When it begins to look like our traveler is going to make it around the world

Driving through Utah.
Driving through Utah.

Indeed, as I am writing this, at least than 400 miles from New York City, it does look like I am going to be able to do it. On Saturday, after fifteen months on the road, I am going to reenter the city via the George Washington Bridge.
For the longest time, while advancing through remote countries, I have been reluctant to say I was driving around the world. I always preferred to declare I was “trying” to go around the world. Now it may be time to change that.
Few days back, after spending the night in southeast Utah, we were back on the road and passed the Colorado state line. We were still going through arctic temperatures, and I couldn’t help but be amazed that the truck never gave me much problem, no matter what climate I was in. In temperatures ranging from -30F to 130F, the vehicle started right away each time. The steering box is not leaking as much now, since the liquid is not as thin in the cold, and my fridge doesn’t complain either after having kept food cold through the hottest climates on earth. Basically, me and my dad are the only one to object to the ridiculous freezing temperatures.

Mesa Verde National Park, dwellings in the cliffs.
Mesa Verde National Park, dwellings in the cliffs.
Nobody knows what became of the inhabitants.
Nobody knows what became of the inhabitants.

Shortly after entering Colorado, we leave the main road to penetrate the Mesa Verde National Park. A civilization of Pueblo Indians lived in the cliffs there around AD 1,200.

Nobody knows why they disappear in the next hundred years. Disease or just looking for better life conditions may have been the cause. Regardless, it is fascinating to visit the dwellings protected from the natural elements by the cliffs.

The visit is very uncomfortable because of the cold and snow, and soon enough we are back on the road.

I drive through the mountains of Colorado after stopping for lunch in charming Durango.

Leaving Mesa Verde Park.
Leaving Mesa Verde Park.

Everybody does a good work at keeping the road relatively free of snow, so the progression is easy. We spend a night in Alamosa, and in the morning I spend some time finding a new power converter for my laptop, as I forgot mine in the previous motel. I guess I can’t complain, given that I really didn’t loose much in this long trip.

In the Colorado mountains.
In the Colorado mountains.

Once the mountains are behind, we go a bit south and enter Oklahoma. It is the first of many days driving through monotonous landscapes. There are not many photos to take, and I apologize for the banality of the ones I present here. As I was traveling though foreign countries, I noticed that most inhabitants spent a lot of time outside, therefore I could witness easily their intimate life. Now, because of the cold and the very different ways of our western life, I am just going through mostly empty landscapes.

Leaving Colorado.
Leaving Colorado.

Many people think my accent is pretty funny tough, when I stop for food in restaurants along the route. It seems like they don’t see many foreigners driving through. Food is not great in the many places we stop at, but the option of cooking outside is not here anymore. It is beyond doubt not a culinary tour anyway, and we eat in the cheapest places around.

Church in Oklahoma. Everything is flat and immense.
Church in Oklahoma. Everything is flat and immense.
You can drive straight lines for hundreds of miles.
You can drive straight lines for hundreds of miles.

We stop quickly in Guthrie, a town north of Oklahoma City, famous for its brick and stone Victorian buildings. The place seems to be empty of its inhabitants as people are awaiting a fresh snowstorm later in the evening.

Guthrie, few miles north of Oklahoma City.
Guthrie, few miles north of Oklahoma City.

After a night in Oklahoma City, we visit the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which is fun and features interesting painting exhibits.

The Oklahoma City Capitol. Notice the oil well just in front.
The Oklahoma City Capitol. Notice the oil well just in front.
The Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
The Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

More driving brings us to Fort Smith, at the border with Arkansas, where we spend the night. The following evening sees us in Memphis, Tennessee. The place is somewhat depressing usually, but even more under the snow and bad weather.

In the morning we walk in the city center, and here too, streets are empty. Poverty is rampant in the city named after the capital of ancient Egypt.

Memphis skyline.
Memphis skyline.
One of Memphis many churches.
One of Memphis many churches.

I can see my father begins to be tired by the long trip. Maybe I miscalculated a bit when I planned the trip back, as it is a lot of driving every day, more than what I am used to.

Egypt is on the news every night as well, and I think of the people on the road in Africa, trying to do the eastern route as I did last year. It was already not easy, but now it has to be more difficult.

Beale Street, Memphis. Where people go out to bars.
Beale Street, Memphis. Where people go out to bars.

The Djibouti-Yemen route I used may see an influx of visitors now, even so I believe I was the first one in many years to have used it.

The world famous Gibson guitars factory.
The world famous Gibson guitars factory.

