Number of kilometers we traveled. Lisa has an app called ‘Polar Steps’ that tracked many of the logistics and made it easy to keep us up to date with our trip.
Distance in Km from London to Buenos Aires This was our longest flight as we flew from Germany to London and then down to Buenos Aires on a flight that left December 28th and arrived in Buenos Aires on December 29th. Just over 14 hours flight time.
Distance in Kilometers we Drove in Morocco We drove one big ‘loop’ in Morocco that started in Casablanca and took us to Mekenes, Chefchaouen, Fez, Merzouga, Ouarzazate, Marrakesh, Essaouria and back to Casablanca over 3 weeks. Average driving time per day was 6 hours on travel days but our longest driving day was 10 hours.
Kilometers Traveled at Sea Aboard the ‘Azamara Pursuit’. This 2 week cruise ship was the most indulgent form of travel we spent money on, but it was worth every penny. From Buenos Aires, we went to Montevideo, and down the coast to Ushuaia, over to the Ross ice shelf in Antarctica, back up the coast to Puerto Madryn then Punto Del Este in Uruguay and back to Argentina.
Distinctly different places we slept. These included Airbnbs, high and low end hotels and friends that we stayed with/at around the world. We stayed at Airbnbs the most as they were budget friendly, but we used Hotels.com and Booking.com quite a bit to also use their complimentary free night after 9 stays.
Free Hotels Nights We redeemed 10 free nights of accommodation through Hilton honors and Hotels.com. They were 7 free nights of Hilton stays in Rio De Janeiro, Vienna and Serbia with 3 free nights of Hotels.com that were averaged across the amount of money spent per night on the platform.
Average Cost Per Night We filtered for rooms between $50 and $70 per night to keep costs down. Traveling to destinations during their ‘off’ season was key as was using Airbnb which generally had cheaper accommodation but we found some youth hostels with our own bathroom in the $40-$50 range.
Non-refundable payment we ‘lost’. When COVID-19 ended our trip a month early, we could not make it to Bonaire where we paid $550 for 9 days of accommodation, which was a splurge for us. The non-refundable rate can be used up to December 31st, 2020, but we doubt that we’ll get back there in time.
Number of blog posts. These chronicled topics including travel, education, technology, memoirs, parenting and homeschooling since our trip started on June 17th. We started our ‘wordpress’ blog the summer before and coincidentally wrote 42 posts on trip planning.
1 Number of education conferences attended on our year abroad. This was not professional per se, but was rather a hiring conference that secured us jobs in Lima for the upcoming school year. We had planned to go to another conference in London as ‘back up’ in case we didn’t get hired, but cancelled this so we could travel to Antarctica.
Number of ‘Youtube’ videos made. Making videos was time consuming and lack of consistent internet meant long wait times for uploading before pushing out new content. Ava got quite good at narrating them when we started a Mongolia series in October of 2018, but after Antarctica in January 2020, we abandoned video production as even our best videos didn’t get enough views to justify continued use.
Highest amount of monthly viewers on ‘Pinterest’. I’d pin posts from our blog to our travel boards here and use ‘tailwinds’ to re-share daily to groups.
Subscribers to our blog. It was a slow but steady uptick and I was happy when friends and readers commented on posts, in which case, we always wrote back.
Number of Instagram posts. Instagram was a nice microblogging platform which was our go-to site for putting out new content quickly. 395 subscribers followed our trip around the world.
Number of ‘Twitter’ followers. We didn’t share much on Twitter, but I often joined webinars and chats from other travel bloggers on how to engage your readers with new content and search engine optimization.
8 Families we stayed with around the world for a total of 42 days. Macs in Budapest for 14 days, Fossgreens in Dar Es Salaam for 5 days, Kent in Nairobi for 3 days, Pavs in Cairo for 4 days, Vaughn and Ally in Amman for 5 days, Cabalunas in Muscat for 4 days, Smiths in Dubai for 6 days, Persauds in Curitiba for 5 days.
Friends we didn’t stay with, but met. Anita and Karen during a day trip to Helsinki from Tallinn. The Hawken family in Budapest. Steven Ashcraft from our school in Thailand met Gary in Vienna for a softball tournament. The Kumars from our early days at SSIS met us for dinner while we were in Cairo. Our friend Lori from South Korea and Vietnam who joined us for Christmas in Berlin. Jim and Michelle from South Korea who met us for dinner in Dubai. The Greenes who we worked with us in South Korea, and met us for dinner in their apartment complex. ‘Johnno’ who joined us in Rio De Janiero, and Jackie and her husband who joined us for lunch in Lima.
