If you have any questions that aren’t answered in our FAQ section or if you have any comments about the website or our blog in general, you can use the form at the bottom of this page.  We welcome questions and comments from our readers!

49 Responses to “ Questions and Comments ”

  1. Burt Nowers says:

    Derek, great website. You and Shanna are obviously having a great time. I’m enjoying just following along. I have some technical questions. What kind of cameras are you using (digital and video)? How did you set up your website? What web services are you using to store and upload your pictures and video. Is it easy to update? How much time are you spending updating it? Have a great next few months. Thanks. Burt


    Thanks for the technology questions, Burt.

    Camera Equipment:

    We are carrying 2 cameras – a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT and a Canon SD750. They are both fantastic.

    We have 2 lenses for the Digital Rebel XT. Our everyday lens is a 28-135mm Canon lens. Its quality and range is excellent. If you were to carry one lens on a trip like this, this is the one. We also have a wide-angle 10-22mm Canon lens. Considering all the amazing landscapes we’ve seen on this trip, we’re so glad that we decided to carry this one along. We’ve used it much more than we expected.

    The Canon SD750 provides 2 wonderful functions. First, its small size allows us to carry it with us at all times. Without it, we’d have to carry the rather bulky Digital Rebel XT with us even when we’re simply going out for dinner. Second, the camera has an excellent video function. All of our videos are made with this camera. The quality is more than sufficient for our purposes (mainly, to upload and share the videos on the Internet). We debated hard on whether or not to carry a separate video camera. We’re glad we didn’t. The size of the files made by a higher-end video camera would be unwieldy. Plus, it’s just one more thing to carry and worry about.


    The website has been a labor of love. Before I started on the website, I had zero experience in creating or maintaining a website. I spent countless hours before we left creating the site, running into many hurdles that were very frustrating at times. However, I stuck with it and am generally pleased with the results. After a few weeks on the road, I figured out a system that allows us to update the site very quickly. The bulk of the time spent on the site is devoted to writing the blog entries, picking the photos to share and making the videos. We estimate that we spend between 10 to 15 hours each week working on the site.

    The website is run using a free, web-based blogging software called WordPress. WordPress allows you to use and modify many different types of templates to change the look and feel of the site. I started with one of these templates and changed it dramatically to come up with what you see. To complement WordPress, there are web developers around the world that create plug-ins to WordPress that allow you to add functions to the site (such as photos, videos, the clock function and the countdown function). There are many plug-ins to choose from; some are great, some don’t work at all – so, there is a lot of trial and error.

    The host of the website is Dreamhost. They charge about $10 a month. I’ve been pleased with them (mainly, because the site hasn’t crashed).

    To upload photos, I use 2 different tools. To simply insert photos in a blog entry, I use one of the plug-ins for WordPress that utilizes a free software called Gallery 2. For the photos that you can access on the “Countries Visited” pages, I use Flickr. I’ve been very pleased with it. There is a free uploading tool that allows you to upload pictures to Flickr in just a few minutes and then organize the pictures in sets and collections.

    To upload videos, I use Google Video. I tried several different web-based video sites including YouTube, but found that Google Video was the easiest to use. There is a great uploading tool that is incredibly fast (from my experience, much faster than YouTube).


    I have periodic nightmares about losing all the photos we’ve taken on the trip. With this in mind, I’ve tried to create several methods of backing up the pictures.

    First, we’re carrying a laptop with us that allows us to empty our camera’s memory card every couple of days and store the photos on the hard drive. While we debated carrying a laptop for awhile, I can’t imagine travelling without it. With it, we are able to prepare photos, videos and blog entries offline (in our hotel rooms, on planes, tranes and buses and even on the beach…). Without it, we would spend hours in Internet cafes, many of which are cramped, hot and generally uncomfortable. As an extra bonus, many hotels and restaurants now offer free wireless Internet. In fact, I’m typing this from a hotel room using wifi.

    Second, we are carrying a high-capacity Ipod. Ever couple of weeks, I back-up the pictures on the Ipod. In the event the laptop is damaged, lost or stolen (and the Ipod survives), this will be our first source of recovery.

