Frequently Asked Questions

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travel FAQsQuestions about my 15-month trip around the world

What made you decide to take a big trip?
Where did you go?
Where was your favorite destination?
What was it like to return after the trip?
Is round-the-world travel safe?
Is round-the-world travel sane?
How much does a year of travel cost?
Did you have travel or health insurance during the trip?
Did you keep track of every little detail while traveling around the world?

Questions about this website & blog

What’s the purpose of this site?
How long have you been blogging?
What do you hope to get out of this site?
How can I set something similar up?
Are you a real person? And if so, can I contact you?
How can I stay connected with you & your website?

Questions about Berlin

Coming soon!

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Sunset in Dunedin, New Zealand

Questions about my 15-month trip around the world

What made you decide to take a big trip?
I guess you could say I had lots of inspiration. But mostly, it was a short weekend trip I took to Iceland in 2009 which got me thinking: “I love traveling and need to find a way to do it more often.” That pretty much led to me trying to transfer within my international company, and when that eventually failed, I knew I had to make it happen for myself. What were my reasons for wanting to backpack my way around the world? Well, here’s 5 reasons, though there are actually hundreds. Once I decided to take the big trip, it was pretty smooth sailing. Kind of. I mean, there was a lot of stress (some of which I outlined in my post on how to plan a RTW trip in 23 steps.

Where did you go?
My first attempt at an itinerary didn’t actually pan out. I wrote the itinerary five months before leaving on my trip and besides the one week I spent researching it (including plane, train & boat connections between destinations, typical prices and backpacker trails), I didn’t look at that original itinerary until about a month into my round-the-world trip. By that point, I was well behind schedule and instead just went with the flow.

My BIG trip took me to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia over 15 months. I went pretty slow at points, taking on internships or just staying put in some big cities, but here’s a rough outline of what I did and for how long (in order from when I departed to when I ran out of money):

  • Spain: one month, mostly in the south
  • Morocco: 10 days across Chefchaouen, Fez and Marrakech
  • Egypt: one month, all the major tourist spots along the Nile, plus a week chilling out in the Sinai
  • Jordan: a quick visit to Petra
  • Israel & Palestine: one week backpacking before I signed up for a 3-month internship at a political non-profit
  • India: three months backpacking… Bombay, Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Varnassi, Goa, Hampi, Bangalore, Chennai, Munnar, Kochi, Gokarna and lots of other smaller cities too
  • Thailand: one month, most of it spent in Bangkok
  • Laos: 10 days which wasn’t enough
  • Cambodia: one incredible month
  • Vietnam: one delicious month!

By that point in my trip, I was pretty low on cash, but instead of flying straight home to America to start the job-search, I opted to spend a month in Berlin looking for a job. In that month I was able to get a job offer (albeit not a very good one) and found a way to live in Germany.

Where was your favorite destination?
This is an impossible question to answer but one that everyone seems to want to know! I’ve had a lot of favorite places around the world over the years. Ask anybody when I’m new in town and I’ll almost always declare my current location as “the best place ever!” (I’m pretty easy to please, guys!) But during my RTW (round-the-world) adventure, there were some stand-out destinations:

  • Israel was incredibly important because I learned so much…about myself, about the region, about history and about politics.
  • India was truly amazing. There’s no place on earth like it and though it was often challenging, in hindsight it was probably one of the few destinations that ever had a serious impact on my life philosophy. India made a big difference in defining who I am.
  • Cambodia was one of the most surprising countries I visited. I didn’t expect to fall in love with the country, but thanks to some amazing travel buddies, some delicious meals and some truly humbling experiences, leaving Cambodia left me with a hole in my heart.
  • If Cambodia was surprising, Vietnam was even more so. The stories about Vietnam range from the horrible to the delightful, but thanks to some gracious hosts (family relatives, actually), I really enjoyed my time there. Plus the food can’t be beat!

What was it like to return after the trip?
Well, strictly speaking, I didn’t truly ever “return.” Rather than return to the home I’d left in Boston, I was able to successfully get a job at a start up company in Berlin, Germany. Thanks to an amazing offer by the German government that allows Americans German residency, I was able to secure a visa to live and work in Europe. Which is what I’m doing today.

Is round-the-world travel safe?
I traveled around the world for over 15 months and the only time I had a serious issue with safety was when I was pick-pocked. In Berlin. After I’d already been living here for months.

Is round-the-world travel sane?
As far as I know, yes. I don’t think anyone expected me to take this type of trip. I know it sounded crazy to me before I took the trip, but this book also helped me realize I wasn’t alone with my big trip ideas. After the fact, I can declare with full confidence that the $20,000 I spent traveling around the world was the best money I ever spent.

Big Trip
Great book!

How do you go about planning a BIG trip?
Planning a big trip takes a lot of mental work. First I had to trick my mind into thinking it was a good idea. Then I had to convince family and friends that I wasn’t crazy (thankfully this wasn’t so difficult—we’ve got a family history of big trips!). One of the first things I did when starting to plan my RTW trip was to purchase this Lonely Planet book. It was full of inspiring ideas (and beautiful photos).

Then I connected with past & present RTW travelers on Twitter. You’ll end up reading a lot of travel blogs (check my travel links for some of the best) and travel essays, notably Rolf Pott’s Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel which is probably the absolute best book on contemporary RTW travel. It pretty much made me more excited than anything else. And almost made my Dad book a ticket too!

