Month Five: Budget BLOWN


Our fifth month on the road could've been a demo reel for travel dreams. It was also the month that blew our budget—by almost double.


$1785 over budget, leaving us only $308 for the sixth month


So what happened?

Well... we snorkeled next to five humongous whale sharks; dove 30 meters deep with a thresher shark; observed wild pygmy elephants swimming across a river, a male proboscis monkey protecting his harem, and two wild orangutans taking a break on a fruit tree. Then we spent four days living aboard an oil rig that functions as a dive hotel, during which time we dove with white tip sharks, grey reef sharks, at least 30 green sea turtles, a pygmy seahorse, tons of moray eels, a flamboyant cuttlefish that changes colors every few seconds, tornados of barracuda followed by schools of jackfish, and a ton of other cool underwater life. That was all before we climbed Mt. Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in SE Asia—in one day. After that, we headed to Bali, where we surfed, beach-bummed, ate amazing food, explored temples that looked like something out of Lost, and trekked rice terraces.

In between, we had to deal with several jellyfish attacks that required tons of medication for Lina, a cancelled ferry that required a last minute flight, and general long-haul flights in between three hard-to-reach and pricey islands.

Lina needed this sign in the Philippines

So that's where the money went. And it was worth every penny.

Favorite experiences

  • Observing the wild animals on the Kinabatangan River in Borneo—it's one thing to see an orangutan in a sanctuary, but quite another to have your guide spot it in the wild 10 minutes after you watched a wild herd of pygmy elephants bathing
    We stumbled upon a herd of elephants at the Kinabatangan River in Borneo
  • Being surrounded by an underwater world inhabited by huge humphead parrotfish, schools of jackfish, tornadoes of barracuda, and green sea turtles devouring my mortal enemy—the jellyfish!
    Looking up at a school of barracuda
  • Making it to the top of Mt. Kinabalu with 20 minutes to spare before the cutoff—I've done a lot of tough mental activities in my life, but nothing compared to struggling for oxygen for the last 2.7 kilometers of this climb
    Me, Lina and Dina at Low's Peak on top of Mt. Kinabalu
  • Having one of my best friends along for all of the above
    Lina and Dina, ready to jump off SeaVenture's oil rig
  • Hearing Lina call my name when I was sitting at the top of Mt. Kinabalu. I didn't think she and Dina would make the cutoff because of altitude sickness, so I pressed ahead on my own, leaving them with our guide.
    Lina and Dina… at the top of Mount Kinabalu!
  • Finally standing up for several rides after an hour of failed attempts at catching waves in Bali.
  • The Rig. Diving at Sipadan, eating [endless] delicious food, taking the elevator to the house reef, hanging out with awesome dive instructors and divers, and sneaking desserts when Lina wasn't looking were all highlights.
    Lina pretending to eat all of my desserts
  • Realizing Lina has a twin.

Hope you've been enjoying the updates and photos. We're about two months behind on the blog and are struggling to catch up, but we promise that we'll get all of our travel stories out there eventually! We've confirmed that the problem with exploring off-the-beaten track places is that they often lack Internet and require a lot of time to get to, which means a tired writer/photographer with no way to upload posts or photos.

Comments or questions? Leave them below and we'll do our best to answer.

And no, we're not planning to stop traveling just because we're over budget. Instead, we'll be on the road for about three more months, during which time we hope to get back on track to the $1000/month goal. We think it's possible, though we do expect our total spend for the complete eight months to be closer to $17,000 instead of the anticipated $16k.

-The Erohs