    Third, I’ve signed up with an online storage service called Mozy. For about $50 a year, you can back-up your hard drive online. The one catch is that it takes many, many hours to initially upload your files. Thus, you have to have a very fast connection and ample amount of time online. This doesn’t happen too often when you are travelling. When it does, you have to act fast and hope for the best. Luckily, we’ve been able to use this service successfully a couple of times, so most of our photos are backed up online. This helps me sleep better at night.

  2. Jen says:

    I am hoping to take a RTW trip very soon. Your itinerary sounds amazing. Any idea on how much you think (hope) this trip will cost you? It seems like you have several plane tickets purchased, but will be purchasing the rest along the way. Is that right? Also, I am an attorney and am worried about finding employment when I return. What kind of jobs are you leaving behind?


    Jen – thanks for the questions!

    Plane Tickets

    We have decided to purchase plane tickets along the way – instead of buying a round-the-world ticket – in order to provide the maximum flexibility on where and when we travel. To help with costs, we are using a frequent flyer ticket to get us to Southeast Asia (with a free 4 day stopover in Paris) and have purchased a few plane tickets for the first 4 weeks of the trip. The plane tickets we’ve purchased for travel within Southeast Asia – on Air Asia -were ridiculously cheap (e.g., one of the plane tickets was actually FREE due to a special promotion). We are hoping to find other great deals as we continue on the journey.


    Shanna has been clerking for a Federal judge in Nashville, Tennessee for the past 2 years. She has a job in Washingon, D.C. at a law firm when we return in September 2008. I recently left Bass, Berry & Sims – a law firm in Nashville – where I practiced for 10 years. At this point, I’m not yet sure where I’m going to work once the trip is over.


    We’ve realized that this is the number 1 question people have about the trip. We’re planning on writing a lot about costs as we go along. Stay tuned!

  3. Philipp says:

    Is there a background story about who came up with this amazing idea of a one year honey moon? And I’d like to know when you decided to do that? How long have you been preparing for that special trip?
    Nice blog — you’re using wordpress right? I have a blog myself, so if you have questions you can mail me! Philipp

  4. Jason Parrish says:

    Hey Derek! Marc Hill sent me the link to the Tennessean article. Congrats on your nuptials and your upcoming trip. I have add your blog to my rss reader and will be keeping up with your travels. If you ever do any more mundane travel, and decide to visit Memphis for blues and barbecue let me know.

  5. Cookie Quinn says:

    Congratulations to the both of you. What an exciting way to start your lives together. I will be following the both of you and your adventure in this wonderful big world.

  6. Wanda Tipper says:

    Hi Derek & Shanna,
    I got the Tennesseean today and read all about your adventure. It was a wonderful article. I wish you the best for the wedding and the long, nice honeymoon. Can’t wait to hear all about it. Love, Gary, Wanda & Kelly Tipper

  7. Christopher says:

    Hi Shanna & Derek,

    Congratulations to both of you and best wishes for your wedding, your adventures, and your life together. This year long trip sounds like a great way to start a life long relationship together and hope that other couples will follow your lead and pursue similar dreams!

    A couple of questions:

    1st. Will you two be filming your adventures together and if so, will you be able to stream them via your website?

    2nd. Have you two tought of publishing your adventures and tips and as a book?

    Have fun,

    (also a native Michigander and Nashville resident)


    Christopher – We have a small Canon camera that we plan to use to make videos which we’ll post online. We can’t promise that the quality will be very good. As far as a book, we really haven’t thought much about it, but we wouldn’t rule it out.

  8. JW Nash says:

    Congratulations on your wedding and adventure!

    I am curious how you both met, and wonder if you would be willing to provide the details like how you both fell for each other, and when you knew you were “the one” for each other.

    Best wishes on your new life together!


    JW – thanks for the best wishes. You can read more about us under “Who We Are.”

  9. Jessica says:

    Wow! Just read the Tennessean story and had to check out your site. My husband and I are travel addicts and will have to live vicariously through your adventures, which are definitely going to be on a much more exciting scale that what we have done so far. We will be traveling through Europe in a few weeks for 25 days. Maybe one day we’ll be able to take an entire year off and do something similar to what the two of you are doing. Can’t wait to read your adventures as you trek through this amazing world of ours! Good luck and safe travel!

