Reading to my daughter, my mind sometimes goes on tangents from the story. In Hello Kitty Takes A Trip, the titular character goes on a trip to the USA with some friends (and without her parents; based on behavior, she’s quite the mix of very young and very old). But, within the US, she jumps back and forth to some rather geographically-diverse locations: New York to Nantucket to Florida to Vermont to Hawaii. My tangent as I read this story: wondering as to whether the authors realize the enormous distances involved in such “quick jaunts”.
Knowing that Hello Kitty is supposedly a girl in England, but is Japanese in origin, I decided to use our old trusty globe to get a sense of the distances involved, and try to transpose it into a European vacation and an Asian vacation.
Getting out a piece of string and a ruler, and enlisting my daughter’s help at recording the information in a notebook (got to teach her good scientific data-gathering procedures, after all), I set to work. Her data: “1cm 4.5cm 5cm 19cm”. My additions: 2cm = 500mi, for reference: so about 250mi from NY to Nantucket, 1125mi from Nantucket to Florida (I picked Miami as a likely destination, since she mentioned a beach but not a theme park), 1250mi from Florida to Vermont, and 4750mi from Vermont to Hawaii. (Google and distance.to confirm my distances to within about 10%.)
So, then I took the string, and those same distances on the globe, and moved to Europe. I wanted to attempt vaguely similar climates, etc. So in Europe, I found that her trip could be approximated by starting in Amsterdam, flying to Copenhagen, then to Sicily, then to Lithuania, then to Bermuda or northern Madagascar. In Asia, she could go from Tokyo to Osaka, to Taiwan, to Beijing, then finally to the Solomon Islands (with stretch miles, she could’ve made it to Hawaii from Beijing).
Or, if she had started in New York, and just wanted the equivalent distance she had traveled through the US, she could have made a direct great-circle flight to Pakistan, or Samoa, or Shanghai.
So, that just puts into perspective how amazing Hello Kitty’s trip was.
(Thanks to http://www.distance.to/ for confirmations on distances and the final explorations to Pakistan, Samoa, and Shanghai from New York.)