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Mike's Around-The-World Trip Update #26 - 5.25.2006 (Trip Summary)
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from march 16, 2004 to may 8, 2006, i traveled around-the-world on my own, without plans, tickets, or reservations. this is a list of what i did on my journey. i highly recommend you print this one out and take it to the bathroom (for reading, not wiping), or on the subway to work, or somewhere other than this computer, you dig? hope you enjoy.

UPDATES:


june 30, 2006 - added my route around-the-world (see just below)
june 25, 2006 - added new photo (stupid things)
june 23, 2006 - updated list (strange foods), added a new photo (best hostels), new list of "best thing i did on my trip" (best thing)
june 1, 2006 - added a few photos, a video (notable transportation), updated list (famous natural sites)
may 26, 2006 - original posting date

the route i took around the earth



countries i visited (40 in total)

  • england
  • denmark
  • france
  • spain
  • morocco
  • gibraltar
  • portugal
  • ireland



  • nothern ireland
  • wales
  • sweden
  • finland
  • estonia
  • russia
  • mongolia
  • china
  • hong kong



  • laos
  • thailand
  • malaysia
  • singapore
  • indonesia
  • east timor
  • australia
  • new zealand
  • chile
  • argentina
  • uruguay
  • bolivia
  • peru
  • ecuador
  • colombia
  • brasil
  • panama
  • costa rica



  • nicaragua
  • el salvador
  • honduras
  • guatemala
  • mexico
continents i visited
  • north america
  • europe
  • africa
  • asia
  • australasia
  • south america
longest i spent in one country
  • argentina (four months)
  • australia (three months)
  • new zealand (two and a half months)
shortest i spent in one country
  • gibraltar (six hours)
  • wales (two days)
  • estonia (three days)



longest i spent on one continent
  • south america (nine months)
shortest i spent on one continent
  • africa (two weeks)
my favorite cities/towns/places
  • london, england



  • mendoza, argentina
  • melbourne, australia
  • paris, france
  • helsinki, finland
  • beijing, china
  • buenos aires, argentina
  • cuzco, peru
  • granada, spain
  • sevilla, spain
  • st. petersburg, russia
  • queenstown, new zealand
  • lagos, portugal
  • lisbon, portugal
  • doolin, ireland
  • antigua, guatemala



  • santa fe, new mexico
  • san sebastin, spain
  • marrakech, morocco
  • gothenburg, sweden
  • van vieng, laos
  • palau tioman, malaysia
  • gili islands, indonesia
  • san blas islands, panama
  • komodo island, indonesia



  • san cristobol de las casas, mexico
stupidest things i did
  • at a bar in waterville, ireland, after they called last call, i reached around the bar, opened the tap and tried to fill myself back up. i got chased out by large men.

  • climbing on top of the trans-siberian railway train to retrieve my wayward aerobie at the russian/mongolian border. very angry russian policemen ordered me down and then confiscated all the cameras of the people who were taking pictures of my stupid ass. (in the second photo my friend janine from england caught me in the exact moment when my joy was replaced by extreme fear as i heard the shouts of the russian policemen running towards me.)





scariest moments
  • when i was grabbed by two people on copacabana beach in brasil and mugged.

  • stepping off the ferry in tangier, morocco late at night loaded down with a bicycle, two panniers, and a guitar, and immediately being surrounded by 30 people all trying to scam me.

  • laying on a stretcher in mendoza, argentina with unfamiliar (at the time) spanish swirling all around, not knowing anyone (at the time), completely alone, and the doctor telling me that i had a broken back.

  • enclosed in a small train cabin on the trans-siberian railway with a guy on either side of me (one of them HUGE) and catching the other trying to steal my laptop.

  • i was taking a piss in buenos aires when long, solid cords of blood shot out of my, ummm, you know. this continued for about 10 days until anti-biotics finally cleared it up.

