“The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First!),” is Erik's original travel blog that started it all. Sometimes funny, sometimes educational, and sometimes shocking — but always an entertaining distraction from office work — this blog of over 500 entries chronicled Erik's sixteen-and-a-half month journey around the world, which took him over 95,000 miles across thirty-seven countries on five continents between October 2003 and March 2005.
When this blog began, Erik wrote it more as a personal journal to keep his friends and family updated on his whereabouts, but it had been passed and forwarded along a thousand times over — eventually reaching a huge international audience. Aware of his growing readership, Erik tweaked his blog's tone and began to treat it like a daily travel humor column and on-line reality travel show for the masses. (This began around the time he arrived in Africa.)
If you're new to The Global Trip blog — and have a lot of time on your hands — it's ideal to read all 500+ entries, starting from Day One, and reading each entry, day to day. You'll not only get to experience Erik's insightful personal anecdotes from around the world, but get a feel for the evolution of his writing style and travel attitude over time. You'll also read the back stories that become referenced in the further travel dispatches in Erik's continuous blog. However, if you're the attention deficient kind and just want to skip to the good stuff, here are some of the highlights:
Posted: July 12, 2003
“This is the best day of my life.”
That’s what I told the Chief Operations Officer Paul Finer of ACTV in my exit interview when I got laid off on June 19, 2003. My Re-Birthday.
Posted: July 27, 2003
Well, that was short-lived. After just three weeks of my break out into the travelogue column scene at Lycos-Asia, it is no more.
Posted: July 28, 2003
AirTreks received my payment today for the first half of my flights, and the tickets are in the works. I should have them in a couple of weeks. I was only able to book the first half now, as airline ticket inventory only goes so far into the future. The other half I’ll book on the way. Perhaps by the halfway point my itinerary will be completely different, and I’ll just go where the wind takes me. Only time will tell.
Posted: July 30, 2003
So everyone lately has been asking me, “How’s the planning going?” Well, the short answer is that there isn’t much planning at all…
Posted: July 31, 2003
Some may think my traveling around the world is a crazy idea, but in fact, outside the USA, it’s pretty normal. Every time I’ve gone away before, I’ve always run into a Brit, Aussie, Canadian, or Kiwi that was on sabbatical for a year, touring the world. They all thought I was crazy at the time for only going away for “two weeks.”
Posted: August 18, 2003
Well, according to my countdown on http://www.theglobaltrip.com/2004 , I leave in 61 days from the writing of this entry. Am I excited? Still, the answer is no. In all the trips I’ve taken so far, it never really phases me that I’m going on a trip until 2 or 3 days of actually being in the destination already. I don’t even get too excited at the airport because they’re all generic.
Posted: August 26, 2003
A couple of weeks ago, I called up my travel medicine doctor for an appointment for any immunizations I would need on my big trip. The conversation went something like this:
RECEPTIONIST: So how’s August 26th at 4pm?
ERIK: That sounds good.
RECEPTIONIST: Just tell me what countries you’re going to now, so I can look them up before you come.
ERIK: Sure. Um, you gotta pen?
Posted: September 01, 2003
I’d like to give shout outs to Alice Mao and Rina Cantimbuhan for pledging to my cause. Thanks!
Posted: September 09, 2003
Hey all you blog readers and friendsters out there! (Please tell me you get the joke in the subject heading.)
Anyway, SAVE THE DATE: October 17, 2003.
That Friday night in New York City will be my big bon voyage party — quite possibly the biggest party I’ve ever thrown. Those of you have been to one of my house parties may know what to expect. Well, be prepared to expect the unexpected.
Details to come as the date approaches…
Posted: September 25, 2003
Yes, I know I’ve been a blog slacker, but there really isn’t much to say. (I’m still HOME you know.)
The past couple of weeks, I really haven’t been planning the trip so much; it’s been a lot more of taking care of unfinished business before I leave — freelance jobs, prepping my car for sale, cleaning, etc.
That’s not to say I have ignored trip planning altogether….
Posted: September 30, 2003
When I originally started this website last year, it was just supposed to be a simple, single page where travel editors could quickly review my clips of published work.
Over the months, it has evolved into the place where people would come to see my videos and pictures, plans for my upcoming trip, and above all, that “Would You?” slideshow that seems to have been forwarded all over the world so far (and continues to be.)
