Home Sweet Home

Trip Start Sep 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's hard to believe that my journey around the world has come full circle.  Before I conclude, I'd like to take a minute to answer a few of your most burning questions. :)

What was your favorite country?  

India or Guatemala.  However, my favorite three experiences were finding Lithuanian family members, camping in the Egyptian desert and 4x4ing through the Bolivian salt flats. 

Where was your least favorite place?  

It sounds strange because so many people have an incredibly spiritual experience in Jerusalem, however for me, this was my most difficult place.  Perhaps it was culture shock and/or naive Christmas carol-like expectations ... either way, I did not have the typical tourist experience and found the political and economic disparity of the Palestinian neighborhood I lived in to be very disheartening.  

How much does a trip like this cost?!  

Ah, the million dollar question.  Or should I say $20,000?  Initially I saved $10,000 over the course of five years.  Then I was blessed with another job offer while temporarily living with my parents.  This allowed me to bank another $10,000 within six months.  Vaccinations cost $1,000, visas totaled $800, and airline tickets came to $6,500.  Once on the road, I tried to stick to a budget of $30 a day.

What did you bring?  

My pack was a little larger than the size of a brown paper bag, so just the essentials.  Five tops, two skirts, one fleece, and a pair of jeans … basically enough clothes to last a week and then it was time to do laundry!  I missed having a portable music device the most.

Did you ever feel lonely?  

Sometimes.  Traveling alone can be challenging, but without the safety blanket of a companion you have the opportunity to meet so many more people.  

How about scared?  

I never really felt scared, just uncomfortable.  Especially in the Middle East.  I thought that, as a woman, as long as I covered up and kept to myself, I would be fine.  I certainly was, however the unsolicited attention was really annoying.  I never thought I would say this, but if I go again, I'd go with a man!

Weren't you tired?!  

Absolutely.  This is one area that I had to continuously remind myself that it was OK to turn inward and slow down. 

How have you changed? 

This may sound crass, but I care a lot less about what other people think.  I've always struggled with being sensitive and tried to develop thicker skin.  My skin is no different now, it's just that what lies beneath is a lot stronger.  

What did you learn about the world?  

We are far more similar than different.  This is inclusive of our problems.  No matter where I went it seemed that there is always a power struggle between business interests, governments and the poor.  While studying the conflict in Burma, the Thai saying, "same same but different" kept coming to mind.  That said, I think a larger solution must apply as well.  Meaningful change starts within ourselves.  

There are so many additional points I would love to share, however I will just have to save these for a personal conversation.  In particular, I am happy to talk with other women who are considering traveling abroad alone.  I know I could not have gotten this far without the advice and generosity of so many friends, family members and colleagues.  It is my hope that by peeling back the layers and sharing the details of how I lived my dream, that you will also pursue yours.  
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Steve Jones on

Your writings and pictures are awesome, and your outlook on life and people is so inspiring!
Your kindred spirit and kindness will bring many smiles to many people around the world for many years.
Don't throw away them shoes just yet,you may be home but the journey continues and materializes only through the efforts we make.

Catherine Shaw on

Bravo, you are my hero!

Amrita on

This is something i have wanted to do all my life!! i am still trying to gather courage to plan such a trip!

Le on

Thank you so much for letting me see the world through your eyes. The pictures and the writing are inspiring. Especially, I see the beauty of you through your writing and your perception of life truly enlightens many of us.


Toronto, Canada.

peacecorpsliz on

Loved this last post especially because I could get a sense of the cumulative experience. What an amazing thing to do! So glad to have been a (little) part of your blog community, and wish you the best for your next steps.

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