The mark of a good trip has always been hitting that point where you don’t know what day it is. We hit that long, long ago. At times for us, the only anchor to the date on the calendar has been through our work on this site. The turn of the month gave us a pause to look behind, and with some quick calculations, the realization that our eight-month, 244 day long trip hit the quarter-way mark on day 61: March 1st.
Below is a compilation of our some of the tops spots and things to do since we left the States on New Year’s Day. If you’re new to the jaunt, or need to catch up, these galleries serve as a perfect way to jump in.
[HTML1]We’re still winding ourselves through Brazil and will be publishing our top picks upon our exit next week. Until then, here are a couple of our favorite days so far on the jaunt.
It hit me shortly after entering Brazil. On one of our countless bus rides – this time a hellishly long trip between Iguaçu Falls and São Paulo – and forty-some days into the trip, I paused, and said to myself: “We are actually doing this.”It took that long.Somewhere in late 1999 or early 2000, with pangs of senioritis hitting hard in our last year of high school, Mike or I, we can’t remember who, talked of a pipe dream: “we should take a trip around the world.”
Friends since the seventh grade, Mike, Brian and I, were always dabbling in one media form or another, banging away at our computers making music, movies and websites. We looked longingly at travel shows on Discovery Channel, and the burgeoning reality TV scene. If we ever did a trip, naturally, it would have to be documented.
During the next five years, with college and stints abroad, the idea fell to the back burner.
Life has a funny way of lining things up for you.
Post college, I landed a personal dream job, working for the Boston Globe’s website to help launch their new travel section. Things were tough; having to travel around my beloved New England in the summer, taking photos, making videos and developing the site.
With a freshly minted ethnomusicology degree, Mike too found work in his area of interest, landing a job at Putumayo World Music in New York, eventually working his way up to the position of A&R rep. You know those sharply designed world music compilations playing at coffee shops? That’s them.
The world was lining the tables up for us too. No time but now, could we ever do the trip the way we’re doing it.
Ubiquitous Internet access – and via wifi no less – has become the norm, not the exception. Rarely have we turned our computers on and not seen at least one hot spot in range even in remote parts like a volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Indeed, as I write this there are more than ten wifi networks coming in (of course, they’re all bloody locked).
Professional grade digital cameras at consumer prices have allowed us to capture quality images and beam them straight back to you. Just five years ago, it would be laughable at best to even think we could hit this mark. And of course, the last couple years brought us blogs, YouTube, Skype, Brightcove and Google Maps – integral parts of making this site work.
In 2005, the idea resurfaced after a trip Mike and I took with friends to Yosemite and the North Californian coastline. The world is beautiful, and we had to see it.
Over the next year we developed the idea and even took a draft trip to Mexico City and the Pacific Coast to see if could do a trip the way we intended. All signs pointed to yes.
Honestly, there’s little planning you can do for a trip around the world.
Vaccinations can be acquired a month before heading out, and most visas are only valid 90-days from issuance, meaning we need to acquire some while traveling. Recommendations on the road compel you to change course, and fluxing political climates blow with the wind. We’ve already changed our plans about Kenya three times: decided to go when things were dandy before we hit the road, not go to when things got horribly bad, and then retract all that and will go to Kenya to see how its recovering.
We’re buying air tickets weeks before, sometimes the day of, heading to our next destination and found it just as cheap as an around the world ticket.
And of course, at the heart of it, we’re boys, and boys have a hard time planning. Ask my girlfriend, I was still packing my bag minutes before heading out the door.
If there was one thing for certain on this trip, it was that exploring Brazil would be a big part of it. After his year studying in Brazil (in Salvador, our current location), Mike would not hesitate telling us about the treasures of this country; great people, excellent weather, unbeatable music and of course, addictive açai.
There was no doubt a visit to Brazil was in order, and from Mike’s descriptions, it was beginning to feel like a familiar place, even before we stepped on her soil.
Even by the fall of 2007, we had yet to decide our departure date, still awaiting the green light from my editors. When it became a go, January 1st looked like a natural starting point, but one that would be difficult for Mike because of prior commitments.
Thus, Brian was a natural addition to the crew. With his Latin American studies background, fluent Spanish, along with extensive cultural knowledge of the region gained through his year abroad in Cuba and extended travels last year in Central America, he would allow the project to hit the ground running with insider’s insight.
By the time we were on the bus to São Paulo, I had already become uncomfortable answering the oft-asked question: where do you live? It was already more than 40 days since I slept in my old apartment in Cambridge and all my belongings were stowed away in my parent’s house in Amherst. Home quickly became our backpacks. Saying “I live in Boston,” just didn’t sound genuine to me.
Looking out the window of the bus, scenes of things Mike had told me about Brazil passed by. The trip became real.
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