Month 33: Travel Summary and Statistics

I have glandular fever.

I can’t stop sleeping.

I have swollen glands all over my body.

My joints ache.

I’m coughing non-stop and I have a strange rash.

Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past month! 

My last monthly update came to you from Portland, where I had just been convinced that I could absolutely stop travelling and live in Portland for the next five years — I love it that much. Unsurprisingly, my love towards Portland only grew stronger over the month I spent there. I revisited all of my favourite restaurants, I found some incredible new ones to keep returning to, and I broke my SD card, so these photos were stolen from Dave.

Food in Portland

Much like the previous month, this month was spent working hard on various work-related projects that I’m (sorry!) still not quite ready to announce yet. But unlike last month, I managed to cram in a little relaxation.

Dave and I always opt to stay quite a way outside of downtown whenever we’re in Portland — we’ve found the perfect neighbourhood for us about a 30 minute bus ride north. Airbnb places are expensive here, and we found ourselves paying $1500 for a month’s stay in a converted garage-type set up. While pricey, the house was also beautiful. It was close to all our favourite restaurants, and having a sofa bed meant that we could invite friends to come and stay with us for the first time ever! And then we could feed them yams.

Really, though, my month in Portland can be summarised by how much food I ate. I ate so much and I still can’t stop talking about it.

Lauren eating The Cheesus

I left Portland after many, many 12-14 hour work days, burnt out and exhausted. My Secret Work Project was finished. I could finally rest. Instead, I found myself with swollen glands, heart palpitations, strange rashes and insomnia. I convinced myself I was stressed and rewarded myself with naps.

While Dave decided to fly to Melbourne to see family and friends, I flew in the opposite direction and began making my way back home. Quite bizarrely, I had managed to plan my trip home at a time when my parents were travelling around the east coast of the US. Rather than heading straight home, I instead decided to hop over to DC to see them.

Lauren at The White House

It was in DC that I celebrated 1000 days of travel, a huge milestone for me and one that I couldn’t have imagined ever reaching back when I first left England.

Unfortunately, I celebrated with a lack of sleep due to a noisy snorer in my dorm room. Yep, after so long in private rooms and apartments, I think my dorm days could possibly be over.

Enough grumbling! My 1000th day of travel coincided with the gorgeous Cherry Blossom Festival, and I couldn’t have been more excited to go look at hundreds of pretty trees. You can expect a photo essay on the cherry blossoms soon!

Cherry Blossom Festival, DC

With a little bit of exploring and an awful lot of napping under my belt (I was still unaware I had glandular fever at this point!), it was time for me to see my parents after nine months apart! I was thrilled to play tour guide and get to show them around some of my favourite monuments and memorials. The only downside was the huge storm on the night before they arrived — all of the cherry blossoms were gone before they could see them!

In Washington DC
in Washington DC

With my time in DC feeling all too short, I said goodbye to my parents and headed to a country I’ve been desperate to visit for years: Iceland.

By this point I was starting to feel pretty miserable. I couldn’t stop coughing, I couldn’t sleep at night, I was aching all over and I couldn’t sleep due to more loud snorers in my room. However, I wasn’t going to let glandular fever stop me from enjoying a country I’d been forever desperate to visit!

With three hours of sleep thanks to The Snorer From Hell (at one point I nearly threw a shoe at her), I dragged myself out of bed at 6am and onto a nine hour tour of the Golden Circle. It was then that I decided I needed to return to Iceland for a month-long road trip at some point in the future. Have I finally found a country more beautiful than New Zealand?


Statistics time! 

Month 33 travels

Number of Countries Visited: 2

Iceland, United States

Number of Cities Visited: 3

Portland, Reykjavik, Washington DC

Distance Travelled: 8,800km

Photos Taken: 391

Highlight of the Month: Getting to see my parents in DC! I miss them so much when I travel.

