Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

July 5, 2009

All the Way Around The World!

Wow, what a journey! After... 6 continents... 22 countries... 26 plane flights... 93 hotel rooms, and at least 130 strange restaurants, we are ready to finally come home again. We have traveled by train, bus, boat, van, jeep, kayak, taxi, motorcycle taxi, scooter, bicycle, tricycle taxi, waterbuffalo, paraglider, and our own two feet. We have entered countless numbers of strange cities, and left them feeling like they were home for a while. The scenery down the road has brought us through the extremes of deserts and rainforests; oceans and lakes; mountaintops and valleys; glaciers and sand dunes; forests and barren plains; salt flats and badlands. The food has undoubtedly been amazing...most times amazingly good, and less frequently, amazingly bad. We have savored fish and stickly rice in Thailand; gagged on inedible bits of chicken soup in Cambodia; wondered how the bread sauce got smeared up to our wrists in India; and warmed our frozen bodies with hot soup in Bolivia.

We are blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to such far-reaching places on the globe. And yet, we are mostly left with the realization that the world is a very big place, and that there is more left to see, than we have yet seen. On our journey, we laughed, cried, got lost, found again, and endured quite a few never-ending forms of uncomfortable public transportation. We met a lot of friendly, helpful folks who put up with our (sometimes lack of) language skills, and a few overzealous salesmen whom we were glad to leave behind in our dust. We have seen the depths of poverty and felt helpless to do anything meaningful to alleviate it. Yet we have also seen the pride the locals feel for their countries, and the strength of their cultures still reflected in clothing and traditions.

But mostly, we have realized that we are extremely lucky to be US Citizens and have the world borders open to us. In many of the countries we visited, the local citizens would love to travel, but would almost need to win the lottery to be able to afford the bribes to gain a visa to another country. They look at the meager contents of our backpack and see unaffordable luxuries.

Backpacking as a form of travel is often a lesson in deprivation. We have learned to be grateful when hot water actually comes out of the shower, and resigned when it doesn`t. We have worn through several pairs of shoes and sandals, and carried so little that sometimes we were doing laundry every day just to have clean clothes to wear. I happily threw my traveling shirts away after getting home, because I was so sick of seeing them every day! But often, we still lived and traveled better than the locals, and our complaints were minimal compared to some of the poverty and desperation we saw across the globe. Most of the world would love the creature comforts that we take for granted. Here`s a few of the things I am grateful for, and will be glad to get back to:

Running Water
Clean Water
Hot Water
Soft Bed
Washer and Dryer
Modern Kitchen
Trash Cans
Public Bathrooms
Paved Roads
My Own Car
Large, Well-Stocked Grocery Stores
Imported Goods

Just knowing the exchange rates between currencies doesn`t give much of an indication of buying power, but we have found some extremes in terms of numbers. Trying to convert such amounts into Dollars when purchasing something in a store was enough to make my head spin! If you are curious, then check this out:

1$ US is equivalent to...

8,537 Lao Kips
4,141 Cambodia Riel
2,190 Columbia Pesos
577 Costa Rica Colones
47 India Rupees
34 Thai Baht
13 Mexico Pesos
8.7 El Salvador Colones
8 Guatemala Quetzales
7 Bolivia Bolivianos
5.6 Egypt Pounds
3.7 Argentina Pesos
3.6 Qatar Riyals
3.5 Malaysia Ringgits
3 Peru Nuevos Soles
2 Fiji Dollars
1.6 New Zealand Dollars
1.2 AUD Australia Dollars
1.1 Canada Dollars
1 Panama Balboa
.7 France Euros 


Do not believe everything you read on the Internet! The stories in this website are meant for enjoyment only. The facts have not been cross-referenced, and therefore should not be accepted as facts unless they have been independently verified.

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