  • in a rare moment for me, i was stoned off my ass on the last night of carnaval in rio de janeiro, brasil, walking through the streets paranoid as hell, when a giant crowd of absolutely terrified people came tearing down the street, fleeing from some unseen maniac. i froze. the only thing that saved me from the stampede was my companion, nicole, who grabbed my hand and lead the way as we sprinted the other way down the street. never found out what happened but it must have been horrible.
my favorite countries (in geographical order)
  • portugal
  • ireland
  • finland
  • mongolia
  • laos
  • new zealand



  • argentina
  • cuzco, peru and surrounding area
  • brasil
  • guatemala
countries i plan to return to asap
  • laos
  • ireland
  • portugal
  • argentina
  • brasil
  • mexico
  • guatemala
a thrilling moment 1
  • playing guitar and singing for 160 people at the loki backpackers hostel in cuzco, peru on christmas day 2005. having 160 drunks shouting enthusiastically along with me was incredible, then looking over at my sister and shrugging my shoulders as if to say "how about this?"....absolutely thrilling.
places i missed that i am dying to see
  • india
  • antarctica
  • japan
  • cambodia (angkor wat)
  • southern africa (the great migration)
  • egypt (the pyramids)
most incredible natural thing i saw
  • iguazu falls (argentina)



  • san blas islands (panama)
  • perito moreno glacier (argentina)
most incredible man-made thing i saw
  • the great wall of china (china)
  • machu picchu (peru)



  • tikal mayan ruins (guatemala)
most dangerous places
  • rio de janeiro, brasil
  • moscow, russia
  • tangier, morocco
  • lombok, indonesia
  • el salvador
person i didn't miss in the u.s.a.
  • you
robberies (against me, not by me): where, what, and how
  • lagos, portugal: passport, journal, camera, bike computer, guidebook, phrasebook (stolen from hostel.)

  • palau batam, indonesia: driver's license, credit cards (pickpocketed.)

  • buenos aires, argentina: passport, laptop, credit cards (roommate stole from hostel locker.)

  • colonia, uruguay: camera (don't know what happened.)

  • la paz, bolivia: entire backpack, including passport, ipod, headphones, glasses, contacts, clothes, souvenirs (distracted as someone stole my backpack from my side.)

  • rio de janeiro (attemped mugging): nothing (two people grabbed me on copacabana beach but i fought them off.)
things you need on a two year trip around the world (anything else is useless weight)
  • three shirts
  • a fleece
  • a pair of jeans
  • five pair of socks
  • bathing suit
  • pair of flips flops
  • pair of do-everything shoes
  • sunglasses
  • toiletries
  • rain poncho
  • flashlight
  • personal music player
  • camera
  • book(s)
  • a pen
  • sunscreen
  • a hat
  • plastic sandwich bags
  • mosquito repellent
  • three pair of underwear
  • condoms
  • earplugs
those things that i don't have on the last day of my two year trip around the world
  • rain poncho
  • a hat
  • plastic sandwich bags
  • mosquito repellent
  • a third pair of underwear
big purchases and what happened to them
  • camera #1 (stolen in portugal)
  • ipod (stolen in bolivia)
  • camera #2 (stolen in uruguay)
  • van (purchased and junked in australia)



  • apple macintosh laptop (stolen in argentina)
  • touring bicycle (bought in england, left with friend in finland)
  • camera #3 (still have it)
  • discman (still have it)
  • backpack (purchased in finland, stolen in bolivia)
  • backpack (still have it)
  • four passports (see next)
number of passports, what happenend and where replaced
  • original passport, stolen in lagos, portugal, replaced in paris, france
  • second, expired, replaced in kuala lumpur, malaysia
  • third, stolen in buenos aires, argentina, replaced in buenos aires
  • fourth, stolen in la paz, bolivia, replaced in la paz
  • fifth, still have it
best hostels
  • global village (greymouth, new zealand)
  • damajuana hostel (mendoza, argentina)
  • secret garden hostel (quito, ecuador)



  • la casa roja (santiago, chile)
  • far east asia hostel (beijing, china)
  • greenhouse hostel (melbourne, australia)
  • milhouse hostel (buenos aires, argentina)



  • peter's place (waterville, ireland)
  • international youth hostel (porto, portugal)
worst hostels
  • g & r hostel (moscow, russia)
most shocking places i visited
  • tangier, morocco - surrounded by frightening people as i got off the ferry/first third world experience for me.

