I have no idea where the time went. It feels as though it was just a few months ago, that I was wracking my brain for the perfect name for my blog. I guess I can chalk it up to ‘Time Flies When You’re Having Fun’. I’ve been through quite a lot during that time, and I’ve enjoyed sharing my life with you, my readers.
We’ve been on quite a few adventures together. Let’s take a quick look at what we’ve been through for the past 36 months:
We stuffed our faces and drank quite a few beers while traveling through Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia & Malaysia.
We then flew to Europe and admired the stunning architecture which varied from city to city, and country to country:
After jaunting through Europe, we took a well deserved break… before sailing the Caribbean Sea on a 40 foot yacht!
Did some local travels in my home country of Antigua… (mostly beaches and more beaches..!):
Then I took you guys with me to Trinidad and Tobago for seven months while I studied abroad!
Soon, After I took a trip to Venezuela… My very first South American Country. I can’t wait to go back to the Continent!
I then returned to Europe where we visited Italy for a second time, a quick stop in London, before crossing the Atlantic to Canada and Miami. Which brings us to 2014, which saw us battling massive snow storms in New York and meeting my godson in Grenada for the very first time.
I am really happy to have connected with you guys, whether by your many comments (over 600!) or the countless ‘likes’ on my posts. The journey is far from over, so I hope you’ll stick around for the ride! Thanks, thanks, and many thanks!!!
This trip was everything that I dreamed it would be. And more. When I think back, I remember all the emotions I went through from the very moment the idea came to me, to the moment I boarded my first flight and left everything that I knew behind. Taking the leap was frightening, exciting and truly an adventure. The planning was time-consuming, stressful at times and annoying when things just weren’t adding up. Now, all of it was worth it in the end.
For seven months, I basically killed my social life. Saving for a RTW trip in less than a year was no easy task, and I think I gave the cartoon character Scrooge a run for his money. I stayed home constantly, I barely ate out at restaurants and it sucked having to tell my friends ‘No’ to offers of a night on the town. Going out then was equal to spending the money which I would need for plane tickets, accommodation and a subway ride on my big trip. It was really hard. Hard like diamonds. However, it was necessary and I stuck to it. After all the hard work, I finally met my savings goal and a dream was turned into a reality.
This trip underwent over 6 months of back-breaking research. I say back-breaking, because of the hundreds of hours spent hunched over my Macbook Pro searching for information online, or just simply browsing through the countless numbers of travel blogs scattered all over the World Wide Web. Everything from finding out what exactly hostels were, to visa requirements and the cost of taxis in each country I would be visiting was typed into my beloved Google. Thankfully, everything worked out. Even some of my random search entries proved to be of help. Like I said in a previous post, I wasn’t planning on visiting Innsbruck, Austria but when all the trains from Italy to Switzerland were sold out, I knew from my research that Innsbruck could be a great stop on the way over and the idea worked out great! I had countless spreadsheet documents with all budget figures, from accommodation costs per day, to my splurge fund which included the entrance fee to the Angkor Temples and my trip to the Swiss Alps. Being organized and prepared helps!
The destinations which I visited were all pretty great. Each of them offered something different, something memorable. Sometimes, it’s what I did there that made the visit awesome, while in other countries, it was the interesting people who I met that made the trip special. In Cambodia, the people were the best part of the country. From my Angkor Complex tuk tuk driver who shared lunch with me, and stories about his family, to a random local on the bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh who talked with me for over 3 hours made me fall in love with the country. I would be in a tuk tuk at a traffic light in Phnom Penh, and everyone would just be smiling and waving at me. I was made to understand that this was due to the fact that I was a young black woman, something that they apparently weren’t used to seeing, and a little girl actually called me Michelle Obama! I can’t count the number of smiles I received during my short stay.
The food in Italy was awesome. I loved everything from the pastas to the delicious gelato! The highlight of Slovenia was the view at the top of the Old Bell Tower, after huffing and puffing up the hundreds of stairs, and nothing compared to the beauty of the Swiss Alps. I loved my bike trip from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Speaking of Venice, the floating city of Venice in Italy was absolutely spectacular, and I will never forget being lost in the many alleys in the cold Fall weather. Singapore and Malaysia were a brilliant contrast after the countries of Vietnam and Cambodia with their modern architecture and fashionable locals. You get the point!
Top 3 countries in no particular order: Cambodia, Switzerland, Italy.
Countries covered: 10 (USA, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland)
Cities visited: 14
Cheapest destination: Vietnam
Most expensive destination: Switzerland
Cheapest accommodation: Saigon Backpackers in Vietnam: $7
Most expensive accommodation: La Quinta Inns & Suites in Los Angeles, USA: $104
Cheapest activity: Sightseer Bus tour in Innsbruck, Austria: $4
Most expensive activity: Day at Mount Titlis, Switzerland: $150
Types of transportation used: 6 (plane, bus, metro, taxi, boat, tuk tuk, motodop, bicycle)
Number of flights taken: 11
Number of buses taken: 20
Number of metro trips: 9
Number of taxis: 3
Number of boats: 1
Number of tuk tuks taken: 8
Number of motodop rides: 1
Number of bicycle rides: 1
Cheapest meal: $1.50
Most expensive meal: $21
Flights almost missed: 2
Cash spent on laundry: $3
Visa costs: $20 Cambodia, $50 Vietnam + $25 visa online fee = $95
Cost of Mediterranean cruise: $598
Total cost of flights: $1350 (Two award flights: Antigua to LA and Switzerland to Antigua)
Top Photo From Each Country
Planning this RTW trip took a lot of effort, sleepless nights and many sacrifices, but it’s one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. This doesn’t have to be a once in a lifetime experience, but it will forever hold a special place in my heart. The world is a beautiful place, and we are all global citizens. Get out there and see this world for yourself! Happy Travels!
The 4th country on my RTW trip was Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon to be specific. The city definitely had an up and coming metropolitan feel to it, definitely more so than Cambodia. I’m more of a countryside individual as opposed to a city lover, so I only stayed two full days there.
Regardless of my short time constraint, I managed to do quite a bit of sightseeing. After experiencing the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh, needless to say I wasn’t up to see anything pertaining to war. I wasn’t really interested in doing the touristy Mekong Delta tour either. So what else could I have possibly done? Simple. I took a city map, and took it to the streets!
I quickly found out a few things. If you stand out, touts will harass you about everything from motodop taxi rides to a pair of fake sunglasses. Thankfully, this sort of thing doesn’t really get to me really, so it didn’t scare me off track. Secondly, the traffic in Saigon is beyond ridiculous! I had to cross roads with many moving motos and pray that I would make it to the other side in one piece. If there is one thing that a traveller can do in SE Asia that will cause an adrenaline rush… is to cross one of these streets!
Here are a few photos from my walk:
All in all, it was a short yet sweet trip to Saigon. I met lots of other travelers and chatted with a few locals as well. Turned out that two German girls had a flight just 1 hour before mine, so we decided to share a taxi to the airport, booked through our hostel.