Around the world in 70 days

Linden Ponds: The perfect home base for these travelers

Created date

November 22nd, 2019
Michael and Audrey Straight smile under the shade of a stone entryway at the top of Machu Picchu.

A visit to Machu Picchu was on the top of Michael and Audrey Straight’s must-see list when they planned their around-the-world trip.

Linden Ponds residents Audrey and Michael Straight have always had an adventurous life together. They lived on a sailboat near Annapolis, Md., on and off for 14 years. Monday through Friday, they commuted to Washington, D.C., where they both worked as lawyers. But on the weekends, they would escape the hustle and bustle of city life and go sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. Twice, they sailed all the way up to Martha’s Vineyard.

Last December, the Straights embarked on their most epic adventure to date. They took a 70-day trip around the world.

Journey of a lifetime

“It was started by Audrey’s brother, who lives in England with his wife. They were saying they were going to New Zealand for Christmas and asked if we wanted to go,” Michael says. “We thought if we are going that far, why not just keep going?”

Keep going they did. Audrey and Michael purchased around-the-world plane tickets from Star Alliance, which enabled them to book several one-way flights. 

Their journey of a lifetime included stops in Lima, Peru; Quito, Ecuador; the Galápagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador; Auckland, New Zealand; the South and North Islands of New Zealand; Cairns, Sydney, and Melbourne in Australia; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore; Cape Town, South Africa; and the Antarctic Islands, located off the coast of Antarctica.

“The [Antarctic] islands are very tightly controlled for conservation,” Audrey says. “There are lots of sea lions and penguins. It turned out we had pretty crazy, wild weather. At least three days, the wind was blowing upwards of 55-60 mph. We’re really glad we did that because it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing to do. The birds we saw were amazing, and we had lunch with the sea lions. It was just fabulous, but not for the faint of heart.”

With the exception of Australia, which Michael had visited years ago, all of the stops on the couple’s around-the-world trip were new to both of them. They both name New Zealand as the place they’d most like to return to. 

“New Zealand is beautiful, and the people are incredibly nice,” Audrey says. “It’s just great.”

World-weaving tour

Audrey, an avid tapestry weaver, converted one of the bedrooms in their Linden Ponds apartment home into a studio that houses six looms. She chose destinations for this 70-day trip with the goal of seeing some of the world’s finest weaving. 

One of the highlights of the trip for Audrey was seeing the work of Peruvian tapestry weaver Máximo Laura, who is one of the most famous textile artists in South America.

“Every place we went had something just amazing and different and fascinating,” Audrey says. 

Michael’s hobby is photography, and he certainly had many opportunities to capture stunning images on this trip of a lifetime. He packed a traditional camera and a tripod but says he actually ended up snapping most shots on his iPhone.

“The convenience and size make it so easy,” he says.

When the Straights returned home to Linden Ponds, they treated their neighbors to a slideshow of photos from their journey around the world. 

“We gave a presentation here at Linden Ponds in the performing arts center,” Mike says. “That was really enjoyable for us.”

Jet-setting lifestyle

Even for seasoned travelers, 70 days is a long time to be away from home. But Michael and Audrey say living at Linden Ponds makes travel much easier. Round-the-clock security and hundreds of trusted neighbors means Linden Ponds residents have peace of mind in knowing their homes are safe when they are away.

“There were a lot of things we didn’t have to think about. A neighbor took care of my flowers, and we didn’t have to worry about whether the pipes would freeze,” Audrey says. “It does make it really nice that you can just close the door and know somebody is looking out for you.”

After completing their epic journey, Michael and Audrey now enjoy relaxing at home for a while—but probably not for very long. There are many places these globe-trotters still want to visit. 

Michael says he’d like to go to Scandinavia and see more of Italy. Audrey says she’s always wanted to go to Bhutan. But after planning a 70-day trip around the globe, she says she’s ready for a more relaxing vacation.

“I think after doing this, I am much more inclined to do a tour,” she says. “I really like the idea of a riverboat cruise—someplace we could be moving but unpacked.”


Wanderlust

No strangers to adventure, Audrey and Michael Straight have lived in the Federated States ofMicronesia, an island nation in the Western Pacific Ocean, and visited the U.S. Virgin Islands, Martha’s Vineyard, and a hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque, N.M. They now live at Linden Ponds, an Erickson Living-manged community in Hingham, Mass.

—Meghan Streit

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