9.12 RTW Trip Abstracts

The section Books - Online & Offline has links to complete RTW stories.

This section contains short summaries from those who have completed RTW trips. If you have an RTW abstract that you would like added, please contact me. It should include dates, paths, costs, type of airline ticket, companion information, and whether you worked. A common question is how much you should budget for daily expenses in a country or region. Examples of costs should include some information about the level of 'luxury' or lack of it, especially in overland travel, accommodations, and food (e.g., restaurants, food stalls, buying and cooking your own, etc.). Questions that I am personally interested in:

"This is a good idea in case someone has a specific question relating to one region/country, or is traveling between certain regions. I'd suggest a chronological listing of major cities, or the country name if extensively traveled. If you've been to Guilin, China but not much else, put down China (Guilin), but if you spent a while tooling around Thailand with Peace Corp volunteers, just say Thailand." <Alan Nelson>

Marc & Karin Brosius
July 1995 - Dec 1997 ($17,000)

Our 29 months (arrows are flights): Florida --> Dallas --> Denver, San Francisco, Yosemite, Los Angeles, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia --> Australia --> New Zealand --> Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, China, Pakistan, India, Nepal, India --> Netherlands --> Florida --> Caribbean --> Florida --> Caribbean --> Florida.

We came home early to see family and save up for future travel. The places we want to visit next are: Peru, The Mideast, Southern Africa, Southern India, Burma, and Eastern Indonesia.



Personal changes: The Big Change was the that we now know how cheaply we can live, and realize how much we need to earn to retire, instead of working open-ended and scared like the rest until we are too Old. No big changes otherwise -- we left with enough maturity and set philosphical values, so we just became more focused in the things we like, such as travel writing and playing with computers, besides thinking about more travel! Concentrating on good friends, and not letting others waste our lives away. We are more tolerant of others, and we even need less in life to get by -- mainly food. We aren't so easily impressed or excited anymore!

For the full story, visit our "Sporadic Dispatches" at PerpetualTravel.com/travel

Eberhard & Catherine Brunner
Jun 1991 - Dec 1991 ($12,000)

USA (San Francisco) - USA (Los Angeles) - Tahiti - Cook Islands - Fiji - New Zealand (Auckland to Christchurch) - Australia (Sydney to Darwin up the East Coast and then to Northern Territories) - Indonesia (Bali, Java) - Singapore - Malaysia (West Coast of Malay Peninsula) - Thailand (up to Bangkok, then North East) - Austria (Vienna) - Germany (Munich)


Low Points:

Keith Conover
Aug 1992 - Nov 1993 (~ $7,000)

Indonesia (Bali, Java, Sumatra) - Malaysia (Penang, Kuala Lumpur) - Singapore - Indonesia (Bintan, Sumatra, Nias) - Malaysia (Penang) - Thailand - India - Nepal -India - Pakistan - China - Kazahkstan (Alma Ata) - Uzbekistan (Tashkent) - Russia (Moscow) - Lithuania - Poland - Netherlands - Belgium - France (Paris) - Spain (Barcelona, Madrid) - U.K. (London, Bristol) - Canada (Montreal)

India - $5/day
Europe - $30/day

Lawrence R. Cotter
Apr 1993 - Jun 1994

USA (California) - London - Geneva - Italy (Naples/Sorrento - Venice & vicinity) - Basel - Berlin - Czech Republic(car) - Slovakia(car) - London via Berlin - Athens - Istanbul - Athens (plus an early 1993 trip, 90 days in Mainland Greece and Western Turkey) - Nairobi - Seychelles - Bombay - Madras - Sri Lanka(car) - Kathmandu - Tibet (air & minibus tour) - Nepal (Kathmandu, Pokhara, Gorka, Nagarkot) - Thailand (Bangkok) - Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap tour, Kompong Som) - Thailand (Central & North) - Laos (Vientiane & Luang Prabang tour) - Thailand (West Central) - Singapore - Indonesia (Java - Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta) - Bali (car) - Sulawesi - Bali - Biak - USA (Maui)(car) - USA (California).

Highlights (too many to make a good list, but a few come to mind):

Low Points (very few indeed, but here are some):

(13 months, relatively hugely expensive but I could have travelled far cheaper; I was moving solo at the low end of the guidebooks' 'inexpensive' hotels or nicer guest houses and usually modest restaurants, trying -- but not exactly succeeding -- to live within my retirement income.)

[Detailed cost information by country available on request; I haven't done the breakouts yet, but the basic data is all on disk, so the arithmetic can be done easily. Daily costs ran from under $40 to well over $80, depending on country and extras like rental cars or tours or air excursions not in my basic ticket.]