  10. Karolynn says:

    Congratulations upon your upcoming marriage tomorrow! Looking forward to reading about your exciting one-year honeymoon. I will be traveling with you via your blog.
    Safe and joyous travel!

  11. Sonia says:

    Congratulations and good luck on your year-long journey together! I’m so excited for you!! You both are doing something so many of us just don’t have the courage to attempt. My sister, who lives in Nashville, forwarded the article to me and I am so very jealous! I’m looking forward to watching your progress over the next year, as I’m sure many others are!

  12. Kristen says:

    So you guys have arrived in Paris! I hope you learned all of your French again Shanna. If you guys have time – post some detail about your best meal in Paris and lots of wine talk.

    I am so glad you guys have set up this website. I hope to stop here daily. It makes us feel like you aren’t nearly as far away as you really are.

    I sent the newspaper article to pretty much everyone I know who knows you.

    Congratulations on everything and you are already missed!

  13. Jo says:

    Congratulations on your marriage. I have been inspired by your storiy and look forward to hear about many, many great adventures!!!!!!

  14. Kristen Murray says:

    Congratulations Shanna and Derek!

    Shanna, I couldn’t find your e-mail, so I Googled you because I knew your wedding and trip were coming up…I was looking for this website but found the Tennessean article instead (which, in turn, led me to here). Sounds like an awesome trip so far…I’m hungry just reading these recaps! Count me among the jealous.

    I’ll continue to read and keep in touch. Have a wonderful time, and congrats again!


  15. Michael Sontag says:

    Just wanted to say hello from your Nashville buddies. We have all thoroughly enjoyed travelling along side you as you wonder around the globe. Justin plans to have the first barbeque soon, but it will likely be a bit bitter sweet without the two of y’all joining us. We will certainly tip a glass or two in celebration of your journey. Cheers from all of us here.

  16. Andy says:

    Hey, glad you made it up to Bario and had a wonderful time although, the truth is it’s hard not to! So where are you heading next? I would really recommend Brunei for a couple of days… but make sure you get the overland connection to pass through the “Beverly Hills of the Orient” to get there. Also speak to a few locals as the stories they will tell you about the Sultan are, at times, unbelievable.

    I’m unfortunately a day away from starting my studies again, it’s hard for some of us you know!!!

    Keep on having fun. Andy.

  17. Matt says:

    Congratulations to the both of you! I read about you in the Tennessean awhile back, and finally clicked over to your site. My wife and I truly envy you two. We got married 2 years ago next Monday and spent a month in Japan for our honeymoon. Wished we could have done what you are doing. Enjoy every minute of it and you will definitely have some stories to tell.

  18. Dana says:

    I was eating lunch, as I opened your website…and then read the leech story…Eeeew. Derek, I hope you are feeling okay, now that you are leech-free. 🙂 Safe travels!

  19. Uncle PooBear says:

    LOL… Loved the leech thing… but was wondering WHY… you didn’t EAT the little morsles? They are very good… at times… when needed… lol…
    WHAT… NO BALUT YET????? Would think there would be some there some place…
    There will be soon in your travels… that is for sure… sure wish I could go with ya on the travels thru Nam etc… would love to see some of that again… Miss PI,Thailand…
    Keep having fun… and be safe…
    Love ya…

    Uncle PooBear

  20. Britt says:

    Great website. Color me jealous of your adventures. Basketball is right around the corner. Just to let you know, many of us (including me, George Masterson and Brian Roark) will be cheering hard for the Duke Blue Devils this year, expecially when they play Kentucky and UNC. Go Duke!

  21. stephanie says:

    congrats on your recent wedding! my (new) husband and I are planning on doing something similar in 08…do you list your accomodations? I’ve only scratched the surface of your website, so please excuse me if it’s listed somewhere here!


    We list our accommodations for each country on the “Countries Visited” pages. Let us know if you have any questions as you plan your upcoming trip.

