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)
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)!
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.
While we were counting, we also added up all the different types of long distance transportation that we took (not including inner-city travel):
10 Mini-vans (shuttles/colectivos)
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.
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!
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.
Read on for all our travel tops & flops here: