Dare I Round the World?

I’ve only made it to northern Italy…after over two weeks of traveling abroad, starting in Amsterdam, so I’m one to talk, but I’m wondering if after my grand tour of Europe I might just keep going, on to another continent, rather than back to the United States? At least right away…

Specifically I’ve long entertained the option of a coda to my trip, a jaunt to East Asia while I’m on the move traveling internationally:

I’m excited too for my big trip to Europe, feeling so good about it, in fact, that I’m floating the idea of doing a side excursion to Japan if I’m up to it at the end; not much, perhaps even just a few days, but enough to sample what a place that’s always fascinated me has to offer. Some other time I might want to follow up with seeing more of Asia, as well as the other continents of the world.

It has struck me recently that with how it’s shaping up my big vacation overseas coupled with my move to California (and me starting a business…and having a baby…all at the same time) is akin to a financial suicide mission, so maybe I should do as much as I can while I have the chance. Especially considering it took me a long time to work up enough gumption to go through with the long economy-class airline flights, the airport security, the border guards, the customs officers…ugh. Who knows when I’ll feel up to facing down all that again? Heck, who even knows if I’ll be able to do all this again?

One of my favorite statistics is that in America today 14% of 15-year-old men will die at some point before reaching age 60; to a large extent the idea we all live so long now is a myth. My own father was one of those unfortunate (?) one in seven or so men…as was his father. On the other hand most everybody else in the family tree lived to be 80 or 90. So god knows…

The point, though, is that I have something of a window of opportunity to go to Japan this summer, and touch down in Asia, crossing another continent off the bucket list.

The original idea I had was that if I opt for that course I’d go from Japan back home to the United States, but of late an even wilder idea has struck me: rather than go from Japan to home, why not from Japan to yet another destination, another continent? And then another…

Indeed, it would be possible to go from, say, Japan to Australia to Africa to South America and then back home, thus completing a tour of all the continents except Antarctica. I would do Antarctica as well, but there are no regular commercial flight there, let alone cheap or easily available ones, and even so the time I’d be doing all this (June to perhaps July) is midwinter there, which is when tourism shuts down. No, Antarctica will have to wait for another time. But the other continents are possible.

Are they feasible, though? Surprisingly, they just might be. Adding up the costs on Google Flights to get a rough ballpark number, I find that it nets out to only $1000 more than just going from Japan to the United States, a great value for that much travel. Sure, there are additional lodging costs, but I’d have to pay that in the United States anyway, where it may well be costlier. There’s a chance I might actually save money on net by staying overseas for longer.

Of course if I really wanted to save money I’d just roam between these cheaper countries permanently, but in that case I’d become something like the Flying Dutchman, doomed to never see home again. Even though I don’t have a drop of Dutch blood in me (on the other hand, I did lose my virginity to a Dutch girl on Dutch soil; maybe that’s enough… 👀 )!

Anyway, my mind wanders to where exactly on each continent I’d like to go. The part of Africa that I feel like I’d like to go to would be the Cape and into Namibia, specifically the Skeleton Coast, the land of desert sand dunes and shipwrecks pounded by crashing surf and enshrouded in chilly fog, a rather peculiar and fascinating environment.

There is a road that runs through the area, which is managed as a national park, and interestingly it seems any old vehicle can drive on it (though a 4×4 is required to do the side paths). Kinda like the national parks in the United States, you just pay an entry fee, get your ticket at the gate, and that’s it. They even have a “resort” at the end of the public road, but it’s not necessary to stay there; one can turn back within the same day. Shall I rent a vehicle and go that distance?

I hear Cape Town is beautiful too but one can always do both. Two more countries crossed off the list?

Argentina is perhaps the country in South America that’s always fascinated me the most, so Buenos Aires would be the obvious place for me to fly in for South America.

As for Australia, I really have no idea. Sydney seems to be the biggest air hub, making that the obvious candidate, but meh. It’s really the far west of the Outback closer to the Indian Ocean that I might be interested in visiting, but that’s kinda remote. On the other hand, I would have the time…

Additional possibilities exist in Asia. Dubai is a city I’ve long wanted to visit, and the Emirates in general would be interesting; ditto to a lesser extent for the other small Gulf Arab states. Singapore is another place that I no doubt would find utterly fascinating. Bali, which is part of Indonesia, is another place I might like to visit. But all that sounds like a bit much for even an expanded and extended itinerary this go-round, so I might leave that on the shelf along with (on the African front) any plans to visit Egypt. In the latter case I have a feeling the total solar eclipse in 2026 will be my time to experience that country anyway.

Ditto for Brazil, which I’m sure would be interesting, along with the Caribbean. I would really like to see some more of the latter sometime, especially from the water (the closest I’ve gotten is Key West and I quite liked that experience…), but that would best be part of a different excursion.

Ditto for Alaska and Hawaii. Oh, the thought of re-entering the United States by flying into Hawaii and then covering Alaska too is tempting, but again, it seems like a bit much. No, a minimal tour of all the continents except Antarctica, where I could at least sample what each of them have to offer, would be the maximum I’d go for for this journey.

Even that would be monumental: at the end of my trip to Europe I’ll have been to perhaps 35 countries total (US, UK, Ireland, Canada, and all the Schengen Area countries; yes, all of them). My total a month ago was 2: the US and Canada. Japan, Australia, South Africa, Namibia, and Argentina would add 5 more, making for 40 total. Some routes I’ve looked at envision layovers in the Emirates and Panama (from Argentina to the US), so it could amount to as many as 42 or so. My continent count, of course, was 1 (North America) and is now 2 (North America and Europe). With a round-the-world track home it would expand to 6 (North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America).

And that’s just what I’m considering doing for this go-round. As I mentioned earlier I’m already scoping out Egypt for 2026. The Caribbean and Alaska have been on my target list for a while, and I’ve yet to experience eastern Canadian realms like Montreal, Quebec, and the Maritimes (so far, so near…). Antarctica of course is expensive and difficult but has always been a dream; when summer comes around, who knows? And more of South America is enticing beyond just Argentina; the South Pacific might be interesting too…

Maybe I’m more of a hardcore traveler than I thought? Hmm…

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