Who Is Passepartout?
Capitalized, the original Passepartout was Phileas Fogg’s valet and companion in Around the World in Eighty Days, both the 1873 Jules Verne novel and the David Niven movie. Lower-cased, passepartout is French for a skeleton key, because it can get you in anywhere! Seemed like that would be handy — and a good nom de plume — for a circumnavigation. So I christened myself... Passepartout.
I launched the blog in November 2017, five weeks before my embarkation on Viking’s five-month-long inaugural World Cruise. I wasn’t on board too long before I took the plunge and signed on for this next ‘WC’ — 128 days, 6 continents, 21 countries, 44 ports of call.
One of the best parts of the first trip was writing about it, and sharing what I saw and learned with you, my armchair-traveling band. Many of you told me that, first thing in the morning, you got your first cup of coffee and looked to see ‘where’s Passepartout today?’ Well, my friends, first thing every morning, I looked to see who’d sent me a message! We were often many time zones apart — sometimes a whole day apart when we contended with the International Date Line.
It’s felt a bit like working on a magazine. My first real job, between college and graduate school, was at a local magazine near where I grew up. You may have heard of it? The Reader’s Digest. At the time, it was the world’s leading magazine in terms of circulation. My grad school major was magazine journalism so, even though I never worked again for a magazine, the blog felt comfortable. Once I hammered out the technical bits — in grad school, we’d set type by hand, from a California job case.
Instead of re-writing it, I invite you to read (or re-read) the ABOUT intro, below, that I wrote when I launched PassepartoutPartOne. About 2 months into the voyage, PartOne evolved into PartTwo because the ship’s bandwidth was too small — and my files too large — to handle all the data. But this meant that my second world cruise has to be PartThree. But it can’t be PartTHREE because there’s a character limit on blog names. So it’s PassepartoutPart3. Welcome aboard!
From the Passepartout Archive, revised midway on the waves, Day #72. Now I’ve been to Europe 14 times, and my passport has been renewed yet again — jumbo size: this one has 52 blank pages! What I wrote then:
When I was 22, I set off alone, Frommer in hand, to do Europe on $5 a Day... 11 countries in 13 weeks. I have been back to Europe 13 times [now 14] — and the price has gone up! In 2016, traveling with the Yale Alumni Chorus, I added Vietnam and Singapore to my passport. By then, it had been renewed several times.
One of my favorite movies as a kid was Now, Voyager. Bette Davis is a spinster aunt who comes into enough money to do a total makeover plus go on a grand tour. I’ve always loved the movie’s title, from a line by Whitman:
‘Now, voyager… sail you forth to seek and find.’
This past December, I embarked on another — a ‘maiden’ — voyage. My first-ever cruise, aboard the brand-new Viking Sun. When it’s over, I will have visited 5 continents... 34 countries... and 62 ports of call. I think you’ll agree it qualifies as a grand tour!
Please join me... so far, it’s been one helluva trip!
‘Far Away Places’...
Leading a singalong
off the coast of Spain
Fun on and off the Sun during the first World Cruise
The terrific UK band Ukebox.
I strummed them off the stage...
Passe-partout ... Qu’est-ce que ça signifie?
From the French passer, to pass or go, and partout, everywhere. Besides being Phileas Fogg’s French valet sidekick in
‘Around the World in Eighty Days,’ passe-partout means ‘skeleton key’ — because it will get you in anywhere!
The terrific British ukulele band Ukebox...
Me and a friend, in Brisbane
Another friend, at Giza