Where are you most excited to visit?
Before we took off on our trip we looked forward to the lack of plans, moving at our own pace and the mind space that traveling provides. All of these aspects have proved to be great and provided a great deal of personal growth. We looked forward to several specific destinations prior to our departure, including Nepal and New Zealand at the top of our list…they didn’t let us down! Ultimately there isn’t a single place that we aren’t excited to visit, but there have been many that we were sad to leave.
How many countries will you be visiting?
The short answer is as many as we can, but we aren’t checking off boxes or collecting passport stamps. Each place we visit we are spending as much time as it takes to see the sights and get an understanding for the culture. We have visited more than 30 countries over the past two years and are still counting.
When did you decide to make this trip?
The real answer is that we have been wanting to do this trip for years. Originally we thought we would travel for a year, but then just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take in more of the world at a pace we could really appreciate it. Along the way we realized that we may not ever be able to take the time to see the world in the same way later in life. The actual decision was cemented during a trip to Singapore for Chinese New Year in February 2010. However, the decision didn’t feel like it had been made until late August 2010 when we put our notice in for our apartment and slowly watched our belongings and furniture leave with Craigslist buyers. Even when we both had quit our jobs, temporarily living with our parents, we didn’t believe we were leaving. Now that we are on the trip there is no doubt that it was the best decision we ever made.
How did you decide on your itinerary?
In short, we didn’t. However, we are prioritizing countries that will be difficult to travel to later in life, places we classify as “hard travel.” This eliminated most of the “Western” countries. Then we added back in places that were time consuming or long travel times (Australia and New Zealand). The itinerary is still up in the air and as budget allows we will be adding new places.
How will you get around?
We will do much of our travel overland, which means by foot, bike, train, tuk-tuk, bus and the occasional horse, camel or elephant. No doubt we have flown during our trip, but we hope to limit planes as a form of transport. Overland travel affords us the opportunity for more interaction and is the way most people in the world travel, realistically, most people on earth today will never step foot on an airplane. To meet these people we will travel with them, no matter how hot, cramped or loud.
What does your family think?
Of course for the most accurate answer you would have to ask them, but questions of safety aside they are very supportive. We are very grateful for their continued support and for enthusiastically following our adventures.
What did you do about your jobs?
We both knew that to take this trip we would have to make some sacrifices and one of those is putting our careers on hold. We are happy to be debt free, which made giving up our pay checks easier.
How do you pack for a trip like this?
Lots of research went into the few selected items that made the cut as we are carrying just one bag each. It really helped to have extensive prior travel experience and a closet full of gear that would rival your local REI. We have less than a week’s worth of clothes, so don’t be surprised to see us in the same clothes in many photos. For the most part you can always buy the things you need on the road and give away those things you don’t. To find out what we packed check out our preparation page.
What did you do with all your belongings?
Just like going to college, we left all our stuff with Mom and Dad. All of our items are boxed, labeled and stowed away in the basement awaiting our return, ready to be moved to our next home.
Have you traveled like this before?
thinkCHUA has travelled extensively throughout South America and LOCAVORista has traveled extensively throughout Europe. Each of us had been on the road for months at a time previously. However, this trip will be unlike any other that either of us has taken.
How much planning and preparing does a trip like this entail?
We would love to tell you to just pack your bags and take-off to live your if’s, but a trip of this caliber has a long to-do list. The diligence in saving money is the longest and hardest part of preparation, basically once we had met our financial goal we were ready to go. We left our travel plans wide open. Someone on a more defined time line may spend a lot more time trip planning.
What is your advice for people planning a round the world trip?
Start planning early, but don’t over plan because at some point you have to just go. As our tag line says, Dream. Decide. Do. That’s what it comes down to, there is never going to be a perfect time to leave, so just pick one and stick to it. So, when we say start early that means start putting money aside now because that is what takes the longest.
How are you able to afford to travel? Did you win the lottery?
We wish we had won the lottery, but that’s not the case, we can afford this trip because we made it a priority and curbed our spending. Wish we could tell you differently, but it’s just old fashioned saving.
What does living if mean?
Ultimately it means not looking back and saying “what if.” Being confident enough to take chances and see where they lead. Our big “if” was; “What if we quite our jobs to travel around the world?” What is your if and what is keeping you from pursuing it? As C.S. Lewis said “strike the bell and bide the danger, or wonder if until you go mad what would have happened if you had.”