Hello and goodbye

Well folks, this is it – today is Friday, April 12th, 2013.

This trip started on Sunday, September 16th, 2012, leaving out of YYZ Toronto Pearson… with todays flight, it will, according to my map, officially wind up being an “around the world trip”.

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According to my stats from my travel map, I’ll have travelled a total of 89,907km (or 55,868mi) over 208 days (or 2.19% of my life). 30 countries visited, this trip is the rough equivalent of circling the earth 2.2 times.

I traveled 74,724km (46,434mi) via Airplane, 9,938km (6,176mi) via Boat, 2,140km (1,330 mi) via Train, 1,902km (1,182mi) via Car and 1,202km (747mi) via Bus.

I met hundreds of people along the way, became friends with a bunch of strangers, got to stay with two of my cousins in Europe, a Rotary friend in Adeliade, Australia and my host sister and her family in Horsham, Australia. I’ll have passed through 64 metal detectors, stayed in 47 different places, taken 36 flights and changed time zones 27 times. I also met up with a bunch of friends that I’ve made throughout the years along the way – many through Rotary.

During my 208 days I celebrated Christmas, New Years, Halloween, Easter, my Birthday and whatever other holidays came up along the way.

And this is it. The end. Back to reality.

Going home and sleeping for a week :p

I’m looking forward to giving up the backpack and having more possessions than what fit in two bags. It’ll be nice to have the same bed (a very comfy one at that), and the same shower for a while. It’ll be great to see my family and friends again (local ones anyway :p). And my body will probably appreciate not constantly changing time zones, weather conditions, etc (though the vitamins I’ve been taking seem to be helping!).

I’m going to miss being in a totally new environment every week. Not having to worry about anyone but myself – meeting up and engaging with people when I feel like it, enjoying peace and quiet when I don’t. Different languages, amazing sights, meeting new people everywhere, and even the flights 😉 I’ll miss it all.

That being said, it’s become very obvious to me that this will not, by any means, be my last trip… I feel like I caught the travel bug two years ago, and this past few months has certainly embedded it deep within me. I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon.

It’s difficult for me to say if I’ve really “changed” that much… I think I’ve become a bit more relaxed by default. It’s been nice getting to know the Ryan who isn’t a constant work-a-holic. Other than that… I don’t know? I probably have, but it’s a little hard to know for sure… me, myself and I spend a lot of time together, so it’s hard to recognize a change.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I get back. So don’t ask :p

I can tell you that I plan on getting a haircut. And I also need to setup my cell phone again with a SIM in Canada. Oh and I might be going to my Aunt’s art show tomorrow. Those are my three immediate plans.

Thoughts running through my head have been focused a bit on getting a certification or two, spending some time learning a new programming language, continuing consulting for a while and take the summer “off”, doing some camping, maybe traveling around a bit closer to home. Possibly a cruise.

But then again, I just came across an interesting job description the other day for a cool company, so… who knows. The summer off may or may not happen. I’m hoping it will though. I think it would be well worth it.

do need to make some money! That much I am aware of :p

Overall, I’m really pleased with the trip – no regrets. I think I did pretty much everything I wanted to do – I went where I wanted to go, I saw people I wanted to see. I understand that this isn’t something most people get to do, and I understand it’s something a lot of people dream of, so I feel very privileged to have been able to make this happen for myself. Traveling on your own is something that not everyone is very good at – and it raised a bunch of eyebrows on the trip, especially for the length of it! But I also met a bunch of other solo travelers, so I’m not totally alone 😉

So I guess… there’s not much more to say! I’ll end this by thanking everyone who hosted me and got me away from hostels for a while. Everyone I met in hostels who was awesome and so much fun to hang out with, and last but not least, my friends and family who have kept in close contact with me through iMessage, Whatsapp, email, Facetime, Skype and Facebook.

I don’t know how people did trips like this without the technology I’ve been carting around 😉

So… to the beginning and the end! And… what’s next? 🙂

Trip - beginningTrip - end