Well, I’ve been on the road for four months. I’ve walked across 53% of the country so far.
Here’s an update on some journey-related stats, and then I need your opinion on something for the second half…
Total: 1109 kilometers (689 miles)
That’s an average of 277 kilometers (172 miles) per month. Months before the trip I planned on 300 kilometers per month, so I’m hitting that target pretty close.
Sep: 399 kilometers (247 miles)
Oct: 238 kilometers (148 miles)
Nov: 165 kilometers (102 miles)
Dec: 302 kilometers (187 miles)
As you can see, I hit it pretty hard in September. November, the month with two trips to Istanbul, was very light. December was actually right on plan, even with large changes in my traveling style and more social activity than in the three preceding months combined.
Total: US$3979 (an average of US$995 per month)
Those numbers are all-inclusive, everything I’ve spent since taking the first step on 1 September, 2012. Food, lodging, health insurance, internet data plan, warmer clothes, two trips to Istanbul, even one-off expenses like the residence permit and the communications “Plan B” (new cell phone, etc). Everything.
All the months have been over budget. The Dec number is pretty close to budget, but even it is too high.
For 10 years my weight has never gone far from 84 kilos (185 pounds). I regularly go 5 kilos (10 pounds) over or under that, depending on what I’ve been eating and how much exercise I’m getting. When I am walking a lot I actually put on weight, because the muscle I put on weighs more than the fat I lose. But my weight isn’t changing much on this trip. It’s still been staying at 84 kilos, +/- 5 kilos.
I am liking the Couchsurfing method I started in early December.
Physically, it’s more comfortable, since I sleep in a bed or on a couch. I take showers and do laundry on a regular basis. I love that way of life to no end.
I commute to work in the mornings, and return to the same home in the evenings. Since I’m based out of a given place instead of moving to a new location each day, I make much closer friendships. Emotionally it’s much richer.
The conversations are more substantive, too. Traveling old-style (pre-December), I have the same conversation over and over (What is your name? Where are you from? What are you doing? Where are you going? Why?). With Couchsurfing, since we have more time to get to know each other, we talk about other things too. Politics, history, professions, money, life, philosophy, girls.
However, language-wise, the Couchsurfing community is heavily oriented towards English. In December I spoke way more English than I did Turkish. But I’m not out here to learn Turkish. I’m out here to walk across the country and show it to people.
My question for you: I haven’t decided yet whether the language thing is good, bad, or irrelevant. What’s your opinion? Let me know in your comments or by emailing me directly.