Posted: October 05, 2003
Because so many people send me emails asking the same question, I’ve decided to answer it here:
Q: What is the name of the song in “Would You?” and who is the artist?
A: The name of the song is “Nara” and the artist is DJ/composer E.S. Posthumus.
Posted: October 11, 2003
Well, I’m officially within the 10-day countdown to The Global Trip 2. The past couple of weeks has been less about planning the trip and more about finishing up things in New York — including being a tourist in my own home city and seeing things that I wouldn’t be able to see abroad, like the newly renovated Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History. I have fond childhood memories of the great hall and its big lifesize model of a blue whale, and I just had to see it one more time in its new “underwater hall” environment.
Other than that, I’ve gone to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, done more barhopping in the Village, and even attended the last outdoor roller disco of the year in Central Park. In a way, my tour around the world has already begun.
Posted: October 14, 2003
...but 35 lbs. (15.876 kg) of pennies, is how much earned?
I’ve had this empty tin can from Danish Butter Cookies that I’ve filled with pennies over the years, whenever I’ve remembered to. Realizing that I’m about to leave for a really long time, it’s about time I cash it all in and see how much it actually is.
How much do YOU think it’s worth?
Post your guess as a comment. The closest guess without going over (Price Is Right style) gets a postcard!
Posted: October 16, 2003
So I went the other day to Commerce Bank in Hackensack, New Jersey to cash in the 35 lb. (15.876 kg) can of pennies I had collected over the years, to see how much it would add to my trip finances. Commerce has a machine that counts coins for you, targeted for kids (but not exclusive to them) called the “Penny Arcade.” Basically, it’s like the CoinStar machines in the supermarkets, only free-of-charge and more accurate.
The machine interface is a touch screen presentation with a cartoon character named “Penny” (of course) and she talks you through the process. Penny told me to pour the contents of my jar, and so, I poured the entire 35 lbs. of pennies into the little orifice, probably only meant for a small piggy bank worth of coins.
Posted: October 18, 2003
A tradition has developed between one circle of friends of mine: when we all go out partying, whoever does NOT decide to go out that night is inundated with a series of drunken voicemail messages. There’d always be at least one person who didn’t go out on a night of partying, and to this person (different every time), we’d call, pass a cell phone around, yell at them for not coming out and lay on the guilt trip. And we’d always end the voice message with crazy monkey noises.
My friend Mienri said it best when he said, “If everyone goes to your bon voyage party, who’s gonna get the drunken monkey noises?”
Posted: October 19, 2003
It is the night before I leave (well, technically, the morning of the day I leave) and I’m more or less all packed. Leave it to me to wait until the last minute. Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. In fact, I only tried to reserve my hostel for my first night in Quito earlier today, with no reply just yet.
There is a weird feeling I have; part anxiety, part sadness. Funny how on all my previous trips, the feeling of going away never really sunk in until three days into a trip, and here I am on the eve of The Global Trip 2004, feeling almost nauseous over what is about to happen. (Or is it just the exhaustion of partying all weekend long?) For months, I was notoriously nonchalant about everything, and now, it’s all happening so fast. Never before have I embarked on such a grand — and long — trip. But, as I’ve told people before: “If you’re anxious or nervous, that’s why it’s gonna be good.”
Posted: October 20, 2003
DAY 1: After a crazed morning of last-minute packing, a run to the Home Depot for luggage locks and some Dunkin’ Donuts bagel sticks, I had a final lunch at Chili’s with my parents and brother, who all took the day off to send me off. (You can all say “Aww…” in unison now, like the live studio audience used to do on Happy Days.) I short drive down the New Jersey Turnpike, and we arrived at Continental Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport.
“Where is your returning ticket out of Ecuador?” the Continental Airlines attendant asked.
“Oh, I’m just gonna take a bus into Peru,” I answered.
“Where is the bus ticket then?”
“I was gonna get it there.”
“Immigration won’t let you into Ecuador without proof that you are leaving.”
Posted: October 21, 2003
DAY 2: I actually slept for a good nine hours, three times more than my usual back home. Outside I could hear the pitter-patter of rain and cars and trucks whizzing by. I just laid there for a while until I leaned over and noticed I had a roommate in the lower bunk across the way. “Hello,” he said.