Number of Concerts Attended. Seeing live music over the summer has been a family tradition and we were glad to continue it on our trip. We started by seeing Bon Jovi in Warsaw, Poland and then went to two separate days of the Sziget music festival in Budapest in which we saw Ed Sheeran, 21 Pilots and the Foo Fighters. Finally, Brett and I took a train to see ‘Metallica’ play in Vienna.
Number of trains taken around Europe. Budva, Montenegro to Belgrade Serbia, Gdansk, Poland to Krakow Poland, Krakow Poland to Wroclaw Poland. Trains were only slightly more expensive than buses and the dining cars made for a nice place to play cards and pass the time while nibbling on food.
Buses taken. Kotor to Budva, Budva to Bar, Tallinn to Riga, Riga to Vilnius, Vilnius to Warsaw, Warsaw to Gdansk, Wroclaw to Prague, Prague to Cesky Krumlov, Cesky Krumlov to Bratislava, Bratislava to Budapest, Arusha to Nairobi, Buenos Aires to Rosario, Rosario to Cordoba, Cordoba to Buenos Aires, Colonia to Montevideo, Montevideo to Villa Seranna, Villa Seranna to Punto Del Este, Punto Del Este to La Pedrera, La Pedrera to Montevideo, Montevideo to Colonia, Sao Paulo to Parachay, Parachay to Rio De Janiero, Lima to Paracas, Paracas to Huachaina, Huachina to Nazca, Nazca to Arequipa, Arequipa to Lima.
Number of cars we rented. Our first car rental was for 3 weeks in Morocco. Then, we met our friends the ‘Macs’ and rented a van for 1 week in Canary Islands. We also rented a car for 2 weeks in Cypress, a car for 1 week in Jordan, a car for 1 week in Israel and finally a 1 day car rental in the United States to drive us from Salt Lake City to Ontario airport in Ontario, California.
Number of ferries we took. While in Tallinn, Estonia, we took a round trip ferry to Helsinki, Finland to meet some friends and come back later that afternoon. We also also took a 1 way ferry to Stone Town on Zanzibar, but flew back and took a round trip ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia in Uruguay.
Number of electric scooter rentals. These were primarily in Europe, but with some were in Brazil with friends. The ‘big 3’ for us were Lime, Bird and Hive and saved our legs for walking around tourist spots.
Number of flights we took. Seoul to Kotor, Belgrade to Istanbul, Istanbul to Tallinn, Budapest to Istanbul, Istanbul to Dar Es Salaam, Stone Town to Arusha, Nairobi to Dubai, Dubai to Casablanca, Casablanca to Lisbon, Lisbon to Tenerife, Tenerife to Brussels, Brussels to Malta, Malta to Istanbul, Istanbul to Muscat, Muscat to Dubai, Dubai to Cairo, Cairo to Luxor, Luxor to Cairo, Cairo to Lebanon, Lebanon to Larnaca, Larnaca to Amman, Tel Aviv to Berlin, Berlin to Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls, Iguazu Falls to Curitiba, Curitiba to Sao Paulo, Rio De Janiero to Lima, Lima to Salt Lake City.
Flights from the number above that we got free on points for all three of us. Belgrade to Istanbul and onto Tallinn on Turkish Airways, Budapest to Istanbul and onto Dar Es Salaam on United, Malta to Istanbul and onto Muscat on United, Rio De Janiero to Lima on United.
Complimentary flights we received. While standing in line waiting to be evacuated from Lima, Peru we received notification that we had been selected to join the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints for a repatriation flight back to Salt Lake City. Saved us $7,000.
Number of Ubers we took. Uber was our global ride sharing platform and prevented us from getting price gouged by taxi drivers. Uber operated in most countries of the world that we traveled to, but ‘Bolt’ was the only ride sharing platform in Malta.
Different forms of transportation. These included traveling by camel, donkey, cruise ship, ferry, water taxi, subway, train, trolley/tram, jet plane, prop plane, speed boat, car, pick-up truck, bus, safari-car, minivan, horse, electric scooter, funicular, cable car, gondola, shore boat, dune buggy and lots of walking. Interestingly, we didn’t ride a motorcycle or bicycle once.
Number of countries we transited through. Russia was a quick overnight en route to Montenegro. We touched Bosnia on the train to Belgrade and flew through Istanbul, Turkey 3 times. Our bus from Lithuania to Warsaw took us just over the border of Belarus and we had stop overs in Portugal and Belgium on flights around Europe. We also had stop overs in Lebanon, Palestine and London, but did not visit them.
