The Extremes of My Travels

Reading Paul Theroux’s The Old Patagonian Express has me sitting at my desk at lunch with my Oxford Atlas of the World open so that I can follow along on his travels south. (The book is about the train trip he took from Boston to Patagonia.) Switching between book and maps, I found myself drawn to the maps, noting various features I’d never noted before. It also got me curious. Paul Theroux has traveled all over the world. My travel experience is more limited. By my count, I’ve been in 12 countries (including the U.S.) I wondered what the extremes of my travels were so I decided to lookup the latitudes and longitudes of the further north, east, south, and west places that I’ve been.

Following Paul Theroux through Central America--with my Atlas spread on my desk.
Following Paul Theroux through Central America.
  • Oxford in the U.K. marks the farthest north I have traveled at 51°46N.
  • I thought that Miletus in Turkey would represent the farthest east I have traveled, but it turns out that Rhodes, Greece is further east at 28°10E.
  • Waimea on the island of Kuai’i in Hawai’i represents the farthest west I have traveled at 159°40W.
  • Finally, I thought that Cartegena, Colombia represented the farthest south I’d traveled, but it turns out that Balboa, Panama is further south at 8°57N.

Alas, I have not yet been closer than 8°57′ to the equator, and have not yet ventured south of it.

My east-west range is by far the largest spread, representing about 188° of longitude or a little more than half of the globe. My north-south range is narrower, a range of about 45° of latitude. On a map, the far extremes of my travels look as follows.

A map of the extremes of my travel.
The extremes of my travel.

At some point, when the world returns to normal and travel becomes possible again, it would be nice to see how far I can stretch these boundaries.


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