Join Me On My Round-the-World, Low-Budget Adventure
I’m starting my 4th year on the road and I’m loving every second of it.
In 1998 I was camping in the back country of Bryce Canyon and came up with the idea of creating a ‘traveling website’. Blogs and wifi didn’t exist then and once I looked into the cost of a satellite phone ($3 per minute at dial-up speeds) I had to shelve the idea.
Many years later, I finally had to admit that I’d never be truly happy unless I at least tried to ‘get out there’. I had no honest hope of making it a career — I just wanted to see what I could while I could. The world was (and is) changing fast, homogeneity settling into the most remote cultures, languages and traditions dying out daily.
I scrimped and saved for a year, bought the best travel gear I could afford, a camera, a used laptop and then quit my job as a graphic designer and marketing guy.
I had enough savings to last me about a year and I managed to stretch it by doing occasional graphics work for a freelance client. That allowed me to keep going until the site began to make some money via advertising. It’s now my main source of income (though very irregular).
This was what I’d spent 40+ years looking for so I threw my itinerary out the window — when you decide you have your entire life to see the world, reaching Greece by June is no longer an issue.
I then wandered around Laos for two months and arrived back in Bangkok in time for the Red Shirt protests to reach their climax and –literally– walked through blood in the streets while dodging snipers.
After three months in Northern India and another in Nepal (it was January and cold so I didn’t linger), I had intended to visit Egypt but decided instead to return to the warmth and convenience of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Two days later, the “Arab Spring” erupted in Cairo and I still can’t say whether I’m glad I missed it or not. It would have been amazing to experience but a blogger without a ‘net connection is a pretty useless creature.
Now I’m in Leon, Nicaragua and am about to settle into an apartment for a few months. After Nicaragua, I intend to make my way north along the coast of El Salvador and Guatemala and back into Mexico. After that, South East Asia calls again — the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and Indonesia.
I’m a firm believer in independent travel. I think too many people sell themselves short and limit their experience by buying into the package tour mentality. If you are really traveling to get an understanding of what other peoples’ lives are like, you won’t find it while stumbling along with forty other foreigners and following a guide with a colored umbrella held high.
With just a little more work, I think it’s quite easy to arrange your own adventure, move at your own pace and interact with people as a fellow human being and not just as part of a mob.
Low and Slow?
So, what do I mean by “low and slow”? To me, traveling low to the ground, taking ground transport where possible, and traveling as the locals do is the ideal way to experience a place. Being poor, it’s also my only option. :)
Join Me on the Trip.
I’m keeping this blog along the way for several reasons:
1. I’m a geek, plain and simple. I love photography, traveling, tinkering, and telling tall tales so a blog seems like a natural choice. And it’s now my job (which still amazes me).
2. My parents can’t travel, so I’d like them to be able to experience as much of this adventure as possible.
3. I want to encourage others to get out and see the world and to realize that long-distance travel is more accessible than ever. We live at an interesting time, historically: modern air travel makes such journeys possible for even those of fairly limited means. At the same time, that easy access (and modern communication) is diluting and homogenizing cultures across the world. Languages are dying out and folk traditions are being forgotten (or converted into hollow entertainment for paying tourists).
I want to see as much of it as I can while it’s still here.
Along the way, I’ll share photos, reviews, tips and tricks, and try to answer any questions you have.
See ya on the road.