Frequently Asked Questions
Gearing up for our around the world trip, we’ve been asked a lot of questions. People wanting to know where we’re heading, why we’re going and how we’re pulling this off. We’d like to share a list of some common questions that have come our way to give you a little more background on our preparations and what the journey entails.
Where are you most excited to visit?
Marc: I’m really looking forward to traveling through Southeast Asia. Colombia and Slovenia are also near the top of my list.
Maggie: Anywhere with scooters. Did I mention I love scooters?
How long will you be traveling?
Marc: Indefinitely? Realistically I have enough saved up for about two years, with a healthy savings to still come back home to. The planned breakdown is roughly 10 months in Asia, 6 months in South America, and 6 months in Europe, but it is subject to change.
Maggie: You heard him, Indefinitely! Ideally I’d like to cycle in between coming back to the states and going back abroad for a few months at a time. My job allows me to work from anywhere as long as long as I have a wifi connection and that I come back once a quarter for workshops and planning meetings. I love the idea of planting ourselves in a city for a month at a time so I can really get a better sense of what my life would be like if lived somewhere permanently. Plus, I’m excited to come home and stay connected with my friends and family.
How many countries will you be visiting?
Our itinerary includes visiting around 24 countries. You can find our tentative destinations here.
When did you decide to make this trip?
Marc: We kind of joked about it at first; we both really like to travel and would fantasize how great it would be to do it more often. After our first international trip together to Scotland, we realized our tastes and travel style were nearly identical, and I knew if we could some how make long term travel work, Maggie was someone I could travel for an extended amount of time with. I started reading blogs and stories about others who have done long term travel, and realized we could do it too. The only thing holding me back was money, but by having a good career and refocusing my priorities I was able to save a ton.
Maggie: I’ve been crazy lucky in that I’ve gotten to travel a lot the past 30 years, but I’ve never lived abroad or stayed in one place for an extended period of time. It’s something I knew I wanted to do before all this settling down business ever took place, so for the past year I’ve been working Kathy and Rich to make it happen.
How did you decide on your itinerary?
When planning our route, we vetted each destination against the following criteria:
1) Stable and plentiful wifi access, a necessity for Maggie’s Job
3) Places that will be hard to get to later in our life (that had us include places like Peru and Cambodia)
2) Destinations that won’t bust the budget (that got rid of places like Australia and the Scandinavian countries)
How will you get around?
Planes, trains and automobiles! We opt for overland travel whenever possible, preferably train. It’s cheaper, and, we feel, a better way to get to know the people and places. To cover large distances, we’d originally planned to purchase an around the world ticket. Because it was nominal and would offer us greater flexibility, we’ve opted to buy one-way tickets as we go instead.
What are you bringing with you?
We tried to go as minimal as possible, taking just what is needed for 1-2 weeks of travel. Some of our clothes are made to be washed in the sink and to quickly dry, others are made to be extra light and packable. You can see what all we are traveling with here.
What does your family think?
We have a very supportive family. Everyone has been excited for us and seemingly not too surprised we’re embarking on another adventure. They’ll most likely join us in different parts along the way!
What did you do about your jobs?
Marc: I had to make sacrifices to make this trip happen, which meant putting career on hold, fortunately I’m leaving on good terms and have the option to return to my old company, if desired once the trip ends.
Maggie: I’m keeping it! I’m stupid lucky for ending up at the Real Wealth Network. I’m valued for my contributions there, I like what I do and I’m excited to contribute to the mission this company has in the world. I don’t want to put my career on hold and I’m lucky to work for progressive people like Kathy and Rich who are open to letting me fulfill my travel dreams and continue to contribute to the company. Working remotely also fits into my travel style as well, which is to go at a slower pace. My favorite parts of trips in the past have been when I’d get time to stay in one place for an extended period and start doing the normal things, figuring out what my life might be like if I lived in one place over the other. So normal shit, like grocery shopping and going back to my local dive or cafe and building up a rapport with people is what I’m looking forward to doing most on a long trip like this.
How do you pack for a trip like this?
Marc: In one word: sparingly. Basically, you bring what you might expect to wear over the course of a week or so and be ready to wear and re-wear those items for the duration of the journey (of course with a bit of laundry in between!). Deciding exactly what to pack has taken a great deal of research. We’re sticking to light-weight, moisture-wicking materials to get the most wear for our buck and plan to give things away if we don’t need them and purchase those things along the way we might be lacking. You can check out our packing lists here.
Maggie: I realized a few years ago that wear the same thing in most occasions. Going out to the bar? Jeans and a black tank top. Going to the office? Jeans and black tank top. Fancy date? Jeans and a black tank top. Rather than fight it, I’m giving into my basic fashion sense and pulling a Steve Jobs. Throw in a few maxi dresses, long skirts and my Oaklandish sweatshirt and I’m good to go. So far the hardest part for me is figuring out shoes. Marc walks 10 miles + a day, no joke, and my cheap flip flops and boots aren’t cutting it!
What did you do with all your belongings?
We sold about 95% of our stuff, everything else is stored away in Maggie’s parents storage unit (thanks Mom & Dad!). We were renters so we didn’t have to deal with selling a house or figuring out what to do with a mortgage. For mail we’re using TravelingMailbox. They provide a real physical street address that is unique to you. When your mail arrives, they scan the outside of the envelope and then you tell them to scan the contents, forward the item, shred it, return it, or hold it.
How much planning and preparing does a trip like this entail?
Marc: Quite a bit. We spent countless hours pondering over maps and guidebooks, researching visas and vaccines, managing finances and insurance, setting up our mail delivery, narrowing down the best gear to take and working diligently to tighten up our to do list. We dreamed about this trip for years and spent nearly an entire year planning to make this happen. You can find some of our sources used for trip planning here.
Maggie: Full disclosure. Marc gets credit for doing ALL the planning on this trip (and the majority of our other ones!). Any credit he’s given me is because he’s being nice! I’m just not really a planner when it comes to these things (besides researching cheapest plane tickets and figuring out which neighborhood’s to stay in once I’m in a new country). I’m trying to do a little more for this trip, but even then it’s never going to compete with the detail he’s able to pull together. That’ll change a little for this trip… I’ve been trying to get a few co-working spaces lined up and I’ve been making a list of all the yummy food I want to try. 😀
How much does a trip like this cost?
We hadn’t traveled extensively before this round the world adventure, but after reading hundreds of other blogs and stories out there we found some travelers were able to stay in developing countries for as little as $20 a person per day. Where we love a good bargain we knew we didn’t want to live off a bag of rice and sleeping on floors. We did however see a reoccurring budget for many around $60 a person per day or $100 per couple. In this $100 it includes everything; hotel, food, transportation, and entertainment. So we had our goal in sights… $100 a day X 365 days = $36,500 a year. Cheaper then it costs to live anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, which partially explains how we are able to afford it- good careers in a high salary area, years of hard work, and finding ways to cut back on our living expenses. You can read how I saved enough money to travel long term here.
Aren’t you worried about Terrorism?
No, that’s exactly what terrorist want. Travelling in a time of increased terrorism around the world however isn’t about blind defiance, certain levels of common sense need to be applied, but we can’t allow it to rule over us. We can’t allow them to create prejudice and assumptions. Travelling, to us, is all about overcoming these things. We travel to learn about other cultures and to see the reality behind the veil of the media, further developing into compassionate citizens of the world. Besides, there are many things in the world including here at home in northern California that are much more likely to harm us.