I've answered these questions 100 times already.
When do you leave? August 28th, 2004
How long do you plan to be away? 117 Days, I return on December
How many countries will you visit? 23
Will you come home if the Red Sox make it to the World Series?
This is a question I have gotten from a few website viewers. The truth
is, I dont know what my answer is. If this trip is about seeing
the wonders of the world, can you imagine a a more wondrous event
in the past 85 years then being in Boston after the Red Sox win? It
would truly be a fascinating time to be in Boston.
That being said, however, after 31 years of having my heart ripped
out and bunted by the Red Sox, Im not sure if I can trust them
to come through. It is a dilemma I hope I dont have to face...because
next year is THE YEAR! (I was wrong! The Sox won in 2004 and I did not return to Boston)
How much have you saved? $25,000 but hope to only spend about
$20,000. The other $5,000 is my security blanket and cushion for when
Do you speak any other languages? None. Me not even speak
English good either
How did you pick your destinations? Why arent you going
to this country or that site? It took a lot of soul searching
to come up with my list of things that I really wanted to see before
I died. I came up with a mission statement of sorts, which is: To
experience the greatest natural and man made "Wonders of the World"
in places where I can not reasonably or easily travel to when I become
older or have small children.
The criteria for the inclusion of a site in my list is that the location
must have an outstanding universal value across cultures, and throughout
history from an aesthetic, (natural or man made) or from an anthropological
points of view.
Man Made Wonder: The site should represent a masterpiece of
human creative genius; or bear a unique and exceptional testimony
to a cultural tradition/civilization which is directly associated
with events, ideas, beliefs, artistic and literary works of outstanding
Natural Wonder: Natural features consisting of physical and
biological formations which are of outstanding universal aesthetic
value, including superlative natural phenomena and areas of exceptional
natural beauty and significant natural habitats for biological diversity.
In other words, any place in the world that no matter your religious
or cultural background you are humbled and simply say 'Wow! That is
Now, you may have noticed North America, Central America, and most
of Europe is missing from my list. I have skipped these sites because
I figure they are more accessible for a 2 week trip later in life. Plus
I've already visited many of the ones in the US and Europe that would be on my list.
I realize that I may be skipping over a few Wonders that you think
are 'must sees' before you die type places. For instance, many people
recommend that I go to the Beaches in Thailand, or the Maldives ,
or Zanzibar , but with my pale, white, Irish skin, I can only stay on a
beach for about hour before I start to burn. Thus beaches are not high
on my list of places to visit.
Some other places were scrapped because they were so remote it would have take a month just getting to and from the place. Thus no high altitude mountain climbing.
Number of hours spent on a plane in flight (not inlcuding layovers
or preboarding): 125 hours (or 5 straight days out of the 117
I am gone) with layovers and preboarding that number will almost double
to about 9 days.
What place are you most excited about? Depending on the day
and the guidebook I just read, the place changes. I would say Jerusalem
is at the top of the list. To see the actual tomb that Jesus was buried
in (and rose from depending on what you believe) and to see the street
he carried the cross down, that will mess with my head. But then I think
of the Pyramids and the fact that they are 5,000 years old. And then
I think of the story of the Taj Mahal or the natural beauty of The
Great Barrier Reef and it goes on and on. Are you getting excited
for me yet?
Why did you decide to take this trip? What got you interested
in this type of travel, and/or influenced you to go? I decided
to take this trip for many reasons. Obviously, I love to travel and
I'd rather spend my money on traveling than a new SUV with spinning
rims or leather pants. It just seems like a better value to me. Another
major reason is that it has been made vividly clear by tragedy touching
family and friends that life is fleeting, and I should make the most
of it while I have my health, my sanity (enough with the comments
from the peanut gallery), the money and the motivation. It really seemed
like the planets aligned in my favor and it became clear to me that
if ever I was to take this trip, this is the moment. I'm not letting
this moment slip by.
What is your biggest fear about this trip? Germs.Parasites.Fungi.SARS.Lice.
Dirty squat hole bathrooms where my aim is off and I poop on my shoes.
Are your family, friends, co-workers, etc., supportive of you?
What is their opinion of you going around the world? The responses
I get are mixed. Some people express a bit of good natured jealousy
along with excitement for me. Others, a little anxiety for my health
and safety. Overall, I would say most everyone is supportive.
How much planning and preparing have you done? Too much.The
idea of an "around the world" trip has been with me since I was a kid,
but lack of money or life got in the way.It was not until around December
or January that the travel bug hit hard and a New Years trip to China's
Great Wall that never came to fruition, eventually morphed into the current
plan. Finding out that the average year long RTW trip cost $15,000,
along with knowing friends and relatives who were roughly my age and
either dying or contracting/diagnosed with a disease that would prevent
them from taking this type of trip, were two crucial motivators for
me to stop waiting. There will never be a better time than
the present. Serious planning began in May and will continue until
What are you packing? What do you consider your most indispensable
I'm packing super light. 2 pair of pants. 1 pair of shorts. 4 shirts.
Running shoes. 1 first aid kit. My most indispensable items would
be my ATM card, my camera, and my passport. My pack will only weigh
22 pounds at it heaviest. For more info, see the what
I packed page
How do you think your Around-the-World trip will change your life?
How do you think it will affect and change you as a person? I
hope this will satisfy my wanderlust and help me transition into the
adult stage of life, somewhat, maybe. I'm not expecting to "find myself"
(I didnt know I was lost) or to have a profound understanding of the
human race or the universe when I return. I hope to pick up where
I left off with my family, friends and work. My life is already pretty
good, this is just a bonus blessing that I don't necessarily deserve
but will take advantage of this opportunity for everything that its
How long will you be on each continent?
Why go alone? I'm a real jerk to travel with: ) I like to travel
alone, I find I'm more likely to meet the locals. I also have the
freedom to go and do exactly what I want when I want. If jet lag is
kicking my butt, I can skip the museum and sleep in. Or if I am on
a high because I'm so excited to be in a new place I can leave the
hotel at 4 AM to catch the sunrise at the top of a mountain. It just
works for me. My digital camera will help me feel like I'm able to
share it with everyone I know. It will be like you're traveling in my
pocket with me. You'll see all of it, you just won't have the gastrointestinal
discomfort that I will.
Do you think youll meet the future Mrs. McGrail along the way?
I'm not banking on it. Sorry Mom. Something tells me that by week 2
of not shaving or showering and sleeping in dirt with a bad case of
the runs will not help me be voted as "Cambodia's most eligible bachelor".
That is just a wild hunch on my part.
Will you be voting via Absentee Ballott? Yes, I plan on having
my ballot sent to Australia so I can fill it out on my scuba cruise.
And of course I'll be Voting for Kerry. It will
be interesting to see if the news of the winner reaches the Great
Wall of China the next day.
What are you going to do if you get mugged? First, I will probably
break down and cry like a baby and scream out "I want my mommy"
along with "I want to go home," with drool spilling
from my bottom lip. But after about a day or two of that, I will quiet
down to a whimper and eventually "find my way" to an American
Express Office to get a cash advance off my card. And by "find
my way" I mean selling my plasma and/or Kidney to the highest