Written by on July 15, 2012 in Europe, General with 1 Comment

It is July 14th, not even 3 weeks after I boarded my one-way flight to London. Today is really the first opportunity I’ve had to “stop”, although in reality I’m on a Jadrolinja ferry from the island of Hvar to Split, Croatia (2 hrs), where I’ll then catch a bus back to Dubrovnik (4.5 hrs). I was trying to take a much needed nap on the ferry and then made the mistake of playing “The Beach” soundtrack on my iPod, which immediately woke me up and inspired me to finally start writing down some of what’s happened over these last 3 weeks before they become a blurry and distant memory. I love that book/movie/soundtrack, which partly inspired me to take my last round the world trip, where I spent 18 months travelling in 2001-2002. Every time I hear the All Saints song “Pure Shores”, I picture Leo’s arrival to Koh Phi Phi and every travellers dream to find that perfect unspoiled beach that is so far off the beaten path, only the savvy few can find it. Let’s see if I can find it this go around 🙂

For those of you reading this “blog” for the first time, please bare with me as I’m still trying to figure out how to add automatic emailing for each time I make a new entry.  I would do one or the other, but a lot of my family, friends and colleagues are not on Facebook. I’m also using this blog and Facebook as a back-up of sorts, in case something ever happens to my laptop or hard drive, which will hopefully explain the frequent posts and photo dumps. I’ve also told my mom that I would try to post something on FB every day so she knows I’m safe. If you’d like me to take you off of the distribution, please shoot me an email. Otherwise, I’m happy to have you along for the ride and would love to hear from you and what you’re up to, as it’ll make the trip less lonely. I’ve been with friends for these first few weeks, but Deborah leaves tomorrow and I’ll be on my own for the next several weeks as I continue exploring the Balkans en route to see Mariya and Mats in Bulgaria in early August.

I also realized that I sent an email to most of my friends in the Bay Area to fill them in on my plans to travel around the world for the next year or so, but completely spaced on letting everyone else know what happened to spur this on, where I’m headed, etc. Long story short, I was victim of a downsizing at RBS and decided to rent out my apartment in San Francisco as well as my car to eliminate my major expenses. I’m generating a little income on my apartment and will use that plus unemployment income as my target budget, so am hoping to not even have to dip into my severance money until my return. I’m also going to try to explore some international employment opportunities along the way…we’ll see how that goes!

I used 220k American Advantage miles (plus $600 for taxes) for my round the world airline ticket. Countless hours of careful planning on trying to find the right route and maximize and help from the flyertalk.com forums on the rules/restrictions, and I now have a 16-leg ticket (in business class – yay!) booked on a variety of One World Alliance partners.


The ticket will provide the bones to the trip, where each stop will act as a hub for travel in that particular region. I’m going to try to play tennis along the way, and am going to visit all the Grand Slams, which explains why I will head back to the US at the end of August to go to the US Open. Since I’ll be there and it didn’t cost anything extra, I decided to make a quick swing back to SF to swap out my suitcase for a backpack, take care of a few odds and ends (doctors and hair appointments), and say final goodbyes before heading to the Middle East on September 10th.

The itinerary as I see it now (although subject and very likely to change):

Rest of July to mid-August: Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria (where I’ll meet Mariya and Mats)

August 10-18: Seillans, France (with friends Micki, Catherine and Alisa)

August 19-29: Madrid, Toledo, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Pamplona (to see Kelly), Biarritz (with friend Chrissie)

August 29-Sept 6: New York (for US Open and Electric Zoo)

Sept 6-10: San Francisco (to clean up all loose ends, re-pack)

September – October: Jordan, Israel, Egypt (diving in Dahab), Beirut, Dubai and Abu Dhabi

November: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana (with friends Alisa, Karen and Carolyn) Then maybe Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia, or straight to Asia ?

December-mid-January: Micronesia, Vietnam, Cambodia Jan 15-29: Australian Open in Melbourne and seeing friends in Sydney

February to mid-May: Thailand, Laos, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Bhutan??, Phillipines and Indonesia

Mid-end of May: Japan

Memorial Day: Paris for French Open June.  If still not employed by now, probably will head to Italy and perhaps back to Ibiza again.  Who knows ???

Depends if I have any money or energy left! I’ll be on my own for a majority of the trip, but welcome guests if any of the legs sound appealing to you! First things first though…I just got a small history lesson from my cousin’s wife Jacquelyn, who googled Ibiza to find out that in 654BC, Phoenician settlers founded a port in the Balearic Islands, as Ibossim (from the Phoenician “iboshim”, dedicated to the god of the music and dance, Bes)It was later known to Romans as “Ebusus.”  Who knew?  I guess the island has been blessed with great music for over 2600 years?!?


The last few weeks have been a blur. They went by so fast! Going to Wimbledon again was amazing. Ibiza was unbelievable – again (of course). And Croatia has also been fantastic. I posted on Wimbledon already. My seventh trip to Ibiza was no less amazing than the previous trips. This time we had 6 friends in our apartment from all over the place: “Team America” – me, Kelly (Pamplona) and Deborah (NYC), plus Lucas (London) and Eva and Joel (Barcelona). We also met up with Tristan, Paul, Jay, Jasper and their gorgeous kids, who were visiting the island at the same time. We hit it very hard and went out to at least one party every day, not to mention spending every afternoon waking up to the bass at Bora Bora beach, apart from our two chill-out afternoons at Salinas.


