In the last month, I went all around the world. My first time, ever, believe it or not.
I did not set out to circumnavigate the globe—my schedule just evolved in such a way that traveling on many one-way tickets was shorter than several round trips. And yet, my many one-way tickets turned into a single, wonderful round-the-world trip.
My global journey consisted of just five legs: Washington, D.C. to Tokyo to Moscow and then to Budapest by plane—then a half-day train to Munich—and then one last flight back to Washington, D.C.
A random selection of cities for my first complete circumnavigation—I realize—but perhaps that is why I enjoyed it so much. For all the dream journeys I might have imagined, I would never have planned the precision of Japan, followed by the chaos of Russia, followed by bohemian Budapest and the soft green autumn of Central Europe, and then the final assault of Germanic joy at Munich’s Oktoberfest before heading home. But that is how it happened for me—the randomness of travel delivered a symphony of bright moments that tasted even better side by side.
Ever since humans knew the world was round, we’ve been trying to go around it. Even today, the act of circumnavigation remains a kind of holy grail for many travelers. I know that I had my mind set on the idea for ages—and yet despite my incessant traveling, I never actually made it all the way around Earth. Until now.
It took Magellan (rather, his crew) over three years to circumnavigate the globe. It took me just 28 days. Although really, it only took me 40 hours of actual travel.
That’s the slightly sad truth of present-day, round-the-world travel. As romantic as it sounds, the facility of airplanes has made circumnavigation a far less elaborate feat than I wished it might be.
No matter though. I did it—I traveled around the world by plane and train, and when I landed on that very familiar runway in northern Virginia, I couldn’t help but smile a little.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
I had come full circle. I had gone away and come home, during which time I had crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the massive Eurasian continent.
My smile was silly, really, a symptom of new-found knowledge—a fact of life that was accepted as truth until that moment I finally landed and it became truth.
The world really is round.