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My Fiance and I spent 15 months traveling around 35 countries, AMA.

Aug 10th 2014 by Diligent_Nose • 40 Questions • 524 Points

We left on March 20th, 2013 from Toronto Canada, then traveled around the world for 15 months, visiting 35 countries, ranging from counties that most people who travel have visited (Thailand). The most unlikely place we visited was Sudan.

Our blog can be read here.

Proof.

P.S. I'm a geologist working at the second photo with nothing to do today, so feel free to ask questions about that too.

Not sure why I'm being downvoted like crazy...

Q:

what was it like traveling with your fiancee, how did it effect your relationship.

how did it effect your career, how did you take the time off?

A:

It made our relationship better. We actually got along better traveling. My job means I'm gone from home around 70% of the time, so that puts a lot of strain on every relationship. It was nice to spend 100% of my time with her.

I'm a contractor so I just didn't take contracts, so not much. She had to quit her job.


Q:

What did her quitting her job mean to you?

A:

We were actually doing long distance at the time till shortly before we left, so it was inevitable.


Q:

How old are you guys? I guess I have a hard time understanding how people can leave their lives, jobs, etc. for so long without worry. I don't have a family home or money to return to so I would basically be returning to poverty and less job / financial security.

If you don't mind my asking, what are you returning to? Does she expect to get a job quickly and easily? Where are you currently living?

A:

Early 30s. We came home fairly broke. I wouldn't say we left our lives, more that we left to live. Coming home you realize pretty fast that not much changes at home in a bit over a year.

I work as a geologist on an oil rig. The guy that finds me work knew I was coming home and had work waiting for me. She's signed a 4 month contract working.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Q:

What was your budget like? Did you save up A LOT of cash or was it more of shoestring?

A:

In between. All in from shots to gifts we spent around 90K. We mostly used hostels, and ate street food, but we spent a lot on doing things. We had both budget traveled in our early 20s, now that we are in our early 30s we knew we'd hate the drunk dorm room travel scene.


Q:

Dude you are living my dream.. respect.. anyways, did it get to a point where you had enough? and was it highly expensive?

A:

We had times were we had had enough. At that point we'd get a nice room, and just watch movies and eat for a couple of days.

It wasn't cheap, but we could have done it for a lot less.


Q:

What was the most striking or memorable single moment, event, or location of the entire trip?

A:

Visiting the Mountain gorillas in Rwanda.


Q:

SO Envious. That stuff is expensive. I recently moved to Rwanda for a year and need to wait for my visa that makes me a "foreign resident" before it becomes even remotely affordable, haha. How was it?

A:

Amazing, I'll never forget it. It's insane. we delayed our trip for a year to save more money, and I think the permits for the gorillas went up 200 bucks or something that year. When we walked up we were in our backpacker clothes with a point and shoot camera, meanwhile most of the other people had decked out gear, thousands of dollars of camera equipment etc. It was insane.

What are you doing in Rwanda?


Q:

I'm about to be doing something similar but working every second month. Did you find it hard doing what you wanted at the same time as keeping up with bills/mortgages?

A:

We had basically no bills, I kept the plates on my SUV (my dad used it from time to time), and we rented a storage unit. We both had really good jobs and no debt, so financially we were lucky.


Q:

What was the best meal you ate?

A:

Wart Hot.


Q:

How do you pay for all the travelling?

A:

Hard work and living below our means.


Q:

What advice would you have for those who want to travel?

A:

Make it a priority or it won't happen.


Q:

What would you have done differently to spend less money?

A:

Nothing, we were happy with were we spent the money. We had a budget and we followed it.


Q:

If someone couldn't spend much though what would you suggest?

A:

We could have saved a lot on accommodation, dorm rooms etc. We also spent a lot of money doing things like scuba diving, hot air balloon rides etc. It's not so the much traveling that's expensive, it's the activities.


Q:

What countries did you visit in Asia and what did you like best?

A:

Nepal, Tibet, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore & Japan.

I want to go back to Japan (we were only there for 4 days), Indonesia and Malaysia. Japan to really see the country, we just visited a friend in Tokyo, and Indonesia and Malaysia to do more Scuba Diving.


Q:

What's the best cheese you had on your trip?

A:

We had very little cheese, Rwanda though had nice cheese.


Q:

I'm interested in traveling one day. Not the kind where people stay in hotels, take a picture of nice architecture, post on FB etc. But I want to learn and experience the different cultures and see awesome things, either man made or natural. Is this realistic? And if it is, how do I do it?

A:

Yes,

  1. save money.
  2. get outside your comfort zone.
  3. ???
  4. come home broke.

Q:

What was the most unexpected thing that happened to you guys or that you saw?

A:

One of my favorite things we saw that I didn't expect was giraffes etc. just on the side of the road in Africa.

The most unexpected thing was probably being invited to a Bull Jumping Ceremony in Ethiopia. Note that that is not our blog in the link, but we did discuss our experience in the blog.


Q:

Did you get separated from each other for any reasons during the trip, if yes then for how long and why?

A:

Nope. Aside from her going out to get a pedicure, or me running out to get a case of beer etc.


Q:

What was the most underrated place you visited?

A:

My fiance did most of the planning, and I actively avoided researching countries so I would have as little bias as possible. Generally speaking though, the more 'off the beaten path' we got, the more the locals wanted to converse with us to learn about us. In places that are inundated with tourists it was harder to get a grasp on the local culture.


Q:

Okay, what was your personal favorite place to visit?

A:

Ethiopia, I wrote more in another post.


Q:

So where was most underrated then? As in, typically hyped up but not that great in reality?

