June 4, 2011
Distance Traveled Today: 6,952 miles
Total Distance Traveled for the Trip: 19,608
I’m a bit over an our into my twelve hour final flight home.
It’s a very long day in every sense of the word. First of all, in terms of hours, it’s literally a long day: thirty-four hours, to be exact. Even weirder, at least twenty-five of those hours will be in sunlight.
Travel time from door to door: about twenty-six hours.
Why so long? Well, because I’m a stupid airline ticket buyer, that’s why. Back in March, when I was building this enormous itinerary on Expedia, I was so addled with excitement at the idea of getting to go to Russia that I just wanted the tickets reserved and bought. So I didn’t notice one pertinent fact about my flight home to Los Angeles from Helsinki: Not only did it start very early (the flight left at 6:55 a.m.), but it included a seven hour layover in Munich. When I noticed this it was too late to change it, thanks a lot, Expedia.
Anyway, it was surprisingly easy to pleasantly spend all day in the Munich airport. I had a massage, snacked, played (or attempted to play) The Temple of Elemental Evil on the laptop, and just generally explored the airport.
Now that the trip is ending I feel it’s appropriate to revisit the goals I layed down on the first Day 1 o so long ago:
Goals For My Eleven Week Globetrotting Work Trip
- Endeavor to not merely look, but to See.
- Write as much as possible.
- Take as many good photographs as possible.
- Try to find Mexican food in every city I’m in.
- Try to go to the movies in every city I’m in.
- Try to return from the trip thinner than when I left.
Write as much as possible. I’d have to say this was the goal I was most successful at, and feel the best about. Writing this travel diary has been a big project, and has taken up a non-trivial amount of time during the trip. But it’s been worth it. I’m a very lazy writer and I was interested to see if I could muster up the discipline to faithfully write about the trip on a daily basis. And I have! At over one hundred pages, it’s the longest thing I’ve ever written, for better or worse.
Try to find Mexican food in every city I’m in. Did pretty well on this one:
Cities In Which I Found and Enjoyed Mexican Food on the Trip
- Toledo, Ohio
- Cleveland, Ohio
- New York, New York
- Brussels, Belgium
- Paris, France
- Vilnius, Lithuania
- Berlin, Germany
- Munich, Germany
- Moscow, Russian Federation
- St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Helsinki, Finland
I hasten to add that I didn’t always find good Mexican food, but good was not a requirement.
Try to go to the movies in every city I’m in. Not bad, not great. It’s always a challenge in a foreign country finding a) a movie presented in English that b) I am interested in seeing and c) haven’t already seen. But I did my best.
Movies I Saw on the Trip
- The Adjustment Bureau (Cleveland)
- Rubber (Cleveland)
- Insidious (Cleveland)
- Connected (Cleveland)
- Limitless (Cleveland)
- The Lincoln Lawyer (Cleveland)
- Source Code (New York)
- Of Gods and Men (New York)
- Route Irish (Brussels)
- Water for Elephants (Vilnius)
- Thor (Berlin)
- Life in a Day (Moscow)
- The Hangover II (Tallinn)
Take as Many Good Photographs as Possible. I’m so glad I decided to go to the trouble of taking my new camera on the trip. I enjoyed it very much, and I’m thrilled with the variety of subjects I had the opportunity to photograph, happy with many of the images I got, and very happy with a few of them. I’ll pull my favorites and post them in a group on Facebook shortly.
Return from the trip thinner than when I left. Alas, on this one, it’s Europe:1, Ivey:0. The first order of business upon my return is to get to work shedding the Europounds.
Endeavor to not merely look, but to see. I’m not convinced I was successful at this one much. I have a strong tendency to see what I expect to see. Having the camera helped, though, if only in providing negative lessons. There were several potentially wonderful pictures that I failed to get becauseI wasn’t quick enough and/or I hesitated to talk to strangers. More, perhaps, on this later.