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This is your ticket around the world

By Thushan Amarasiriwardena | 16 Comments » January 9th, 2008

Seriously, this around the world ticket is for you. Over the next eight months, we’re going to be trekking through six continents, more than thirty nations, tens of thousands of miles – and we’re packing you in our bags for the ride. Stuffed in our packs, we’re bringing three cameras, two laptops and a video camera, enabling us to beam back the trip to you, in real time, on a near daily basis.

You’ll be exploring the hustle and bustle of Mexico City streets, dancing to bhangra beats in India, feeling the parched soils of the Middle East and sunbathing on the mega beaches of Brazil. And you’ll be able to experience all of these diverse countries and cultures with nary a worry of Montezuma’s Revenge or trippy malaria pills.

Along the way we’ll be posting daily photo galleries, giving you an intimate look at the world. In-depth articles will offer you a taste of the local flair, “here you are” video pieces will place you right on the ground and give you a feel for the sights and sounds of the places we’re visiting, and our blog is written by people who aren’t afraid to tell you that they’ve worn the same shirt five days in a row (and gosh, we don’t think we smell that bad).

Who are we? We’re a set of young, truly budget conscious travelers, who grew up playing with Transformers in one hand and a newspaper in the other. Friends since we were wearing braces, we are from a small Western Mass. college town called Amherst. Photojournalist and multimedia guru Thushan Amarasiriwardena covered business, travel and sports for The Boston Globe. International music producer and ethnomusicologist – you heard that right – Michael D. Kurtz is a former A&R and Production Coordinator for Putumayo World Music. Brian Rogers is our world traveling, in-house coffee expert (Guatemala, here we come), with a Latin American studies degree to boot.

Our route will take us across every continent (except, of course, that frigid one in the south) between January 1st and August 31st. Launching from Boston, we’ve already jetted down to Mexico City on New Year’s Day. During January, we’ll wind our way from Mexico through Central America and fly out of San José, Costa Rica.

For a month and a half South America will dominate the itinerary; from the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires, Argentina up to the thunderous falls of Iguaçu at the border of Brazil. After a month traversing the Brazilian nation, in the second week of March, it’s back on a plane out of “a cidade maravilhosa (the marveloous city)” of Rio De Janeiro.

From there, we’re on to Europe. Poor exchange rates will force us to explore this part of the world at a speedy clip. With the political situation in Kenya hopefully stabilized by early April, we’ll jet down to this east African nation to run (ha right) with some of the fastest distance runners in the world and see the nation’s diverse wildlife. After that, it’s back to Europe, this time to straddle the border between the west and east. Starting in Turkey, and through the Middle East around the Mediterranean Sea all the way to Egypt, you can add that part of the world to the places you’ve been.

Bouncing up to Moscow in late May, we’ll jump on a train and take the two week long ride on the Trans-Mongolian Express to Beijing. Enjoying the capital region before the crush and attention of the Olympics, we’ll explore China for a couple weeks before heading to Southeast Asia in late June.

After visiting Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, it’s on to my birth country of Sri Lanka where we’ll see the tea plantations of the high country and relax on the prime beaches of this island nation. Afterwards, we’ll jump up to India and immerse ourselves in the delights of Bollywood. Come August, we’ll turn on the gas, jetting to New Zealand, South Korea and back to the states, returning to Boston on August 31st, 244 days after our departure.

Seven days in, we have already seen unlikely sights like a gargantuan ice rink in the middle of Mexico, listened to the tunes of mariachi bands, danced salsa, explored the vibrant college town of Puebla and ducked a few cheap punches at a Luche Libre fight. And that’s all in just week one. It may be our trip, but it’s your journey. Buckle up, the seat belt sign is on and you’re in for a long jaunt.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 9th, 2008 and is filed under trip plans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

16 Responses to “This is your ticket around the world”

  1. jazer Says:

    gosh, i’m excited….your informed dialogue and sharp commentary make me just want to stay home and read. who needs to actually travel when these guys will do it for me….

  2. Deborah Curran Says:

    what an awesome idea. this is the ultimate in as an arm-chair traveling adventure.

  3. Julie Culbertson Says:

    Gentlemen, I feel your invasion! You may be the most important leaders in the United States (under Mickey Mouse, courtesan of wrecked dreams), dressed in common resistance and thriving like tar bubbles in heat.
    If you could, for us that work our way around the edge of the circle, hold the jobs that no one should return to, if you could, run with the nectar, notice what moves in the air, poke your finger into the puddles between sequitur and non-. Face fear, then clarity.

    I hear Neruda, Lorca, Prado, Mistral, Paz. I hear the sound of air in a cave. Thank you.

  4. Roma Says:

    I just got back from a three week vacation and was excited to learn that I’ve got an 8-month one coming up. I’ll be there every step of the way…

  5. AlexK Says:

    brilliant! Count me in.

  6. The Czar Says:

    Uh, post something new already!

    While you’re in Mexico, you should go to the Beach of Death, Zipolite, near Pochutla in Oaxaca.

    It has the strongest rip tides in the world.

  7. Auntie Bette Says:

    WOW…I just got my ticket today and have passed one on to all my friends and family !!!! This is FANTASTIC !! and I can’t wait to keep up with all your escapades !! Have FUN…and A SAFE JOURNEY to You…!!

  8. Uncle Rich G Says:

    Have a fantastic trip. I will keep tuning in to learn what is happening. And be sure to give a running account of the best coffees you encounter.

  9. Claire Says:

    The content is wonderful. I love seeing the sights from your point of view. I don’t know how you manage to make a personal connection with a place so quickly, but you’ve got me hooked!

  10. Betsy Y. Says:

    Beautiful photos can’t wait for more. Happy Trails.

  11. Smellizzari Says:

    I know your potential trip to Kenya won’t be for a few more months, but if you have a chance, you should visit the Gallmann Africa Conservancy.

  12. Su Says:


  13. Kim Says:

    I am loving every day!!!
    Can’t wait for tomorrow!!!
    Be safe!
    Have fun!

  14. Jeff Rothenberg Says:

    Great job documenting everything so far Thushan and Brian! Looking forward to following along with the rest of your trip. Shout out from Amherst!

  15. April Stein Says:

    We will keep an extra place for you, Michael, at the Seder table in a few weeks!
    You guys are on such an amazing trip. Thank you for the photos and writings.

  16. jdskfl Says:

    Great job documenting everything so far Thushan and Brian! Looking forward to following along with the rest of your trip. Shout out from Amherst!

About LongJaunt Equal parts lighthearted jaunt and in-depth journey, this intimately documented trip around the world has one goal: to bring you along for the ride.

Thushan Amarasiriwardena

, former Senior Multimedia Producer at The Boston Globe, has always loved telling a great story. Combining his eye for visual story telling and his technical background in computer science at North Carolina State University, Thushan has reported on business, sports and travel for The Globe. You can find his site here.

Michael Kurtz

, graduated with a degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His thesis research focused on the intersection of race and music in Northeastern Brazil. He worked previously as A&R and Production Coordinator for Putumayo World Music, an international music record label based in New York City. You can find his site here.

Brian Rogers

graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies, and has traveled extensively in Latin America.

Alicia Conway

is LongJaunt's home base chief and a Technical Producer for The Boston Globe. She joined and contributed with the team out in England, Kenya, Tanzania, The Netherlands and Thailand.