  • wales - didn't look at all like people told me it would. it is mountainous, not flat. i was on a bike. shocking.

  • bolivia - huge change from argentina...true third world.

  • palau batam, indonesia - from luxurious singapore to severely poor palau batam.

  • colombia - everyone thinks colombia is nasty and dangerous, but it is clean, very modern, and the people are extremely cool.
biggest bitch i met
  • jenny from sweden - congratulations you cantankerous bitch!!! of all the thousands of people i met you were easily the worst. i hope you are getting a paper-cut right now. (colombia, san blas islands, panama)


where i (more or less) experienced natural disasters
  • THE tsunami (bangkok, thailand)
  • earthquake (mendoza, argentina)
adventure activities
  • bungy jumping (new zealand)
  • canyon swinging (new zealand)
  • luging (new zealand)
  • mountain biking (argentina, ecuador)
  • handgliding (australia)



  • sky-diving (australia)
  • snowboarding (new zealand)
  • alpine skiing (new zealand)
  • scuba diving (thailand)
  • zip-line (china, argentina)
  • ice-climbing (argentina)
  • glacier-trekking (new zealand, argentina)
  • sandboarding (morocco)
  • caving (laos, malaysia)
  • white-water rafting (argentina)



  • river tubing (laos, malaysia)
  • jet-boating (new zealand)
  • horse-back riding (mongolia)
  • camel-back riding (morocco, mongolia)
  • surfing (indonesia, australia)
  • boat tubing (colombia)
  • volcano trekking (guatemala)
  • snorkeling (malaysia, thailand, brasil, indonesia)
amount of miles/kilometers i rode my bicycle in europe
  • 3400 miles/5500 kilometers



things i will never do again
  • ride a bicycle 3400 miles
famous man-made sites
  • big ben (london)
  • eiffel tower (paris)
  • opera house (sydney, australia)
  • christ the redeemer (rio de janeiro, brasil)



  • great wall of china (beijing, china)
  • kremlin (moscow, russia)
  • hermitage museum (st. petersburg, russia)
  • petronas towers (kuala lumpur, malaysia)
  • machu picchu (peru)
  • tikal mayan ruins (guatemala)
  • copan mayan ruins (honduras)
  • palenque mayan ruins (mexico)
  • st. basil's cathedral (moscow, russia)



  • terracota warriors (xi'an, china)
famous natural sites
  • sahara desert (morocco)
  • gobi desert (mongolia)
  • great barrier reef (australia)
  • patagonia (argentina)
  • iguazu falls (argentina)
  • ayer's rock/uluru (australia)
  • uyuni salt flat (bolivia)
  • great ocean road (australia)



  • three gorges (china)
  • san blas islands (panama)
  • the cliffs of moher (ireland)
notable transportation
  • bicycle (five months in europe)
  • camel (morocco, mongolia)
  • jet-boat (new zealand)


    click on photo to view video

  • trans-siberian railway (russia, mongolia, china)
  • yacht (colombia to panama)



  • boat (indonesia)
  • ferries (countless)
  • motorcycle (peru, laos)
  • buses (countless)
  • hitchhiking (russia, argentina, new zealand)
  • horse (mongolia)
  • four-wheel drive (mongolia, argentina, bolivia)
  • tuk-tuk (southeast asia)
  • bicycle taxi (honduras)
  • long, skinny flat boats (laos, malaysia, mexico)
  • water-taxis (several countries)
best meals
  • steak with roquefort sauce in a cozy cafe in medieval dinan, france

  • my first argentine asado (bbq) in mendoza, argentina. beef like i had never tasted in my life



