Hi there! Jess here.
Today marks the 100th day of our trip, so I figured what better time than to quickly recap.
100 days of Travel
Environment: I’ve seen it all, from lakes (salt and water) to cities to mountains to glaciers to beaches. All that I’ve been able to admire has honestly spoiled me. It has been said that nature’s beauty is beyond description… and I concur… seeing it in person has rendered me speechless (an often difficult task).
Economy: To date, I’m slightly under my budget, which both surprises and joys me. I guess this means I’m going to be back at budget after Dubai, where I now have some funds to do a little (or a lot) of shopping.
Healthcare: Overall, I’ve been doing fine. I suffered from altitude sickness, been hospitalized for four days for a poisonous spider bite, suffered from the occasional stomach issues, and had two head colds (the second one happening today). Either I have really good luck, or I’ll be spending most of my time in south East Asia in bed.
Agriculture & Food: What can I say… of course I’ve eaten my way through every country. Even on a budget, the food in both South America and South Africa has been great, from lomo saltado in Peru to yuca bread in Ecuador to bobotie in Africa. And, as an added bonus, they do not sell Pringles in Africa, so my addiction has been cured. I no longer have to demolish tubes while riding long buses (the downside, however, is that I may be addicted to simbas).
WMDs: still no sign
Allies: Slightly edging out nature as the greatest aspect of this trip are the people I’ve met, both the locals as well as the other travelers. For the most part (rude Ecuadorian woman who refused to acknowledge that the laundry ate all my socks aside), the local people I’ve met have been hospitable and gracious, happy to assist you in any way possible.
Just last week I went to get a local South African cell phone, and I asked a woman in a store for the location of the cell phone store, and she literally walked me out of the mall and down four blocks to the store. And as for the other travelers I met, it’s hard to express the respect and awe I often feel for them when they tell me about their experiences.
People of all ages, all nationalities, traveling for a week or a month or a year, from mountain climbers to volunteers, all with the courage and tenacity to make the decision to pursue their dreams. And the kindness…. I can’t say enough how amazingly kind most have been.
From being helped by Daniel when I had altitude sickness right up until just last night, where the woman I was sharing a dorm with made me tea and gave me her Theraflu and medicines, after only knowing me for 20 minutes. Most of these friendships will be fleeting (while a few I already know will be life). It humbles me to be in the presence of many of them, even if just for a short while.
Domestic Affairs: By far the most difficult part of this trip has been being away from NYC and my friends and family. Although I am having an amazing time, I miss everyone so much. And it has become more and more difficult to find the time to email and stay in touch with everyone as often as I want.
Foreign Affairs: umm… that’s a personal matter, limited to those with security clearance. ;-)