I can’t believe, 365 days have passed since we started our nomadic life! Love and Road is celebrating 1 year of life, 1 year of traveling around the world. The biggest life decision we have ever made, and we never imagined we would be so happy with it! So raise your glass and have a drink with us! Now it’s time to look back and realize how far we have gone!
In October 2014 I wrote our first Love and Road review, six months traveling around the world. The post was written during a bus trip from Pamukkale to Cappadocia in Turkey. This time I’m putting my ideas together on a train trip from Amsterdam to Berlin, and from Berlin to Barcelona [you can include some awesome parties between my work]. Not sure why, but long trips make me more thoughtful and the stunning landscape passing by my window makes me realize how lucky I am.
I believe you already know how this story started, our wake-up call, how we sold everything, packed our bags and left Brazil. So now let’s go to the point: our travel costs and secrets of 1 year traveling around the world. How we did, how much we have spent, best moments, curiosities and misadventures. Laughs, tears, fears, and achievements. A true roller coaster of emotions with breathtaking views from different corners of the world. Now I can proudly say that Rob and I are professional travelers, digital nomads, travel writers, and happy people!
1 year traveling around the world – Love and Road in Figures
A world map, many dreams, and some money in the bank account. That’s how Love and Road started. To celebrate our first anniversary we gonna share with you our best and worst travel moments, and at the end of the post, you are going to find our travel bill. I´m sure you will be surprised by the amazing things we have done and the amount of money we have spent.
Continents – 3 – Africa, Asia, and Europe
Cities – 83
Different Languages – 13 [Arabic and Thai were damn difficult]
How to travel around the world? Always searching for the cheapest and smartest way!
To cross all the 15 countries, we traveled by different methods. Our backpacking trip around the world can be split in:
By Bus – 28 trips
By Car – 2 trips
By Flight – 17 trips
By Train – 11 trips
Hitchhiking – 8 trips
Boat – 7 trips
To search for the best prices for flights we use Skyscanner, it´s perfect to compare routes and fares. Most of our train trips were done in Europe with Eurail Pass, super easy, flexible and we could travel everywhere with just one ticket. Bus and boats are usually run by local companies, so the best way is to check with travel agents or at bus/boat terminals. For car rentals have a look at Discover Cars. What we like about them is that they don’t have hidden fees, so you can book without surprises.
Where to stay while traveling around the world? Our home far away from home!
We are big fans of comfy + clean + well located & cheap accommodation. Following these features we stayed in:
Airport – 2 nights [Marseille and Kuala Lumpur]
Apartment – 76 nights
Boat – 1 night
Bus – 4 nights
Campervan – 2 nights
Car – 1 night
Friend’s house – 16 nights
Hostels – 25 nights
Shared House/Apt – 78 nights
Tent – 9 nights [Moroccan Desert and SONUS Festival]
Most of our accommodation is booked through Airbnb [be smart and get 20% off on your first booking] and two of our favorite websites for hotels and hostels: AGODA and BOOKING.COM. They definitely have the best offers, good properties and you can trust in their service.
Long term travel X Shopping X Packing
The world is our address, but our house is tiny, tiny. Everything needs to fit in two 50L backpacks and two 5L small front bags. That’s it, nothing more!! Clothes, shoes, toiletries and electronic stuff. Talking about shoes, our friend Sarah put together great tips on how to choose the best travel shoes. Said that you already assumed that we can´t buy souvenirs or new clothes everywhere we go. All our purchases need to be done wisely, and every time we buy something new, an old one needs to go away. That´s what I call a minimalist style. 😉
We can’t accumulate stuff, nor carry an extra backpack. Our backpacks can only weigh 15 kg [the weight allowed on most of the low-cost airline companies]. So what did we do with our used stuff? We donated. We put everything in plastic bags and give it to people on the streets. A simple way to help and say thanks for all the blessings we received during the year.
So far, in this 1 year of traveling around the world we bought:
» New clothes:
Rob – 4 T-Shirts + 2 pair of jeans + underwear + socks + 2 jumper + more jackets [He lost two jackets this year] + gloves + 2 pair of runners.
Nat – 4 tops + 2 pair of flat sandals + 1 skirt + 1 pair of jeans + 2 legging + 1 jacket + gloves + woolen hat + 1 pair of a fashion Converse + 1 pair of flip-flops.
When we left Asia at the beginning of April, we bought some warm clothes to face the springtime in Europe. Thank God we got more jackets and gloves because in April the weather was pretty chilly on the old continent. For the first time on this trip around the world, we got temperatures below 5ºC. To travel light you always need to think about the weather of the places you will travel to, spring and summer are definitely the best seasons for backpackers.