  22. Just wanted to say we miss you and can’t wait to hear all about this live when you get back to DC… we’ll be waiting!

    Rach and Abe

  23. Heidi says:

    Derek and Shanna,
    Hello Derek and Shanna(we’ve never met)I’ve had the pleasure of waiting on your husband at Morton’s Steakhouse a couple times a year. Just saw some of the boys at Mortons last night and they reminded me of your adventure. It’s FANTASTIC!! I’ve just spent an hour reading about and watching your amazing trips through China! I will definitely be back to catch up on the rest! I’m green with envy and it looks like you two are having the most amazing honeymoon EVER!! Take care and hope to meet you sometime Shanna.

    Heidi from Morton’s

  24. Steve-o says:


    Looks like everything’s going swimmingly, just wanted to check in and say hello!

    Steve & Aimee

  25. becky winnett says:

    As a LU graduate, and someone who loves traveling and is currently loving every second of the hectic life of politics in DC….I find your story to be a true escape and a personal dream of my own. looking forward to keeping up with the rest of your travels!

    Best of Luck.

  26. Jason Gumm says:

    This is without a doubt, the worst travel site that I have visited in years!

    You gotta love sarcasm, you probably don’t get a lot of it while traveling around the world, so I thought that I would supply you with a little hometown sarcasm.

    It’s like we’re experiencing the trip along with you, and it’s really great! I love it, keep up the great work. The videos are just fantastic!

  27. Theresa says:

    Great site! My husband and I plan on leaving for our own year-long RTW trip in July 2008, so I enjoy reading your blog and getting some ideas/tips. I think the “Countries Visited” section is particularly helpful. So many of the other RTW blogs I read rave about a hotel or a restaurant but don’t give names or other useful information. We also hope to incorporate that kind of info into our website in some way so that’s it’s not just a place for us to ramble but a useful site for other travelers (www.livesofwander.com). Thanks for helping out all of us planning similar trips. If you don’t mind, I’m going to put a link to your site on our site. It’s a great read!


    Thanks, Theresa. Regarding the Countries Visited section, we hope to add some more detailed descriptions of the hotels and restaurants. It should be useful for you and others who are making plans. Plus, it’s a great way for us to remember where we stayed and ate along the way!

  28. Todd Hunt says:


    Congratulations on your recent (almost 3 months ago) nuptials! I’ve been meaning to visit your site since I saw the Tennessean article on their web site after my mom told me about what you a Shanna were doing.

    Wish I could help you help you with recommendations… You’ve visited one of my favorites already, suprising since I’m such an American hawk, PARIS…! I spent 8 days there back in 2003 and I can’t wait to get back…

    I could recommend many places in Italy and if you were going to Siberia, I know Novosibirsk very well… My favorite pizza is still there in Siberia at a place called Venezia. You can visit my 2nd favorite when you return to the U.S., Baraonda in Midtown Atlanta. I will take claim to being a Pizza Connoisseur… You can find the best of everything else.

    You two are more the true “adventurer” than me…

    Good luck as you travel to a lot of places I’ll probably never see… I’ll keep checking in for interesting reading…

    If you get to Orlando, let me know you’re coming and I can take you to some local places for a good meal…

    Until then… Have fun!



    Todd – thanks for the comments! Glad to know you’re doing well.

  29. Colleen says:

    Derek and Shanna

    I love reading about your adventures. The photographs and video links are amazing!!

    Miss you both. Stay safe.

  30. Paul Singh (Your Cousin from Ohio) says:

    I was reading about Priya’s wedding it sounds like everyone had a great time, I only wish I could have been there to take part in the festivities. I hope that things are well with you and you make it back home safely.

  31. Shirley says:

    Hello there,
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful and amazing journey! I came across your website via various websites/links as I research for my wedding in June 2008 in California. I hope you are keeping safe and a happy belated Thanksgiving!
    I have thought about taking a RTW trip such as yours and wondered a few things:
    – What are you doing about healthcare and medical/dental checkups? Did you buy insurance before you left?
    – How do you handle cash along the way? Do you withdrawal from ATMs as needed? Do you keep a stash with you? How do you keep it safe and how much do you carry?
    – How do you keep your load light? I think I might have a hard time resisting souvenirs along the way 🙂 How do you decide what is worth carrying? Do you ship items back home often?
    Thank you so much for you time, and thank you so much for sharing your experiences!


