You didn’t miss read the title, there isn’t an extra zero in there. Sometimes I wish that number was wrong, or we didn’t do such a good job keeping track of every penny we spent. But then again I wouldn’t want many of those pennies back, we spent them. We spent them doing the things we love. We spent them experiencing the world to the fullest. Sure we could have been cheaper, we could have jumped off a few less things, gone a few less places, tried one less traditional dish, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to see the world.
Every last penny, Quetzal, Peso, Lira, Euro, Kwacha, Bhat, Dong, Reil, Dirham, Cordoba, and Rand we spent got jotted down in our little red book. It’s pages are now full and the edges a little ragged, but it has to the decimal point every bit of money we spent on our round-the-world trip. After two years of travel we spent exactly $99,987.34. Since we calculated that number I am sure we have spent the remaining twelve dollars and change. There we said it, we just blew $100,000 US dollars traveling the world. 100,000 little pieces of paper, gone.
Like I said, yes, we could have been cheaper, but we weren’t. We wanted to see a big chunk of the world, and we did. We touched down on 6 continents and 46 different countries (and a few repeats).
The first three months of our trip we spent in Central America and were some of our cheapest travel days of the trip. That would soon change as we breezed through Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru which had a much higher price tag. From there we crossed the Pacific ocean to find ourselves in Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. Our time in Fiji and NZ were some of our favorites, but they put a dent in the budget with transcontinental flights and $8 per gallon gasoline prices. Spending nearly a year in Asia over two separate stops helped level the budget. Also slowing down and using Chiang Mai as a base to explore the region helped too.
This figure also includes all of our gear and technology. As you might have noticed we have a lot of camera gear worth more than I want to add up. We need this stuff to make our pretty pictures and tell our story to the world.
Where our money went least far was of course Europe. We spent 4 months in Europe during the summer of 2014 when the Euro was way stronger than the dollar and we felt it in the wallet. Another 4 months traveling the amazing, yet pricey, the continent of Africa, but I wouldn’t give any of these days up.
In fact, I wouldn’t give up any of these last 730 days. I might do a few things different here and there, but we wanted to see all of these places, and we did. It was $100,000 well spent.
Now for the other question that always comes up when talking about financing a trip of a lifetime, ‘how do you guys afford to travel’. Simple, we just took the money out of our imaginary trust funds. Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky enough to be born millionaires and paid for our travels from our hard earned savings.
Let’s back up a few years to see the events that transpired to lead us to blow $100,000 to travel the world. Here is a step by step of the last 6 years of our life.
Step 1: In 2008 the US economy was in a big slump and we both had good secure jobs, it seemed like the perfect time to get a great deal on a house. We were living the “American Dream.” A nice house, cars, and plenty of money to spend consuming a bunch of stuff we didn’t really need. Along with the American dream, we had high paying demanding jobs in order to finance it all. We worked for almost a decade and got completely burnt out in the process.
Step 2: Fast forward to the end of 2011, with lots of working and a little bit of travel in between. We were just a few months away from our wedding in Jamaica when we took a trip that would change everything. We went to Belize on a whim and ended up having a conversation that would change our lives.
Step 3: Save every last penny for about two whole years, and start planning the trip of a lifetime.
Step 4: Get rid of everything you worked hard for the last 10 or so years. Whatever you can’t part with move into your parent’s house (thanks mom and dad).
Step 5: Say goodbye to everyone you care about to go explore the world.
Step 6: Visit 46 countries on 6 continents. Stay gone longer than you even planned. Stay exploring the world for over 2 years.
Step 7: Explore everywhere you go to the fullest. Jump out of planes, swim with great whites, dive WWII Japanese shipwrecks, pick coffee beans in Colombia, get wet in the world’s largest squirt gun fight, hike 50 kilometers through the Guatemalan cloud forest, and so much more.
Step 8: Realize you have spent $100,000 traveling the world.
Step 9: Realize you are completely fine trading $100,000 for 100,000 memories.