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In the summer of 2009, Nicolas Rapp decided to take a break from his Art Director job at The Associated Press to attempt a one-year overland travel around the world in a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. He was back in New York in February 2011 after traveling 15 months and 37,000 miles.

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  • When our traveler fools himself as Phileas Fogg but doesn’t win £20,000

    Posted on January 17th, 2011 Nicolas 52 comments
    Scene from the 1956 movie "Around the world in 80 days" based on Jules Verne novel.

    Scene from the 1956 movie "Around the world in 80 days" based on Jules Verne novel.

    Before I go to the airport in Tokyo, I make sure to coordinate with some people so we can meet at the airport and celebrate my return on the “Land of milk and honey” AKA the United States. As I leave on Saturday afternoon, I expect to arrive on Sunday morning at the Los Angeles airport.

    Downtown Los Angeles, the business area.

    Downtown Los Angeles, the business area.

    I have great time in the plane, thanks to my pal Scott who was able to book a stand-by ticket in business class for me. I have ten hours to relax, and as I cannot sleep, I spend some time watching some old pictures from South America and Africa. It has been one hell of a trip my friends, I have to say. I am on my way home, and from now on, everything will be very different.

    Los Angeles skyline.

    Los Angeles skyline.

    L.A. City Hall.

    L.A. City Hall.

    It is now time to find a job, and it looks like the economy hasn’t got back on the right track since my departure as I was hoping. I am not too worry about it yet, as I have some time before being back in the city, and I have friends who keep their eyes open for opportunities back east.
    After flying across the pacific, I finally arrive in Los Angeles, California, where I pass immigration and customs without problems. Later I figure that something is wrong. While I was ready to meet some people as I exit the terminal, there is nobody here waiting for me. I figure I am a little bit early, and I wait a moment. But few minutes later, I begin to suspect that something is definitely not right. I ask what day of the week it is to someone, and she tells me it’s Saturday. Later on, I check with someone else, but I have to accept the reality: it is still Saturday and I traveled in time.
    And then I remembered Phileas Fogg, one of my early challenger in my trip around the world. Fogg is the main character of Jules Verne’s book “Around the World in 80 days”. In order to win a wager with his fellow club members, he attempted to circumnavigate the globe within 80 days. To do so, he traveled constantly eastward, as I did. And he won his £20,000 bet because as me, he gained a day on his journey. If we would have traveled on the opposite direction, toward the west, we would have lost a day.

    House in Pasadena.

    House in Pasadena.

    In journeying eastward I went towards the sun, and the days therefore diminished of four minutes each time I crossed one degrees. There are three hundred and sixty degrees on the circumference of the earth; which multiplied by four minutes, equals twenty-four hours – the day gained.

    Downtown Los Angeles.

    Downtown Los Angeles.

    The city seen from Griffith Park.

    Sight from Griffith Park.

    Frank Lloyd Wright house.

    Frank Lloyd Wright house.

    In short, as I passed the international dateline at midnight Saturday night, the day restarted as of Saturday at 00:01.
    I saw the sun rise 416 time during my travel, and my friend in New York saw it only 415 times. That’s right my friends, in addition of seeing all these marvelous places, I also gained one more day on this planet.
    Once again, as I arrived in Los Angeles, I had to improvise and get going. I took the bus to Union Station, watching by the windows a landscape I haven’t seen in almost fifteen months. The Continental United States and its inhabitants going to work, to the beach or shopping. I was back home, and near completion.

    Studio City, Los Angeles.

    Studio City, Los Angeles.

    My old friend Andy.

    My old friend Andy.

    I took the train to Burbank where my friend Andy lives, and quickly enough, I rescheduled the upcoming day meeting so friends and followers could meet me at a nearby restaurant in the morning.
    It was great to meet some people there who have been reading the blog for a long time. Some of them were interested by the travel, others by the experience, and some were buffs of Land Cruisers. We had good time, and I didn’t see much people since. Now that I am back in a familiar territory, and not moving everyday, my rhythm is on pause and as my dopamine level went lower, I shot down. I didn’t do much in the last week except dealing with the necessary paperwork involved with the release of my vehicle at the port. Emails are piling-up, and I will have to take care of the situation soon, my apologies to those who tried to contact me recently.

    Welcome committee in Studio City.

    Welcome committee in Studio City.

    I hope to get the truck on Tuesday this week, and Andy took some time off to help me out with the process. My dad arrives on Wednesday, and we plan to spend few days in LA before going back on the road.

    Breakfast with blog followers.

    Breakfast with blog followers.

    This week we spent some time in Pasadena, Hollywood and Griffith Park which are places I like to go when I am in LA. Sunday morning we went for a fun little interview with the Motorman on the KABC radio show before another promenade in the city. I love hanging out in Los Angeles even so it’s a huge difference with the places I visited this year. I love contrast, and I am glad to be back in America!

