After two and a half months traveling through Central and South America, we have successfully completed the first (and shorter) leg of our trip around the world. We are about to embark on the second part, which will prove more difficult, and perhaps more frustrating at times, but surely just as interesting.
Thus far, language has not been a handicap. In fact, our ability to communicate with ease has been our best asset on the trip. Though we are experiencing new cultures, regional dialects, climates, and landscapes, we have always been able to get along quite well with locals in either Spanish or Portuguese, which has given us an advantage to the average traveler with just a phrase book and a map.
We have also utilized connections through friends, family, and work to find people to stay with which not only reduces costs, but allows us to immediately have an untainted view into life wherever we are, instead of always feeling like outsiders looking in.
As we move on to Europe, Africa, and Asia, some of this will change, which will make our day to day job more difficult, but also more exciting. Communicating will be difficult for most of the rest of the trip, and will have to rely heavily on the ubiquity of English, local contacts, and the goodwill of strangers to help guide us through what will surely be very unfamiliar territory.
With any luck we have learned a bit about making new friends from different cultures over the past few months which will help us as we make our way through areas where neither English, Spanish, nor Portuguese is a sure bet. Beyond that, we can only hope to always have a good plan, and stick to that plan, lest we stray too far and find ourselves in a sticky situation.
And speaking of the plan, here is our (tentative) plan for the next month or so:
England: We will spend about a week in London, one of the most multinational cities in the world, where we should have no problem getting around not only because of the language, but also because it is home to a large chunk of Thushan’s extended family. London does happen to be one of the world’s most expensive cities however, so our biggest challenge will be to see as much as possible while managing to spend as little. Coming off of Rio de Janeiro’s beaches, London’s sogginess will surely be a shock in terms of climate, but will still reveal hints of home to these three traveling New Englanders. Alicia Conway, our homebase chief and Thushan’s girlfriend, will also be joining the team as a photographer, contributor, and adventurer while in London and Africa.
Kenya and Tanzania: For about a week, the LongJaunt team will split up with Alicia, Michael and Thushan heading to Kenya and Tanzania. Thanks to a friend we will have the pleasure of hanging out with several local Kenyan runners who will help us get a feel for what life is like now in a country that was recently ravaged by political violence.
Germany: While the rest of the crew is in Africa, Brian will be spending time with a “brother from another mother” Ben, in Hamburg. The crew will meet up again in Hamburg and make our way to Berlin, Germany’s most vibrant and youthful city, for a few days of exploring the art and history of a city that stood at the epicenter of the divide between East and West after World War II.
Italy: We will fly into Rome first, make our way through the mazes of ancient winding streets and see the crumbling remains of the classical architecture and artwork of the Romans. Heading north, we will visit a friend in Bologna and then head on to Venice.
Eastern Europe: After Italy we will work our way through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Bulgaria, before entering Turkey, where we have been invited to stay with a Turkish traveler we met in Brazil. At this point the plan gets fuzzy, but with a little luck, things will fall slowly fall into place.
As we head toward England, we are just hoping to stay warm and dry for long enough to be able to revel in the little cultural differences that exist between us and our former tyrannical rulers. We expect it to be an exciting and enlightening new chapter, and, as always, we hope you enjoy the ride…
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