I traveled to a few places –
Japan (just for sushi at the airport)
One night in Bangkok
Bangladesh for 6 months
Hong Kong (with surprise stop in mainland China)
I did it on three separate passports and filled one of them up completely.
How long did it take:
From the the fifth of July, 2005 to the 19th of December 2008. Just under 2.5 years.
How much did it cost:
$26,000 or so.
Was it worth it:
What did I learn:
How to learn languages – The fifth language was certainly easier than the first.
Spanish – I'm pretty good.
Portuguese – I'm OK.
Bangla – OK, I forgot Bangla already, but I used to be pretty good.
German – I'm pretty bad.
French – I've definitely had conversations in French. I'll get back to it.
Korean – I think I learned more in my one month there this time than in my year before.
Politics – I have a pretty good understanding of what is happening and why. The world was more pleasant before.
Economics – Evolutionary Microeconomics is fun.
How to find cheap flights – $26,000 comes out to just over $10,000 per year.
How to travel – Cheap hotels, nice hotels, hostels, street vendors, couch surfing, visas...
History – Maybe not everything that has ever happened, but I can definitely put things in context now.
My physical and emotional limits – Some of them at least.
What it means to be an American – All you have to do is believe.
That America is going down – I don't think it's going to be a 3rd world country any time soon. But, the financial markets are already bucking conventional wisdom and betting against it, it's still losing money, and the majority of Americans don't see a big problem. The scary bit is what will happen once the American earning power has fallen off, but before the military power has.
Why it's ok that Americans call America America – When America was founded, it didn't really have neighbors. Americans were the only people that could call themselves Americans for a bunch of years. However, the name didn't show an awful lot of foresight.
How global warming works – Global warming isn't a big threat to the first world, but it's going to tear stuff up in the third.
That international banking can be a pain – I tried a lot of stuff with banking on my travels. I got told plenty of times that I couldn't open an account for some reason or other. I also got told that I couldn't make deposits outside of my country of residence.
What marketing is
That I don't like Citibank
Everything there is to know about food poisoning
What I'm going to do next
How have I changed:
I'm a sincere, positive person. I normally bring out the best sides of people. In my travels, I saw the worst sides of some pretty horrible people. Those are images that will take a long time to wipe away.
Having a deeper understanding of how things work, I will be more thoughtful in what actions I take.
I always felt that traveling was a part of growing up. I had never had the opportunity to do it before. Now, I feel ready to make much bigger commitments because I feel like I'm an adult.