    At KABC Los Angeles radio station with Leon Kaplan.

    At KABC Los Angeles radio station with Leon Kaplan.

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52 Responses to “When our traveler fools himself as Phileas Fogg but doesn’t win £20,000”

  1. Charlie A (Santa Clara, Ca.)

    Hey Nick, so how did the show go? What aspect of your tour was Motorman most interested in? Dish a bit on your appearance for all the people that could not listen. Or better yet, is their a archive of the show we could listen to.

    Cheers Mate.

  2. We are waiting for you in New York my friend! We should celebrate. Anybody to organize something with me? Contact me here: info(at)mignon-media(dot)com.

  3. I want to welcome you back to the USA. I hope you still have an excitement in you about traveling across the country and spending time with your Dad. You still have a lot ahead of you. Enjoy it all! And THANKS for the ride around the world. I have loved the pictures, the stories and, almost just as much, the comments. I can hardly wait for your next post. And to Charlie A, Motorman has an on demand at KABC on the internet. Haven’t checked if Nick’s interview is there.

  4. You sure must have a lot of mixed feelings, but certainly you´ll get back on track. I´ll keep reading your blog until the last post.

    A fan from Venezuela (thank god you did´t pass trough here!)

  5. Here is the lonk to the Motorman show at KABC. Nick’s interview will be up there in a couple of days.

    Just click the link that says “listen to recent podcasts.”

  6. Nick – I’ve been following your blog from central Iowa since before you left; welcome home, I’m truely glad you made it. I wish you were passing through Iowa so I could thank you in person for letting me (and a hell of a lot of others) come along for the ride.

    Regarding gaining a day, some years back I read an account of Magellen’s first circumnavigation of the globe. When his ships got back in contact with European ships there was a vigorous argument between the quatermaster on his ship and one on the European ship. Both of them had been dilligent in keeping their respective ships’ logs and yet they disagreed as to what day it was. This was not only a matter or professional pride; a quatermaster who messed up the log was subject to punishment. It took quite some time for scholars to work out what had really happened. So this is another link that you can claim to historical adventureres!

    Dave Perkins

  7. Sorry – I should have ‘said’ QUARTERMASTER in my last post.

  8. Hi Nick,

    I have been following your blog since you left New York, as I live in New Jersey. My family and I would love to meet you when you get back to the city if you are planning to meet up with blog followers back at home in the city. Do you know by when you plan to be back East?


  9. Nick’s appearance on radio was yesterday at 10AM EST. So skip ahead 2 hours just to listen to him if you don’t have time :)

  10. im about a month behind reading but jumped ahead to ask you… was language ever a problem especially in places like Laos, Vietnam? i always wonder how people manage to travel to places where the language is very difficult and different than their own. did you use language books? sign language? english?
    why is your blog in english if french is your first language?

    hoping to catch up on your blog before youre back in NY… enjoy the rest of your trip and stay safe.

  11. Nick,

    Again, it was wonderful to meet you! I enjoyed listening to your experiences in person. I hope you write a book about this trip. Here are my reasons.. 1. You are an excellent writer and really know how to draw your reader in. 2. Your blog confirmed what I already knew, people around the world are the same. We have the same hopes for our children, we laugh, go to work, love and dream for the same thing…peace.
    Safe journey. Keeping blogging.



  12. Welcome back Nick. Following your blog since you left Brooklyn. If the is a meeting or get-together in the NYC area, please post it here. Many thanks for your travels. We came along by reading your posts.

  13. The pod cast has not been posted yet for the Motorman program but it was at the top of the last hour, 1:00 pm EST, 10:00 in LA.

    Nick, it was fun to hear your voice! Looking forward to more interviews & stories as you and your dad go across the USA. I’ve enjoyed tagging along on your adventure.

    Happy travels!

  14. Hi Nick,
    Welcome back! Thanks for the great blog. I have enjoyed it so much. Wish you were coming to Seattle. Have a wonderful time with your dad. My husband and I traveled the US for a year in our van in 73-74. Fantastic memories!

  15. Oh Nick! I laughed my a** off while reading your account of arriving in LA, expecting to be greeted by your followers! And no one was there! You got a whole extra day you were not expecting. I hope you used it well! I do hope you write that book everyone is talking about. I would love to read more details of your incredible journey. Good luck getting your truck back and as always, travel safe!

  16. Shelia, Thomasville, NC

    Hi Nick,
    I’m glad you are back on American soil and completed the journey of a lifetime safely.
    Please keep your fans posted about life back in the states and let us know when your book comes out. You’ve got to write a book.
    You should consider going on Survivor. I’m sure you would be a favorite and should do quite well on the show.
    God Bless!!

