Go Figure: The Trip by the Numbers

by Jeannie :: Sunday, May 1st, 2011 at 12:23 am


Since we’ve been back we’ve been catching up on work here in Texas and adding up the costs of our expedition. I’ll spare you the financial details–yawn!–except to say that we came in 4 percent under budget despite Italy’s nearly bank-breaking expense. But I wanted to share some other more intriguing numbers from the trip (in tribute to the kind of article I used to write all the time for Allure.)



Schlepping our bags through the Madrid airport, one of 12 airports we had the pleasure of visiting.

*Number of countries visited: 5

*Number of countries new to Robb: 1 (Greece)

*Number new to Jeannie: 2 (Greece, Turkey)

*Number new to the boys: 5

*Number of currencies used: 3

(Euros, Egyptian pounds, Turkish lira)





*Number of flights taken: 11

*Number of those flights that were delayed or had some other type of problem: 1

(The last one—JFK to Austin—was delayed 2 hours. Not a bad record, I think. I’m not counting the terrifying landing in Athens as a problem even though I was afraid I’d have to buy new underwear.)

*Number of minutes we waited for our luggage in Rome: 73

(“Makes Mexican airports look downright efficient,” said I. )




Before my donkey Mubarak dumped me in the Egyptian dirt.

Number of different forms of transportation taken: 14

(airplane, rental car, taxi, sailboat, water taxi, camel, donkey, subway, horse-drawn carriage, bus, cruise ship, hot air balloon, train, gondola)

*Number of transport modes Jeannie fell off of: 1

(Donkey in Luxor, Egypt)

*Number of taxi rides: 17

*Number of days with a rental car: 11

*Number of times we had to ask directions (even with a GPS): 8



*Combined weight of our 4 suitcases: 147 pounds

*Percentage of shirts packed that boys actually wore: 45

(Adolescent boys seem to have no interest in changing their shirts)

*Number of items lost on trip: 3

(my reading glasses, Jeb’s sweater, Gus’ calculator)

*Number of items left behind on purpose (to lighten load): 4

(Gus’ dirty shoes in Istanbul, Gus’ ripped jeans in Istanbul, Robb’s too-small shoes

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in Rome, My Lonely Planet Greece book in Athens)

*Number of items Jeannie would have liked to leave behind: 3

(a little black dress I don’t know why I packed, a too-bulky sweater I didn’t need and heavy binoculars, we ended up not using)


Jeb doing math in the Istanbul airport.

*Number of museums visited: 16

*Number of churches: 11

*Number of mosques: 2

*Number of temples or palaces: 23

*Number of blogs written by boys: 24

*Percentage of blogs written without prodding: 0

*Number of math lessons completed on the road: 22

*Number of math tests taken: 6

*Number of science lessons completed: 2



*Number of times we changed accommodations (checked out and in somewhere else): 11

*Number of apartments rented: 4

(Luxor, Athens, Istanbul and Rome)

*Number of those apartments that had washing machines: 3

*Number with washing machines but no driers: 3

(Which meant that everything from jeans to panties ended up draped from picture hooks, window latches and—the best place for quick drying—radiators.)

*Number of dinners eaten at home: 10

(Thank God for spaghetti and canned pasta sauce, which can be found anywhere and served on the cheap with bread and salad.)

*Number of nights I didn’t book hotel rooms in advance: 5

(Uncharacteristically, I didn’t have all the plans buttoned up before we left, which led us to wonderful discoveries in Greece and to Assos in Turkey)



*Number of electronic devices (excluding cameras) taken along: 4

(MacBook Pro, Ipad, Kindle, PSP—though this works out to one device per person, there still was fighting for computer time or Kindle access, if 2 of us were reading e-books at the same time)

*Number of books read by Gus: 6

*Number of books read by Jeb: 4

*Number of books read by Jeannie: 2 ½

*Number of books read by Robb: 1

*Number of crosswords completed by Jeannie: 32

*Number of Sudoko puzzles completed by Robb: 180




*Number of days with rain or snow: 2

(or 5 percent of trip–how lucky is that!)

*Number of illnesses: 2

(Gus’ mysterious fever and exhaustion and—especially strange—lack of hunger in Istanbul, which cleared up the following morning, and 10 days later Jeb’s identical symptoms in Venice, which caused him to sleep 17 hours in a row. My diagnosis: Plain old travel fatigue.)

*Number of middle-of-the-night freak-outs: 1

(While in Madrid, before our flight to Cairo, when I told Robb through sobs I couldn’t go to Egypt. Fortunately, he knows how to talk me down from the ceiling.)

