When life gives you cheap airline tickets, you turn it into a 22-day trip around the world that’ll provide memories to last a lifetime.
Hugh Bourbon, 70, of Warwick, and Mike Reyes, 66, of Cranston, just got back from a three-week trip that spanned six continents. The pair became friends while working for American Airlines, Hugh being a fueler-turned-baggage handler and Mike being a customer service agent for the airline.
Being airline retirees, they were able to get flights around the world at just 10 percent of the normal cost and knew they had to take advantage of that benefit somehow. A third adventurer, Danny Warden, joined the pair for the first leg of the trip, which was “only” out to Australia.
“It was just something I thought would be cool that not too many people get to do,” Reyes said. “It didn’t cost a lot of money, I had the time, and I’m a little bit of an adventurer.”
Reyes had always planned on doing this, but Bourbon only recently decided to join him on the trip.
“I thought he was kidding,” Bourbon said. “He always said that when he retires he’s going to take a trip around the world, so that’s why it started.”
The trip began on October 6, with the duo flying out of T.F. Green to Los Angeles, where trips to the La Brea Tar Pits and a Los Angeles Dodgers game stood out to them.
From LA, they flew over the Pacific Ocean into Sydney, Australia. Although they stayed in hotels at most of the locations on their trip, Bourbon says that Sydney had one of the nicest hostels he’d ever seen.
After spending four days there – they spent about three to four days on each continent – they hopped up to Hong Kong, knocking out the Asian continent on their quest to visit every one but Antarctica.
A trip to a local bar in the bustling hub of Hong Kong stood out to Bourbon, who quipped, “We were in a bar in Hong Kong that was named after an Australian band but had a singer who looked exactly like Louis Armstrong.”
After grooving in Hong Kong, the pair took a long flight across to the tip of Northern Africa and Morocco, where they took in the sights before traveling along the Gibraltar Strait into Spain, through Madrid, and up to Toledo.
In Toledo, the 70 and 66-year-olds went down one of the longest urban zip-lines in Europe. They then glided across the Atlantic by airline toward their last stop – and sixth continent – of the trip, Bogota, Colombia. They finally returned back to Rhode Island on the Oct. 27, exhausted – Bourbon said he slept for 24 hours straight when they got back – but full of new cultural experiences.
Reyes said that he had traveled all across the world before this trip, but every place they went to on this 22-day quest he had never been before. Now Bourbon and Reyes can both say they’ve traveled to every continent in the world except Antarctica and have the stories – and pictures – to prove it.