  17. Donna Ft Lauderdale

    Hi NIck, don’t worry about finding a job, get an agent for the new book you’ll be writing… then their will be tv appearances and book signings and lots and lots of money…., for a job well done. I loved being a follower of it. Glad you’re back in America, I was just thinking about when you were traveling and had to have a military escort your for safety. There is no place like America!! God bless and welcome back.

  18. Hi Nick,
    WELCOME HOME , thank god you are home and I wish you could pass by Seattle and I know that will not happen . But thanks for all of the great blogs and comments , I hope you write a book about this trip. I am sure you will have a lot of people read about it. I for one will read it, I enjoy all of the pics. I am sure you are figuring out the crazy weather the east coast are having such as snows, and road closure . But then again I just wanted to Welcome you to home of the Braves and maybe we will meet someday here in Seattle.God Bless you ,take care and be safe going back to New York.

  19. Welcome back to the USA! We’ve enjoyed your blog so much–thank you for sharing!

  20. Glade you made it back, and the truck too!

  21. Nick on your way east will you be traveling close to Fort Smith AR? My students and I are big fans and it would be nice if you could stop by. Juan G. Martinez

  22. Hey Nick!

    Welcome back to the good ol’ USA. :)

  23. WELCOME HOME!!!! I am thankful & relieved you are back on American soil! Had a good chuckle at the date confusion, as I would never have thought to take that into consideration! But I’m glad you were able to work it out to meet up with friends, regardless. I noticed on your map that you will be traveling through Utah. According to your map you will be traveling through a very sparsely-populated area, and it is also not the most interesting or most beautiful area. Utah has Zion National Park as well as the Escalante National Monument to the south of your planned route, both of which must not be missed if you can adjust your route, easily done. To the north is the more metropolitan area of Provo-Salt Lake City-Ogden, where most of Utah’s history lies. If you come a little farther north I would be so happy to drive down from the ‘Top of Utah,’ Cache Valley, and greet you! But the views to the south are unbelievable, and worth the small amount of extra time they will take. Whether I see you or not, I wish you Godspeed and safety.

  24. Welcome back, Nick!

    And as another commenter (sort of) said: Thank you for taking us on your ride around the world!

    Be safe! :)

  25. Nick, so glad you’re safely back into the states. You’re right, you’ve expanded your horizons so much that you’ll never look at the world the same way. Along that line, if you and your dad pass through Chicago, be sure and email me ahead of time, and my 15-year-old daughter and I may be able to meet you somewhere. We’re the homeschoolers who have been using your blog for her to learn her geography. I’m a novelist, so if you want to know more about me, check out my website at

    Continue to travel safely!

  26. Love the blog, been following for a few months and glad to see you home safe and sound!
    What about Canada!?

  27. I have been following your blog since you left NY and I am so amazed of everything you saw and places you visited. I read every blog and loved all the great pictures. Welcome back to the USA and I will surely miss waiting for all the newest pictures every week. I also learned so much from all your comments on these places. I would probably never get to do a trip like this but reading about yours was great as well. good luck traveling throught the US and remember to fasten your seatbelts. :)

  28. Bonjour et bon retour à NYCk.. et maintenant … dans un ordre aléatoire:
    Classer les photos, ouvrir tout le courrier en retard, eventuellement y repondre, classer les factures…, faire le point, classer toutes les notes, les souvenirs, les cartes, les tickets etc. retrouver la civilisation, rattrapper le temps avec les copains, manger boire discuter et refaire le monde, le voyage encore et encore raconter, il faut bien ça pour faire un BOOK,
    Surtout ne pas éteindre la petite musique, ce chant des sirènes, qui trotte dans la tête et qui appelle à de nouvelles aventures,
    Bon courage et à te suivre…

  29. welcome home, friend. it’s been a long time.


  30. Joanne in New Jersey

    Welcome home Nick. I will miss your posts – they were facinating. Still hoping you will write a book on your experiences.

  31. I know a writer who can help you tell your story!

  32. Nick,

    I am glad that you have made it safely back to America. The first thing I thought of when I heard about the confusion on your arrival date was Around the world in 80 days. I laughed when I saw the picture on this new post.
    Your blog has been just one guy’s experience as he travels the world. There is no agenda, no slant towards any religious or polictical view, the countries are what they are, good points and bad points. I think that is what makes your blog special, it is straightforward, just your honest experience in the places you visited. Another reason to write a book about your journey. Also, we’d love to see more of the pictures you took.

    Thanks to those of you who posted the link of Nick’s interview.


  33. What a journey Nick! Your adventures and pictures make me wish to do something similar some day. I hope you enjoyed your days in Ecuador, which is where I came from (I am currently living in CA). Felicitaciones por tener el coraje de iniciar un viaje de tal magnitud.