Lowlight of the Month: Not realising I had glandular fever and pushing myself so hard that I nearly had a nervous breakdown. 14 hour work days while fighting off an infection? Maybe I’m stronger than I thought I was!

My Favourite Photo:

Sunrise in Iceland

The sunrise as I came in to land at Reykjavik airport was one of the best I’ve seen! The sky danced from deep blue to purple to vibrant pink to tangerine as everyone rushed to one side of the plane to take photos. A great introduction to Iceland.

Money Spent: 


  • 23 nights in Portland: $575.00
  • 5 nights in DC: $250.00
  • 2 nights in Reykjavik: $67.00


  • Flight from Portland to DC: $192.50
  • Taxi to and from DC airport to downtown: $150.00
  • Flight from DC to London, via Reykjavik: $393.43
  • Bus from Reykjavik airport to Reykjavik: $17


  • Tour of the Golden Circle: $80.00

Food: $1012.00 


  • Clothes and make up and random girly things (yep, I pretty much replaced all my clothes in DC!): $973.00

Total Amount Spent: $3709.93

Month 34 travels

The Next Month: 

Next, I’ll be hopping on a plane and arriving back home for the first time in almost two years! I’m looking forward to eating all of my favourite British junk food (prawn cocktail Pringles! Fondant Fancies! Minstrels! Jaffa Cakes!), catching up with my family and friends and attempting to defeat my glandular fever. I suspect I’ll be napping a lot.

At the end of the month, I’ll be taking my first steps in the Middle East with planned visits to both Oman and the United Arab Emirates! And then, an announcement as to where I’ll be heading next — I’ve had a big change of plans!

Looking to follow along with my travels through my monthly summaries? You can read the previous month’s summary here, the next month’s summary here, or head on over to the monthly summary page to read from the very beginning!


  1. May 17, 2014

    Oh my goodness! I’m the same way when I’m sick. I keep pushing myself until it’s too late and then I am sicker than I would have been if I had just taken a break and taken care of myself. At least you managed to still have a good time. I can’t wait to hear about the super secret project!

    • July 30, 2014

      Thanks, Kendra! I’m about a week away from being able to announce it :-)

  2. Hope you can recover while back home you poor thing! Looking forward to hearing where you are heading next after the Middle East :)

    • July 30, 2014

      Thanks, Katie! The trip back home really helped me get back on my feet :-)

  3. May 19, 2014

    You need to do a photo essay on British snack food. Pringles. Jaffa Cakes. ENTIRE HUNKS OF CATHEDRAL CITY CHEDDAR CHEESE. You know it makes sense.

    Also, what IS THAT GLORIOUS LOOKING THING IN THE SECOND PHOTO?!? I need that in my life.

    • July 30, 2014

      I wish I’d thought to do that! I’ll have to do it next time I’m back home :-) The thing in the second photo is called The Cheesus. It’s a cheeseburger between two grilled cheese sandwiches! It was amazing.

  4. Yvette
    May 19, 2014

    That sucks- feel better! :-(

    Just wondering, where were you flying into that it was a $150 cab ride- was it actually Baltimore? Because I seem to recall Dulles being “only” $50 or so if you cab it.

    • July 30, 2014

      It was Dulles — $75 each way. I was staying quite a way out though.

  5. May 19, 2014

    So sorry to hear you have been sick and hope you recover soon! I was in UAE and Oman a few month’s ago, I’ll be happy to hear your thoughts. I really liked Oman, gorgeous place! UAE for me resembled Las Vegas (Dubai) minus the scandal, and thought it was dreadfully boring and lacking character. I did like Abu Dhabi a bit more though, and the mosque there is gorgeous!

    • July 30, 2014

      Glad to hear you loved Oman, too! And I didn’t see enough of the UAE (or even Abu Dhabi) to form an opinion of it, but I don’t have too much desire to return any time soon.

  6. May 19, 2014

    Yikes! I wish you a speedy recovery – that sounds horrific.