Posted: October 22, 2003
DAY 3: Yigal managed to leave for his 3am flight in the middle of the night without waking me or Judy. The only thing that woke us up was the sun blaring through our window around 8am.
Judy and I had breakfast at the Magic Bean Cafe downstairs. It didn’t occur to me until then that “Magic Bean” was a reference to the fact that it’s a coffeehouse as well, and I mean that in the coffee way, not the Amsterdam way, so there was no waking and baking. I introduced Judy to Josh and Gordana, who were at the next table. We all ate our free jugos, cafe con leches y “toasted bagels.”
Posted: October 23, 2003
DAY 4: I woke up an hour before class and was off to take a shower, when I ran into Anna, this girl from Nebraska that I met in the TV lounge the night before. “Wanna get some breakfast?” she asked. I saved the shower for later and went out with her.
We went wandering for a really cheap breakfast place. “Most of the places in the gringo district are pretty expensive,” she said. “I’ve been going to places about four blocks away where it’s a lot cheaper.” We found a small sit down restaurant where a full breakfast — including bread, eggs, coffee and juice — was only a buck sixty. “It’s funny when you think a whole two dollars is too much for a breakfast,” she said.
Posted: October 24, 2003
DAY 5: I checked out of the hostel room around 8, managing not to wake up Lars, who was pretty much out cold anyway since he drank half a bottle of rum the night before in front of the TV. I left my bag with Carlos in the office and went off to class.
Every Friday at the school, the second half of the morning classes go on a field trip somewhere in town. A las once, four of us students, plus all of our teachers headed off to a museum of Ecuador’s history, in the Old City. One of the students was a tall, lanky Dutch guy named Hugo, who towered about 6’5”. He was one of those goofball gringos that didn’t care how embarrassed he’d get talking to locals, knowing that they’d just brush him off as a gringo. Using his broken Spanish, he managed to buy candy off a blind man on the bus.
Posted: October 25, 2003
DAY 6: A rooster crowed around 5am and wouldn’t stop until we had no choice but to get up. Navid sat in his bed all groggy-eyed. “I hope that rooster ends up in a cock fight today.”
Posted: October 26, 2003
DAY 7: I learned a new expression in Spanish today: “Su banco es esta fuera de linea.” Translation: “Your bank is off-line.” I have decided this is my least favorite Spanish expression so far.
Posted: October 27, 2003
DAY 8: I checked out of the Crossroads Hostel while everyone was still asleep and brought all my gear to class. Class was more of the same — more verbs and vocabulary, and conversations with Rosa that went off in tangents. During the break, I met a new student, an English girl on her first day of class, who — unlike everyone else I met so far — actually thought I was Asian and not Latino. (She had just flown in to South America after six or so months wandering Southeast Asia.)
Posted: October 28, 2003
DAY 9: “El domingo pasado, miro una pelicula divertido sobre una abuela que tener una casa, pero ella le va a perder a menos que gana $250,000. Entonces, su nieto juga golf — pero dice muchas malas palabras en el television! Hubo un beep y beep y beeep…”
Translation: “Last Sunday, I saw a funny movie about a grandmother who has a house, but she is going to lose it unless she earns $250,000. So, her grandson plays golf — but says many bad words on the television! There was a beep and beep and beeep….”
Posted: October 29, 2003
DAY 10: In South America, I’ve noticed that most of the hot showers are electric. A pipe runs to a shower head which is connected to two electric wires, which run a power switch. As water enters the shower head, it heats it before it comes down.
The problem I’ve found with this is, when a fuse blows in the house, like it did in the morning, the water immediately gets freezing cold right when you have shampoo all in your hair. I blamed my iBook in the bedroom, which had been plugged in and rendering a video file for a New York client for the past two days.
If it’s not one thing with clients, it’s another.
Posted: October 30, 2003
DAY 11: I think that I’m learning Spanish a lot quicker than the other students in school. I don’t know if it’s because I took French in high school and the language is very similar, or because I come from Filipino heritage and Tagalog borrows many words from Spanish. All I do know is that most students I’ve spoken to are doing way more written exercises in class (and for homework), while I’ve moved on to more conversational work.