  34. Hello Nick,

    I hope you have planned your future well and are able to leave as soon as posible? Or will you be stuck in a cubicle for the coming 10-15 years? I hope not. Remember, there is always a spot for you on our Cruiser. Currently battling in Brazil’s Amazon and trying to get to the Guyanas…

    Abraços Coen

  35. Welcome home Nick!

    I’m glad you made it back safe and sound!

    Your journey in the past year made me see the outside world more thru your experienced; it was fun and excited!

    Your adventure sure made me to do a trip like you did but don’t have gut to do that yet :-)

    I wish you have more fun experience to share with us again in the future!

  36. Hi, Nick- Our 7th and 8th graders at Phoenix Middle School in Columbus, Ohio have been tracking you on your wonderful blog for a year! I’m a Global Cultures teacher, and have been so grateful to you and your adventures. You’ve been a big part of my classes! Welcome back to the states. We see that you are planning to go south of Ohio when you come east, but we would LOVE to host you in Columbus. If you can find a way to swing north a little when you hit West Virginia, please let us know. Our students would be thrilled to meet you. Safe, safe travels!!

  37. Welcome home! I do know how you felt at the LA airport when you thought it was Sunday. Four years ago, I was scheduled to join a friend in N.J., travel to JFK for a six-week once-in-a-lifetime trip through Europe. I somehow misplaced the day we were supposed to leave, and got a call asking where I was. It was only then I realized I was a day behind. I had to reschedule the flight for three days later – and face an annoyed friend.

  38. What am I going to do for vicarious travel now??? Welcome back to the US. Can’t wait to buy and read your book.

  39. Welcome back to the States, Nick! I live in St. Louis, MO, and have been following your blog since you left in 2009. Good luck with everything, and thank you for sharing your journey. What an experience you have had! I think you are taking the southern route back to NY, but if you swing through St. Louis and you need anything, I would be happy to help.

  40. EH!!! Looks like I have found your blog at the end of your journey. Will have to read through your post however disappointed not to see Turkey in your categories of countries visited. maybe next time!!

  41. Nick,

    I see that a lot of people (especially students) are keeping up with your travels in and around Columbus. As an Ohio native, let me tell you that Southern Ohio has some of the most beautiful and serene scenery (and a lot of parks and camp grounds) that I think you would thoroughly enjoy. I would keep a close eye out for dam markers on your maps. Many dam sites have campgrounds nearby and are kept really nice. Southern Ohio has some of the best of them. So, I hope I can help in convincing you to take a trip up there. You definitely would not regret it! It’s only unfortunate that it is not the fall and the leaves won’t be changing. That is the most beautiful time of the year there!

  42. Nick,

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I hope you fill us in during this last trek across the US. And, as other commentators noted, I hope you start working on a book. I would sure love to read it (and please include lots of pictures!)

    Thanks again.


  43. Nick:

    On the road again! Good to know that your Land Cruiser is now safely in your possession. If you and your dad find yourselves stuck in southern Kentucky with car problems give us a call as the bluegrass state is second home with plenty kinfolk around to help. Safe travels eastward. See you in New York.

  44. Nick, I thought I had seen a more southern route on the map through TN, VA, etc. I just noticed the main route map shows it through MO, IL, KY, etc. Which is correct? I have enjoyed your around the world trip and like all the others I hate to see it end. Please keep us followers informed if (or when) you write the book. Safe travels home!


  45. Nick,

    I’ve been following your adventures around the world since November ’09. It’s hard to believe it’s almost over! We’ve learned a lot through your adventures. Thank you for sharing them. If there’s some sort of get-together or party with the blog-followers in New York when you get back, please post it here!

    Welcome home!


  46. Hi Nick,

    Welcome back to USA!! I am sure you must be relieved to be back home.

    Good Luck with the rest of your trip and also with your job search.


  47. Dear Nick:

    We listened to your radio interview with the Motorman tonight. Great interview and it was nice hearing your voice. Take care and many blessings.

    -joy and Paul

  48. Nik, Dorthy was right, “there is no place like home” Best of luck on job hunting. -scott in Santa Barbara CA

  49. Nick-
    I loved reading your blog from Wisconsin as you travelled arond the world. Thanks for sharing your marvelous adventures! Hopefully you will have a speaking tour next! Perhaps you can put your adventures into a book:-)

  50. Nick- My husband and I have followed you from the beginning of your journey. Your adventurous and courageous spirit has truly inspired us. We live in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’d love to meet you wherever you pass through Utah to give you a tour, buy you a meal, or just meet you! Our kids have read posts as well, and think you are awesome! Godspeed and let us know if we can help in any way!

  51. More please!! Going through withdrawal :)

  52. Welcome back to the US! I have read your blog on and off for the past month. A great inspiration. Congratulations on a trip exceedingly well done. I will be following in your around the world footsteps at some point in the future, in a very similar set-up, hopefully.