July was a busy and varied month, with a lot of high points. We started the month with a trip to Ephesus, Turkey’s most famous Greek and Roman ruins, on 1 July, then we enjoyed a full week in Istanbul where we lived like locals. This was followed by three weeks in Africa, exploring its natural beauty and looking for exotic animals. Everyone was generally in a good mood, staying present in our travels, but aware that we would soon be returning home to friends, family and life as we knew it. We arrived in the USA on 30 July, ending our family travel sabbatical after nearly seven months on the road. It is with mixed feelings that I write this final monthly summary from our sunny, comfortable home in Northern California.
Highs and Lows
Tim – Best: floating over the Namibian sand dunes in a hot air balloon and seeing the baby lions in Botswana. Honorable Mention: Victoria Falls and the ruins at Ephesus.
Jenn – Best: seeing the sun rise atop the dunes was just as amazing this time as it was 18 years ago when I first saw it and standing in awe of the majestic Victoria Falls. Honorable Mention: Watching the elephants, especially the babies, at the watering holes and in the rivers.
Charlie – Best: being on safari and seeing all the different animals and giving food & love to the many street cats in Istanbul. Honorable Mention: seeing the jewels of the Sultan’s Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.
A.J. – Best: hanging with the neighborhood boys in our local flat in Istanbul and running down the sand dunes in Namibia. Honorable Mention: Being on safari and camping in Africa.
The worst was the same for all of us. Our long, LONG series of flights home. Door to door, it took us 35 hours to return home to the San Francisco Bay Area from Lusaka, Zambia. It was a four flight saga: Lusaka - Addis Ababa - Rome - Toronto - San Francisco. That said, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The knowledge that we were headed home increased our patience and the miles on the road have made us adept at passing the time. A.J. watched several movies, Tim read a book, Jenn happily binged on season 6 of Mad Men and Charlie thought of all the things she wanted to do upon return.
Our Travel Stats
Countries Visited: 17 and the full list is Hong Kong, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, New Zealand, Nepal, Dubai, Kazakhstan, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Turkey, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia. It’s 23 if you count our brief transit stops in Qatar, Germany, Bosnia, South Africa, Ethiopia and Canada. It was a great cross section of our big world. There are only a few things that we’d do differently, but we’ll cover that in another post.
Miles Traveled: 60,077 total
We traveled 52,461 miles by air (31 flights, no significant delays and no bags lost, impressive), 623 miles by train, 593 miles by bus and at least 6,400 miles by car.
Nights Away: 197. This breaks down to 85 nights in a self-catering unit with a kitchen, 75 nights in a hotel or guesthouse, 11 nights in a villa, 11 nights camping, 10 nights with friends, 5 nights on a red-eye flight.
Number of different places stayed: 69. We moved places an average of every 2.84 days.
Random Info and Stats
Items lost: Nothing of value lost, left behind or stolen. Yay!
Number of sports jerseys purchased from countries around the world: 10
Number of bike tours taken: 5 at Lake Inle, Sukhothai, Salzburg, Budapest and Zagreb. An excellent way to sight-see!
Times we were sick in Europe and Africa: 0, but A.J. did need to see a doctor to help with a small rock that smashed into his fingernail
Times we were mistaken for Russian (due to A.J. wearing a Russia hat): about a dozen
Seas in which A.J. dipped his toe (at minimum): 6, South China, Andaman, Tasman, Adriatic, Aegean, Mediterranean
Times we crossed the equator: 4, all by airplane
Combined weight of our checked bags coming home: 88 pounds - more than 30 pounds lighter than when we left (we donated a lot of things on our way out of Africa)
Blog Hits to date: 20,002 (another milestone)
Number of different airlines: 15
Number of blog posts: this one makes 141
Number of photos taken: more than 11,500
Number of countries from which people have viewed our blog: a remarkable 151 countries, including such places as Sudan, Tonga, Saudi Arabia and Guatemala.
Number of Followers on our blog: Yay, we broke a hundred! We peaked at 104, family, friends and many not known to us. Thanks for tuning in and sharing our journey with us. We love comments and emails, so keep them coming.
We especially like hearing about how people found our blog and whether you are planning your own trip. Please drop me an email or post a comment and let me know!