Me-go: Around-the-World

Around the World in Tiny Drawings


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From reading my blog some of you may have discerned that I’m a visual person. It’s true that when traveling I probably can’t tell East form West but I do remember how many barber shops we passed or that we need to turn at the giant chicken statue. I’m also very detail-oriented and keep track of almost every cent I spend on the road. Naturally, I’ve combined these two traits when documenting my trip. Some travelers keep a calendar where they write down which city they visited each day—I keep a calendar where I sketch an image of what I did each day.

The calendar started out as a quick way to remember what I’d done when I fall behind on my written journal. By cross-referencing my expenses with the image on my calendar I could almost always remember exactly what my day entailed even if I was a month behind on my writing. The early sketches aren’t very interesting but the last six months begin to really develop into something worth following. In fact, it wasn’t until I entered Africa that anyone noticed my obsessive detailing of the trip. Some fellow travelers who caught on began anticipating my drawings and would sit around the hostel drinking cheap beer and guessing what I would draw. At times the pressure was so great that I would field complaints if I didn’t complete the day’s drawing by dinner. Granted, we all have to make our own entertainment on the road when we’re stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Sure, they’re small and rough but I thought some of you would want to see my sketches while others might draw inspiration and take up your own calendar-making when you leave on your trips. My favorite is May 18th, where I am depicted wading through a flooded road in Western Madagascar. Continue on to scroll through all 400+ days.

calendar 1
calendar 2
calendar 3
calendar 4
calendar 5
calendar 6
calendar 7
calendar 8
calendar 9
calendar 10

14 responses to “Around the World in Tiny Drawings”

  1. princebishop Avatar

    hey, megan, those are great! i can see how they would be great visual prompts. it’s like a comic strip of your trip around the world.


  2. dis Avatar

    Love your sore knees, your yoga pose at the ashram and the henna hands. Megan, those are really cool! They reminded me of some graphic novels I’ve seen as well as some of the stuff Lynda Barry does.

  3. Megan Avatar

    PB, it would have been a nice moleskine project, maybe one day per page… I have been working on a picture book based on my trip but I’m not sure that it would cover each day.

    Dis, Those are some of my favorites too… I like the graphicness of the henna hands (too bad the scan isn’t too clear) and vividly remember the yoga pose day. I fell on my face for hours! I guess that pose is sometimes called The Crane but it was called The Crow at Sivinanda Ashram.

  4. claudia cavazos Avatar
    claudia cavazos

    Megan, dunno if i’ve told ya this before, but u are an amazing person and an inspiration to all of us who one day want to do what you’ve done!

    So, you sure you don’t want to go travel all of south america with a crazy texan girl like myself?

    Pura Vida.

  5. Wendy Avatar

    Wow, these are great! I love your organization and drawing skills! I wish I could do these!

  6. Han Solo Avatar
    Han Solo

    Seriously amazing Megan! So much fun to see your whole trip laid out like that.

  7. Sandy Avatar

    Definitely amazing pictures and sketches Megan. Can’t tell you how your travels has really motivated me to do this trip myself, and get over all the insecurities.

    I’ll definitely be seeking advice from you soon enough.

  8. Claudia Cavazos Avatar
    Claudia Cavazos

    sorry to bother you once more about travel insurance. But which one did you use for this trip and did you like it? And another question, when you went to a beach where did you “hide” your belongings? I mean if you wanted to go into the water and you were by yourself and noone trusted was there to watch your stuff?
    Pura Vida.

  9. Megan Avatar

    Yours is the second invitation I’ve had to South America. Maybe I should listen to what fate is telling me! I’ve been to Peru but I don’t know how I’d feel about South America. I want to go, I speak a little Spanish, but it sounds so crowded with young gap year students. I’m not sure I could deal. When I hiked the Inca Trail I booked 2 days in advance and paid $75 or so for 3 days, all inclusive. I hear that’s changed.

