I am nearing the final stretch. In real time, I’ve made it to Rome from South America, spent a week in Morocco, headed to London to find my parents, back to Rome to get on a cruise with the family, spent three days in Israel and a day in Santorini, and today I am in Kusadasi, Turkey. In exactly a week I will be done and back to real life.
So how well did I do on my goals, and what do I have left to do in my final few days?
Let’s start with the goals I proposed and have completed or partially completed:
- Stay at a hostel in a shared room, for the first time ever: Crushed it. In fact, I stayed in dorms/shared rooms with strangers in Cartagena, Quito, La Paz, Salar de Uyuni, Santiago, Rome, London, and Morocco. More on this in a future post on a “30 something guide to hostels.”
- Stick to a budget: I never came up with a fixed number, but I traveled for much, much less than I have in the past. I stayed at hotels that were on average about $20 USD per night. I splurged on two Island trips (Galapagos and Easter Island). I also splurged by taking faster travel when possible. Three months seems like a lot, but spending 12 hours on a bus and eating a day vs. an hour on a plane was an easy call and a place where I felt fortunate to be able to splurge. So far I am happy with what I have spent and my frugality, but could have done better with creating an actual budget. I’ll consider this fifty percent met. Thanks Steven for helping me on this.
- Fly on 10 different airlines and get photos in two different cockpits with the pilots: I’ve met the 10 airlines, to be detailed in a future post. I have one cockpit photo, so one to go.
- Take a flight lesson: Done.
- Improve my Spanish to be proficient: While I never took classes, by the end of the trip I was primarily speaking Spanish in my day-to-day activities. I’ve also used the opportunity to speak Spanish with any crew on this boat from a Spanish speaking country. My conversational Spanish is much better than it was when I started. Now to figure out how to keep it up when I get home!
- Really learn how to use my camera: I read a few photography how-to books at the get go (the best for me was Understanding Exposure – affiliate link) and finally learned how to use the manual settings to take much better pictures. While I am still not a real photographer, my pictures now are much better than when I started.
- See the statues on Easter Island: Done.
- Sleep at a winery, on a boat, and in a hammock (not at the same time): I’ll say two of three are completed. I’ll have spent three weeks on boats when I am done with this cruise. I also slept outside in the desert, in the spirit of the hammock, but on the ground. I never made it to a winery though.
- Read 20 books: Done. Will list out in a final post.
- Scuba dive in two countries: Done. Ecuador and Chile.
- Ride a bike (indicating SI issue solved): Done. Galapagos.
- Take a 8+ hour bus: Quasi done, but not really in the spirit of the goal. We had a 10 hour driving day on the minibus for our tour in Morocco, but no long public busses. The most was a few hours from Potosi to Uyuni in Bolivia.
- Have a dozen meals with strangers (~once a week), get invited to at least one home meal: Half complete. Tons of meals with strangers, but no home visits, yet. I did get an invite from a creepy cab driver on Easter Island if that counts.
And here are the goals I proposed and have completely failed at.
- Stay out until sunrise: Not yet, guess I will need to do this on the cruise!
- Walk 20 miles in a day: So far failed, best day was 12 miles in Rome. I did climb 90 flights of stairs yesterday in Santorini.
- Take a local dance class: Not yet. I will have to do a dance class on the cruise ship.
- Have a travel meltdown – if I don’t, I am not trying hard enough: Failed. I haven’t had a meltdown. Chalk it up to enough sleep, and enough time, that patience and calm have prevailed. The new Zen Jen.
- Fully build out the blog, including travel pages for frequently traveled places: Project for home I guess!
- Go to an airport without a ticket, review the board, and pick a destination: I failed at this. South America is where I should have done it. I am going to keep this as a life goal.
Here are some of the goals you proposed:
From Malia: Try a new food that you would never have been brave enough to try? See sunrise from a hot air balloon? I did attempt to try anything offered, including lots of fish. I am still not a fan, but ate it. I also had Tuna sushi on the boat. Yes, I understand how non-adventurous that is. Oh, I did have ChiCha in Bolivia. It was really really bad. The hot air balloon goes against my policy of not leaving the ground without an engine. Let’s do that one together in Arizona one day.
**update: Add camel to the new food list (Athens)**
-Karaoke or dancing with strangers: Not yet, but I’m certain Karaoke is happening one night on this boat.
-Make up a fake life story and name (preferably a story you find entertaining, improbable, or desirable) and for an entire day play out that persona with any people you talk to. Failed.
-Ride an animal that is not native to the US (llamas?) Dromedahls in Morocco! Post to come soon.
-cliff diving (actually that makes me nervous just thinking about it) Heck no.
From Heather: Two new drinking customs: Yes! Asked in every country. A great icebreaker. My favorite is the common South American – “Arreba, Abajo, Al Centro, Adentro!”
From Ab: Handstand. Haven’t tried yet. Perhaps at the gym tomorrow.