Our RTW Trip » FAQ

What follows is a list of questions that seem to come up again and again from people we talk to about our trip (except for the “Who are you” question; that is usually fairly self-evident).

Who are you?

Marc is 32, a former artist and now Interweb Interaction Designer living in Calgary. He has travelled a little before – to America and to Spain.

Janet is 31, was Project Manager at a Canadian airline in Calgary. She has travelled to Europe and some parts of America, Mexico and the Carribbean.

Sam is 8, a Wheatan Terrier who enjoys spending his days sleeping and eating. And barking.

Who are you not?

We are not backpackers or jet-setters; we are not trying to “find ourselves”. We are just normal people who cannot wait until retirement to travel long-term.

Why are you doing this?

Because Janet has always wanted to do a trip like this and she finds her interest in a comfortable North American lifestyle is waning. There is a need for change and for challenge. Marc never thought he’d be able to do this because he never thought he’d have someone to go with; now he does.

“We run the risk of becoming enmeshed in the dangerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security, we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine and before we know it, our lives are gone. We live in danger of becoming brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry and playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.” – unknown

When did you leave?

We left Canada on May 1, 2006 for Los Angeles on our way to Taipei. We returned on April 26, 2007.

Where are you going?

Check out our interactive itinerary.

What will it cost?

Unknown. At this point, we are estimating about $27,000CAD each. Before we left, we estimated about $258CAD/month for our expenses at home (i.e. storage, insurance, etc. – not Sammy expenses), which leaves a generous $4200CAD/month for both of us for everyhing travel related: flights, food, accommodations, ground and water travel, entertainment, wine, etc.

Sammy will be living off of his trust fund for the year.

Update: 10.23.06: Six months on the road and we are 15% over budget. However, we believe this to be a direct result of having travelled for six weeks in Europe, the second most expensive leg of our journey (next to the Trans-Siberian). We expect to have no trouble making up that 15% in India and SE Asia. In other words, things are proceeding as planned.

Update: 02.26.07: Nine months on the road and we are at 99% of our budget. India more than made up the difference in the overspending in Europe and Southeast Asia, though more expensive than we anticipated, has still enabled us to operate within acceptable parameters. We should be at a grand total of around $50,000CAD for both of us, at the end. Of course, if we count our pre-trip expenses (backpacks, clothes, etc.), it’s closer to $60,000CAD.

Update: 05.16.07: Twelve months on the road we arrived home at 104% of our budget. We were just under $50,000CAD for all our travel for both of us for the year.

How did you swing this?

We didn’t win the lottery (that seems to be a common assumption). Marc has quit his job and Janet has requested, and been granted, a leave of absence for one year. We cut our expenses and actively saved for just over a year. We haven’t any debt or other commitments, have put our stuff in storage, and arranged for some generous friends and family to share their homes with Sammy while we’re away.

What are you taking?

As little as humanly possible.

Are you going to work enroute?

Ha! Ha! Ha!

Update: 10.23.06: Ha! Ha! Ha!

What are you doing about visas?

Before we left, we obtained a visa for China and conducted some research into the requirements for a visa for Russia. The rest we have obtained as necessary enroute. We don’t have an itinerary set in stone because we want to be able to be flexible in our travel– this means that we need to do some work making plans on the road but this M.O. has proven to be more of a boon than a burden.

Update: 02.26.07: Obtaining visas has proved to be fairly easy. With the exception of Mongolia and Russia, for which we had to arrange visas quite a ways in advance, getting visas has not been a problem at all. However, I am choked to discover that Canadians pay more than anyone else to get a visa into Mongolia, Turkey and Laos. Why is that?

Update: 05.16.07: The only snag we hit is that eventually, we ran out of room in our passports. We couldn’t visit Brazil because we needed one empty page for a visa and we had nothing left. As Canadians, we are unable to get extra pages put in our passports; what we should’ve done was request 48-page passports when we applied for the new ones before we left.

Check our Visas page for more details.

Aren’t you worried about safety/health/homesickness, etc.?

Yes, but I (Janet) am more worried about not doing this and then regretting it later. Plus, what’s a little homesickness compared to rush-hour traffic in a blizzard?

Update: 02.26.07: Aside from the cold and flu encounters, we’ve had virtually problems with our health; didn’t even get Dehli belly. Marc did have a bit of Turkey tummy.

Update: 05.16.07: Even after India, South East Asia and South America, we are still A-OK. No sickness to report, we arrived home safe and sound.

How are you going to stay in contact with people?

Email. Our blog. Skype. We’ve brought a computer with a WiFi card and, failing that, there is no shortage of internet cafes around the world.

I want to ask you something else.

Okay. marc@studiosciences.ca or janet@studiosciences.ca.