1 MacBook Air [Rob´s old notebook stopped working while we were in Bangkok 🙁 ]
1 Power Strip [one of the most clever and useful purchases. We became heroes at airports and stations]
1 Computer charger
I’m a nomad but never a dirty and smelly traveler [keep this in mind when you travel]. During 1 year of traveling around the world, I managed to keep some of my everyday beauty routines – body moisturizer, facial cream, and my black/grey nail polish… Not just me, Rob is also looking after himself… Age is coming!
» Travel Gear:
1 Small Backpack
2 Dry Fast Kingcham Towels
This past year was dedicated to learning about travel and blogging, so all our energy was focused on exploring the world and write about it. Among the many online books and articles we read, three of them have a special place in our bags [these are the only printed books we bought. Sometimes we are old school]
– Travellers French by Elizabeth Smith
Medical issues in a nomadic lifestyle
After 1 year of traveling the world, I’m the one who got sick more times. On our journey, we had some
» Sickness Scores:
Rob – 6 (3 times flu, cold sore crises, diarrhea and a twisted ankle)
Nat – 9 (I won!!! Back pain, mosquito bites allergy, urinary infection, keen injury, 2 times flu, diarrhea and migraine crises)
Most of the problems were sorted out with medicines we bought at the local pharmacy. We have travel insurance but didn’t need to use it. Although when I got really sick in Boracay, Philippines, we contacted our travel insurance to ask how we should proceed in case I needed to be removed from the island. World Nomads assisted us with everything. Luck me, the doctor solved my problem at the local clinic. More about international travel insurance here.
Impressions from the Road
» Food – As much as we love Italian food, the title of best food goes to the mouth-watering Papaya Salad we ate in Thailand.
» City – Barcelona is still on the top of our favorite cities. It has everything we love!
» Beach – Boracay Island. My favorite is Puka Shell and Rob’s is the White Beach. One word can describe the Philippines: Paradise!
» Best Party – Hard to choose, but the unpretentious Best Bar at Khao San Road stole our hearts and feet. Many nights dancing with good music, cheap drinks and awesome people. I´d say Berlin comes in second place!
Long-term travel is made of people, not places!
This is definitely not a travel resource, it´s more our impression from the people we met. In 1 year of traveling around the world we made many friends, some just for a few days others for a lifetime. Each one has made a special contribution to our story, helped us to be better people, to travel wisely or blog with more professionalism. I don’t have words to say how thankful we are for meeting you, new and old friends. I’m sure we’ll catch up soon, somewhere in this beautiful world, because friendship is stronger than distance and time!
» Most Handsome Men – Dutch [OMG!!!!]
» Most Beautiful Women – Dutch [I think there are no ugly people there]
» Friendly People – Pinoy. Filipinos are the most friendly and helpful people we ever met. SALAMAT!!!!
» People with strange behavior – In Porto [Portugal] people talk to themselves all the time.
» Party Animal People – Spanish and Berliner. Different styles of parting but both of them know how to have fun!
The dark side of a nomad life
Some people think that being a full-time traveler is just fun, parties and beach time. Actually, our travel adventure goes much further than just joy and happiness. Doubts, fears, sadness, and homesickness are feelings that haunt us from time to time.
During this year we lost one of our cats and the other one is battling cancer. She is with Rob´s parents and I´m sure they are giving her lots of love and cuddles. The feeling of being far away hurts, and it makes me think that if something bad happens with our beloved family we’ll be too far to help them.
Money issues are always on our way too. As our long-term travel is funded by our savings, our money is running out. Every day we try to find ways of earning some cash and make the blog our main income. [So please, help us keep the blog running by booking your hotels, flights, tours and insurance here on the blog].
Worst Moment of Traveling
The worst moment in 1-year backpacking around the world was when we crossed the border from Thailand to Cambodia. It was our second trip to Cambodia and after 7 hours on the bus we refused to pay a bribe to the Cambodian Immigration Officer. We knew he was charging everybody more than the correct amount of money and we said “No”. As a consequence they held our passport for 1 hour, we couldn’t leave the border or go back to Thailand. We felt threatened and unsafe. In the end, after a lot of discussions, they let us go.
It’s not about money. It is about principles, about right and wrong. We had money to pay the bribe but we refuse to do it.
Best moments of traveling around the world
It´s not easy to choose the best moment, during this 1 year of traveling around the world so many things happen, so many dreams came true, adventures of a lifetime and experiences that transformed us deeply. After a long talk, we figured out that our Best Moment was the day we started traveling, the day we left our comfort zone and faced the nomadic life. Our best moment is the day Love and Road was born, the beginning of our adventure.
We are not ashamed to say: we have regrets
It was our first week in Thailand, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the culture and style of life in Chiang Mai. As silly tourists we booked a day tour including rafting, hiking to waterfalls and Elephant ride. That was an awful decision! I regret we booked the riding elephant tour. At the moment was fun, but after I discovered what they do with the animals and how they are horribly treated.
