mahal, pre-Hispanic ruins at Teotihuacan and Zapotec ruins at Monte Alban
- Visited places where the native languages spoken include Spanish, Zapotec, Mixtec, Italian, German, Marathi, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada and Tamil
- Developed a renewed appreciation for the orderly roads in the U.S., but found myself wishing bidets and hoses in bathrooms were more common in the States
- Watched Maari, a Tamil movie, and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, a Hindi-language Bollywood movie, in theaters without subtitles and became obsessed with both of these songs:
- Traveled through 13 time zones, changed time zones seven times and had one day that lasted 31 hours (July 28).
- Met up with college friends on two continents, stayed with a friend’s relatives on a third and made new friends we hope to keep in touch with all over the world