  • churrascaria (bbq) in brasilia, brasil. non-stop meat explosion

  • chicken in brown sauce at dingy, outdoor restaurant in beijing, china

a thrilling moment 2
  • getting into the ocean for the first time to scuba dive. jumped off the boat into the turquiose water just off the island of koh tao, thailand. i swam over to the buoy line with my fellow divers. we grabbed the line and followed it to the ocean floor. at one moment as i was descending for my first ocean scuba dive, i saw a man standing on the ocean floor 12 meters below me. seeing the bubbles streaming upwards from his mask and watching his head swivel around at the schools of fish swimming around him in the clear water was absolutely stunning.
strange foods i ate
  • camel (mongolia)
  • dog (china)



  • llama (bolivia)
  • goat (mongolia)
  • kangaroo (australia)
  • countless insane vegetables and fruits
sporting events i attended
  • rugby (new zealand)
  • football/soccer (argentina)
  • aussie rules football (melbourne, australia)
  • snowboarding competition (new zealand)
  • bull fighting (sevilla, spain)
  • bull fighting (lisbon, portugal)



  • cock fights (leon, nicaragua)
person i missed most in the u.s.a.
  • your mom
concerts i attended
  • maroon 5 (copenhagen, denmark)
  • the black seeds (queenstown, new zealand)
  • megadeth (buenos aires, argentina)
  • the strokes (buenos aires, argentina)
  • the kings of leon (buenos aires, argentina)
  • the rolling stones (rio de janeiro, brasil)
  • U2 (sao paulo, brasil)



  • franz ferdinand (sao paulo, brasil)
  • evermore (australia)
big-ass parties
  • carnaval (rio de janeiro, brasil)
  • anzac day (sydney, australia)
  • thai pusam (kuala lumpur, malaysia)
  • mardi gras (queenstown, new zealand)
times i dressed as a woman
  • mardi gras (queenstown, new zealand)


where i spent major holidays
  • new year's eve (2005: koh phan gan, thailand. 2006: machu picchu, peru)
  • st. patrick's day (2004: london, england. 2005: sydney, australia. 2006: medellin, colombia)
  • easter (2004: sevilla, spain. 2005: australia. 2006: leon, nicaragua)
  • 4th of july (2004: dublin, ireland. 2005: queenstown, new zealand)
  • my birthday (2004: shanghai, china. 2005: el chalten, argentina)



  • thanksgiving (2004: hong kong. 2005: mendoza, argentina)
  • christmas (2004: bangkok, thailand. 2005: cuzco, peru)
a thrilling moment 3
  • chucking myself off the side of a 110 meter cliff in queenstown, new zealand, connected to a wire with a chest harness, riding the canyon swing down to the rocky river below.


places i was food sick (and the severity)
  • fes, morocco (near-death)
  • whitsunday islands, australia (mildly)
  • salta, argentina (someone please shoot me)
  • palenque, mexico (montezuma's revenge)
what i injured and where
  • broken back (mendoza, argentina)
  • dengue fever (kuala lumpur, malaysia)
  • wrist injury (xi'an, china)



  • eye infections (colombia)
  • neck injury (san blas islands)
  • bladder infection (buenos aires, argentina)
things i won't miss about the road
  • dorm rooms



  • getting bitched at for being american
  • getting bitched at about george bush
  • that sign that says "don't throw toilet paper in the toilet, throw it in the basket. otherwise it will clog our drains."
  • meeting great people, leaving them, then arriving somewhere new not knowing anyone and having to start all over again
  • having to watch over your possessions at all times
  • crossing borders/filling out papers/dealing with that bullshit
things i will miss about the road
  • i could never begin to write this...but here are a few things
  • the people
  • the adventure
  • the freedom of the road
  • acceptance of anything you want to do
  • the excitement of a new country
thing i missed the most in the u.s.a
  • chicago style pizza
thing i didn't miss about the u.s.a.
  • lawsuits/safety precautions/conservative rules
regrets
  • not backing up my photos/videos from my laptop before it was stolen
the best thing i did on my entire trip
  • made new friends in countries all over the world. learned new things from them and taught them some things in return.
  • oh, and not working for two years, partying almost everyday in exotic locations, and having no responsibilities except to stay alive...that was cool too.

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