Lesson learned, now I always try to check the background of the tour company we choose. Elephants Farms in Thailand are a big issue and many animals are in danger. If you want to be in contact with these beautiful giants you can visit rehabilitation centers, help and learn. Nomad is Beautiful wrote an amazing article about Elephants and Tourism in Thailand.
What makes us proud:
We have done so many things in this 1 year of traveling that I´m happy with who we are and what we have achieved. One thing that makes us really proud is that every place we came back, like Bangkok, Istanbul, Reggio Emilia, and many others, we had an open door from a friend. People we met during this journey that keep helping us, treating us as family and friends. No words to express how happy and blessed we feel… This is what travel and friends are all about. Thanks so much for believing in us and on our dreams… Grazie, Merci, Gracias, Salamat, Tesekkurler….
Lessons from a long travel journey
Travel changes you! No doubt about it! During this past year, Rob and I learned to be more tolerant and respectful. When you get in touch with different cultures, religions and people, you discover that we are all the same, a person full of dreams, fears and seeking happiness. Our nationality, our color, sexual choices… Nothing matters. We are the same and we need to love and respect each other! When you let the prejudice go you discover that life can be easier, lighter and happier. This is the second lesson: Try your best to be happy and simple. I´m sure you won’t regret it. Simple things can make a big change in our daily life!
Something called relationship – Traveling the world with a partner
After 1 year of traveling around the world together, we are still alive and in love!! So I must say our recipe is working!! What is our love secret? Nothing special, just respect, share the same dreams and support each other. We had bad moments, sadness, crying crises [that was me 🙁 ] and joy… All the time we were together sharing the feelings and looking for the bright side. Not easy to live 24 hours together for 365 days… But with love and fun everything is possible!!! [I don’t want to be cheeky, but I also think that together we are awesome!! 😀 ]
The Bill! How much does it cost to travel around the world?
Now we come to the truth, the figures of 1 year traveling around the world. Since the beginning, we tried to respect our travel budget: $ 50 USD per day – per person. Inspired by Nomadic Matt`s book [How to Travel the World with $50 Dollars per Day] we found cheap ways to travel. We never gave up of fun and good moments, and we discovered a bunch of interesting and smart ways to save money. Another way to save money is to travel slow, there are countries where you can live for more than 3 months on a Tourist Visa.
Our cost of 1 year traveling around the world: [all the figures are in US dollars and it´s for two persons]
Transport – $ 9,172 [intercity and local transportation]
Accommodation – $ 6,882
Eating out – $ 6,280
Party – $ 3,542
Groceries – $ 2,611
Attractions – $ 2,117
Insurance – $ 2,200 [one year worldwide coverage]
Purchases – $ 1,222
Pharmacy – $ 660
Doctor – $ 223
Souvenirs \ Post – $ 194
WC – $ 20
Others – $ 3,526 [internet, lockers, books, beauty, visas…]
The total cost of 1 year traveling around the world = $ 36,532 or $ 18,268 per person. The average per person / per day was $ 50!
During this 1 year of backpacking, we stayed longer in Europe, Turkey, and Thailand. In all of them for more than 2 months. Here is how much we spent on each one:
» Europe, 151 days: $ 13,369 [average per day = $ 88 or $ 44 per day/person]
» Turkey, 78 days: $4,904 [average per day = $ 62 or $ 31 per day/person]
» Thailand, 90 days: $ 5,492 [average per day = $ 61 or $30.5 per day/person]
We traveled a lot and managed to keep our money under control! Congratulations to us!! On the blog you can find the breakdown of our costs by countries, so far our series “How much Does it Cost to Travel to” shows the costs of travel in Portugal and the Philippines. During the next months, we’ll be publishing more posts about our expenses around the world. Stay tuned 😉
Time flies when we are having fun! It doesn’t feel like one year has gone by, but when I look back I´m proud to see how many things we have done! How many places we visited, people we met, the cultures we experienced and how we became better persons and travelers. I dreamed of this life, but I never imagined it could be so amazing and full of surprises. We finished 1 year traveling around the world, our first year as digital nomads, 365 days of a nomadic marriage, and we have never been so happy!
I can say out and loud: We are Love and Road, we are long-term travelers, bloggers, party and sun-seekers. We are Rob and Nat and we want to inspire you to travel more and better because discovering the world is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life!
I hope you enjoyed our story of 1 year of traveling around the world, and hope we could help you to plan your dream trip… Would love to hear your opinion about our story and how we can make it better for you! We started Love & Road as our own life project, but now it includes you and all our readers! Thanks for being part of this amazing journey!