Back in the U.S., we continue to drive toward Nashville, where I have diner with Mrs. Marti, with who I have been emailing since the beginning of my trip. A little incursion south the following day allows us to visit the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg. It is worth to visit if you are around, but I would not do hundreds of miles to check out the site.

Typical landscape in eastern Tennessee.
Typical landscape in eastern Tennessee.

The county is dry, so I can’t even get one shot for the road before I leave for Chattanooga. A nice surprise awaits me there, as the city is very agreeable. Katie – another follower of the blog – takes me around in the nighttime for a visit, and it looks like people have a nice quality of life and enjoy living there.

Jack Daniels bourbon distillery.
Jack Daniels bourbon distillery.
Barrels of Jack. Wish I could take one for the road.
Barrels of Jack.

Named the “dirtiest city in America” back in the 1960s, you would be surprised by its evolution. Nowadays it is very green, there are plenty of waterfront paths for pedestrians and bicycles, a pedestrian bridge also across the Tennessee River, and many museums can be found across the city.

Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Too bad I am not visiting during the summer, I bet there’s enough to spend few days without getting bored. But I have to get going, and after Katie gives me nice samples of southern food, I am back on the highway.

Another familiar sight in Tennessee.
Another familiar sight in Tennessee.

This time I am going north, and for good. There will be no more sinuous paths. I am going to New York, and should be there before the end of the week.

Sunset in southeast Tennessee before entering Chattanooga.
Sunset in southeast Tennessee before entering Chattanooga.

Crossing Virginia takes a long time, especially because I try several times to get to the Blue Ridge Highway. The 75 years old road was part of the New Deal’s efforts to provide jobs to the unemployed of the Great Depression. I already used part of the ribbon of highway along the high Appalachian ridges when I left NY in 2009, and wanted to take the same route to come back.

Riding the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Riding the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Unfortunately, after driving few dozen miles, the road was closed. Once again we were punished by the snow. We attempted to reenter the road several time at different points of its 400-miles path, but it was closed everywhere.

A lake along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
A lake along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

On Thursday night I arrived in Winchester, northern Virginia. I was now only a few hours away from New York.

Fixing coffee in front of one of the numerous motels we stayed at while driving across the country.
Fixing coffee in front of one of the numerous motels we stayed at while driving across the country.

143 Replies to “When it begins to look like our traveler is going to make it around the world”

  1. Thank you for the update!! Has it hit you yet that you are almost finished with your trip and within 24 hours will be back where you started?

    As you already know there are so many of us that have been following you for so long and while we hate to see it end it’s only the beginning for you in the next chapter of your life.

    Congratulations on making it around the world. I hope that once you readjust to life in NY and are settled that you will be ready to meet some of your followers so we can toast you.

    Take care and safe travels. Thank you for bringing us warmer weather here in NY – we’ll be in the 40’s by Sunday!!

  2. congrats on making it around the world!i have been following your blog posts since day one.i hope you continue to blog about your daily life.you are an inspiration to us of someone following their dreams.i hope you will make a book as i would love to read it.cheers to you!

  3. Congratulations! It has been really fun living vicariously through your posts. Good luck with your next adventure!

  4. Congrats you made it. I have been following you the whole trip thru and I am sad to know it is at the end, I used to travel all the time, and now live vicariously thru the travel of others. Thank you for the little window on the world you have shared with us all.

  5. CONGRATULATIONS !! You have driven around the world!! A life changing experience. It is bittersweet to be reading that you are almost in NYC. I have enjoyed seeing the world through your eyes and your words and have learned much. I wish you could have driven across the US during warmer temps. I’m sure you would have seen bustling cities and towns, national parks and busy highways. Please keep us informed on your progress of getting settled back into “everyday life” and your progress on “that book”.

  6. Congrats!!! How exciting that you have come so far 🙂 Best of luck on your next journey, wherever it may take you.

  7. Hey folks,
    Well we’re less than a few hours away…does anybody have anything planned for Nick’s return? GW Bridge, Brooklyn, NYC? Anybody? Take care.


  8. Fabulous pics of the mid-west, Nick! You are amazing! You stayed so close to us last night in Winchester, when I saw that you were there I was so tempted to drive down and meet you. I feel as though I know you by following you for over a year now.

    Thank you so, so much for sharing your life and this year with all of us. It is a GREAT GIFT! Look forward to your book.

    Have a wonder re-entry to “home.”