Posted: November 01, 2003
DAY 12: Spanish class with my tutor Rosa was going pretty normal — we reviewed some more helpful verbs — until she mentioned a card game called Cuarenta, which is Ecuador’s national card game — so much that every year there are championships for money. For the whole second half of my morning class, I asked her to teach me, and we just sat at the table playing cards. We got weird looks from the other students and professors who were still trying to figure out the difference between the two verbs for “to be.” It was a perfect way for me to “learn my numbers.”
Posted: November 01, 2003
DAY 13: “Did you go out partying for Halloween last night?” a Danish blonde asked me in the back of a truck at 8:03 in the morning. She saw that I looked pretty exhausted.
“Yup,” I answered all groggy-eyed, waiting for my coffee to kick in. “And you?”
“Ah, you’re smart.”
And so began my trip to Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world, just 90 minutes south of Quito by car.
Posted: November 02, 2003
DAY 14: After breakfast, I updated The Blog at the German computer nerd’s internet cafe around the corner. Outside, all the stores were closed for Sunday and even in GringoLand it looked like a ghost town. Arne said it reminded him of the movie 28 Days Later.
Posted: November 03, 2003
DAY 15: My morning started as always: getting out of bed to take a piss. However, this day it was different. In the center of the bathroom, atop a small drain gate, were three turds.
Posted: November 04, 2003
DAY 16: I woke up at about 3 a.m. feeling a little feverish. I popped a couple of ibuprofen and went back to sleep. I woke up around 7 with the sun feeling better, but still a little feverish, but managed to finish my homework. I had to write a story in Spanish using as many of the new verbs that I had learned. I wrote one about the final battle between a secret agent and an evil scientist — in the end, the secret agent defeats the him, but not after saying “Hasta la vista, PUTA!”
Posted: November 05, 2003
DAY 17: For the past week and a half, I had fallen into a routine in which I’d wake up, shower and have breakfast with Arne and Blanca. Things were different this morning. It was Arne’s last day in the house, since he was planning to move to his friend’s place a couple of days before he starting work in a hospital the following week.
Posted: November 06, 2003
DAY 18: Back in the days when I had a 9-5 American corporate job, I was only allotted the miniscule vacation time of two weeks. Two weeks, compared to other countries, is an embarrassingly short period of time and I would always use these two weeks to rush through a destination, doing one thing after the other after the other to pack it all in. I slept very little in attempts to make two weeks seem like three.
Posted: November 07, 2003
DAY 19: I had my last breakfast with Blanca in the morning, which was a good and bad thing. A good thing in that I was getting fresh food and a lot of it served to me on a ceramic platter with no effort on my behalf. A bad thing because — just as every morning I’d been living there — it was way too much food for me so early in the morning and I almost had to force myself to eat the whole thing. My stomach simply can’t handle a huge plate of fruit three inches tall plus an egg and bread and juice and a cafe con leche. I think for once I would have actually preferred just having some McGriddles.
Posted: November 08, 2003
DAY 20: Baños is a town in a valley surrounded by lush green mountains, one of which gets really excited and ejaculates liquid hot magma every so often. In 1999, the Volcán Tungurahua erupted, causing a major evacuation of the town, and since then the town has been on guard. In Baños, after you look up the weather forecast, you look up the volcano forecast.
Posted: November 09, 2003
DAY 21: When I ran into Dutchman Hugo on my first night in Baños, he told me about his adventures since he left Quito, one about the time he and his friend Alberto were threatened to be beat up by a group of villagers unless they respectfully ate cuy (fried guinea pig) with them. (They snuck out the back door and ran away.)
“Quito is weird because you go there and even though you are traveling, you aren’t traveling because it is just like any big city,” he said. “Only when you leave Quito and start seeing the smaller Indian villages does the real traveling begin.”
By the time you finish reading this blog entry, you’ll see what he means.
Posted: November 10, 2003
DAY 22: Navid had moved to my hostel since his other was too noisy, so it was easy to find him for breakfast. We played a quick game of generic Jenga before looking for the other thermal baths of Baños on the outskirts of town.
Posted: November 11, 2003
DAY 23: Whenever I’d walk around with Navid on the streets of Baños, newly arrived backpackers would always stand out with their big packs strapped to their backs and their smaller daypacks strapped in front. This is like trying to simulate being both pregnant and a camel at the same time.
