One year on the road. Wow.
Twelve countries and hundreds of places later, we look back on an awesome year of travel, filled with adventures that went from 30 meters underwater to 5550 meters above sea level.
(New to our site? Read our six month travel roundup, find out how and why we blew our budget in month 5, and explore the other adventures we had along the way in months 4, 3, 2, and 1. You can also learn more about why we chose to be well traveled over well employed.
As most of you know, we've been living in New Zealand since the middle of October, which means the last 4 months of our year have been rather stationary. We moved to New Zealand because we were looking to slow down our travels and also wanted to break ground on an idea for a software product for tour operators that we'd been kicking around in the back of our minds for years. New Zealand has proven to be a great prototype and test market and we're really pleased with our results so far!
Before arriving in New Zealand, our last two months of on-the-go travel were spent in India and Nepal, countries that introduced us to insane heights, swinging temperatures, and unexpected cultural experiences. Neither country was on our original itinerary, but a random flight sale and the recommendations of fellow travelers inspired us to check out them out, my mom in tow.
Total Spent in Months 7 and 8 (Malaysia, India, and Nepal)
Average Spend per Day in Months 7 and 8
$29 per person (includes 3 flights)
Total Spent in 8 Months
Total Spent in One Year
$26,878 (this includes four months in New Zealand and a stopover in Australia)
Average Spend per Day for One Year of Travel
$36.82 per person
(Disclosure: My mom sponsored much of our travels in India and Nepal, so what we "spent" here is a reflection of what things cost, not what came out of our personal pockets. Additionally, we've been housesitting in New Zealand for four months, which means living rent-free—a great money-saver! Lastly, we've been lucky enough to have certain hotels and activity providers invite us to experience their offerings without charge. If that's the case, we always let you know, but it does add up to some savings.)
Five Favorite Experiences for Months Seven through Twelve
- Completing the Three Passes Everest trek with only two showers, five serious bruises, three days of porters, tons of new friends, and hours spent gasping for air over seventeen days.
- Realizing how much my mom has influenced my travel style, even though she now prefers not to share it.
- Visiting monuments in India that somehow managed to surpass even the best photos.
- Starting a business with my best friend.
- Exploring New Zealand's South and North Island, which has included bungy jumping 134 meters into a canyon, frolicking in fields of beautiful flowers, tasting lots of delicious wine, stalking penguins, rappelling 100 meters into a cave, and taking the most amazing day hikes.
- Splurging on Mediterranean cuisine in India; once you get sick off curry once...
- Making new friends just before the most difficult part of our Everest trek who introduced us to high altitude dancing and coffee breaks.
- Forts, forts, forts! Old, new, sandstone, marble, abandoned, inhabited... When it comes to forts, India has a lot to offer. You simply can't end your trip without getting lost inside a fort's high walls.
- Having my parents visit us in New Zealand, which forced us to step away from our computers and explore the stunning scenery.
- Having my MacBook Pro Retina back in my hands where it belongs (thanks to Lina's mom for keeping it safe and shipping it more than halfway across the world).
Now to the question on everyone's mind: Will we stay in the land below the Land Down Under forever? Lucky for those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere, the answer is "no." In fact, we'll be returning to the States in May. We'll be living outside NYC for a few weeks, going to a wedding in LA, and probably making some business jaunts to San Francisco. Let's just say we're super excited to see our friends and families again, although it will be strange to be "home."
Unfortunately, the one-year milestone marks not only the time we've been gone, but the time when many of our carefully laid preparations expire. What does that mean?
We have to
- Rent out of San Francisco apartment, again
- Renew our travel insurance (but for how long? And how does Obamacare handle unpaid entrepreneurs?)
- Renew the lease on our storage unit
- Visit doctors for annual checkups (health insurance is free in New Zealand for Kiwis, but not for foreigners, so going to doctors is a bit difficult)
- Forward our mail (actually, I think we have to officially change our address, which is confusing because we don't really have one in the U.S.)
- Buy clothes—traveling light means our clothes have gotten TONS of use, to the point where I think each piece is literally pennies per wear and mostly disintegrating. Unfortunately, shopping in New Zealand is expensive so we've been trying to make do. Rob has a stopover in SF on our way back to NYC so hopefully he can raid our storage unit and bring back a few things for us to wear.
The one-year point is a strange one for full-time travelers. From what I gather from other travel blogs, most people don't quite make it to a full year and those who do either peter out soon after or make traveling a full time thing—i.e. they become digital nomads.
Which one should we do?
Our to-do list begs a lot of questions about timelines that we're just not comfortable answering at the moment. This means a lot of stress and probably more than a few mistakes, but we have (some) faith that it'll all work out.
So for those who've been with us since the beginning of this journey, thanks! For those who recently joined, we hope you enjoy playing catch up—we still have a lot of great stories coming up! And for the thousands of you that stumble on to our site weekly from Google, sign up for the newsletter to stay updated more regularly.
And lastly, I leave you with some questions: Where should we spend 2014? What should we do? Have any places in mind that we MUST visit? Want to host us when we're back home in America? Traveling anywhere awesome in the future? Leave us a comment to share your thoughts!