A:

Thailand, hated it. I've heard the islands on the western side are better, but we didn't go there.


Q:

They are much better. Phuket feels more like a mall, while Koh Phangan is like a tropical paradise.

A:

Yeah, we're frustrated that we fucked that up.


Q:

What's the best country you visited? Any weird experiences?

A:

Ethiopia, I wrote why in another post.

Nothing really felt weird. We seemed to gradually transition from developed countries to developing countries to undeveloped countries. But we both agreed that if we were to fly straight from Canada to Uganda or something similar it would be pretty crazy.


Q:
  1. Which country did you like the least, and why?

  2. Which country had the best cuisine?

  3. Which countries would you like to visit again?

A:

Thailand, it just felt like drunk tourists everywhere. We were also tired at that point of the trip and probably should have tried harder to find what we were looking for.

I loved the food in Southern Africa, and while it contradicts my previous statement, a good Pad Thai is awesome.

Iceland, Tanzania (and Zanzibar), Malaysia, Scotland, S. Africa, and Egypt (Didn't see the pyramids due to the problems in Cairo)


Q:

I really want to travel to all these places around the world, but I know my (future) job will greatly hamper me from that. I've always wanted to go to Ireland, Iceland, and/or Italy/other EU coutries.

If I were to save for and book a trip (approx 2 weeks in length) for next summer, what do you suggest?

A:

Depends on your budget and what you want to see.


Q:

Congratulations on getting back home safely. Anything scary happen where you feared for your well-being or even life?

A:

Thanks!

Gorge swing at Vic falls, I wrote why in another post.


Q:

Me and my girlfriend want to do this, but have no idea where to begin. We're both 21, she's a college student in her senior year, and I just kinda work jobs. Mostly in child education. Where do we begin and how can we accomplish traveling?

A:

Save money, look at what you want to see/experience and plan, but mostly save money.


Q:

Did you plan on spending 90k? Or did you just travel until you guys ran out of money? How were the finances established?

A:

Planned on 90, had enough left over to cover bills for a couple months once we got home.


Q:

How much planning beforehand went into your travelling or was it more spontaneous?

A:

Big picture was planned, week to week was spontaneous.


Q:

As a geologist, what was the most geologically interesting area you visited?

A:

Great rift valley in Africa, specifically Hell's Gate National park.


Q:

Is she still your fiancée?

A:

Yes.


Q:

What country seemed the most different from home? How?

Were there certain things you decided you wanted to do before coming to the area or did you just listen to the locals and do what seemed fun? What was the most surprising thing you did?

Where'd you spend the shortest amount of time? The longest? Did anywhere you visited make you think, "Wow, I could see myself living here"?

A:

The middle east was probably the most different. We'd be eating at cafes in the evenings (we were there during Ramadan, so the only places to eat in the day was KFC and McDonald), and not only was my fiance the only blond around, she was the only women out. We very rarely saw women in the streets in Egypt & Jordan.

We had a list of things we wanted to do, mostly 'big ticket' things. For smaller things we mostly talked to other tourists/locals.

The shortest was 3 days in Rwanda, all we did was the genocide memorial, that was very well done, I don't think anyone walked away without crying. Then the mountain gorillas.

We spent a month in Nepal because we had to wait on Visas for Tibet, and a month in Thailand as we met friends there.

I really like Kuala Lumpur, but we found that we are extremely lucky to be from Canada, and both agreed that we don't really want to live anywhere else for long term.


Q:

If you had to choose: which country would you most want to live in?

A:

Canada.


Q:

Did you ever visit a place where you thought your life could be in danger? Local gangs etc..? Also did you visit Central America?

A:

Not really, had a scare on the gorge swing at vic falls I wrote about on another post.

Not this trip, probably will get there at some point though.


Q:

I'm also (an ex) Geologist and I took 2 years off to travel. I hit the Middle East, Europe and some of Asia. Question being - how did you find Africa (in general) to travel? Did you do it organised in any way or completely on the fly? Visas? Any issues? Thanks for the AMA. Keep up the good work. Also, how'd you get back into Geology at the end?

A:

We traveled Africa on an overlanding tour. We used a company called Overland Oasis. it was great.

I have a guy that finds me consulting work (wellsite geology) he just slit me back into the mix.

Why did you get out of geology?


Q:

Ok, cool. I'll check it out. Seems that you've covered Africa quite extensively. All on the tour? Link a few tours up? $$$? Lucky you. That's great. I have 4 years experience in sedimentary hosted Uranium deposits - so quite specified. I got out to travel while I was still "young". I've moved to Europe and there isn't much work for my background. Not sure I'd get back into it anyways, it is a tough life to live between site/mine/rig/remote and the office. There were definitely pros though - the pay was great and I did see and do some amazing things in cool places. Travel is the best and the job did enable me to save $ to take that time off and have fun globetrotting. No regrets.

A:

Dude, check out the Athabasca basin in Northern Saskathewan, lots of uranium mining in a sed basin.

This is the exact tour we did.


Q:

Kinda late but : Did you come to South Africa? What did you think of it?

In which country/City did you have the best experience i.e where the people were friendliest ,the city was exciting ,the culture was amazing and where you generally enjoyed it most?

A:

We were in SA, but didn't spend much time there. Cape Town was a cool city, and Stellenbosch was nice, taste wine.

I want to back and see the Garden Route.


Q:

Any tip on how to find cheap flights to Europe from other places other than the US?

A:

nope, we barely flew, and aside from asia had flights booked well in advance.


Q:

What was your favourite place? Why?

A:

Ethiopia, The tribes in the south, the twist on Christianity in the middle, and the Simian mountains in the North. The entire country was beautiful.