WHO: Adrienne Beaton, 71, of Newton Center
WHERE: Around the world
WHEN: Six weeks in December and January
WHY: ''I wanted to spend Christmas in New Zealand with my son," Beaton said. ''Then I decided that since I was already halfway around the world, why not go home in the other direction?"
TRAINS, PLANES, SUBWAYS . . . By the end of Beaton's journey, she had taken 11 flights totaling 65 hours in the air. She also spent time on trains, trams, boats, taxis, subways, and automobiles during her time in California, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, and London.
WESTWARD, HO: In California, Beaton visited friends in San Diego and Los Angeles. She picked Tahiti as her first overseas stop because it was halfway across the South Pacific. ''I wanted to go somewhere I hadn't gone. And Tahiti has such a romantic image." She spent two nights in the center of Papeete. ''It was very colonial looking. The women, a lot of them, had crowns of flowers on their head. At one point I heard 'White Christmas' in French."
ROAD TRIP: ''The morning after I arrived at my son's flat in Dunedin, on the South Island, we began a great trip to the fiord region," Beaton said. ''A lot of the country reminded me of the English countryside, with sheep on the hills. They also have deer farms, because they like the venison." They crossed the glacier lake of Lake Manapouri by boat, took a bus through a temperate rain forest, and boarded another boat into Doubtful Sound, a 25-mile-long fiord. ''We saw bluenose dolphins and fur seal and the snow-covered peak of Mount Aspiring."
ONE CONTINENT OVER: Beaton spent New Year's Eve in Melbourne, where she stayed with a nephew and his partner. The next day, they toured the city and surrounding area from the restored dining car of one of Melbourne's historic trams. Her hosts took her on a tour along the southeast coast. ''We went along Great Ocean Road, one of the world's most scenic drives. There are beautiful beaches and you can see Tasmania rather close by. We spotted koalas clinging to eucalyptus." They later flew to Sydney, where they went to an opera and spent time at the harbor. ''It's very beautiful, and there's so much going on there," she said. ''There are ferries all over, and sailboats galore."
CLEAN SWEEP: In Singapore she stayed at the Fullerton, a hotel that had been the main post office in the British era. ''I loved Singapore. It's so orderly and beautiful, and clean," she said. ''But I kept in mind that it was created with an iron fist." At the historic Raffles Hotel, she had a Singapore Sling, invented there in the early 1900s.
ASIAN RENDEZVOUS: Beaton's daughter and son-in-law, who live in New Jersey, met her in Hong Kong. ''It was very hustle-bustle, very crowded. We stayed in Kowloon and had to go by ferry just about any place off Kowloon." From atop Victoria Peak, at 1,811 feet, they could look down on the world's busiest deepwater port. On the island of Lantai they visited a Buddhist temple. ''We saw Buddhist monks en masse chanting." The trio visited street markets selling jade, crafts, linens, and clothing. ''You bargain by calculator. You hand it back and forth until you come to an agreed amount."
LAST LEG: During a week in London with friends, Beaton took the Chunnel to Paris for a couple of days (she has lived in both cities). After six weeks, she was ready to go home, but wasn't exhausted, she said. ''I went the correct way. The other way, you're losing sleep all the time. I was always gaining time. That was a very important difference."