This trip has come to an end and I am now at home with Helen reflecting on the adventure. In a word, it was AMAZING. Perhaps faster than I would have preferred but what a way to make a living. First a few closing photo's.
Were we changed by such an experience? I know I was, but I also observed people who traveled with me and for whatever reason could not escape the worldview that had created around them. Some people saw India and their first inclination was, "How can we get 1.2 billion people to be consumers like we are". It is not in my nature to see something different and want to change it, even if I might be able to make it just a little bit better.
Some statistics on the trip:
We traveled 27,476 nautical miles by private jet. This comes out to be 31,540 statute (or regular) miles. If you add the 3,834 statute miles I flew from Flagstaff to Orlando and back, I completed a total of over 35,000 miles on this journey.
There was 67 hours of flying on the private jet in 21 days
We crossed the equator four times and each tropic line (Capricorn and Cancer) twice
We visited ten counties: Peru, Chile, Samoa, Australia, Cambodia, India, Tanzania, Egypt, Morocco, and the USA. I went to Cambodia and Jaipur India for the first time.
We flew over the Caribbean Sea, the South Pacific Ocean,
the Coral Sea, the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Arafura Sea, the Timor Sea,
the Banda Sea, the Celebes Sea, the South China Sea, the Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean.
We used 82,094 gallons of jet fuel. This comes out to a little less than 1,000 gallons per passenger in 21 days. Our carbon footprint was huge, only slightly offset by the wads of cash we infused into the economies of the ten different countries.
Our crew aboard Flight TOM 989 made a video of their experience on the trip and you can view it here. Spectacular.
I gave five lectures on this trip, each well received. Some
people learned for the first time that the continents drift about the
surface of the planet through time.
I learned that the earth really is round - each morning we put the pointy end of the jet towards the west and ate up miles at the average rate of about 450 per hour. At sunset, our jet was flying into the sunlight. I started in Orlando and ended up in Orlando. The world is round.
I learned that clouds have shapes, colors and textures beyond imagination. My favorite thing on whole trip was watching clouds from 36,000 feet!
I learned patience, flexibility, and tolerance - thanks to our expedition leader Micheline Place who schooled us of this on the first night. I never forgot her words of wisdom.
I listened to fellow lecturer Barry Lopez who told us that the reason we travel was to share our experiences with others - spouses, children, grandchildren, great grand-children, friends, lovers, acquaintances, strangers - anyone who wants to hear about this beautiful home called earth
I cannot wait for the next trip on the jet - Cape to Cape, January, 2014. Stay tuned.