Wondering, wandering, and making sense of the world.


Around the wold in 27 days

I am currently in the middle of a 27-day, 10-stop business trip that circles the planet westward, starting from Japan, stopping over in China, going all over Europe, visiting Silicon Valley, and ending in Japan again (via China).

I had to make nine separate bookings covering sixteen flights (one got added during the trip), and I decided to add all the distances between the cities using:

Osaka – Shanghai 1,364.43km
Shanghai – Helsinki 7,384.47km
Helsinki – Frankfurt 1,516.29km
Frankfurt – Bologna 656.53km
Bologna – Copenhagen 1,247.71km
Copenhagen – Trondheim – Oslo 1263.67km
(Flight made it to Trondheim but couldn’t land and had to pull back to Oslo where I had to stay the night)
Oslo – Trondheim 391.92km
Trondheim – Oslo 391.92km
Oslo – Copenhagen 483.85km
Copenhagen – Frankfurt 671.98km
Frankfurt – Porto 1,669.32km
Porto – Paris 1,214.83km
Paris – Reykjavik 2,229.48km
Reykjavik – San Francisco 6,769.40km
San Francisco – Shanghai 9,890.01km
Shanghai – Osaka 1,364.43km

Total distance 38,510.24km (24,068.9mi)

This is of course the linear distance between the cities, flights probably took a slightly longer route.

Why am I doing this? Because I wanted to find this number out. My flight from Osaka departed on May 17th at 13:30 and my flight back to Osaka will be landing on June 12th at 21:30. That is a total of 26 days and 8 hours, or 632 hours. This means my average speed for this trip will be 60.9 kph (38.1 mph).

That’s not highway speed, but definitely not slow, and that’s the average speed for the entire time that I am away from Japan 24 hours a day. This also doesn’t include the moving on the ground, on all the trains, busses, and cars. Of course I can circumnavigate the world in 41 hours as the G650 did or in 90 minutes if I was in space, but that’s not the point of this trip.

Some of you may be wondering why I made nine separate bookings and not get an around the world ticket instead. I did look into that, but it wasn’t so easy. First, you have to stick to one alliance, and not all routes are well served by all alliances. It definitely would have added few more flights because of the lack of direct flights, and times wouldn’t have been as flexible. Second, there are a of rules in those around the world tickets that would’t have worked with my schedule, like not being allowed to go to the same city twice or limiting the number of flights in a continent. I don’t think any of the around the world ticket would have worked for me. Third, it wouldn’t have been cheaper. I booked all my tickets as direct flights (sometimes setting long layovers as stops), and I actually only used LCCs for two of the bookings, but the total price was comparable  to using an around the world ticket.

It’s been interesting telling people about this trip as the reactions I get have been varied but generally ranging between pity (“oh my god, why are you doing that to yourself?”) and envy (“that is awesome!”).

I might be overdoing it this trip. We’ll see when I get back to Japan. The crazy thing is that I have about 95 hours on the ground before I jump back on a plane to go to France for just under two weeks, this time for mostly personal reasons (more coming on that).

Photo taken in Trondheim, Norway, a city that is way too pretty.


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