  9. Welcome home Nick! I am going to miss my daily routine of traveling with you thru my computer.

    Good luck

  10. Welcome home. I so enjoyed your postings from the first day. Few strangers have given such a rich gift of faithfully sharing their life and travels. My fingers are crossed that you find work you love, and prosper with it. Should you ever travel to Hartford, I’d be happy to show you around our section of New England.

  11. Nick is great to have you back and Congratulations on your successful adventure! I look forward to more pictures and details of your incredible journey.


  12. Surfer Dude: i think we need to find out from Nick what his ETA/plan is and what he wants. He may want to get to a place to rest and park the truck and get his things in order.

    Nick-what do you want? let us know!!!

  13. I shall not say congrats yet since in my culture it is bad luck to celebrate that which has not happened (even if it is very close!) but I am very happy for you that the the journey you started to find a bit of perspective is almost over! I know that your journey has inspired me to consider trying the same!

    As many have said, it is sad that your journey is nearing its end, since many of use have enjoyed living vicariously through you and this also means you’ll be returning the “regular old life” but hopefully the memories you have created will drive you forward.

    Also, I wanted to ask permission to borrow your picture of the Rockies in this post to use as a wallpaper? It is very gorgeous and I think would look great on my phone to remind me of the possibilities of driving round the world!

  14. Nicolas,

    Your pictures are beautiful! I can’t believe it’s almost over. I have enjoyed your blogs and also meeting you in LA.



  15. I used to live in Guthrie, OK. Sorry you couldn’t see more of its historical beauty. So excited that you’re almost there!

  16. This blog and your updates have been something I looked forward to every week since before you left. I’m really going to miss it, and hope to some do something as grand as you have done. Good Luck in NYC and welcome home!

  17. congrats on the trip! can’t believe it is over; i, too, been following you every day since i found your blog on line, and, quite frankly, going to miss looking for the daily updates; it was such a wonderful adventure for you, and those following you; i feel as though i’ve been right alongside you during all those places you visited; and i thank you for every photo and tid-bit about the culture, landscape and way of living; but welcome (back) to new york! don’t stop posting, and can’t wait to see you on TV and read your book – i’m sure the “today” show will have you as a guest….
    good luck

  18. Welcome back Nick!! Thanks for all your posts – wonderful photos as usual.
    Please let us know when you are going to be arriving in the city on Saturday.

  19. Glad to see you made it all the way mate. I will have some delicious Addis tin foil tomorrow to celebrate your accomplishment, maybe even a tall mug of milk too.

    Congrats mon jeune fils…

  20. Nick, what a trip that was! Thanks for letting us be a part of it. I feel like I was *almost* there through your pics and posts (okay, I said *almost*!!). I hope you get the much deserved rest and I hope you will let us know what other exciting things you will be doing with your life. THANK YOU!!!


  21. Nick,
    Thank you for sharing this incredible journey with so many of us. I feel privileged to have been able to follow your trip as it happened. Your blog posts were always interesting and your pictures were amazing! Best of luck as you adjust to a life without constant travel.

  22. Go Nick go!! Though by now you have probably already entered NY. I’m curious to know what you learned from your travels that you didn’t feel you knew before about the world? Is there any country you have visited you wish you could return to? Is there any country you feel strongly every person should experience?

  23. Thank you Nick for sharing this with us. I really would like to meet you when you get back….let me know if you are arranging a meet with some of your followers.

  24. Thanks, Nick, for a wonderful time. I am extremely sad that I won’t be checking my bookmarks every single day anymore.

  25. Nick!


    But I’m also sooooooooo sad I can’t follow your journey anymore. 🙁 🙁 So please write a book, get a facebook page, etc so we can all keep in touch. 🙂

    Bless you on your New Journey settling back in to the continued Destiny of your Life. May all that you’ve experienced; the things you’ve seen, the people you’ve touched, the foods you’ve tasted, the trials you’ve overcome, the world you’ve journeyed through, only add to the way you relate to your life now and in the future.


  26. As you arrive in NY today I, like everyone else, am sad that the “journey” is coming to an end. I have looked forward to your blog entries & your wonderful photos of places that I will never get to see myself. Now as you settle back into daily life in NY I look forward to your next “project” be it a book or whatever….

  27. We are so excited and happy for you!!! You did it! Today must be very emotional for you. I, too, will miss the blogs….so don’t stop! Keep us informed about your future plans. The students at West Brook High School have enjoyed meeting you and following you. This week I will show a slide show of your pictures over the last phase of your trip. They see through your pictures places they can never go and the pictures prompt comments of the things they know of each of these places. One thing they see is that you accomplished great things by taking a risk. Best of everything to you!

