Question & Answers #1

I sent the word out on Twitter to see if people had any questions for me about my travels. Here are the first batch. I’ll be doing this every so often, so make sure to follow me on Twitter if you’d like me to answer a question.

@feureau If you could pick one place to live in for the rest of your life from all the places you’ve been to, which one will it be?

@Traveling_Man Yo Traveling Man, Just curious of all the places you been to, where would you consider rooting down for awhile?

That’s a hard question to answer. I’d want a place with good internet connectivity. That rules out many of the countries in the Pacific, even though I really enjoyed those places. Japan and Korea get cold, so those are out. I like Melbourne, but it can get sort of cold in the winter as well and Australian internet always bothered me. Noumea, New Caledonia is nice but expensive. Too much air pollution in Manila. Kuala Lumpur is nice, but sort of boring. Dubai I’ll explain in an upcoming post.

I suppose my short list based on places I’ve been so far would be: Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Auckland, Honolulu, Taipei, Cairns and Brisbane.

@HomeBiss Yes, I have a question. Can people use your travel photos?

It depends on what you want to use them for. If you want to sell prints, the answer is no. If you want to use it for a blog post, you usually just need to send me an email telling me you want to use it and provide a link to my site. I will usually want something in return. It doesn’t have to be money, it could just be a link back to my site.

Your best bet is to send me an email (gary at and just ask.

@Neil_Duckett How much have you spent? More or less than you’d budgeted and hoped?

I’ve probably spent about $60,000 over the last two years not including the purchase of my electronics. That amount isn’t evenly distributed. I spent way more in Australia and the Pacific than I did in SE Asia. I have tried to keep a mental budget of about $100/day. I tend to avoid dorm rooms in hostels and use the internet more than most people do, and I never cook my own meals, so I’m sure I could reduce my costs even more if I had to. I also travel alone, so any time I could share costs with someone, I am not able to. Here in Dubai I’ve spent more than $100/day just because hotel rooms are expensive.

$60,000 sounds like a lot (and it is), but if you consider how much it costs to live in a western country for two years (rent/mortgage, car payments, fuel, food, utilities, etc) you are probably looking at a sum very similar. $60,000 works out to about $82/day. Just like with travel, you could spend less or more depending on your lifestyle. If I hadn’t visited some of the more obscure places and did more things to limit my expenses, I’m sure I could have spent about 1/3 less than what I have.

@gtowna Is life on an isolated atoll in the middle of the Pacific all it’s cracked up to be — would you spend the rest of your days there?

No way in hell. People have these island fantasies because they see a pretty photo with a white sand beach and a palm tree. Atolls are nothing but long stretches of calcium carbonate (coral). It is very hard to grow anything, there is little in the way of materials to build anything, they are difficult to get to because you have to get across a reef, and you have no fresh water. All the water you have to drink has to come from catching rain water. Because you are only a foot above sea level, you are subject to getting washed away with every storm that hits.

There are three countries in the Pacific which are nothing abut atolls: Marhsall Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu. All are dirt poor and people are leaving in droves. Atolls are places where people washed ashore and survived, not places that people migrated to, to thrive.

A more idyllic island would be one with a mountain in the middle of the island. It has more vegetation, probably has streams or maybe a spring for water, you have a place to go in the event of a storm or tsunami, and just more land. Samoa, Fiji or Rarotonga better fit the bill.

6 thoughts on “Question & Answers #1”

  1. I find everyone has different perceptions about money and how to manage it; everyone has different perceptions on how to travel; everyone has different perceptions how to use a label concerning context.

    One person may feel staying in one place for three months as slumming it, or then the person is not a “traveler”, although that person will learn to deeper ends and outs of the culture in the area or city better than if a person stays a week.

    Beirut is a fine example, to understand the complexity of that post civil war city a person must stay a couple of months, as a tourist/traveler, one week or even two will only view the surface, which the surface in Beirut is totally superficial.

    I am finding an interest more and more staying in areas, cities, towns, or a country longer than shorter because my first interest is not viewing a site and taking a picture. My first interest is learning the depths of the culture.

    Basically, everyone has a different style of travel geared toward their own special uniqueness. Although slower travel is cheaper, and staying on the ground traveling from place to place is much cheaper than flying.

    Even so, the majority from all the blogs I read prefer to travel fast. Possibly the avoidance of boredom might be an issue. From numerous travelers I have spoken with the avoidance of boredom is an issue, but not with everyone.

  2. I appreciate the detailed response Gary. It`s actually about what i would have thought too. I appreciate that you`re also doing it similar to what i would do with respect to accomodation and eating out all the time. I coudn`t slum it like some peope do and dont see the point …. if i couldn`t afford to do it the way i want then i would cut the trip short.

    As a comparison for anyone that thinks that money is a lot … to “stay put” in one place like i am it costs me in USD …$2450 per month for rent, $70 to get to work and back each day and $50 for food each day. So for a month my total spend on just those 3 things is about $5350 …. less than 12 monhs for 60K

    • Wow. That is way more than what I've heard for rent in New York or San Francisco. How much of that is due to the Yen going up the last few months?

  3. Well, hearing the money subject proves everything, the slower a person travels the cheaper, the faster the more expensive.

    I have been traveling for one year and three months and I have spent about an eighth of $60,000.

    The contrasting concept will be that people will think they have to save a lot of money to travel long term when people spend so much in less then two years.

    If a person is focused on numbers and fast traveling then the cost will skyrocket.

    • I'm not really focused on numbers and I don't think I travel all that fast. I could spend 3 months in one city, but that isn't really traveling at that point, it is just living somewhere else. The longest I've spent in any one place was a month in Melbourne. I almost never spend less than 3 days in a city.

      You are correct that the slower you move, the less you spend if for no other reason that you don't have to spend money on transportation. A big chunk of my expenses have been plane flights visiting islands in the Pacific. That was why I went to that part of the world first, because I knew it would be the most expensive.

      You can travel on zero dollars if you are willing to work while you are on the road. You can't travel fast if you do that, but it is possible.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this interview. I like to hear about the nitty gritty of the costs and personal impressions that other travelers have.

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