    Thanks for the great questions.


    We bought an insurance policy through a company called World Nomads. You can buy it online in just a few minutes at a reasonable price. Luckily, we haven’t made any claims on the policy, so I can’t provide any feedback. There are other companies, namely AIG, that also sell policies geared toward travellers. These policies are meant to cover real emergencies, as opposed to routine procedures or doctor visits. Most people will tell you that the main thing to look for in these polices is medical evacuation coverage, allowing you to be transported to a proper facility if something bad happens.


    Contrary to what many Americans probably think, there are excellent medical facilities and doctors in most parts of the world, usually providing services at a fraction of the cost you’d pay back home.

    In Delhi, Shanna visited an eye doctor that was wonderful – the visit to the office (which would cost several hundred dollars back home) cost $12. Shanna also had some dental work done in Delhi. Again, the service was excellent and the cost was much smaller than what you’d pay in the States. Of course, we were lucky to have the recommendations of Shanna’s family members who live in Delhi; as in the U.s., there are lots of sketchy practioners to be avoided.


    In most parts of the world, ATMs are abundant. With a few exceptions, we’ve been able to withdraw cash from virtually ever ATM we’ve come across using the international networks of either Cirrus, Star or Plus. We usually withdraw and carry several hundred dollars at a time in order to minimize our visits to the ATMs and to minimize the fees we have to pay (as there is a fee for every withdrawal). In the event you get into a bind, it is usually very easy to get a cash advance on your credit card at most banks.

    We’ve been to a few places where ATMs don’t exist (mostly on small islands and in really remote places). Happily, we knew that in advance (the Lonely Planet generally says so) and made sure to take a lot of cash with us. As far as carrying cash, we have a money belt that I wear around my waist in which I place our passports and some cash. I also carry a small wallet (which I put in my front pants pocket) where I keep smaller amounts of money that I use on a daily basis. By using the wallet (which zips, so you can carry coins), you aren’t constantly having to reach into your money belt, disclosing its existence and its location to a possible thief.

    We also tend to use our credit card when it’s possible. You typically get the best exchange rate by using a credit card. The trick is finding a card that has low charges on foreign transactions. Many banks issuing credit cards tack on a fee of 2% – 3% to foreign transactions. After much research, I found that Capital One issues credit cards with only a 1% fee on foreign transactions. Plus, you earn miles on every purchase!


    This is a difficult part of long-term travel. There are so many things to buy, but limited space to carry them. Our backpacks came with a small duffle bag that folds up into nothing (and also acts as a raincover for the pack). We’ve been able to place souvenirs in this bag and carry it as we travel. Periodically, we either (1) mail the souvenirs back home or (2) have friends or family who we’ve met up with take souvenirs back home with them. It’s worked out great thus far.

  32. Matthew says:

    Do you guys ever get bored?


    The simple answer is no. Boredom is the least of our worries! In addition to the innumerabe things to see and do in the places we’ve visited, we have plenty of other distractions to fill our time, including writing the blog entries, managing all the photos we take, making videos, updating the site, reading books and watching movies on our laptop.

  33. James says:

    Just wanted to let you guys know that I am in Florianopolis Brazil until end of May. You are more than welcome to visit. I would love to show you around. South America should be quite a change from Vietnam!!
    Safe Travels

  34. Kristen says:

    Shanna and Derek,
    This site is amazing! Thanks for sharing your incredible experience with all of us who dream of taking a trip like this.
    Hope all is well.

    -Kristen (Shuart) Alexander

  35. Matt Gumm says:


    Hey its little Gumm. I am at Jason’s house with my wife and new baby boy (Hudson Matthew). He is a TIDE and CATS fan already!!!!!.

    The website is great, I am totally amazed at what you guys have done and seen. The neatest thing to me is the 3 days of rain. We have definately seen our share of rain and storms here lately.

    I am proud of your “DUKIES” this year. They played really well in the one of two games a year that I root for them (against NC).

