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Going Places, on the Cheap
Writers often travel unpredictable and uncommon paths. That’s particularly – and literally – true for Matt Gross, who had the enviable task of traversing the globe in 90 days, chronicling his journey in a blog and a series of articles for The New York Times.
In May, he set out from New York City to Lisbon. In August, he ended his trip with a flight from Beijing to San Francisco. In between, Gross skipped around the world carrying his messenger bag, aa 28-inch rolling duffel, a host of gadgets for staying in touch, and a list of contacts culled from friends and readers.
Sounds sexy, but he wasn’t on a three-month, spare-no-expense lark. Gross is the paper’s “Frugal Traveller,” which means he has to operate on a tight budget. And, unlike a vacation, his time isn’t his own.
“I’m on a Greek island right now,” he said by phone in June. (He had already driven from Lisbon to Galecia, flown to Barcelona, hopped a bargain flight to Italy, taken a ferry to Croatia, and ridden a bus to Montenegro and Albania. “I’d be perfectly happy to spend the next three days going to the exact same beach and eating food at the same restaurant. But my perfect vacation is not necessarily the same thing as anybody else’s perfect vacation. So I try and do everything. I explore as many of the beaches as possible. It’s this sort of constant rush.”
With his editors, Gross decided to avoid some destinations, and purposely include others. He also wanted to simply see where the winds would take him. “I can’t really narrow it down because in some ways I’m not a very particular traveler,” he said mid-trip. “I don’t care where I go; I’m just happy to go.”