Number of countries that we visited. After starting in South Korea and ending in the United States we were fortunate to visit Montenegro, Serbia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Tanzania, Kenya, Spain, Morocco, Malta, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Cypress, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, Antarctica, Brazil and Peru.
Number of countries we missed. Lebanon was on our list, but anti-government protests diverted our two weeks there to nearby Cypress. We also missed the Falkland Islands on our Antarctica cruise because of rough seas and we had to shave just over a month off our trip due to COVID-19 which caused us to miss Colombia, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
Longest time in one country. We spent nearly a month in Tanzania. We flew into Dar Es Salaam, spent 2.5 weeks on Zanzibar island and then a week in north on safari.
Shortest time in one country. We took a ferry from Tallinn, Estonia to Helsinki, Finland to visit 2 friends of ours. The same day ferry was just 100$ for all 3 of us. Fun fact: Finland boasts 1 sauna for every 2 people in the country!
Longest time without packing. Repacking our bag was exhausting so it was nice to settle in when we could. The two week stay in one place was a tie between Budapest and our 2 week cruise on the Azamara pursuit.
Continents visited. These included Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, Antarctica and North America. Ava was bummed we weren’t going to visit Australia, but as Lisa and I have both lived there as foreign exchange students, we’ve seen a lot of the ‘land down under’ and thought we could send Ava there to study when she gets older.
Wonders of the World Visited. Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Petra in Jordan, Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, Jersualem’s Old City in Palestine, Great Migration of the Serengeti and Maasai Mara in Tanzania and Kenya, Natural Harbor of Rio De Janeiro, Polar Ice Caps in Antarctica, Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil and the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. We missed Machu Picchu when were were forced to evacuate Peru due to COVID-19.
Currency and Costs
Polish Zlotty cost of a slow train ride from Warsaw to Gdansk. This train ride in Poland came to about 30$ The trains were comfortable and easy to get around but the ‘fast’ train was about 50$ and shaved one and a half hours off the trip, but as we had nothing but time, we just sat back and enjoyed the ride.
Health Insurance Costs for a Year. Our previous employer had health insurance for us through the end of July, but after that, we bought travelers health insurance through ‘World Nomads’ for coverage outside the US and on the open exchange for the two months were were home in the United States. Total hospital or Dr. visits on our year abroad? Zero.
Average Cost of Speeding Ticket in Moroccan Dirhams. Morocco led the trip by highest number of speeding tickets, in which case we got 3. They were actually bribes and we ended up paying less if we declined the paperwork! With 150 Dirhams amounting to $15 USD, we didn’t mind it much.
Cost of Argentinian Steak Dinner. Despite using the Peso, Argentina’s currency uses the same US dollar sign symbol. We had more than a few steak dinners that came to this amount ($40 USD) which included delectable chimchurri sauce, a variety of meats and a nice wine or IPA.
Serbian Dinars we couldn’t exchange. Serbia uses a closed currency which means you can’t exchange it back to any other currency unless at a bank downtown, so when we got to the airport, we were stuck with the amount we pulled out of ATMs (about $160 USD) Luckily, one of the travel shops sold wireless, noise cancelling headphones so I got a set that doubled as an early birthday present with this leftover money.
Jordanian Dinars for road-side Cardamom Coffee. This was one of the more peculiar coffee drinks we had on our trip and got one with our friend Vaughan en route to a Wadi hike. This coffee is the most pungent we’ve ever had and the spices make it taste like drinking a cup of ‘potpourri’. Not bad for only $1.50
Price for a 2 Week cruise down to Antarctica from Buenos Aires Argentina in USD. This included berths, unlimited food and drinks, gym access and $1,000 of onboard credit.
Cost in Egyptian Pounds to Charter a Driver for the Southern Pyramids. This amounted to $80 USD and we had a driver drive us to the Saqqara or ‘step’ pyramid, the Red and Bent Pyramids south of Giza plateau in Cairo. These pyramids were great for exploring!
Cost of Sending a Package in Tanzanian Shillings from Zanzibar to the United States. Tanzanian Shillings pronounced ‘Tish’ are the local currency but USD are also widely accepted, so when paying, you have to say ‘Tish’ or ‘Dollars’. In this case, sending a package from a post office in Zanzibar (that, coincidentally was next to Freddy Mercury’s childhood home), was $6 USD.