was it worth it?

hell yes. traveling always is, and i really can’t say i ever regretted a trip. i saw so many amazing things, chatted with some really great people, and lived outside my comfort zone for a few weeks – something i always enjoy.

in the 14 days we were on the road, we traveled through 12 countries. not so shabby if i do say so myself! here are some other quick stats:

-4,300 km driven (~2,600 miles)
-most expensive gas: $5.60/gallon
-1,600+ pictures taken (well over 3,000 with what Bob shot)
-€85 in fines (4 total police contacts)
-about six blatant driving violations (totally blew a red light during rush hour in Albania)
-mystery foods eaten: 0
-meat eaten accidentally: 0 (YES!!!)
-18 Sprites enjoyed
-15 new passport stamps
-holy shit moments (like really holy shit!): 3
-lost or forgotten goods: 1 elastic clothes line in Venice
-compromised credit card number? check (no visa, i did not place an order at http://www.sexymovies.com)
-smiles on my face: tons

i can’t say the entire trip was wonderful, but then again no trip is. Albania was quite dull and the people didn’t seem the friendliest, we had a few frustrating nights trying to find our lodging (especially in Rome where every single hotel in town was booked), and listening to drunk people snoring in your room causing you to drag your mattress off your bed, out the door, and sleep outside isn’t the ideal situation. But those are the moments that make for the most memorable trips, and keep me wanting to do it all over again.

we didn’t meet as many travelers as we did in Vietnam, but the few we did meet were very cool people that i intend to keep in touch with. it’s always amazing how quickly you become “friends” with these total strangers, and how comfortable you are chatting with them after knowing them for a few short hours. that alone is worth the trip if you ask me.

so, for me, best place visited? Venice. worst? Albania. friendliest people? Bosnia, Serbia, and Slovakia. most douchebags? Croatia and cops in Montenegro. cheapest place? Slovakia. most expensive? depends on what you’re buying. Sprites? That was in Croatia and Italy. Croatia was really expensive – our dinner in Dubrovnik consisted of a hamburger basket, 2 beers, 1 Sprite, 1 water, and some nachos. our bill was €48.00 ($67.00). if you were renting a room, Rome and Venice were the most spendy. prettiest mountains? NE Montenegro and Serbia. prettiest coastline? Montenegro. craziest drivers? Albania. nicest roads? Austria and Germany (no surprise). best history? Rome. best meal? four cheese pasta dish at a hotel restaurant in Prizren, Kosovo. well, i take that back. i had ravioli with gorgonzola cheese in Ljubljana the last day of our trip, and while it took about 45 minutes to get our food, it was amazing. and i’m no foodie and never say that about food. worst meal? the “grilled cheese” in Ohrid, Macedonia. that was the worst meal of my entire life, come to think of it.

what’s next? not much traveling, actually. i may try to squeeze in a quick trip to Peru to hike the Machu Picchu trail this winter, but i’m going to concentrate on running a full season of triathlon races in 2011, so i’ll be sticking close to home to do that. my traveling day are far from over, though. Egypt and Jordan are high on my list, as is the rest of SE Asia (Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand). Russia has always intrigued me, and i really want to hike through Nepal. India would be wonderful to experience and photograph, and since my first trip to Japan was shit, i really look forward to returning there. so as you can see, i have a fairly long list, and intend to see everything on it in the next few years.

am i nuts? do i have too much wanderlust? i don’t think so. life is for living, and i intend to do just that. feel free to continue following along as i begin my next journey in a few months: preparing for next year’s triathlon season where in SEP i will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a marathon (26.2 miles) in a single race. i can’t wait!

thanks so much for following along!

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