MVP*: Magellan Voyage Project:             

                              "Round the world!  There is much in that sound to inspire proud feelings; but whereto does all that 
                                 circumnavigation conduct?  Only through numberless perils to the very point  whence we started."  Ishmael in Moby-Dick

Click on MVP* logos to read about places Adam Story visited on his round-the-world trip! 














San Francisco

I entered the station and bought my ticket—no problem using the MVP credit card. With twelve minutes until the bus left, I stocked up on trip supplies at the Snack and Gift Shop. I bought a bag of Oreos, a sack of Gummi Worms, a box of Cracker Jack, a jumbo bag of M&Ms, a two-liter jug of Mountain Dew, an American Automobile Association map of the country, and four X-Men comic books.
“That should last a day,” I said.
An announcement called me to Gate 3, where a bus with CHICAGO above the windshield was waiting. Still, as I mounted the bus steps, one thought nagged at me. Did I or didn’t I turn off my bedroom radio before leaving the apartment?
The bus pulled out at 1:15 sharp. Minutes later it was heading east across the Bay Bridge.

“Good-bye, home! Hello, world!” I said to the whole outside. back to map









Why not go sightseeing? I thought of my wish-to-visit list and added a mental checkmark next to the Sears Tower. After I’d hiked up Jackson Boulevard, past the train station, to the corner of Wacker Drive, the huge building towered above me. In the lobby I bought a ticket to the Skydeck on the top floor. Adults 12–64, $9.50.
“Sometimes life seems rigged,” I grumbled. “When it comes to ticket prices I’m an adult. But for everything else, like movie ratings and bedtimes, I’m still a kid.”
A speedy elevator shot me up to the Skydeck. What a view from up there! According to the brochure, I was looking at four states, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Down below, tiny Chicago cars and tiny Chicago people moved along tiny Chicago streets. back to map












New York

“Being in New York City without seeing New York City is not OK,” I said. “I’ll just make sure MVP can’t find me.”
After placing my GPS in front of the TV, I left the room. Instead of taking the elevator, I raced down the stairs to the lobby. On the ground floor I opened the door a crack. The green sumo wrestler stood by the reception desk. MVP must have posted him there to guard me.
“Sorry, team,” I said. “I prefer being on my own.”
By taking a side exit I escaped the green man’s notice. Soon I was out on the streets of New York. This was great. On almost every block I saw a familiar sight.
Here’s a list of things I recognized in the Big Apple:
1. Rockefeller Center and the ice-skating rink
2. The stone lions in front of the main library (I wedged a blue poker chip behind the lion on the right-hand side)
3. Empire State Building (another check for my wish-to-visit list)
4. Macy’s department store (I watch the giant-balloon parade every Thanksgiving)
5. Broadway (Mom loves Broadway musicals)
6. Times Square (where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve—last year my mom let me stay up to watch) back to map













At the corner, I started to cross the street.
A red double-decker bus almost mowed me down from behind. Leaping back to the curb, I remembered. In England, for some reason, they drive on the opposite side of the road.
“Travel is confusing at times,” I recalled Trav’lin’ Man telling me. “Daydreaming can be dangerous.”
The old Royal Observatory stood on top of a grassy hill. I entered a courtyard and saw what I came to see, a long steel strip embedded in the bricks. It marked the prime meridian, the line separating the Eastern Hemisphere from the Western Hemisphere. When the guard turned his back, I knelt down and inserted a red poker chip next to the metal band.
“Smack on zero degrees longitude,” I said, standing on the line as if it were a balance beam. “Greenwich Mean Time! In the meantime, east is east and west is west, and in between I now do rest.” back to map













After walking about a mile, I passed the Louvre Museum. In the distance I saw the Arc de Triomphe. Finally I came to the famous river that split Paris in two, the Seine. To the left, Notre Dame Cathedral, a familiar web site sight, loomed above the trees. To the right rose the Eiffel Tower.
“Check,” I said, thinking of my list.
A long walk along the riverbank took me to the pointed iron structure. I arrived there after sunset. Golden floodlights had just gone on to light up the tower like a giant birthday candle. You had to pay to take the elevator to the top, so I sat on a bench and stared upward.
While I sat there, a large van, Laser Lemon in color, drove up and parked not twenty yards from my bench. I recognized the word stenciled on the side: CRÊPES. back to map