    I didn’t realize till I read the website, that you are such the BBQ smoker. Jason told me all about it. When you get back we will have to trade some secrets. I have some great Boston Butt and Sauce recipes.

    Be safe and good luck the rest of the way.

    Matt, Christy and Hudson Gumm
    Glasgow, Kentucky

  36. Ronn says:

    Hey guys! Since I doubt you know any other double “n” ronn’s, I didn’t post my last name..

    I enjoy the site, but haven’t posted anything until now. Glad to hear that y’all (a little Nashville flavor for you) are safe and still trucking along.

    What music are you each currently enjoying (aside from the local scenes wherever you are)?

    Also, what’s the scariest flight (if any) that you’ve taken thus far?

    Finally, what are you going to do about March Madness, Derek?



    Thanks for the questions.

    As far as music, we were fortunate to have several friends make playlists which we downloaded to our iPods. We listen to these playlists over and over. While our interests are varied, it seems much of what we listen to is Americana/Folk music – reminding of us of Nashville.

    We’ve been lucky to avoid any terrifying flights on this trip. I’ve had several scary ones in the past, but we’ve avoided any harrowing flights thus far. Fingers are crossed that our luck will continue.

    March Madness – my favorite time of the year. I’ve signed up to watch March Madness online. I’m plannng on finding a good Internet connection in Chile and watching as many games as possible! Go Duke and Go Vols!

  37. Derek,
    Wendy (Huff) Martin saw your adventure mentioned in the Lipscomb Alumni newsletter and called me immediately…well…not immediately on your end as you’ve been at this 6 months or so now! Sounds fantastic! How can you two ever settle back into normal life? What a fabulous honeymoon!
    Danielle (Christian) Gibson

  38. Karen Dorion says:

    Hello, What a wonderful site. My husband and I met your parents in the Miami airport while they were waiting for thier plane to Chile. We actually shared a table for dinner. Your mom gave me your website to visit and here I am. Sounds like an amazing experience. Hope the remainder of your trip is excellent and we will continue to read about your travels. Prayers and best wishes! Karen and Mark from Minnesota.

  39. Shirley says:

    Hi again Shanna and Derek,
    Glad to see you made it safely to South America. Do you think you’ll have a chance to visit Peru? I hope you get to see Machu Picchu – it’s magical.
    I was pondering a couple more travel-related questions and thought I’d ask you guys… the experts!
    – How do you guys deal with jet-lag? Do you have problems sleeping?
    – What kind of immunizations did you get before you left? Did you store any antibiotics? (If you do make it to Peru… keep those handy and don’t drink the water. I got sick there)
    – What’s the single most helpful item that you’re so glad you brought along for the journey? (other than camera/laptop)
    – a funny question, which popped into my mind just recently. How are you guys dealing with your taxes since you are abroad when they are due?
    Thanks very much!


    Thanks for the questions. We’ll try to answer them below:

    – How do you guys deal with jet-lag? Do you have problems sleeping?

    We’ve actually had minimal effects from jet-lag. We try to drink lots of water on the flights and usually take sleeping pills, allowing us to sleep for a good portion of the longer flights. The key, however, is to try your hardest to get on the sleep schedule of the country where you’ve arrived as soon as possible.

    – What kind of immunizations did you get before you left?

    We’ve received a whole host of immunizations including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, typhoid, polio, tetanus and yellow fever. Be prepared because the immunizations can be very expensive.

    – Did you store any antibiotics?

    Yes. We carry Cipro in our first aid kit. It works great if and when you get food poisoning.

    – What’s the single most helpful item that you’re so glad you brought along for the journey? (other than camera/laptop)

    The best non-technology items we would recommend are earplugs and a sleeping mask. You will find yourself trying to sleep in some fairly difficult situations (buses, trains, very noisy or bright hotel rooms, etc.). By using the earplugs and mask, you can usually sleep oblivious to these conditions.

    – A funny question, which popped into my mind just recently. How are you guys dealing with your taxes since you are abroad when they are due?

    With the beauty of the Internet, Derek’s parents scanned and e-mailed the necessary tax info and Derek was able to complete and file our taxes online.

