In this page, I reveal some of my findings from this life-long dream, I now have realized…
The lessons are not ordered in any way, and just written as I got or remembered them.
First some statistics
I travelled alone. In 11 months I have been to 19 countries (13 new countries) in 5 continents, from 55.00N to 55.00S in all time zones, flown 42 streches by plane totalling 50.000+ miles, driven 6.000+ miles by car, and further 10.000 miles by train/bus/tours – so the trip is totalling 66.000 miles ~ twice around the globe!
On this trip I have had more than 40 dives in 4 continents: Thailand (Phuket), Australia (Great Barrier Reef), Fiji (Rainbow reef and Yasawa Islands), Hawaii (Oahu Island and Big Island / Manta Heaven), Mexico (Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen), Belize (Caye Caulker and Blue hole) and Argentina (Puerto Madryn; Sea lions). Diving is an expensive sport… and I believe I have spent more than 3.000 USD on diving.
The around-the-world flight ticket (RTW) covered 14 fligths at USD 6.000. The route has been changed twice, and the dates numerous times. The remaining 28 flights have been bought via the internet and have primarily been in Australia (6) / New Zealand (4) /Fiji (4) /China (4) and Argentina (6) plus a few connecting flights in Asia (Malaysia / Singapore and Thailand). The total price for the extra tickets have been ~ 6.000 USD. So flights total USD 12.000.
Transport over land is hard to estimate, but is app. 2.000 USD for all countries + USD 2.000 for carrental and fuel.
- 95 days in rented villa
- 17 days in private home
- 10 days diving live-a-board
- 220 nights at hotels / hostels
Lodging was for me the most expensive part as I chose hotels (single, with bath/toilet) over hostels (total 10 nights). I believe my average cost have been USD 70 per night for lodging. This totals to 22.000 USD. This can be done much cheaper if you choose hostels, and/or couch surf.
Summary of expenses
- Transport (42 Flights + land transport): USD 12.000 + 4.000 = USD 18.000
- Travel Insurance: USD 2.000
- Vaccinations; equipment & clothes: USD 1.000
- Lodging (330 nights): USD 22.000
- Food (basic): avg. USD 25/day = USD 8.250
- Diving USD 3.000
- Tours / entry fees / experiences / fun: USD 10.000
Total expenses: USD 64.000 ~ 193 USD per day.
Life is a dance between contrasts
The danish philosopher Martinus have stated that everything is judged by contrast: Light / Dark; good / bad; Life / Death and so on… On this trip, travelling have become a lifestyle for me and the novelty of experiences have become a habit. Further, I have been to 19 countries (13 new countries) on 5 continents from 55 degrees North to 55 degrees South – and literally across all time zones. From tropical paradise beaches to sub-arctic areas and mountains with eternal snow. A fantastic journey… But
this has also filled me with experiences. So my reference when experiencing a new place is “oh… this is like X” or “Y was better”.
So my conclusion is, that I lack the contrast experience: Having a “normal” life and hence valueing when I get a new vacation experience. Or “only” going to places which have contrasts: Like mountains and beaches… Not going to a zillion great beaches in one go…. That blurs the experience.
Short bursts, where you can let go
As a continuation of the above… Travelling is expensive. And I am not thinking about the flight tickets, lodging and food: No I am thinking about all the tours; entrance fees and “must-do” things you encounter on the road.
When travelling for a long time (a year like me), spending USD 100 per day for trips gets really really expensive – and trust me. USD 100 is not even much.
You can do it on a shoestring, especially in Southeast Asia and Latin America, but it is a very different experience. To give an example: At new years eve I joined some Couchsurfers. I and a couple of others wanted a nice sit-down meal. And we were willing to pay up to USD 50 for the food – but that was a weeks budget for some of the other travellers!
If I would only travel for say 1 or 2 months, I could spend more money on experiences, and hence get “everything” out of the experience instead of all the time thinking about costs…
Fewer countries … more flexibility
Almost everywhere I have been, I have wanted to extend my stay… So needless to say: Have much more flexibility in your plan. As a rule of thumb: plan only 80% of the time you have available. If you have 1 year = 12 months, then plan only 10 – so that you have slack for extentions…
Further: The travel costs were almost 30% of my expenses, so by visiting fewer countries and travelling more over land, you can save significantly here. Also, by staying longer in each country, you can rent an appartment or house, which is much cheaper than a hotel room.
Concerning the RTW ticket: Plan as few stops from home as possible, as it gives you more flexibility – and the change fee is only 100-150 USD