Just shy of nine months abroad, I find myself back in Boulder. In many ways, the reality of being home has yet to sink in; the past few weeks have been a blur. Landing Thursday in Philadelphia and visiting friends for a night; New Jersey for a second evening; and one final flight to arrive in Denver.
Some 260 nights ago, I departed Boulder. In that time, I slept in 62 cities (not including overnight trains). My passport—brand-new before departing—now has 37 stamps and is nearing full. I rode 35 trains—including plenty of overnight sleepers. Flew on 29 airplanes, endured 23 long-haul bus rides and four boats. Took far too many taxi, metro and tuk tuk rides to remember. And sat atop one elephant. I had the opportunity to visit 21 countries; not counting the five places in which I transited like Qatar or Brussels. My wallet now carries change in 18 currencies. I learned words—simple phrases like “hello” and “thank you”—in 15 languages. My best guess is that—when added together—I’ve traveled some 100,000 kilometers. But numbers cannot describe this adventure.
I made so many new friends. Shared unbelievable experiences. I was challenged, pushed to my own limits more times than I can recall. I grew, in more ways than I might describe.
As Sarah and I reach the end of our current travels, we met others just beginning theirs. And while returning home is bittersweet, I am excited for what adventures comes next.