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How to Blow $100k Chasing Your Dreams

How to Blow $100k Chasing Your Dreams

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 any 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 fewer things, gone a few fewer places, and tried one less traditional dish, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to see the world.

How to blow $100k Chasing your dreams

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. Its 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.

How to blow $100k Chasing your dreams-6

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).

country map route highlight-final

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.

Best Camera bag for travel - DSLR best DSLR camera bag - Photography-2

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.

Namibia Cheetah farm RTW african safari-12

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.


Monday 27th of August 2018

I inherited 100k after taxes. I'm in my early 50s. Here is what I would have done and still gotten the same trip … I would have taken the 100k and invested it in very moderate risk funds. For the next 10 years I would added 10k to the fund (easy to do because you take 10k and subtract whatever interest credit you received and pay the difference) … THEN you have 200k after 10 years.

Take 100k and travel the world (10 years older and 10 years wiser) .. and you return to the original 100k you were given … use THAT to build your retirement next egg and compound interest over a few decades.

You could have had the same world trip .. I would have just executed it differently and perhaps a little less rash. People can work a lifetime and never save 100k. And it's easier to make money when you have money.

Not criticizing the trip in anyway - just the execution of it. Like I said, people can work a lifetime of savings and never reach 100k. But once you have it you realize how quickly you can double it with patience and a savings plan.


Monday 1st of October 2018

Hey June - congrats on inheriting $100k, I worked my ass off for mine working 70-80 hours a week, so I'll spend it how I want, thanks! I wouldn't change a thing and I would do it all over again tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow - as the saying goes 'tomorrow isn't promised' - to anyone, and 10 years from now certainly isn't. No matter your age I would not advocate putting off the opportunity to travel.

Another thing that isn't promised is making 10% annually on your investments, especially in the very volatile world that we live in. A couple years from now when the economy collapses again hopefully you have some of that money you were given. Hopefully, you get to take your trip one day!


Friday 5th of February 2016

How much longer are you guys going to be on the road? From what it says on the "about us" section, you had corporate jobs in the US. Do you ever think you can get back to it after your travels are over "if" ;)? As a woman that has travelled a lot along with my husband, we long for stability. Not just financial but a place where you can raise a kid. But I don't want to lose our wanderlust neither being a nomad family with home schooled children. (No offense to anyone, just my opinion)...Such a tough situation as a travel nomad.


Friday 5th of February 2016

How much longer are we going to stay out? Well, that's a good question. One we ask ourselves all the time and our parents ask us even more. We're not sure, but we have plans to be on the road through the summer at least, and let's be honest with ourselves probably the winter of 17' too. Ideally, we'd like to keep this up as long as we can, but at a slower place. Live somewhere for a few months at a time and see the world that way.

Having kids is the biggest factor in when all these fun and games will have to wrap up, or at least change significantly. I wish I had some better answers for you, but I think we are in the same boat.

Dr Marilyn Joyce

Friday 22nd of January 2016

"Wow" is the first word that comes to mind! Someone at a gathering in Los Angeles, near the end of December (2015), suggested I read your blog in view of my upcoming mission. I lost the link I was given...but gratefully found it in my text messages I sent to myself! Technology is wonderful!

In 1969 - 1976, I traveled the globe, much of it hitchhiking, even in many of the, now, very dangerous countries (which I'm sure were dangerous even back then, but there's something to be said for naivety!) We had no internet, no connection with the world at large, and often completely isolated from anything and everyone in unknown and/or unexplored wildernesses. In fact, I lost all of my camera equipment and film (not developed, darn!) when I was robbed in the middle of nowhere in central India in 1970 where I was left for dead on the side of the road. Long story, and happy ending - except for everything I lost of course!

I would not trade my journeys for anything! Yes, I wish I had the photos - but then I lost all of my photos from later world travels in a storage unit. So in the long run, it is always the amazing memories of the people, places and things we saw, and experienced, that is important. And they will be with you for the rest of your our hearts and souls!

However, the "now or never" aspect thankfully is not playing a role in my life. At 66 I will be embarking on the Journey of 1000 second epic journey of this lifetime (not including all of the major and extensive adventures over the past several decades (e.g. 6 months in South America and the Galapagos Islands, 3 months in southern Europe, 6 months traveling and videotaping interviews for 6 months across the Soviet Union just before the wall came down, etc...also before the internet...)!

Anyway, right now, I am in process of releasing everything I own, and at 66 that's an unbelievable amount of "stuff" (how do we accumulate so darned much "s__t"?), so that I can jump into my mission, and leave a legacy worth remembering. Your blog is inspiring me more than words can say...because this journey, unlike my many year sojourn decades ago, can be documented and saved digitally every step of the way. And the world gets to experience it with me! Just as it is with you!

Thank you for all that you are doing to inspire others to take a leap of faith into a possibility of greater adventures in their lives...or at least to be able to live vicariously through you if they just aren't able to embark on this kind of journey themselves, for any multitude of reasons!

Okay, I'll stop for now...but I'm sure you'll see me a lot, since your blog is, to date, the most noteworthy I have visited and explored to date!


Tuesday 26th of January 2016

We are glad you found us too! Your travels in the early 70's sound amazing! I would have loved to see the world then, before all the technology and modernization. But, I guess all you can do is enjoy the time you're here, which it sounds like you have done a lot of.

We are just short of 1000 days by about two months, and we only planned about half of that, so who knows how long you'll go. As for getting rid of your stuff, release as much as you can, we should have done a better job of that instead of leaving some of it 'incase'.

As you are in your planning phase if you have any questions or just want to talk travel send us an email or a facebook message. We are just relaxing on the beach in Mexico between trips. Then it's off to the middle east at the end of the month!

Happy planning and 'de-junking'!


Sunday 11th of October 2015

$100,000 isn't so bad for two years and all the traveling you experienced. It's nice to have a partner in crime. It's tough to find someone to tag along for every vacation. I've been traveling for the past nine years, with a one year break of going nowhere (my choice). I work full-time, so I travel on holidays, vacations, etc., which makes it costly. I haven't traveled to as many places, but I blew about $150,000 for my travels (most times it includes my sister's expenses). Your story of $100,000 for two years would make a good book. I'd blow a $100,000 for two years of travel. It would save me $50,000. :) Good story! Cheers


Monday 10th of August 2015

You hardly blew that 100, savored every bit of it! So many people spend that same amount in a few years doing nothing of great importance...just existing in fancy places keeping up with Jones. You've done it right!


Saturday 15th of August 2015

Thanks Anne, like the way you put it. Screw the "Jones" I am living my life the way I want to do it!