  40. Laura Ronen says:

    Hey guys!! Its Laura from the Hostel Inn in Iguazu….I am back in NY after a few days in Mendoza and one more in BA and I am loving your site!! I love your pictures from the soccer game and I can’t wait to see your Iguazu pictures. It was so great to meet you and I hope you have so much fun on the rest of your travels! I am so inspired by what you guys are doing and I hope to have a chance to do something similar one day.

    Safe Travels,

  41. Peter and Regine Wenzel says:

    Hi guys, remember us from China…?
    It’s been great coming back to your blog. Bloody hell, you’re good at this travel journalism thing now. Smooth transitions on the videos, facts galore, great pics and everything just exudes fun. You sure law and politics’ll be the way forward for you? If you ever get burnt out, there’ll surely be a second career in travelling to…er…what’s left?….Mars??!?
    Keep it coming!
    Regine and Peter Wenzel

  42. Doug Miller says:

    Over the course of 2 days, I heard (and read in a fortune cookie) these words: Beginning is half done. Many don’t begin but you two have–congrats!

    I do wonder–and this may be too personal for you to address to a stranger or on a blog, whether you worry about what it will be like, having spent the early part of your marriage on a world tour, to come back to a more settled married life? I thought about this after hearing a story on NPR about military personnel coming back from Iraq and finding life a bit dull.

    Anyway, as I watch many of my tired looking colleagues trudge into work (many to well-paid career positions that college students now dream about), it makes me happy to know that some out there really are seizing the day.


    Doug – we listened to the same story on NPR, prompting a discussion between us about our return to “normal” life. I know that many long-term travelers have a difficult time adjusting to day-to-day life after having spent so much time on the road. In fact, many globetrotters start making plans for their next trip as soon as they’re home. While we realize that things will be greatly different once we return, we will have lots of things to keep us occupied – moving to a new city, starting new jobs and buying a new house. I’m fairly sure these changes will prevent any feelings of dullness, at least for awhile…

  43. Dave Johnson says:

    Thanks for sharing your travels in life. I wonder what your cost for such a year of travel will total. How much should a couple budget, or save for such a year’s adventure? Thanks, Dave


    This is everyone’s favorite question and a hard one to answer since costs can vary drastically depending on (1) where you travel, (2) where you stay, (3) where you eat, (4) what you do, (5) how you travel and (6) when you travel.


    Certain parts of the world are MUCH cheaper than others. In general, Asia is the mecca for budget travelers. You can spend a month (and maybe even two months) in Asia for the same price that you’d spend in a week in Western Europe. So if you’re nervous about your budget, stay away from 1st world countries and head to less developed parts of the globe (which, in many cases, are much more interesting than their modern counterparts).


    Over a year, the biggest cost will most likely be accommodation. However, you can lower your costs significantly if you’re prepared to stay in budget places. Virtually anywhere in the world you can find very cheap places to stay, from $5 dorm beds in hostels to $10 bungalows on the beach. You’d be shocked at how affordable accommodation can be. These places can actually be great places to stay, since you’ll meet lots of other like-minded travelers and receive invaluable travel advice.

    Outside the budget accommodation world, prices can increase to whatever you’d like to spend. If you always need hotels that look and feel like the ones back home, be prepared to substantially increase your budget.


    If you want to save money, you can eat very cheaply around the world. By avoiding fancy restaurants, sticking to cheaper venues and occasionally cooking your own meals (many budget hotels have kitchens you can use), you can spend much less on food than you would back home. On the other hand, if you love food (and there’s so much good food to sample on this planet) and want to eat occasionally at nice restaurants, your budget will need to increase.


    Your costs will be driven a great deal by what activities you do on the trip. If you scuba dive, take guided tours and visit lots of museums, your costs will increase. If, on the other hand, you’re happy lying on the beach for weeks at a time, you can get by on a few dollars a day.


    Your mode of transportation will affect your costs greatly. Many budget travelers traverse the globe taking very few flights, relying on trains, buses or boats. Not only do these journeys typically prove more interesting, they save a lot of money. If you’re willing to use local transportation and avoid flights unless absolutely necessary, you can travel much more cheaply.