The cottage was small but welcoming. Colorful braided rugs covered the shiny wooden floor. The birch furniture—a rocking chair, two stools, and a table—appeared handmade. Items I’d seen in seafood restaurants crowded the walls: glass floats, seashells, colorful coral, a brass bell, and ropes tied into fancy fisherman knots.
“Take off your shoes,” Shypoke called to me. “And don’t expect electricity or indoor plumbing. Finns prefer their cabins simple.”
I stepped into the room and sat on the end of the Meredith’s bed. Wind howled through the chinks in the cabin walls. Outside the window, the birch trees switched back and forth, and foamy waves pounded the rocky shore.
“Big storm approaching,” Shypoke Crisp said. “We’ll be warm and safe here.” back to map














When the truck ran low on gas, we stopped to fill the tank and have dinner. Nina ordered. Hearing her switch from English to Russian was astonishing.
“I recognized the word da,” I told Meredith. “That means yes.”
“Duh,” she replied.
The waiter brought three bowls of dark purple soup.
“Borsht,” Nina explained. “Beet soup.”
“Blood for breakfast and beets for dinner,” I said.
“It looks like paint water after we’ve cleaned the brushes,” Meredith mumbled.
Nina paid for the meal and helped me exchange my euros for Russian rubles.
“You’ll need plenty of rubles if you plan to take the Trans-Siberian Railway,” Nina said. “It’s an eight-day train ride.”
“Eight time zones,” said Meredith.
“And lots of poker chips,” I added. back to map











All afternoon the train followed the shores of a huge lake.
“Lake Baikal,” Radar told me at the window. “Deepest lake in the world. A fifth of the world’s fresh water.”
“I once made a list of everything I wanted to see in the world,” I said. “If I had known about Lake Baikal, I would have added it.”
While we talked, Otto strolled down the aisle. “Party tonight,” he announced. “Yuri’s birthday. In dining room. Big party.”
The party was great. Everyone came, even Mrs. Whitherby and Natty Whitherby. The train’s cook baked a cake. Someone had blown up balloons. When Yuri entered the room, we shouted “Happy birthday!” in about ten different languages.
Anna wore a colorful Russian costume with lots of lace and ribbons.
Otto brought a triangular guitar-like instrument called a balalaika.
“Now music!” he announced.
While Otto played, Neven did a Russian dance. Hands on hips, he squatted low and kicked his legs out in time with the music.
The rest of us circled him and clapped our hands, shouting, “Hey! Hey! Hey!” back to map











We got off in a busy area of Tokyo. The streets were packed with people and ablaze with lights. A line of vending machines stood outside each store. They sold everything from hot noodles to cameras, cans of beer, video games, socks, DVDs, comic books, and umbrellas.
“The Japanese must trust people,” I said. “These machines wouldn’t last one night on the streets of San Francisco.”
“And these machines are an easy way to a free meal,” Sure Thing said.
He pulled a small metal disk from his pocket. He inserted it into a vending machine that served pizza slices. To my surprise, a hot triangle of pizza slid out the slot at the bottom.
“These slugs work in machines all over Asia,” Sure said. “Free and easy-peasy. I brought bags of them.”
He handed me one of the blank coins. “Here you go.”
“No, thanks,” I said. “I still have a few yen left.”
“What difference does it make?” Sure said. “Who’s looking?”
I’m not sure why I took the slug. I wasn’t even that hungry. But it was a huge mistake—a big boo-boo, as Dough Douglas would say.
The instant I plugged the slug into the vending machine, a loud whistle blew behind me.
I spun around. A gray-bearded man wearing a striped kaffiyeh, a GGG referee, stood there. Pointing a finger at me, he announced, “Adam Story, MVP player. A one-time-zone penalty for breaking Game Rule 65.” back to map











Hong Kong

Hong Kong was tall like New York, compact like London, bright like Paris, and busy like Tokyo. I found all the usual signs—KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and the Gap—except they were in Chinese as well as English. I entered a McDonald’s and bought a cheap breakfast. “Never scrimp on food when you travel,” Radar had warned me. “You’ll need the energy.”
While I ate my Egg McMuffin, I studied the Hong Kong map. My plan was to walk to the cargo pier and find a ship that would take me to San Francisco. Radar had said that freighter captains sometimes offer passage to travelers in exchange for work.
The walk was long but enjoyable. I passed through a section of Hong Kong where small shops sold fruit and vegetables I’d never seen before. One store sold snakes, snake wine, and snake meat.
I reached Victoria Park. The large space had plenty of bushes and benches. Clearly I could spend the night there if I had to. Sleeping rough—that was what Radar had called it.
“Always be on the lookout for your next bed and meal,” he had told me. “Often we were forced to sleep rough.”
While cutting through the park, I passed a large statue of Buddha sitting cross-legged. I reached into my pocket and placed a white poker chip on Buddha’s lap, where it sat among the flowers and beads other people had left.
back to map