After telling people about our trip, we are often asked the same questions. Here is a list of the most common questions and answers so far.
Are you guys dating?
No, Matt is not Lisa’s type ifyaknowwhatimean
Did you quit your jobs?
Lisa: Yes. I quit my job as an IT Business Analyst (think of the “I have people skills” guy in Office Space). I don’t know what I’ll be doing when I return.
Matt: Self-employed, thinks he may work while we’re on the road, but let’s face it: that won’t happen much.
How long are you going for?
Our goal is to travel for a year, but that’s really an arbitrary amount of time. RTW tickets are for a year, and that’s where we got the idea from, but we didn’t buy RTW tickets so we’re not limited to that time frame. We could come home after a few months, or we could be gone 18 months and beyond.
Are you guys rich? How are you able to afford this?
Lisa: No, I am not rich. I have had a decent job in IT since I graduated from college in 2007, and I have diligently saved up money over the last 6 years with the explicit goal of having enough money to travel around the world. Also, people seem to think this trip will cost an exorbitant amount of money (which I do not have). We are hoping to travel for a year for approximately $15,000 each.
Matt: Well, I sold my house and my car, so that gave me more than the needed budget.
What?! $15k?? How is that possible?
This will probably require a more in-depth post at some point. But the main points are: location, couchsurfing, and traveling slowly.
Our top destinations, Southeast Asia and South America, are very cheap to travel to. You can live for less than $25 a day in many of those cities. Traveling abroad can be cheaper than living in the US (no rent / homeowner insurance, no car insurance / registration / maintenance / gas, no ski pass, cheaper groceries, no steepandcheap to take all my monies). My budget is more limited than Matt’s, so it’s important to me that we go to places where we can live for less, and so Western Europe and Scandinavia are less attractive to me than, say, Eastern Europe or other destinations.
We will be staying in hostels for much of the trip. When possible, we will also couchsurf and have contacts who will hopefully take us in which will cut down on our accommodations cost.
Additionally, we intend to travel slowly. We want to stay in a place for more than a just a few days so that we can get a feel for the culture, see and experience how people live rather than constantly zipping from one tourist trap to the next. This has the added benefit of being cheaper – transportation is one of the biggest costs of this trip, and so doing less of it is better. Also, traveling overland (bus, train, tuk tuk, elephant, etc) is far cheaper than flying places, so we will often be opting for the ground route.
Our goal is not to collect as many passport stamps as possible – it’s to truly explore different cultures and places, to gain an appreciation of life through other peoples’ eyes. There is no way we’ll be able to see everything on Earth in a single year, and we’d rather take a slow, deliberate and thoughtful path rather than a frenetic, shallow dash around the world. I’ve done a few two-week vacations to other countries, and each time, two weeks wasn’t nearly enough time to really explore a place, and I was always exhausted because I had crammed so much activity into a short span of time. By the end of the two weeks, I felt like I had just seen the tip of the iceberg and had only a very superficial understanding of a place.
Where are you going?
Initially, our plan is to follow the Southeast Asian ultimate tournament circuit: Manila, Philippines, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Bangkok, Thailand. Other places we’re hoping to visit in SEA are Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal. After Asia, we are hoping to stay warm and move up to Eastern Europe (Hungary, Croatia, Turkey, Greece, etc) before heading down to South America (Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru). Our plans are very flexible, however, and who knows where we’ll actually go and how long we’ll stay in each place.
Did you buy RTW tickets?
No. Matt did the math on some sample itineraries and found out that we could travel to the same destinations at a much lower cost and with much more flexibility by buying the tickets on our own than with any of the RTW packages. We also signed up for some credit card offers that left us with about 100k frequent flier miles. We used 32k of them to fly to Manila for $18 at the start of our trip!