Alan L. Nelson
Feb 1992 - Aug 1992 ($10,500)

USA (Minnesota) - USA (Hawaii) - Philippines (Manila, Borhol, Boracay) - Hong Kong - China (Guilin) - Hong Kong - Thailand - Malaysia (Penang, Kuala Lumpur) - Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Bali) - Thailand - Greece (Athens, island hopping) - Turkey - Cyprus - Israel (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv) - Egypt (Cairo) - Netherlands (Amsterdam) - Switzerland (Interlakken) - Hungary (Budapest) - Czechoslovakia (Prague) - Germany (Berlin) - Netherlands (Amsterdam) - UK (London, Glasgow) - USA (Minnesota)



Chris & Graham Finlayson
Dec 1990 - Jul 1992 (~ $7,500/year)

Our route started with London-Miami (Virgin), Miami-Lima (Equatoriana). In three months approximately, we went down the coast of Peru into Chile, as far as Puerto Mont, then back up and into Bolivia to La Paz and across Lake Titicaca to Peru to get to Puno then Cuzco to hike the Inca trail to Machu Pichu. We then flew across Peru to get back to Lima for our return flight to Miami. Miami-Mexico City (Pan Am (!!)), overland to San Diego, brief excursion to San Francisco and back to LA (cheap US flights -- cannot remember the airline), LA-Tahiti, Tahiti-Rarotonga, Rarotonga-Fiji, Fiji-Auckland, and Auckland-Sydney (all those on "one" ticket with Air New Zealand -- took us about three-four months to get from LA-Australia!), and then stuff in Australia, Darwin-Timor (Merpati), overland/ship to Jakarta and then the unfortunate circumstances took us straight back to Britain (via Singapore and Bombay with Singapore airlines!).

The highlights were Peru, Indonesia and Fiji. Probably the treks in Bolivia, near La Paz, and the Inca trail to Macchu Pichu were the best. But then there was also the diving in Taveuni, Fiji and off Flores in Indonesia. And the food in Indonesia was superb. A day sailing off the Bay of Islands in New Zealand also stands out. And some relaxation time we spent on Gili Air near Lombok, Indonesia was just like being in paradise. A day we spent on a bus over the altiplano between Arica, Chile and La Paz, Bolivia is memorable but not entirely for good reasons! The Atacama Desert in Chile was fascinating…

The low points were the day my passport got stolen in Chile, and the time spent trying to get that replaced (being as we were over a 1000km from the nearest consulate, let alone embassy!); and then when my husband got malaria in Indonesia, we went through some scary days.

Brian Raisbeck

Japan (Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Tokyo) - China (Yangtze River Cruise, Xi'an, Beijing) - Hong Kong - Nepal - Tibet - India (Delhi, Agra, Dharamsala) - Jordan (Amman, Dead Sea, Petra) - Israel (Jerusalem, Sea of Galilea) - Lebanon (Beirut, Aanjar, Baalbek) - Egypt (Cairo, Nile Cruise, Karnak, Luxor, Aswan) - Greece (Greek Island Cruise, Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, Ephesus (Turkey), Meteora, Delphi) - Italy (Rome, Pompeii) - Germany (Frankfurt, Göttingen, Stuttgart, Berlin) - Liechtenstein - France (Paris, Lyon, Toulouse) - Spain (Barcelona) - Benelux Region (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) - London - California (home)


Low Points:

Biggest Lesson Learned:
Probably I learned this one from my hellish train ride from New Delhi down to Agra. I could write an entire book just on that experience alone! I rode for 3 1/2 hours in ordinary class and thought, at the time, it was a living hell. But I soon realized that my 3 1/2 hour living hell was a daily reality for 1 billion people. And that's something I never could have learned from any travelogue or book. It was something I had to learn and see for myself.

Personal Changes:
It has certainly given me a much better appreciation for life here in the States and has made the world seem like a much smaller, less daunting place.

Wish List Of Places To Visit:
St. Peterburg, S. Africa, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Easter Island, Macchu Picchu, Patagonia, Antarctica, Cambodia, Bhutan

Russell Gilbert
1991-92 ($22,000)



Average Daily Expense for the two of us in
US$ (food, lodging, public transportation)

Fiji 7   (restaurants)
New Zealand 20 43.00 (12 cities - cooking)
Australia 54 62.68 (7 cities - cooking)
Hong Kong 7 54.29 (restaurants)
Singapore 9 63.33 (restaurants)
Malaysia 9 37.77 (Kuala Lumpur, Penang - restaurants)
28 34.33 (restaurants)
  middle/Bangkok 5 34.33 (restaurants)
  north/trekking 5   (restaurants/trek meals free)
Nepal 8 29.63 (Kathmandu, Pokhara - restaurants)
India 5 42.30 (Delhi, Agra - restaurants)
Great Britain 26 65.38 (restaurants in London, cooking elsewhere)
Greece 21   (Athens, 3 islands - restaurants)
Ireland 4 54.29 (Dublin - cooking)
Northern Ireland 3 58.52 (Belfast - cooking)
France 10 43.21 (Paris - stayed with friends)
Switzerland 3 78.44 (Berne, Interlaken - cooking)
Italy 5 79.14 (Rome, Venice - restaurants)
Austria 6 53.52 (Vienna, Salzburg - restaurants)
Germany 5 107.72 (Munich, Berlin - restaurants)
Czechoslovakia 4 31.84 (Prague - restaurants)
Poland 7 33.04 (Krakow, Warsaw - restaurants)
Sweden 12 41.81 (Malmo, Stockholm - stayed with friends)
Netherlands 3 70.04 (Amsterdam - restaurants)
Belgium 1 162.37 (Brussels - splurged, our last city)
TOTAL 264 ???  

