FAQ

What?!  Are you crazy?

Crazy to you, maybe, but not to me.

You must be rich, right?

This is one of my favorite and probably most frequent question.  The simple answer is no.  It’s all about priorities really.  I give myself a modest weekly allowance and the rest of my paycheck is automatically direct deposited into my savings account.  The only debt I have is my car loan which I’ll still be paying while on the road.  Oh why o’ why did I just have to have that new car!!

I’ve also put a jar in my room to collect all the spare change I have lying around.  I only pay with dollars never with coins that way I can put the leftover change right into my jar.  In about eight months, I’ve collected over $200 dollars.

Another big help is accelerating my savings goal is being able to live rent-free with my parents.  So, thanks Mom and Dad!

So, what is your budget?

I am an Excel spreadsheet queen so I used it to separate costs/estimates into different categories:

  • Airfare (Airtreks ticket, additional flights)
  • Major Expenses (like scuba diving certification, Egypt tour, Greece cruise, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous (insurance, shipping stuff home, car payment, visas)
  • Daily Budget by Country (I used guidebooks and other traveler’s websites to come up with my daily country budget.  Just to be on the safe side I always add between 10 and 20 percent to those numbers.)

I’ll be interested when I get back to see how close I am to my original estimate.  I figure I’ll end up spending between 15 and 20 thousand including my car payment.  I’m on track to saving about 5 thousand more than my highest estimated budget- you know just in case.

Where are you going?

Ahh, you finally asked.  Surprisingly (I guess just to me), this question is one of the least asked.  I’ve being dreaming of a route for a couple of years and it’s evolved so much since I first put it to paper.  I must say costs played a major part in planning the route.

I really wanted to go to sub-Saharan and West Africa but flights in and out added up really fast.  Ethiopia and Ghana were high on my “to-go” list as well as the Serengeti in Tanzania.  I’ll get there someday.

Another plan was to take the Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to Beijing stopping off in Mongolia.  Alas, it was dropped because I really wanted my sister to come meet me somewhere- anywhere.  She picked Egypt which I needed to time to her summer vacation because she’s a teacher and since it’s so expensive (and illogical) to fly straight to Cairo from the US- I’ll start in Spain and work my way over.  A logical route after Egypt is the Indian sub-continent, but it was dropped seeing how the summer is not a great time to visit India due to wet monsoons and oppressive heat.  So here I come Sri Lanka!

South East Asia is a staple on any backpacking journey so I’ll eventually end up there.  South and Central America will have to wait for another trip.

Another important part of planning a trip of this magnitude is allowing time to just relax- a vacation so to speak.  I believe I will have a good balance of traveling and relaxing.  Just remember a vacation is not the same as traveling!

I used Airtreks.com to book my flights through to Singapore- about 3/4 the way around the world.  I paid $1960 which is a fantastic deal in my eyes for 5 flights.  Just as a comparison my sister’s roundtrip Seattle to Cairo airfare will run over $1500!  I’ll book my trip home from SE Asia where flights are cheaper.

I’ll be home just in time for Christmas.

You’re taking just a backpack!?

You betcha!  You know how people come back from trips and wish they hadn’t packed so much- well I’m the complete opposite.  It’s just making sure to pack only the essentials.

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Where’s Stacy?

Stacy is in West Virginia and totally amazed by the power of Math. (Nerd, I know!)

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