What I Learned from my Yearlong Trip Around the World

370.  That's the number of days I spent traveling last year.

From my time in South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, here's a list of all of the things (big and small) my trip around the world taught me.

1. I need very little to be happy.

2. People are good.

3. The hardest part of doing a trip like this is just setting the date to go.

4. I picked the right person to marry.

5. All street dogs deserve love, even if the mangey ones.

6. We are more similar than we think.

7. Pasta in Italy really does taste better.

8. Cruises are great if you just want to be comfortable and not do a whole lot.

9. Altitude is a bitch.

10. The tide off the Wild Coast of Africa will show you (and your surf board) no mercy.

11. A lot of people are worse off than you.

12. Governments are corrupt everywhere.

13. Street food is (usually) worth the diarrhea.

14. I can hold my bladder longer than I thought I could.

15. Speaking a few words in a local language can go a long way.

16. The Internet has made long-term travel so much easier.

17. Travel can be exhausting.

18. There is never a good time to go.

19. Stuff will go wrong, but usually it just costs you time, money or both.

20. A carry-on bag is more than enough space.

21. You don't have to wash clothes after every wear.

22. Alpacas and llamas are different animals.

23. If you see a skunk in the middle of the night on the Inca Trail, your hiking group will not believe you in the morning.

24. Diarrhea will pass.

25. Scooters are incredibly fun to ride.

26. You can teach yourself to sleep anywhere.

27. Other long-term travelers are worth getting to know along the way.

28. I am not above hostels or shared bathrooms or showering with my shoes on.

29. African elephants are massive and will charge your vehicle if you get too close to their babies.

30. Not every friend is a good travel buddy.

31. It's hard feeling like you are a representative of your country (especially when Donald Trump is your President).

32. Time zones make maintaining your friendships back home difficult.

33. Souvenirs are mostly extra weight, and I never look at our scary masks and think fondly of our trip.

34. Cinque Terre may be the most romantic place on earth, even if all we could afford was a tiny attic studio with a pull-out sofa.

35. Driving on the "wrong side" of the road gets easier, but switching back is tough.

36. Thai monitor lizards will not kill me in my sleep (even though they're enormous and what are they REALLY doing outside my bungalow?).

37. Shoulder season is where it's at.

38. Business class is worth every penny I did not spend because of miles.

39. We underestimate how easy it is to get our hands on nearly every product in the U.S.

40. Sunscreen costs $1 billion at the beach.  Also, locals don't wear it.

41. Peeing behind a bush in Vietnam during rainy season may reward you with many leeches covering your body.

42. You cannot die from leeches.

43. Great whites are not as scary when you're too seasick to be afraid of them.

44. Diving with a seal colony is like diving with a bunch of underwater puppies.

45. The empanada may be the best-designed on-the-go food. 

46. No one says "to go" outside of the U.S. They say "take away."

47. The U.S. dollar is king.  As a traveler, you are insulated by so much by having American cash at your disposal.

48. Bribing cops in South Africa is quick but not advisable.

49. We are incredibly lucky to be born speaking English.  It truly is the universal language all over the world.

50. I still don't get Fahrenheit vs. Celsius. Never learned it, even after a full year.

51. If you're grumpy, you're probably just hungry.

52. Google Flights is by far the best platform for finding flights.

53. Airbnb hosts will not murder you in your sleep.  Often, they are cool locals who will feed you wine and show you around.

54. Free walking tours are where it's at.

55. Fried silkworms explode in your mouth in a surprising and unpleasant way.

56. The "Pisco Sour Museum" in Cusco, Peru, is just a bar with very, very strong drinks.

57. There is nothing like rubbing steroidal cream on your spouse's bed bug bites to solidify a marriage.

58. You do not need to spend every waking moment with your spouse, and it's okay to get annoyed with them sometimes.

59. Trains are magical, even when they're old and rickety.

60. Scuba diving a ship wreck is one of the few out-of-body experiences I've had.

61. You can still travel with kids, even though it gets more complicated.

62. You are never too old to travel.

63. Strangers are kind, and sometimes they will help push your rental car out of sand when you've gotten it stuck in Namibia.

64. If everyone else is renting a 4WD vehicle, you should too.

65. Baboons are vengeful fuckers who will steal your stuff and feel nothing.

66. Traveling is the best reminder that your problems are not life-ending and that everything will be fine.  

67. Everyone knows a lot about the U.S. and our government.

68. There are a lot of different ways to raise kids and be a family.

69. Retiree expats are some of the coolest people on Earth.

70. Other travelers will have a lot of advice (and pass a lot of judgment) about how you're doing your trip.  It's easiest to just ignore it.

71. You cannot see everything.  The world is a big place.

72. Camping, while not always the most comfortable, is almost always memorable.

73. Thai wine is disgusting.  Don't drink it.