In December 2008, Michael Hodson (aka the Mobile Lawyer), an attorney from Northwest Arkansas, left his litigation practice to circumnavigate the globe – all without ever getting on an airplane. The adventure took 16 months as he ventured through 6 continents and 44 countries. He’s currently in Colombia writing about his adventures on his site Go, See, Write as well as a book.
[singlepic=1912,300,,,right]How did you come up with your ‘travel style’ of no planes or reservations on your around the world trip?
Basically, I wanted a challenge. I didn’t really do any research before my trip (which almost ended up a big problem, since you do actually have to reserve cabins on those cargo freighters I had to take, my only reservations), but I was aware there were plenty of people that had circled the world before. I thought that never leaving the ground would also give me a much better perspective of the size of our planet.
And that it did. I do love flying, but you get a much better sense of the size of things if you travel overland. Getting on a plane, having a couple drinks, watching a movie or two, falling asleep and waking up in Bangkok gives one an incredibly false sense of how small our wonderful planet is. I never had a second thought about doing my trip overland and I am incredibly happy I stuck with it.
How do you go about crossing the ocean on a freighter – learning about it, reserving it, preparing for it, and keeping yourself occupied for the long trip? Did you ever get seasick?
Luckily I don’t get seasick at all, which I have tested in some moderately bad conditions before, though all my freighter rides on this trip were actually very calm. As to the how-to part, there are 3-4 travel agents that book freighter travel. I used a guy named Hamish Jamieson for all four of my crossings, and then got to met him face-to-face when I arrived in Napier, New Zealand.
I wasn’t prepared for how incredibly boring this type of travel was on my first crossing, but luckily had five other passengers on that leg that were interesting and provided some conversational entertainment. Be forewarned, you get a cabin and three meals a day, but that is about it for entertainment. As I went through Africa, Europe and Asia, I stocked up on lots of DVDs to watch on my laptop and bought a Kindle for reading material. Without those, I might have blown my brains out on the 22-day Pacific crossing back home. It is mind-numbingly monotonous.