Hillary Clinton Traveled 956,733 Miles During Her Time as Secretary of State


Hillary Clinton's frequent-flier miles > your frequent-flier miles.

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Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli, Libya October 18, 2011. The image would launch 1,000 memes. (Reuters/textsfromhillary.tumblr.com)

Hillary Clinton was many things as Secretary of State. One of the most notable, however, was "well-traveled." During her four years as the nation's top diplomat -- and particularly during her final year in that post -- Clinton fashioned herself as something of a George Clooney of global affairs, spending almost as much time up in the air as she did on the ground.

In the process, she broke records. In July of 2012, during a trip to Finland, Clinton met Madeleine Albright's most-countries-traveled-to mark -- the record, at the time -- of 98 countries. She then surpassed it with a trip to Latvia. The new secretary then went on to visit 12 more countries, for a closing total of 112.

If you're keeping track at home, that equates to an average of 28 countries per each year of Clinton's tenure. Imagine all the frequent-flier miles! 

According to the State Department website Travels With the Secretary, Clinton also clocked some other putting-your-own-travels-to-shame stats during her time at the State Department. For example: 

• Total miles traveled: 956,733
• Which equates to this many times traveled around the circumference of the world: 38.42
• Total travel time, in hours: 2,084.21
• Total travel time, in days: 86.8
• Days of travel, in all: 401
• Which works out to: 1.099 years 

So the secretary spent more than a year traveling during her time at State. Broken down by each year, that looks like this:

2012 travel (as of December 10, 2012)
• Countries Visited: 71
• 18-Trip Mileage: 261,042 miles
• Travel Time: 581 Hours and 45 minutes

2011 travel
• Countries Visited: 46
• 24-Trip Mileage: 269,292 miles
• Travel Time: 570 Hours 15 Minutes

2010 travel
• Countries Visited: 53
• 21-Trip Mileage: 219,390 miles
• Travel Time: 481 Hours 0 Minutes

2009 travel
• Countries Visited: 44
• 15-Trip Mileage: 206,799 miles
• Travel Time: 451 Hours 21 Minutes

Which is a feat, certainly. One made more striking by the philosophy that seemed to underline it: that travel is its own kind of diplomacy, that boots-on-the-ground strategy still matters, that human connection is often the best kind of connection there is. Clinton's time at State will be remembered for many reasons, but one of them is this: The secretary, despite all the telecommuting options available to her, reinforced the power of being there -- in a place, in a context, in a moment. She reminded the world that Woody Allen was right even when it comes to diplomacy: 80 percent of success really is simply showing up.

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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