"Restaurants" implies any food we didn't cook, including food stalls and hostels that served food for a small fee. Europe was about 2-3 times more expensive than Asia. We usually spent about $30 day (for the two of us) in Asia whereas we had to really work at staying around $60/day in Europe. Visit our Around-the-World Journal at http://FarOffLands.com/

Craig and Sue Clauer
July 1997 - July 1998 ($21,000)

First half: Vancouver (Canada), London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Ukraine, Turkey (Istanbul, Troy, Ankara, Goreme, Nemrut Dagi, South coast, West coast), Egypt (Cairo, Siwa, Luxor, Dahab), Jordan, Israel.

Second half: Thailand (Bangkok, Hill Tribes, Koh Chang, Krabi), Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia for 3-1/2 months (Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Nusa Tengara, Bali)


Letdowns & Drawbacks:

This was the experience of a lifetime.I think that I'm beginning to totally bore my friends at home with travel stories.Has it changed me? Yes! I've realized that the world is a small place and that has made it so much more interesting. Every event is suddenly so much more relevant to me personally. I'm much more open to new experiences, tastes. In fact, I search them out. And in the meantime, I'm planning the next trip.


Steven Abrams
Oct 1968 - Aug 1971

Mostly Hitchhiking:

Belgium - Germany - Austria - Yugoslavia - Bulgaria - Turkey - Iran - Afghanistan - Pakistan - India - Nepal - India * Burma * Thailand
Laos - Cambodia - Thailand - Malaysia - Singapore - Sarawak - Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) - Java - Bali * Timor - Portuguese Timor * Australia(work) *
* New Zealand * Fiji * New Hebrides * New Caledonia * Australia(work) *
* Portuguese Timor (now East Timor) * Bali - Java - Singapore - Malaysia - Thailand * Hong Kong - Macao * Taiwan * Ryukus (Okinawa) * Japan * Korea * Japan * Hong Kong * Thailand * India - Nepal - Kashmir * Afghanistan * Iran * Israel * Turkey * Home.

      - denotes surface travel
      * denotes air travel


Low Points:

My return could not have been better timed. I had been involved with a national youth organisation, and it was the last night of their annual camp. All my family and friends were there so I took a train from London to Dover, where my brother met me at the station. It was the wildest coming home party anybody could have wanted -- in a large field overlooking the Channel with almost 1000 guests. Once back in Liverpool I found that things or people hadn't changed. For the last 24 years I have been a travel bore: been there, seen it, done it, photographed it, etc.

I would be delighted to hear from anybody else who did a similar trip at that time. For the whole story, visit me at "Overland to Australia"

Miriam H. Nadel
Jan 1998 - Sep 1998 ($12,000)

Los Angeles --> Nairobi (via Rome) - overland truck through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe - a second truck looping briefly into South Africa (Kruger National Park), Botswana and back to Zimbabwe --> Namibia - South Africa - Mauritius - South Africa - by sea to St. Helena, Ascension Island, The Gambia, Teneriffe, ending up in Cardiff, Wales - Scotland - England --> U.S. (Boston - NY --> San Jose - Los Angeles). After I returned and found an apartment, I did a two-week road trip to hit four of the five states I hadn't been to.

What motivated me was just a longstanding addiction to travel. I'd been to a lot of places and gotten frustrated over never having enough time. I decided that it would definitely soften the pain of turning forty and was fortunate in being able to negotiate a nine-month leave from my job. I was really on the road 7 1/2 months (plus a two-week trip in the U.S. after I came back and found a new apartment and such).


Low Points:

What changed for me over the trip (and now) had to do with increased perspective. I learned a lot about my ability to handle discomfort. I had virtually no camping experience before signing up for eight weeks of camping in Africa, so I expected this, but I hadn't expected to enjoy it so much. And then, there are the lasting friendships out of it all. I've exchanged tons of email with people I met along the way and had the immense pleasure of running into a couple I'd met on the first leg of the trip completely by surprise in Santa Monica!

As for the places I still want to go: the trans-Mongolian express from Beijing to Moscow via Mongolia is high on the list. I tend to be intrigued by remote places in general (I've even been to Antarctica) so I'd love to go to Greenland and the Faroe Island. I'm considering some of the lesser known parts of the South Pacific (Mangareva, Pitcairn) and some other remote islands, especially Tristan da Cunha (which would also be an excuse to travel on the RMS St. Helena again, which calls there once a year). On the more normal scale, I'd like to go to much of South America and Central Asia and Japan.

For stories from many trips, visit Xenophilia.net


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