*Number of planning snafus: 1

(When I forgot passports to go with our Italian rail pass and had to take a taxi back and

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forth from the train station to our Rome apartment to retrieve them.)



Bedspread that Gus unknowingly carted halfway across the world--from Istanbul to Texas. Good son!

*Amount of Gus and Jeb’s souvenir budget: $15 per boy, per country

*Number of souvenirs bought for this amount: 12

*Amount left over from souvenir budget at end of trip: $11

(which will be doubled and added to their bank accounts; as an incentive to really THINK about each purchase, we double anything left over)

*Number of Jeannie’s souvenirs snuck into Gus’ suitcase: 1

(my Turkish bedspread, thin but not insubstantial, which I put at the bottom of his suitcase without his knowing it)



*Amount of time Jeannie spent in a Turkish bath: 90 minutes

*Number of days Jeannie wore make up: 2

(Both were in Italy of course; as they say, “when in Rome…don’t look like a frump.)

*Number of pounds gained: n/a



*Number of magic tricks learned from the bartender on the Nile Cruise: 3

*Number of rides our hosts in Athens (the couple who owned the apartment we rented) gave us around town: 4

*Number of e-mails collected from new friends met on the road: 11

*Percentage of days we ate ice cream: 45

*Percentage of days Robb and Jeannie drank wine: 85

*Number of gin rummy games: TMTC (too many to count)

*Number of gin rummy games Robb won: TMTC

*Number of heart-stopping sunsets viewed: TMTC

*Number of times I gave thanks for this experience: at least 38

(once every day we were gone, if not more)


Yeah, priceless.

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9 Responses to “Go Figure: The Trip by the Numbers”

  1. Linda Wolfe says:

    I have truly been inspired by you and your family as well as loved hearing about your travels.
    You have a down to earth style and I love it.
    Glad you made it back safe

  2. The trip by the numbers!!! We loved it! Had so much fun reading it! Thanks for sharing. Congratulations again on making the decision to do this World Class… If you come to San Miguel, let us know! We would love to see you and invite you to have a glass of wine and talk about your experiences!

    Un abrazo a todos!
    Daniel & Roxana

  3. McNeely-Pedraza Family says:

    Wow!! What a trip!! Our family has read along from the start. From nail biting (mom) in Egypt to Trip by the numbers. We had a great time keeping up with you guys! Thanks so much for sharing! Sincerely, McNeely-Pedraza Family

  4. Kimberly says:

    What a wonderful rich list of numbers! Great math lessons can be developed from these points.

    What a fantastic adventure for you and your family.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I stumbled on your article in Budget Travel Magazine (June 2011). My husband Google your website while I was still reading the article!

    We love to travel as well, but we haven’t been as active as we’d like to be (our only child just turned five). Your blog is truly inspirational right down to your educational views.

    I finally found a site I am proud to visit and truly make my Home page; Kudos to you and your family!

    p.s. my five year old love the caterpillar photo on your Greek road trip, and we all enjoyed viewing your photos, thanks for posting them.

    Keep the blog post coming!

    Karen, Daniel & Naomi
    Bronx, NY

  6. Meghan says:

    Hello! I found your blog after my sister forwarded me a link that was in a BudgetTravel.com newsletter. My husband and I intend to do a year-long, “All Around the World” trip with our 2 sons (who are currently ages 5 and 2) when my husband retires from active duty military service in 2016. We are in the broad planning stage right now, and it is exciting to come across another family who is doing what we dream and talk about now. Sometimes I think we’re crazy and I start to chicken out (even this far in advance), but then I read a blog like yours and I start to get giddy and mentally add places to our list, and I know in my gut that our trip will happen, too. I hope you enjoy your travels and the amazing experiences you are having with your children, and I look forward to checking in on your adventures.

    Norfolk, VA

  7. Jenni says:

    I love the stats about the percentage of days you ate ice cream. It’s one of those things that can be found (in some form) in almost every country…and something I associate with every trip I take.

    Did you try Turkish ice cream while you were there? The only way I could describe it was ‘stretchy.’

  8. I had read the article in Budget Travel and THEN I read an article about you in Kiwi magazine…I had not connected that you were the same family…goes to show how sharp I can be (to my credit they were published a couple of months apart) 🙂
    Your adventures are wonderful and really make me want to do the exact some thing however there is a huge hurdle to overcome and that would just be the overwhelming responsibility to plan it all out.
    I look forward to continuing to read about your adventures.

  9. Jeannie says:

    Hey Rachel:

    So glad you liked the stories. I’m thinking I should set up a service helping families do educational travel. If I could only find time!! Hope you get to take your kids out on travels. It’s so wonderful.


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