    As a Kiwi, I never felt more at home anywhere else on our RTW trip than Iceland. The landscapes are so similar and the people too – our cultures have a lot in common IMO.

    • June 24, 2014

      I was amazed at how similar Iceland and New Zealand were! I can’t wait to take Dave there :-)

  7. Miriam of Adventurous Miriam
    May 19, 2014

    Your plans sound so exciting, Lauren, but I’m sorry you’re sick! I’m sending lots of healing thoughts your way. Feel better soon.

  8. Man Portland has some of the best food! I was out that way for a few months and just ate out every single meal because there were so many places to try!!

    • June 24, 2014

      Isn’t it incredible?! I ate out for every meal for a month and still wanted to try hundreds of other places!

  9. May 20, 2014

    Oh man, hope you feel better soon! So awesome that you were in DC during cherry blossom season – it’s so gorgeous then!

    • May 26, 2014

      Thanks, Laura! I loved the cherry blossoms :-)

  10. Fanny
    May 20, 2014

    Wow, I hope you actually find the time to take enough rest to get better!

    I totally understand your dorm-rooms-problem. I decided a couple of years ago to not use them anymore, and I haven’t regretted it yet (with one small exception last month in Coscomatepec, Mexico, where I had a 16-bed dorm ALL TO MYSELF – hello low season).

    The Iceland pictures are amazing!

    • June 24, 2014

      Thanks, Fanny! I’m feeling a lot better now :-). Nothing better than having an entire dorm to yourself!

  11. Mikala
    May 23, 2014

    I don’t usually give a toss about landscape photos, but that waterfall shot took my breath away! Pretty please caption your photos, I’d love to put that multifood shot and the waterfalls on my bucket list!

    • June 24, 2014

      Thanks so much, Mikala! The waterfall is Gullfoss, and the food photo (clockwise from top left) asparagus with bacon and egg at Tasty N Sons, olives, feta cheese and hummus at Bridgeport, smoked blue cheese burger from Tasty N Sons, and salmon eggs benedict from Helsers.

  12. Penelope
    June 8, 2014

    What a unreal hue for a sunrise in Iceland … seemed like an awesome month aside from your sickness!

    • June 24, 2014

      It was a pretty incredible sunrise! :-)

  13. Bill
    August 1, 2014

    Photos of Iceland are absolutely amazing.

  14. krissy
    May 8, 2016

    First I’d like to thank you for writing your book! I am a huge fan! I have already told all my friends and family about it. I have aspirations to travel the world and put them off for the million anxieties that stand in my way. I have a few questions!! Do you take anxiety medicine? And if so, is it hard to travel with prescriptions? Also, how did you ever get a flight from the United States to London for less than 400 dollars?? The prices on here are so odd to me. Because I can’t get a flight from Philadelphia to Portland for that much lol And all international flights seem to be like 1,000 or more dollars!!! I have been travelling the US for a while and when I landed in Portland I ended up staying two years!! I’ve been so nervous that if I travel the world I will a) never be able to make it without a bachelors. b) end up being too old to have children and regret it. (I’m 33 and am going to save for two years before going and am trying to go for 2 years) any advice?!?!

    • June 16, 2016

      I don’t take anxiety medication, so I can’t speak about that specifically. But you shouldn’t have any problem travelling with prescriptions or anything. I’ve never been stopped or had my bag searched for pills, so as long as you don’t have a ton in your hand luggage, you’ll be fine. Either way, if you are stopped, as long as you have your prescription to show that they’re for you, it’ll all be good.

      Lots of options for cheap flights between the U.S. and the U.K. Check out Skyscanner and Adioso to search from a U.S. city to Europe to find some bargains. Norwegian Air and WOW Air regularly have sales where you can cross the Atlantic for as little as $99 each way, as well.

  15. Allyson
    October 21, 2016


    What company did you go through for your Golden Circle Tour? I know you may not remember since it was so long ago. I’m planning a big trip to Europe in about a year. Iceland is one of the countries I really want to visit!

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