    Choose the time of year you visit places carefully. If you travel to popular places during the high season, prices (mainly hotel prices) will be greatly escalated. If you can time your visits with the low season or the shoulder season, you can often negotiate substanial discounts on prices of hotels and many activities. Just make sure you don’t go to a place during the low season that’s the low season for a good reason (e.g., monsoons, heavy snow, unbearable heat).


    If you’re prepared to travel on a relatively tight budget, you can travel around the world for a year for $15,000 – $20,000 per person (costs go down for couples since some costs can be shared). Many people find that hard to believe, but lots of people do this every year. If, however, you’re not prepared for complete budget travel, you can still travel at a reasonable cost. For most of the couples we’ve met who travel similarly to the way we travel, they budget between $45,000 – $85,000 for the year. On the lower end of this range, you are still mostly traveling as a budget traveler but have funds to stay at nicer places and eat better meals on occasion. On the higher end of this scale, you can travel very well taking advantage of nice hotels and nice restaurants on a fairly regular basis. On our trip, we’ve stayed in all kinds of accommodation at a wide range of prices; however, we have a general rule that we avoid dorm beds and stay at places with a bathroom/shower in the room. Most of the places we’ve stayed cost in the range of $40 – $80 per night; however, we’ve stayed in lots of places costing much less than $40 and several places that have cost well over $100 a night. We LOVE food, so we’ve generally not limited ourselves greatly on our food costs, spending much more on food than the average traveler. We also scuba dive and do more activities than the regular globetrotter, so this makes our trip more expensive. Due to this style of travel, our trip cost will most likely end up near the higher end of the $45,000 – $85,000 range noted above. It’s the best money we’ll ever spend!

  44. Dora says:

    Hello! I’m from Hong Kong, and am always interested in seeing how people from other countries see my city.

    I looked at your Hong Kong page and have a comment about how you described on weekends “Chinese ladies” spread their tarps all over public spaces to hang out, gossip, eat, and whatever.

    I need to tell you that those are not Chinese ladies. ALL of the people you see hanging out in parks, on pedestrian bridges, sidewalks, etc, are all Filipinos. Locals don’t do that.

    Ok. Many not ALL are Filipinos. I’m sure some of them are Thai or Indonesian or from other places. But in general, they are widely recognized as migrant workers from those countries who’ve come to work in HK as live-in maids.

    They usually only get one day off a week, work on very low wages, sent a much of their money home to their families. Since they have no place of their own to hang-out at on their day offs, they all gather to picnic or whatever everywhere.

    It’s their life-style here. A lot of local Chinese abhor them for blocking walkways. So I think to describe them as local Chinese ladies will piss some people off.

    On the other hand, although they do sometimes make it inconvenient to get around places, I accept and actually admire how they are able to find their place in HK, to enjoy themselves, while saving money to send home.

  45. Suzanne says:

    Hi! I live in Nashville and read about your story in the Tennessean. I think that this is the coolest thing ever!!! I am getting married next spring and we would like to go somewhere overseas but we aren’t really sure. I think that your blog provides a lot of insight into that and it’s SO interesting!!! Thanks a million for sharing!

  46. Trudi Thacker says:

    Whew–we just about had a revolt on our hands. They have pretty much blocked our access to many websites and this morning I came in to “check out” this one and they had blocked it! Needless to say, I sent IT a message asking that they please let us continuing living through ya’ll for the next 28 days. Donna sent one to them too. They have unblocked us–we are happy. This has been really great to follow for the last year. Don’t know what I’ll do when you get back to the states. Continued safe journeys.

  47. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing your experiences in such great detail – I particularly enjoyed the article about South Africa and have linked to it from the trivago travel community of which I am a member.
    Greetings from Cape Town,

  48. We are a bunch of volunteers and beginning a brand new project in our community. Your blog provided us with valuable information to figure on|.You have done a great job

  49. jade says:

    My fiance and I are heading on our own RTW Trip. Your blog has been extremely helpful in our trip planning. I’m sure it will come in handy on the road as well! Thank you for sharing your amazing adventure. Hope you two are squeezing in some travel time!

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