When I was planning JEXIT, I considered visiting other countries in the Southeast Asia region before heading west. I even gave serious thought to stopping in Borneo (still Indonesia) for a few days. But when I really thought about it, I decided against anymore Southeast Asia stops. A lot of the big attractions there are temples and rice fields, and after a year of living in the region, I feel all templed out. I just didn’t want to see more of the same for a while. Also, I felt that my travel to other places in the region at this time would be gratuitous – I would be going just to say that I went, instead of going because I had a real desire to go and see and do.
So it was that when I was done with JEXIT Stop 1, I boarded a flight back to the west, but heading east. My flight took me from Singapore to the west coast of the United States and by taking that route, I’ve unintentionally almost completed a circumnavigation of the earth this year. By the time JEXIT is over in a few weeks, my circumnavigation will be complete, since JEXIT will take me across the continental United States.
Check me on a map. In January, I flew from Kingston, Jamaica across the Atlantic Ocean to Amsterdam, Netherlands, transiting through Atlanta, Georgia. From there, I flew to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. After a brief visit, I continued my journey, flying from Kili to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with a brief stop in Nairobi, Kenya then on across the Indian Ocean to Hong Kong. After a short layover there, I flew to Jakarta then to Banda Aceh. That was all within a span of about 2 weeks in January.
Between February and November, I explored Indonesia and a few other countries in Southeast Asia. When JEXIT launched just over a week ago, I jetted out of Indonesia to Singapore for a few days. And now, I’ve returned to the west by going east, flying from Singapore across the Pacific Ocean to the US’s west coast, transiting through Manila, Philippines. You see? I’ve almost finished circumnavigating the earth. Before this month is out, it will be done.
To unwittingly accomplish this feat over the course of these 12 months, I’ve been on 27 flights totalling about 38,503 air miles and 94 hours, not including airport layover time. By the time JEXIT is over and I’m back in Jamaica, I will have added another 3 flights, 4,300 air miles and 10 hours to that total.
During my circumnavigation, I’ve been in 12 countries, not counting Jamaica: the United States, Netherlands, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Hong Kong (the Chinese might argue that it’s not a country), Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines. Of those, 5 were transit stops and I didn’t leave the airport. In fact, I didn’t leave the airplane at all in Kenya, and I spent my entire 1 hour or so in Ethiopia running through the airport to catch my next flight which means that I didn’t even get a chance to have a nice airport wander. But I don’t care, I’m still counting every single 1 of those stops.
During this year’s circumnavigation, I’ve also been in 11 different time zones: Eastern Standard Time, Central European Time, East Africa Time, Hong Kong Time, Western Indonesia Time, Malaysia Time, Central Indonesia Time, Singapore Time, Indochina Time, Philippine Time and Pacific Standard Time.
One more fact for you: on my big travel day last week from the east back to the west, I became a bonafide time traveller. That’s because I crossed the international date line, travelled back in time and re-lived 16 hours of last Thursday all over again.
In fact, the entire day was a little bit strange in terms of time. To get to my second JEXIT stop, I left Singapore at 3 pm on Thursday and 4 hours later, I arrived in Manila, where I endured a 4 hour layover (it was supposed to be 2 and a half hours). Then I left Manila on a direct flight to JEXIT Stop 2; that flight lasted for 12 hours and I arrived at my destination at 7 pm on Thursday. So in short, I left Stop 1 in the afternoon, travelled for a total of 20 hours (including transit time) and arrived at Stop 2 just 4 hours local time after I left Stop 1. In fact, because of my 16-hour time travel, my Thursday lasted for 40 hours! I know, aren’t time zones brilliant??
So over these last 12 months I’ve circumnavigated the earth and I’ve time travelled. I think that’s pretty awesome. And I have to say: this year just keeps getting better and better!