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We GlobetrotterGirls are celebrating our first travel anniversary today! On 30 April 2010 we boarded a plane from London to Las Vegas, where we started our round-the-world adventure. We might still be far from getting around the entire globe, but we have traveled quite a bit in the last 12 months as digital nomads and have no plan to stop any time soon.

So, how many borders have we crossed?

U.S. – Mexico (by plane)
Mexico – Belize (by boat) Belize – Guatemala (by bus)
Guatemala – El Salvador (pick-up truck)
El Salvador – Guatemala (Colectivo mini-van)
Guatemala – Honduras (taxi)
Honduras – Nicaragua (bus)
Nicaragua – Costa Rica (bus)
Costa Rica – Panama (walking over a very dodgy footbridge)
Panama – Germany (by plane)
Germany – Austria (car)
Germany – Switzerland (car share)
Switzerland – Italy (car share)

Border Crossing Costa Rica Panama

13 countries might not be a lot, especially when compared to many people who squeeze more than 20 countries into their round-the-world trips. However, we found we prefer slow travel, as we combine travel with a full-time workload, have an unlimited amount of time and are not bound to a tight itinerary. In fact we are in Europe right now and had no plans to visit here at all in 2011, but an amazing housesitting opportunity came up in Germany which led to our stay at a beautiful country house Italy right now (in fact another housesit)!

The Numbers

Inspired by a recent post by fellow globetrotter Wandering Earl who, after examining how many beds he had slept in over the past 11 years, asked the question  ‘How many beds have you slept in?’, we started to think… how many beds have we slept in over the last 365 days?

We have slept in 104 beds! That, plus 3 nights spent on overnight buses, comes out to an average of one new bed every 3.5 days. Of course we had much longer stays in some places and shorter stays in others, but we sure moved around a lot this past year. We have already made a pledge to slow down our travel pace in our second year as digital nomads, so that we will not get burnt out from being on the move all the time.

Room at Posada Ziga Mazunte Mexico

While we were counting, we also added up all the different types of long distance transportation that we took (not including inner-city travel):

94 Buses
21 Boats
10 Mini-vans (shuttles/colectivos)
7 Taxis
5 Planes
5 Pick-up trucks
4 Tuk tuks
4 Rental Cars
2 Golf carts

Our preferred method of transport has been by local bus. Rather than paying out the nose for fancy long-distance buses, we travel almost exclusively by local bus from town to town, and this meant a lot of changing buses. It may have taken a bit longer, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Bus in Granada Nicaragua

We were surprised to see how many boats we boarded in Central America. These were mostly dubious little wooden motor boats, and we were never sure whether our belongings (or ourselves!) would arrive to the next destination.  However, despite motors choking out in the middle of the ocean and stories of capsized boats, we personally survived all the boat rides to all the islands and lake towns we visited, unlike fellow traveler Adventurous Kate’s recent horrific Indonesian shipwreck experience.

Our top 5 places of the last year

We have already summarized our Tops & Flops, favorite places and top food moments in our ‘100 days’ reflection posts, but here are our favorites of the entire year (in no particular order!)

•    San Francisco, USA
The city by the bay was by far our favorite place during our travels through the Southwestern US and California.
•    San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala
We enjoyed the relaxed vibe and international cuisine with spectacular views of Lake Atitlan.
•    Leon, Nicaragua
Leon’s no gem, and that’s what we love about it!
•    Playa del Carmen, Mexico
We stayed in Playa for one month last September, way up on 88th street far from the popular tourist center, with our stretch of white sand beach nearly deserted for us alone to play in the crystal clear water.
•    Tuscany, Italy
The dream of housesitting in an Italian country house in Tuscany came true and we are spending our travel anniversary exploring little Italian towns!

The mountain village of Rocca in Tuscany, Italy

Our top 5 foods

•    Central American pineapples
At times we were eating at least one pineapple every single day. The sweet and juicy Central American pineapples are so cheap and delicious!
•    Gallo Pinto in Nicaragua and Costa Rica
We ate this popular ‘rice and beans’ breakfast dish every day in these two countries and we never got tired of it!
•    Pupusas in El Salvador
Even though the variety of vegetarian pupusas (cheese, cheese & refried beans, or just refried beans) wasn’t huge, we had dozens of pupusas during our stay in El Salvador. Pupusas are an incredibly cheap meal at $0.20 – $0.40 each.
•    Mexican Tacos and Flautas
We loved Mexican street food, and the tacos and flautas (especially potato tacos/flautas) were something that would make us consider moving to Mexico.
•    Italian food – everywhere!
This is not exclusive to Tuscany (where we are currently enjoying pizza and pasta daily). We were lucky enough to find excellent Italian cuisine in restaurants all over Central America, run by Italian expats who satisfied our never ending hunger for thin-crust pizza, gnocci and home-made pasta. We highly recommend Monna Lisa pizzeria on La Calzada in Granada, Nicaragua.