A lot of people have done this before you and a lot will do it afterward. Luckily, travelers are generally pretty open to meeting other travelers. And we do love to talk about travel. So please feel free to e-mail me/Facebook me/tweet me your questions and hopefully I can help out.

How much does a year of travel cost?
Of course it depends on where you’re going on a big trip, but really, a lot of the world is cheaper to live in than where you’re probably living today. I think you’d be surprised how little you actually need. For me, I spent $20,000 on almost 15 months of travel around the world. Another great article on the subject is this one: Travel full-time for less than $14,000 per year

Did you have travel or health insurance during the trip?
Yes! I had a health insurance provider which focused on long-term travelers and those traveling abroad from the USA. My travel health insurance was through the International Medical Group, and to be honest, I have little memory about where I first found out about them. I’m pretty sure it was through a forum or website. It was definitely one of the most affordable options for a 1-year policy. I never actually used the insurance except once when I flashed my paper (yes, paper) insurance card at a hospital in Spain. I was there for an eye allergy but wouldn’t have had to pay anything for the service anyways.

As far as travel insurance for my electronics, I didn’t actually have anything during the bulk of my long-term travels. In the past, I’ve had policies with homeowner insurance companies which offer coverage for select products (laptops and expensive electronic equipment). And that’s what I’d definitely recommend for those that want the travel insurance.

These days, I typically use World Nomads travel insurance which covers all the basics: medical, evacuation, some products, baggage and even some adventure sports. If you’re interested, get a quote from World Nomads in the box below and I receive a small commission (without affecting the price on your end whatsoever).

Travel Insurance: simple & flexible

 

What you need to know about World Nomads travel insurance

    1. You can buy while away from home

 

  • Available to people from 150 countries, travelling worldwide

 

 

 

 

  • Cover your adventure, including over 100 sports & activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you keep track of every little detail while traveling around the world?
No, I didn’t actually. I kept track of some details here and there, and I kept a Moleskine diary during almost the entirety of my travels, but I didn’t tally the number of hostels I visited, the trains I took, the boats, the flights, the miles, the boys I kissed or any other details.

Lots of travel bloggers who go on round-the-world trips, do, though. And they’re some of the most interesting “trip reports” if you want a clear-cut idea of what a big trip is like. Here’s some that I particularly enjoyed:

  • Jaime from BreakawayBackpacker details the random statistics from 2 years of backpacking, including the number of cities visited (and top 5 favorites), border crossings, kisses, sexual encounters, airports, postcards sent home, hair cuts and the number of times he was arrested. See his travel stats here.

Questions about this website & blog

What’s the purpose of this site?
It’s an excellent way to meet new people, yeah? I initially set up my blog to keep me professionally active while I traipsed around the world. My good ol’ American upbringing had me pretty nervous about quitting a job during the height of the recession, spending all my hard-earned savings, and not having a plan for my return. So, to calm my nerves, I set up this blog and website as a way to practice my web design skills—and to learn new ones like social media, blogging, SEO and marketing.

Now that I’m no longer a permanent nomad, this website has morphed to become a place to find my personal recommendations for destinations around the world. My hipster city guides point readers toward the coolest and most hip things to do in cities across the world. And the blog updates highlight some of the more interesting and unique events and experiences I have while traveling.

How long have you been blogging?
This blog started in mid-October 2009 but didn’t really become a decent travel blog until December 2009. Once I started on my RTW travels in May 2010, things started to pick up. And ever since it’s redesign in 2012, the blog is continually growing

What do you hope to get out of this site?
Blogging has proved to be an excellent way to meet people with similar interests. Originally, this site started as a way to better communicate with other travel bloggers & friends on Twitter. Sometimes 140 characters wasn’t enough to ask a question or get feedback while planning my trip.

Now that I’m living as an expat in Europe, this website serves as a source for the best indie travel recommendations for major destinations around the world.

How can I set something similar up?
My basic rules for successful blogging:

  1. Be real.
  2. Use Twitter. (Don’t automate your social media, though)
  3. Interact with your readers and other influential people (on and off-line).
  4. Look into purchasing useful resources on the subject. For travel blogging, I’d highly recommend Travel Blog Success. It’s a useful guide and the forum alone is a great way to ask questions & get feedback. If you’d like a less interactive (but still amazingly useful) resource for setting up a successful travel blog, than I’d also definitely recommend “How to Make Money with Your Travel Blog” by NomadicMatt. That ebook has proven to be one of the most useful tools I had when setting up my blog in 2009.

Are you a real person? And if so, can I contact you?
Um, yes. And please do contact me! I love meeting new people and interacting with strangers. You can e-mail, tweet me (@travelsofadam) or connect on whichever social network you prefer. There are lots of ways to contact me, including the following:

Travel RSS @travelsofadam facebook.com/travelsofadam youtube.com/travelsofadam FourSquare

How can I stay connected with you and your website?
Glad you asked! There are three basic ways to get blog updates:

  1. Visit travelsofadam.com directly. Consider making it a bookmark for easy access. There are usually at least 2 new posts per week.
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  3. Subscribe to the monthly Travels of Adam newsletter. In it, you’ll find information on the latest travel contests, a featured destination with exclusive photos, travel tips, favorite charities and personal updates on my travel plans! Be sure to check the tick mark to receive free blog updates as well! And if you subscribe, you’ll also receive a free copy of my ebook featuring my 5 Wonderfully Simple Life Lessons.