This year marks 13 years since
my brother Bob and I flew around the world and this "ebook,"
Around the World on Fifty Dollars a Day, has been online almost
as long. But only now has it become feasible to round out this "Journal
of a Journey" by adding to it virtually all the video I took on the trip.
The original 10 chapters of this "ebook" remain, but now each chapter
(or destination page) has been enhanced by one or more short video programs
(ranging from under two minutes to under 15 minutes each). Even this Introduction
page has a short, under two-minute video clip of my arrival at the San
Francisco International Airport with my daughter and grandchildren for
my departure for London, the first international destination my brother
Bob and I visited.
Video "programs" accompany each
of our first days in London, and the next day we went to Dublin for a
side trip so Bob could make his first (and thus far, only) visit to our
old country. There we toured Ireland's capital on the first day as shown
in the first Ireland program, followed by a record of our visit to the
colorful suburb of Dalkey the following afternoon. Each of these "programs"
runs between 10 and 15 minutes. On our return to London I created another
video, mostly about a visit to Hyde Park and its Kensington Gardens and
Kensington Palace, birthplace of Queen Victoria, which is at the bottom
of the Dublin page.
Next, highlights of our trip on
Eurostar through the Chunnel to Paris, and our cold wet evening and day
in Paris are encapsulated in a 10-minute video. And so it goes, through
Budapest, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Frankfort, and Zurich (ah, glorious
Zurich!) and then on to Asia and two days in Delhi, Agra, and highways
of central India. The India page has the collection of longest video records,
for a total of approximately 36 minutes, as that land was by far the most
exotic and fascinating we visited. The highlight was the Taj Mahal, but
a breakdown in our hired car, a night in a suburban India motel, and our
return through the first of the season's monsoon rains to Delhi Airport
were not far behind. We had only a quick stop at Singapore Airport before
going on to our final touring destination, Hong Kong. That city was also
very fascinating and the two video presentations on its chapter are must-see.
Though this ebook originally stressed
the daily expenses of the trip in the hope of encouraging others to try
similar adventures, after 13 years the expenditures are probably so out
of date to no longer merit top billing. So I have moved the expense ledger
to a page of its own, mainly as a historical record.
I hope you enjoy the videos and
would love to hear any feedback. Write me at email@example.com.
brother Bob (67 and retired), and I (about to turn 54) decided to see
"the world" on an economy budget within my three-week vacation
from my job as executive editor of a community newspaper group in San
Jose. This was by far the most adventurous trip either of us had ever
taken. I'd been on a group tour of England, Wales, and Ireland two years
earlier and had been to Geneva, Paris, Amsterdam, and Rome 30 years earlier
as a public relations functionary for a world congress in Geneva. Bob's
international travel had been to Mexico while living in California and
to some Caribbean islands while on duty with the air force just after
World War Two.
were inspired to undertake such an adventure by an ad I'd seen in a travel
publication offering around-the-world itineraries for $2500, about the
same as I'd spent for my British Isles trip in 1994 (though that included
two meals a day and all hotels; this was airfare only). That 'round-the-world
itinerary also included stops in Kenya and Nepal, which would have been
excellent. It also (like ours) allowed unlimited time at each stop. But
the downside was that from London to Hong Kong the flights were on Aeroflot,
Air India, and Air Nepal, which my travel-agent friend, Judith Heilman,
said she and the U.S. Government both decline to recommend. I asked Judith
if she could come up with an approximation of that itinerary for about
the same price and within my three weeks vacation time on "approved"
airlines, and this is what we came up with.
chose to travel "budget" not because our credit limits wouldn't
have allowed us to pay off a more luxurious vacation over the next decade,
but because that mode of travel has always been part of my basic philosophy.
Many would rather not go at all than travel middle-to-low class. But to
me, seeing the worldnot being able to dream better dreams than I
get at home because I'm on a $120-a-night mattressis the point.
We had no need to lack for anything we might want along the way, but neither
was there any point in splurging. Sleeping is, in my opinion, just sleeping.
I can do itor not do it as is often the casejust as well on
a hostel bed as one in a Regency Hotel. For my money, I'd rather take
another vacation next year than spend next year's vacation money upgrading
this year's tour.
I thought there might be a "market" for a trip journal of this
sort on the Internet, and hence it would fill a need.
we didn't deprive ourselves, we did try to see how economically we could
get by, in the hopes of opening a new travel frontier for many who might
not otherwise think such a trip within their means. I, for one, didn't
think it possible to go around the world for $2500 when I first saw that
advertised. "Yeah? What's the catch," was my attitude. So the
following gives as much economic detail as I was able to record, recall,
or reconstruct. And this is an interactive forumI encourage others
who follow, or who preceded us, to share their information through emails
which we will post and interactively link to these pages.
once, I feel, we may have made a mistake by not spending more. Yes, we
visited Moscow without seeing the Kremlin and Red Square.... We probably
should have hired a taxi before the one to the airport, but at the timefrustrated
in our attempts to get there by subway, tour bus, or on footthat
option didn't occur to either of us. You'll get the details later....
some days most of our expenses were included in the cost of our airfare.
For example, there were no dinner or room costs for the first and last
days, as they consisted of overnight flights with dinner shortly after
take-off and breakfast just before landing.
Sendoff at San
Francisco International Airport by my daughter Chris and grandchildren
Brandi and Antony. Click > to play video. Double-click the
image to make fullscreen.
San Francisco at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, due to arrive in London something
like 10 hours later at 10 a.m. London time, May 3. I kept my watch on
California time through the overnight Virgin Atlantic 747 flight via the
arctic route crossing northeast Canada, Greenland, and Iceland, to keep
track of the time-length of the journey.
daughter Chris, granddaughter Brandi, and infant grandson Antony saw me
off. I was scheduled to arrive at London's Heathrow International Airport
within five minutes of my brother Bob, who was flying simultaneously via
Virgin Atlantic from New York's Kennedy airport, having made the trip
from Chicago's O'Hare earlier in the day (he lives 90 miles from O'Hare
in Goshen, Indiana). We would be together from then onmore together
than we'd ever been in our lives before. Thirteen years older than I,
he was in the air force by the time I was five years old.
the Internet, I had found and booked rooms in Dublin, St. Petersburg,
and Moscow. For the rest of our nights, including this first one in London,
we were depending on the luck of the draw, not necessarily the most economical
way to travel.
are some thoughts recorded in flight over the frozen north:
now just before midnight so we must be about two hours out of London.
They haven't turned the "cabin" lights back on on the plane
yet, so breakfast is still a while away. At home I'd be watching Jay
Leno now. But we flew into darkness around 9 p.m. and into sunrise again
about an hour ago. I managed to keep my eyes shut most of that time.
But that's the closest to sleep I expect to get until Friday night in
These Virgin Atlantic jets are definitely a cut above the average. Tiny
color TVs in every seatback (about three inches diagonal) with six channels
of programming including movies like Leaving Las Vegas, Father of
the Bride II, Dead Man Walking, and Othello, and television
programs like Friends.... The "goodies" bag was also
upper class (Virgin's term for "business class"), though it
has no cologne to match a bottle I got on my Air France trans-Atlantic
flight of 30 years ago.
the dinner menu included three tasty-sounding choices: beef, chicken,
and vegetarian au gourmet.
Breakfast is over. Corn flakes from Battle Creek, choice of blueberry
muffin or croissant, citrus sections (two orange, two grapefruit), coffee.
The offering is taken to teach teenagers and children avoidance of HIV
and AIDS. Political correctness at 30,000 feet.
2:10 a.m.; nine hours, 40 minutes from San Francisco.