We got off to a bit of a rocky start as Kelly’s flight delay to Madrid caused her to miss her connection and have to overnight there. Deborah missed her flight completely, leaving me to be the first and only one to arrive on Saturday night. Luckily Tristan and Paul were just down the street and waited for me to join them at Pacha for the “Defected in the House” party. They were on the guestlist and we pretended I was, too. By some miracles of miracles, they let me in without a cover, saving me 60E. Nice!

The girls arrived on Sunday, just in time to catch a few rays before heading to “We Love Sundays at Space”, across the street from our apartment. Groove Armada played a great set on the Terrace, as did Smokin Jo and Claude von Stroke in the main room. We left “early” at 5a as we knew we had to save some energy for the traditional Monday DC10-Cocoon marathon session, which was amazing as usual. DC10 has changed. I can’t describe it, but it just is not the same as it used to be, which is a shame. We still had a blast as Jay and Jasper came out with us too. There from 8p-1230a, I grabbed a quick shower and then headed to Amnesia to see Joris Voorn, Sven Vath and Loco Dice, who all killed it in their own way. Always an amazing experience to be on the Terrace as the sun comes up and comes through the windows in the ceiling…especially with such a great ‘up for it’ crowd still going strong at 7am. We don’t look to bad in the “after” pic!


Tuesday we went back to Space to catch Carl Cox’s “Global” opening party. We had spent the afternoon at Satrinxa on Salinas Beach and had met 3 new friends from Geneva, who we ended up dancing with all night. Such amazing music. OMG! Love that he was quoted in the Wall Street Journal recently that he wouldn’t play the Black Eyed Peas during a set even if you paid him $10 million J Somehow early on I lost my iphone. I’m still not sure if I dropped it, left it on the bar, or someone stole it. It’s been a pain to replace, but lucky I had Verizon insurance, and a helpful mom who is shipping it with a friend I will see in Bulgaria in a few weeks. My friend Andy said we could start a new catchphrase to describe a great party, as in “that party was so good I lost my iphone”. You’d think after back to back to back to back to back to back parties, we would take a break. Well…we didn’t.

On Wednesday afternoon, we walked over to Ushuaia for Swedish House Mafia. It was so unbelievably packed. And commercial. We were crammed up against the VIP rope and the sweetest girl kept bringing Kelly and I glasses of champagne, alleviating the need to give up our good vantage point to ever need to go to the bar. I will definitely pass on that love at some point in the future. Unfortunately, at some point in the early evening, I lost my wallet. iPhone the night before, and now my wallet. Luckily it was just a little cash, but also had my drivers license, debit card and AMEX in it. Ugh…such a pain to replace from overseas. Esp. the drivers license. On back to back nights, no less. Crazy as I never lose anything!


Anyway, I was exhausted, but we’d been dragging Lucas around to all of the straight parties, so couldn’t disappoint him to bail on going to the La Troya fiesta at Amnesia! After SHM finished around midnight, we did a quick change and headed back to the terrace at Amnesia to dance with all the shirtless guys and transvestites. Kelly and I talked our way into VIP so we could sit down and then positioned ourselves to watch the foam party happening in the main room, which was hilarious. Funnily enough, I’d participated in one of those foam parties on the first RTW trip, on my first visit to Ibiza in August 2001. So fun to watch…not so fun to be in the thick of it. I was even more exhausted. 5 nights in a row. Just one more night.

Luciano and the Cadenza crew was at the pool party at Ushuaia on Thursday. I’d had such an amazing time there last year, I had to go again. I met the girls to eat dinner on the beach there first, and they had met 3 amusing “silver foxes”, as Deborah would call them, all from London. I think they were about 52. Deborah just turned 50, but generally looks to meet twenty-something guys, so it was funny and interesting that we ended up hanging out with them through the party. I was done at midnight, but somehow was talked into going back to Amnesia again for “Cream” with Paul van Dyk, Eddie Halliwell, Calvin Harris and Benny Benassi. I really needed sleep, but somehow managed to dance til past dawn for the 6th night in a row.

Friday came along and we joined Jay, Jasper and their beautiful kids for a late lunch/early dinner at the Jockey Club on Salinas Beach.

Was a nice way to chillout and finish off our week. We went to Ibiza Town to walk around by the fort and have a few drinks and called it a night…what a week! Everyone was flying out on Saturday, but it turned out that Spanair, the airline I was supposed to have a flight to Dubrovnik on, had gone bankrupt…and I’d not been notified! Luckily I found a cheap-ish flight on Vueling with a 6 hour layover (between midnight and 6a) in Barcelona, so after saying goodbye to Kel and Vix, spent the day with Lucas on the beach…both of us feeling ill from way too much partying. We basically crawled to the airport and said our goodbyes.

It is always so sad to leave Ibiza! Couldn’t stay sad long, though, as I met these adorable 20-year old Belgian guys while boarding the plane, who were drunk and intent on keeping the party going. “Bye Bye Ibiza”, they yelled as the plane took off. Bye Bye Ibiza 🙂 They also had a 6 hour layover and were talking about heading into Barcelona instead of staying at the airport. We all decided that was a good plan and found some lockers to drop our bags and headed into town for more dancing/drinking. OMG. They were hilarious and so adorable. Deborah likes to call these young ones “perritos” as they usually follow her around like cute little puppies. Short, cute with big brown eyes, they were all very sweet.

Adios Ibiza y Barcelona. Helloooooo Croatia!

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  1. europe says:

    Great article, I enjoyed reading it.

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