Posted: November 12, 2003
DAY 24: Once upon a time in Ecuador, the railway system was the fast way to go north or southbound through the Andean countryside. Over the years, this railway system was replaced by the faster and cheaper bus network. But there is one train that still runs, so that tourists can ride on the roof and take pictures of the countryside faster than the locomotive.
Posted: November 13, 2003
DAY 25: Being in Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city, is like being in Old Spain. With its well-preserved Spanish colonial houses and cobblestone streets, it’s no wonder it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. The red-roofed houses, the plazas and cathedrals make it one beautiful city with — I later discovered — beautiful women.
Posted: November 14, 2003
DAY 26: In modern life, the “norm” is to work most of the time, with a day or two off to “smell the roses.” Well, as I’ve been “smelling the Ecuadorean roses” all this time (as well as the bus fumes), I needed a day to just do some work. So I took a day “on” in Cuenca.
Posted: November 15, 2003
DAY 27: “You know what I heard?” Anita said at breakfast.
“What’s that?” I answered.
“That the train derails, for the tourists, so they can take pictures.”
I had met Anita in Spanish school in Quito, and we had both finished and headed south at about the same time. She and her friend — I forget her name — were having breakfast at the cafe in my hostel in Cuenca and were planning to head to the Peruvian border afterwards.
“I’ll probably see you somewhere south,” I said.
Posted: November 16, 2003
DAY 28: In Spanish, the verb esperar translates into two things in English: “to hope” and “to wait.” This is especially noteworthy when you are waiting on the “Linéa de Espera” for a standby seat to open up for the Galapagos Islands at Guayaquil airport. You wait on line and hope to get a flight.
Posted: November 18, 2003
DAY 29: Andre and I were lounging out on the hotel terrace, watching the sun rise over the bay as the sounds of ocean waves crashing into rocks filled the salty sea air. Nearby, three seals were lazily sitting in someone’s boat.
Posted: November 18, 2003
DAY 30: Andre was up by six to get the 7:15 shuttle bus & ferry back to Isla Baltra (where the airport is), to hop on his boat from there. I assumed he got on the same bus as Chris as I stayed in bed for another hour.
Posted: November 19, 2003
DAY 31: When Andre moved out of our hotel room with a view of Pelican Bay, I was switched to a single which cost me $15/night. However, this newer, more expensive room wasn’t worth its view of a brick wall, so I switched to the hostel Chris had lived in for only $6/night with windows that looked out to some palm trees.
Posted: November 20, 2003
DAY 32: Three kilometers west of Puerto Ayora lies Bahia Tortuga (Turtle Bay), with a white sand beach open to the public. During the high season, I can imagine it being crowded with beachgoers and surfers, but it being the lowest of the low season, I had it all to myself.
Posted: November 21, 2003
DAY 33: Rosa, the old woman that ran the Los Amigos hostel, let me use the big sink in the yard to do my laundry. We chatted for a bit while I scrubbed my underwear, about this and that in Puerto Ayora. She seemed happy to talk to one of the travelers; most of them just kept to themselves and lived in a bubble, never interacting with their hosts unless they needed something.
PRAISE FOR THE GLOBAL TRIP BLOG
Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the “Top 100 Sites You Didn’t Know You Couldn’t Live Without” (in the travel category) in 2005.
“Warning: If this site doesn’t give someone the travel bug, nothing will.”
- Colleen Clark and Megg Mueller Schulte, USATODAY.com
“We’ve scoured the web for helpful tips, travelogues and photographs and it is safe to say that your combination of humor, attention to detail, and artistry have made your page by far the most interesting and informative. You really manufactured a tremendous web page. As we have read more and more of your entries we have come to trust your perspective.”
- letter to Erik R. Trinidad from Roger M. Brown, Senior Legislative Assistant, Office of U.S. Senator Wayne Allard
“Seeing your no holds barred, real life, real person take on the countries you traveled to, and getting genuine information on the whos, whats, wheres, and whys, somehow made everything seem more accessible… I just [want] to say, with all sincerity, thanks.”
- Luke Kesterton, UK
“[Other travel blogs don’t] even come close to being as good as Erik Trinidad’s The Global Trip… It really is the best travel blog out there.”
- Jen Leo, travel writer (Condé Nast Traveler>, L.A. Times) and editor of travel anthologies Sand In My Bra, Whose Panties Are These? and The Thong Also Rises.