    As for travel insurance…

    My first RTW I used World Nomads and my second I used IMG. I never made a claim on either. I did go to the doctor a few times on this last trip but it was so little money that it wasn’t worth anyone’s time. But that’s how I view insurance… for the big things. If I broke an arm or had to get airlifted somewhere than I would have met my deductible. Seeing a doctor for the flu or a chest xray wasn’t worth it.

    Are you looking for health, cancellation or gear insurance? I feel like everyone wants a policy that covers it all. I don’t think that those travel policies like World Nomads have pay out how most people would like. There’s a lot of requirements for police reports and you basically have to have the item torn out of your hands to file a claim.

    I also have too expensive of gear (computer, camera) to get a comprehensive all in one package. I think World Nomads covers up to $3,000. You can get specialty insurance coverage of those particular items or even put them on your (or your parents) home owner’s policy.

    Now, I’ve had a mess with health insurance. I looked at a lot of policies (travel and typical American policies like Blue Cross). The travel policies would only over me outside of the USA and the traditional policies would only cover me outside the USA for up to 90 days. I’ve since talked to people who have used traditional policies and not had that 90 day rule. Perhaps it’s a stat by state issue, because these people were not from Illinois. Just make sure you check into it and make sure you’re covered.

    When I got home from Phase I I was home a year and bought an individual policy. It was a nightmare. It took two months or reading the fine print and going through interviews. I was definitely scrutinized for being outside the USA for so long (it was an actual question on the application!) and was blasted for the drugs I took in my med kit (like Cipro), no matter if I used them or not.

    For Phase II I went with IMG because they seemed more like a medical insurance company than World Nomads. The main deciding factor for me was that if you purchase 12 months up front you can have 2 months of in-country coverage (in the USA) when you get home. That means you get 10 months abroad and 2 months home. I extended that coverage online when I was in Africa and still had those 2 months at the end. Of course, I had a high deductible and it didn’t cover preventative medicine.

  10. Megan Avatar

    To finish your questions, Caludia…

    I’m not a beach person but I did go to the beach in Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, India and Tanzania. I might have gone into the water for 10 minutes a few times a day and left everything on the beach near my towel in a bag. If I had my iPod with me and there was someone sitting near me I asked if I could place it next to them for 10 minutes. That’s it! There’s no easy answer to your question other than to suggest that you not bring anything expensive with you.

    Usually you are sitting on the beach within 15 feet of your hotel and you can run back to your room. If you’re getting food you can put it on your tab. Or if you need money stick the small amount you’ll need in your book.

  11. Megan Avatar

    Anyone can do these! I still believe that anyone can learn to draw if they train themselves how to look at the world around them. And, like most things, it takes practice. I was in advanced art classes from 2nd grade through high school.

    The hardest part is finally making the decision to go and buying your ticket. Once you step foot in the first country you will realize that all that worry was for nothing.

  12. Claudia Cavazos Avatar
    Claudia Cavazos

    Thanks for the info. TRying to get medical insurance is such a crazy ordeal. I really appreciate your insight.
    Have you thought about writing a book of your experiences and advice?

    PS-u really should come to SA with me, I’m fluent in Spanish and I swear I won’t make you climb mountains, hehehe.

    Pura Vida,
    Claudia C.

  13. Brooke Avatar

    I love checking your site, Megan! There’s always something interesting to read about or see 🙂 The pictoral calendar was an awesome idea and its even more cool that you kept it up day after day.

  14. matthew held Avatar
    matthew held

    Incredible Timeline, you should really stop looking for an office job and focus on your art…… Really!

    Argentina is Awesome, you are surrounded by Argentinians, they love to stay at hostels, camp and are so friendly. The real question isn’t “Should I go?”, it’s “Should I move?”.

    I went with HTH insurance, it’s expensive at 200$ a month with a 1,000 deductible but a lot of colleges use them for their study abroad programs so I figure it’s reliable.