Painting 9 Months by Number

As we slowly adjust to life back home in Chicago, we wanted to continue to revisit our travels either with posts about specific adventures that we either didn’t have the time or Internet connection to explore properly at the time or with posts about adjusting to life at home and/or trying to rediscover the joys of gainful employment. This post, however, is none of these. It’s designed to be a kind of fun look at some of the parts of our trip that we could put into numbers. This is also one that we would love to have additional ideas for. So if anyone has any questions in the “how many times did you…” vein, we would love to answer them in the comments.

54,872 / 88,310

The number of miles/kilometers we traveled during our trip, and if anything it is a conservative estimate because I couldn’t figure out the exact distances of most of our hikes and many of our day trips. For the sake of comparison the circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles, which means we traveled more than two times around the world. Looks like we earned the name of this blog! 20140814-163913-59953992.jpg


Number of days we were on the road. We spent the most time in Argentina – 81 days. We spent the least time in Laos – 8 days.


Number of days since our last decent burrito. Seriously, there just aren’t good burritos in South America and we really didn’t feel like South Africa or Southeast Asia would offer better options. It’s a common misconception that quality versions of this Mexican-American food is available throughout Latin America. This simply isn’t true. Even in Guatemala, where tacos were somewhat common, burritos were virtually unheard of. In South America – good luck. It’ll be good to be back in the Land of Burritos full time!


The number of different specific types of beer we tried. Argentina led the way with 29 different kinds of beer including a large number of craft beers that were popular in Patagonia (and one or two in Buenos Aires). Our favorite brewery was probably Antares which appeared in several different Argentinian cities but the best beer we had was the Manush IPA from Bariloche. It didn’t hurt that we both love IPAs and that the Manush IPA was the only one we had in 9+ months.  20140815-114914-42554080.jpg


Different types of transportation. It wasn’t just planes, trains, and automobiles. We also took tuk tuks, ferries, slow boats, motorbikes, bicycles, funiculars, kayaks, and zip lines. 20140814-164257-60177586.jpg


Haircuts – all for me (Mike). Anna is growing her hair out for future donation and I just wanted to see what would happen if I grew out my rapidly thinning hair for a while. Consider that a failed experiment.


Times we slept in bunk beds. Although these nights were typically spent among other travelers in dorm rooms we also visited a couple of places where the private two-person room was a bunk bed. Once, we even stayed in different dorm rooms in the same hostel because the dorm rooms were separated by gender. Sadly, we only picked up two or three entertaining stories about our dorm room experiences. But those stories were pretty good.


Countries visited. This doesn’t include our airport stops in Mexico, Brazil, India, and the United Arab Emirates because sitting around an airport doesn’t count as visiting a country.


Route: Click here to see where we went!


Games of gin/rummy played. Obviously our game of choice. When playing the 7-card version Anna wins about 65% of the time, but those numbers reverse when we play the 10-card version. We have no explanation for the difference since it’s basically the same game.


Games of euchre played. This would have been our game of choice if we could play with two people. Luckily for us, we spent a nice long time with our friends Pam and Craig with whom we share an incurable euchre addiction. Anna and Craig won a strong majority of the games against the other two people who will remain nameless. 20140814-170231-61351241.jpg


Games of kings/kings cup/circle of death played. We think there were four, but the memories are a bit fuzzy.


Different languages heard. If you’re curious: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Zulu, Polish, Hindi, Arabic, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese, Welsh, Swahili, Korean, Khmer. There’s a near certainty that we heard more than this but didn’t recognize them enough to add them to the list. Either way, we could have used one of those earpieces UN delegates use.


Number of great white sharks we saw during our shark experience according to our expert captain, Chris Fallows. We couldn’t tell the difference between all of them but he could, which was almost as amazing as the sharks themselves. 20140814-165620-60980698.jpg


Books we read during our trip. Yes, I’m well aware that we had more types of beer than books read, but the beers don’t take that long to drink. One of the great benefits of hostel living is the book exchanges that many of them have where you can swap out your books for new ones. We picked up some true winners at these swaps, which both saved us money and expanded our horizons. The all-stars of the book exchanges were HHhH by Laurent Binet, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks, and Little Chapel on the River by Gwendolyn Bounds. We recommend all of them highly!


Number of travel books purchased. This is not to say we didn’t use travel books, but we didn’t spare any ounces in our packs for Lonely Planet or the like. Most of the good information we needed was online and with wifi everywhere that’s where we pulled most of our information. We also used fellow travelers as resources, both in conversations and through blogs like this one. Many hostels also had (usually outdated) travel guides on hand that we could flip through while we were making dinner. Hostel staff was another terrific source of recommendations, both for things to visit nearby and for other towns we would like to see. The days of wanting to visit Italy and then rushing out to buy the Fodor’s Italy guide appear to be ending if not over.


Friends and family who visited. We are lucky and grateful for their support. 20140815-120522-43522577.jpg 20140815-115952-43192825.jpg 20140815-120207-43327170.jpg 20140815-120231-43351971.jpg

4,222 / 13,851

The number of meters / feet at the highest point we hiked to. We did visit higher altitudes on a bus, but that hardly seems the same. Scrambling over rocks at that height isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but the views were worth it. 20140815-115341-42821472.jpg


Number of futbol (soccer) games attended. This stands out not because we went to two games but because this equals the number of hockey and baseball games we watched combined. If you know our love for those sports and how much time we spend watching them at home, this is a pretty remarkable thing. If you don’t know us that well, you’ll just have to take our word for it. 20140815-120848-43728500.jpg


Number of pictures taken during our trip. This does not include many pictures captured on our iphones – only those taken and uploaded with our point and shoot Panasonic and Sony cameras and a few borrowed photos from our visitors and friends on the road. We hope you’ve enjoyed viewing them as much as we (Anna) enjoyed taking them. To see our entire Flickr collection, Click here!

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