    Jo Bedford

  28. It’s been a wonderful ride – a great adventure to be a part of. Let us know what comes next.
    Best of luck to you, Nick.
    Stay curious, be strong.

  29. Hi Nick.

    Congratulations on the completion of your around the world trip. I have read from day one. I hope you find more adventures in the future.

    Take care from Michael from Sacramento, California

  30. Nick,
    What an accomplishment we all only hope to be able to do. I am glad that you have made it back home, and can only imagine the feeling that you must have inside of such an accomplishment. You have touched the hearts of so many people through your blog, and we all feel such joy for you, yet, at the same time there is a bitter sweet emotion of a journey nearing its end. The inspiration and smiles that you have put in our hearts is priceless. I wish you only the best of luck in all that you do. I look forward to your book.

    God Speed

  31. I am sad that we never got to meet Nick. Hopefully in the future we can if I ever make it over to NYC again. It has been very enjoyable following your adventures in your blog and showing mostly what I have imagined of different people/cultures around the world.

    I just can’t believe this is probably your last post before you finally do get back home. I like to congratulate you in advance for being such a tough adventurer and achieving something that “experts” said you wouldn’t be able to do. You are making history and are a hero in everyone’s minds here!

  32. Dear Nick:

    Congratulations on your safe return home, really home! You are free, safe and I might add happy. Beautiful cross country photos. Many many more blessings and God’s favor in your wonderful life.

  33. I have been checking every hour or so to see where you are. I am so excited for you!! Even though I will not be present, I will be at Lakeside Lounge in spirit and will lift a “Mike’s hard lemonade” =) to you. Have fun!! YOU DID IT !!!!

  34. Nick, Congrats on completing your trip. I live very close to NYC, but am unable to see you crossing the GWB bank into NYC due to a charity commitment. Is there going to be a welcome home party? I am sure many followers of your blog would love to have one. Does anyone have any ideas?


  35. Congratulations Nick! What a great story you have given us! Truly, I am sad to see your adventure end, but they always do. I’ve enjoyed every post and admire your intrepidness. Please continue to post now and again so we can see how you’re adjusting to a regular – haha – life.

    Best, Dean

  36. You are without a doubt the most adventurous, confident and capable person I have ever had the true pleasure to meet. Now reading your entries I hear your sweet French accent. I was delighted to show you Chattanooga and my world. Please stay in touch and let me know how your new job and home hunting adventure turns out. I have NO doubt great things are in store for you!

    Katie- your US Ambassador to the South!

  37. You are almost there! Thank you for taking us along on your fantastic adventure. It has been wonderful experience.
    Please keep us posted when you write your book!


  38. Thank you for the great journey thru the world, I will miss your site. You were so delightful to follow, Every detail you discribed with such charm!!!
    I hope that Toyota will present you with a brand new truck,you deserve it,this was a nice advertisement for them and free.
    I will hope to see you in the morning shows or any pm shows.
    I will go and see this movie any time.
    Keep us posted,please don’t abandone us any time soon,we whant to know the endind.
    We share your happines today. Take care of your self.
    God Bless you Nick, from your follower Adela

  39. Congratulations Nick! How do you feel now that it’s all over? Like your other faithful followers I will miss your updates. I too hope you keep the blog going for a while so we don’t all suffer from withdrawal symptoms! What a wonderful adventure. We are so grateful for letting us share it with you. Best of luck in all your future endeavors,and as always, travel safe!

  40. CONGRATULATIONS NICK ! This is special for you: copy & paste….with sound on.

    And make a brand new start of it
    New York, New York
    I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps
    To find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap
    These little town blues
    Are melting away
    I’ll make a brand new start of it
    In old New York
    If I can make it there
    I’ll make it anywhere
    It’s up to you, New York, New York. (thank you Frank Sinatra)

    It has been my pleasure to follow you around the world. You did it man, how cool is that? !! Thank you for the great experience, education, cultural awareness, fun, and scenery I’d never would have encounted. What an adventure, you gotta be proud of yourself because you made up your mind to do something and you did it 100%. Welcome home and may God continue His blessings upon you.
    With hugs from right here in America,

  41. Nick,

    Great job! I also wish I could have been there to greet you when you arrived in New York City.
    Thanks for all the great post’s and pictures. I am going to miss the adventure. When will you start writing the book?

    Cheers mate and have a great time at the Lakeside Lounge.

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