We’ve been back in the U.S. for a little over a month now. We spent a fun (rainy) weekend at the Kentucky Derby, met up with friends in KY and Indiana, visited Ohio’s Amish Country, and we’re currently in Pittsburgh, PA. The majority of the last month we spent catching up with family and friends and preparing for the “North America Leg” of our World Trip. The more we talk to others about our trip, the more we notice that everyone asks almost the same questions. We definitely don’t mind this and love reflecting on the last year and a half of travels. But I figured I’d answer some of these “frequently asked questions” for our readers and those that we haven’t been able to catch up with in awhile. I know you all are busy, as are we, so I’ll cut to the chase and tell you what everyone seems to want to know about our trip so far.
This is definitely the hardest question that we are always asked! We have “favorites” about every month or so for all different reasons. I’ll list of some of mine from the last 18 months in no specific order – Argentina, Antarctica, Peru, the Galapagos Islands, Estonia, Poland, the Greek Islands, Germany, Ireland, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. That’s a long and random list but there’s no way I could pick just one or two. Bryan likes the feeling of going back in time, so some of his top favorites are Ethiopia, Bolivia, Romania, and Georgia. Keep in mind that we still have North America, Asia, Australia, and some of the Middle East left to travel. I’m sure our lists will continue to grow!
Our parents are super generous and kind but no, they aren’t funding our 2.5 year trip around the world! That would be ridiculous. This is the question everyone wants to know – how can you afford to quit your jobs and travel around the world for years?? Well, Bryan worked as an engineer on nuclear aircraft carriers for 10 years where he put in thousands of hours of overtime, and I worked as a governess (nanny/tutor) for a family for almost 7 years after college. We saved money and made conservative financial decisions (buying only used cars, paying off credit cards every month, etc.). So when we decided to take this trip we actually had the money to do so. Everyone chooses to spend their money on different things. We’ve always chosen to spend ours on travel and other fun experiences.
We are super fortunate that Bryan’s sister Kelly and her husband Buddy are watching them when we are out of the country. They are the best dog-sitters we could ever ask for. Bryan fenced-in their yard and gave them our jetski in return for two years of dog-sitting. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate it because this trip wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for them. There is no way I’d get rid of my dogs! Bryan knew that was a deal-breaker for me. Rawley and Moses love living with them – they have a big house and yard and two boys and a Chihuahua to play with. Besides Rawley eating Kelly’s underwear, the dog-sitting seems to have gone smoothly. Now the dogs are traveling with us around the US and Canada. It should be interesting!
I used to be kind of a picky eater when it came to meat. Africa cured me of that real quick. In the beginning my stomach could barely handle beef, but in the last few months I’ve eaten goat, sheep, ostrich, and even grubs. Bryan loves meat. If it used to be alive, he’ll eat it. He ate a bunch of different types of “plains game” in Africa – warthog (Yes, poor Pumba!), impala, oryx, kudu, springbok, guinea foul, cape buffalo, etc. Believe it or not, he tried all of those in one evening – including 7 warthog steaks because Pumba was his favorite. Erik ate even more than that. Bryan also ate fried guinea pig in Ecuador and we both had a mondongo soup in Columbia (with all sorts of weird animal body parts) and we sampled cow tongue in Bolivia. By the way, the grubs just tasted like the tomatoes they were sautéed in but they were chewy like gummy worms and looked like big maggots. Ostrich burgers and steaks are phenomenal though. I’m sure our list of weird foods will get even more bizarre when we travel through Asia this year!
I wish! I used to think that a year would be plenty of time to see everything. But now our trip has stretched to 2.5 years and there will still be so many places we didn’t hit (even though we travel at a fast pace). The more you travel, the more you hear of other intriguing places to see from other travelers. All the more reason to continue traveling after we are back to reality! We already have some future trips in mind.
Hands down – it’s South Africa. It has a little bit of everything we love – tons of exotic animals, outdoor activities (like hiking, bungee jumping, and great white shark cage diving), beautiful beaches (with penguins!), a phenomenal wine country, gorgeous mountains, delicious food, and all the comforts of the Western World. They even speak English. The only things missing are our family and friends! We also wouldn’t mind living in Germany or Ireland.
That’s an easy question, too – our friend in Nairobi, Kenya. He is the Mission Director of USAID in Eastern Africa. The stories he tells and the things he’s done and seen will leave you spell-bound for hours. He saves and changes lives for a living. He’s been everywhere and seen everything – he makes us look boring! 🙂 He speaks several languages, including Arabic, Kiswahili, and some languages I’ve never heard of or can pronounce. He’s a fabulous host, too, and we were thrilled to stay in his gorgeous gated home in the beautiful suburbs of Nairobi and have a vacation from our tent. 🙂
Despite Bryan’s claims that he’s “never going to work or do anything like that ever again,” that’s just not realistic. The money is going to run low sooner rather than later. So we will have to get jobs and all that adult stuff. I have some ideas of what I’d like to do but I think Bryan’s still in denial about it. 🙂 I’m both scared and excited about our future after travel. But for right now, “work” is a four letter word for us and we’re just enjoying our last year of travels as much as possible.
This was my mom’s questions and she started gagging when I told her the answer – it was a week with no showers when we were in Ethiopia. Baby wipes do wonders, by the way. We finally got to shower in a river which was awesome – except for when the local kids tried to take my shoes, clothes, and towel! I’ve come a long way since leaving for this trip, especially considering I used to take two showers a day. I don’t color my hair or wear make-up anymore either (except for eye make-up on special occasions) and it feels great. But don’t worry, the majority of the time during our travels we shower every day or every other day.
This was a hard one for the “crazy laundry lady.” I don’t know why, but I love to do laundry. But in Africa, I went 5 months with no washer or dryer – hand-washing in a bucket only! I pack about 6 pairs of underwear and Bryan only has 2. Yes, I hand wash his underwear. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. Right now I’m getting spoiled in our camper because I have a real closet (instead of just a backpack) so I brought a ton of clothes and shoes. 🙂
We will spend the next 4-5 months traveling around the areas of the US and Canada that we haven’t been. This wasn’t part of the original plan (or budget) but we realized that there are so many parts of our own country and continent that we haven’t seen and were curious about. We are driving our Ford Expedition and pulling a 19-foot camper. The dream plan is to make it up to Alaska but we shall see. We decided to do this before going to Asia, Australia, and New Zealand because of the seasons. Driving to Alaska in December would be a disaster but summer should be the perfect time.
Thanks for following our journeys! Feel free to ask us any other questions! I apologize for my lack of posts while we were in Africa but as you can imagine the internet was super slow if we could even find it. I hope to catch you up on our African Adventures soon! 🙂