Central American Pineapples

Read on for all our travel tops & flops here:

The Tops and Flops of our first 100 days of travel
The Tops and Flops of 200 days of travel
The Tops and Flops of 300 days of travel

Our one-year budget

For many people, the most interesting question is how much does one year of travel cost? See what we spent in the first 6 months here and our detailed budget post for the entire year here.

Nicaraguan Money Cordobas

Tags : 1 year anniversaryfavorite travel momentsTravel Reflections

28 Comments

  1. Congrats on reaching 1 year! I can’t believe you’ve been able to keep track of all those beds and all the transportation… I could probably figure out bed numbers, but I doubt I could remember transportation, even for just a 2 week trip. Glad to see that my city was one of your 5 favorites!

    1. Hi Ekua! Thanks for the congrats. On some long bus/plane ride recently we started listing exactly how we got from A to B to C etc. until we really had our entire list of transportation! Maybe it’s the power of putting two heads together? Or just a lot of time on our hands on these long trips? San Francisco was easily one of our major highlights – we loved it there!

    1. Hi Megan, you couldn’t be more right – most people never visit 13 countries, and that was just this past year alone! We can’t wait to see where the next year is going to bring us!

    1. Point taken Earl – we’re definitely slowing down a lot this next year, at least that’s the plan. Of course Playa is on the list, you know how great it was where we stayed with the basically private beach and everything. Hope you enjoyed your flautas and tacos. Extremely jealous, but I guess we’ll just go get more pizza! 🙂 Take care, hopefully we see you again soon!

    1. EEEEeeeeeeeeeee we made it one year! Wink wink 🙂 Ah, Jaime, don’t worry, we’ll give a shout out to the fellow travel bloggers we have met in our 400 Days Tops & Flops post coming up next month. You’ll get your shout out, don’t you worry! We miss you!!!! 🙂

    1. Ha! We’ve been eating pizza too, constantly! Thanks for the congrats, and we’d definitely love to be able to meet up once day…exciting to think just where that will be!

    1. Thanks Ayngelina! We definitely prepared, esp for Nicaragua, reading your posts 🙂 Now we’ll use you as a reference if and when we ever actually make it down to South America! 🙂

  2. Good on you guys. Great achievement and take it from me I know what it’s like to travel long term with another out of each others pockets.

    Awesome wrap up of your experiences. You guys are the experts on border crossings in Central America that’s for sure. And I like your travel style of moving slowly and taking more in. Keep going…

    1. Hey Craig, thanks so much! It feels less like an achievement and just more the start of something that we are no where near ready to stop!:-) Glad you enjoyed the wrap up. Hopefully our paths will cross sometime and we can swap stories in person!!!

  3. Happy travel anniversary. I’m impressed that you were able to keep all of the numbers straight 🙂 I already forgot what I had for lunch yesterday! I think 13 countries is a year is plenty by the way. Plus, considering you only averaged abut 3.5 nights per bed (love that statistic :)), you probably moved around a lot in each country too… Happy travels!
    Sabrina recently posted..San Angelo – A Quirky Little Town in Texas

    1. Thanks Sabrina! 13 countries really was a lot, but we had (somehow) thought we would get through at least part of South America by then as well. We definitely saw a lot of each country, we really prefer getting out of the main towns. Speaking Spanish helps with that, don’t know what we will do in countries where we don’t speak the language. Guess we’ll see!

    1. Hi guys, thanks! We are definitely making the most of Tuscany! It was surprisingly easy to remember our hotels and our transport – this past year has whizzed by, but really every day made an impression on us. Reviewing it all brought back a load of memories as well!

  4. First, congrats on making it to your first 12 months! My partner, Sam, and I hope to start our long-term travel next October in South America. You got through so many beds in your first year and I was wondering how many times you ended up staying in the region a week or more in one place?

    1. Hi Zab! Thanks for stopping by! Great that you’ve got plans to go abroad -looks like we might be able to meet up in South America, we’re headed back there (at least we think!) We stayed many places for over a week – Leon and Granada were both two weeks, one month in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, plus longer housesits in Tucson and Germany. Basically we are not afraid to change hotels after just one night – we do this often until we find somewhere where all the factors add up to our satisfaction. Definitely keep in touch!

    1. Like brothers from another mother we are! 🙂 Except we’re sisters. Sistas. Well anyway, yes we want to do this for at least another year (but probably more), and we are definitely going to meet up somewhere, hopefully sooner than later! Tuscany was amazing, we are back in Germany now for a bit again. Bye Bye Pizzas…Hello Brez’n! 🙂

    1. Ha thanks! The accommodation part of traveling is really a focus of ours – we feel like where you lay your head has a lot to do with happiness for long-term travel. So, we remember most beds without thinking too hard even! Thanks for the well wishes – we hope to have at least a few more of these anniversaries 🙂

    1. Oh thanks so much! We just put our heads together and reviewed our whole trip from the start and managed to remember all those stats. It’s the trip of a lifetime, so we try to forget as little as possible. Thanks for reading, will definitely get over and check out Terra Firma Tourist right away! All the best to you for your travels as well!

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