Looking Back on One Year of Travel and Future Plans

Published On January 30, 2014 | By Dan | Recent, Travel Blogging, Travel Planning
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We knew this would go fast.  12 months ago, I drove through the Warehouse District in Minneapolis to pick Alissa up from her last day of work at her digital agency.  A job she was really good at, and a job that she had no plans on leaving if it wasn’t for these travel plans of ours.  Now, a year later, our non-stop travel journey has covered over 79,000 miles (127,000 km), while visiting nearly 100 cities in 25 countries.  It has really felt more like six months than twelve.

One of the things we really feel fortunate about is that we have had such great luck on the road.  Everything from our health to our safety has gone as smooth as we could have hoped.  Every day we pinch ourselves.  We also continue to toast a drink every time it’s Monday morning back home.  Just to remind ourselves how lucky we are to be doing this.

Dan on a boat trip around Inle Lake in Myanmar

Dan on a boat trip around Inle Lake in Myanmar

We are currently in Zimbabwe, an amazing country by the way, and are staying here two weeks before heading through Botswana and Namibia on our way to South Africa.  Our time in Africa has been a bit different than usual since we decided to do this two-month portion of our trip with an organized overland tour (we’re using Oasis Overland).  It has made the last few weeks go by faster than usual and it has helped relieve our homesickness to be consistently around a new group of friends.  Six weeks of just the two of us in India and Sri Lanka was probably the most we’ve missed home so far, and this overland group has pumped our travel spirits back up.

Travel stats from twelve months on the road:

Miles Traveled: 79,068 – Enough to go around the circumference of the Earth 3.18 times
Countries Visited: 
25 – (27 if you count a few minutes in North Korea and a layover in Qatar)
Cities Visited: 88
Beds Slept In: 127
Average Nights Per Bed (ANB): 2.87 nights

Favorite Country
Dan: The Philippines |  Alissa: The Philippines
Favorite City
Dan: Amsterdam, Holland  |  Alissa: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Most Surprising Country(s):
Dan: Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe  |  Alissa: Malawi
Favorite Food
Dan: Shawarma in Dubai  |  Alissa:  Bun Thit Nuong in Vietnam
Favorite Accommodation
Dan: Annie’s Houseboat in Amsterdam  |  Alissa: The Plains Bungalow in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Favorite Experience
Dan: Great Migration Safari in the Serengeti  |  Alissa: Trekking with Tibetan Nomads in China
Worst Experience
Dan: Stepping in a pile of human waste in Mumbai  |  Alissa:  Getting bit by a dog in China
Scariest Moment
Dan: Ferry boat ride from Zanzibar. I hate crowded ferries, especially in rough water. It’s a floating death trap!
Alissa:  First night sleeping on Ambrym Island.
Prediction for World Cup 2014 Winner
Dan: Germany  |  Alissa:  Brazil

Now what?

Part of me wishes I would be telling you we were exhausted and ready to come back home.  That would make some upcoming life decisions easy, but it would also be a lie.  Has traveling this quickly has tired us out and worn us down?  Of course.  But it has done much more than that.  It’s taken an above-average interest in travel and turned it into a passion and lifestyle.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s addicting.  It’s no more addicting than a can of Pringles.  You can stop if you HAD to, but if nothing is stopping you, why not eat just a few more?

Us at The Rock restaurant in Zanzibar

Us at The Rock restaurant in Zanzibar

That’s the situation we currently find ourselves in.  We could stop traveling, but do we really want to?  We have purchased and planned travel for six more months (up until July), and we land back in the United States on my twin brother’s 30th birthday (poor guy).  12 months ago, when I published our trip itinerary, this is what I wrote for July 2014: “????????”.   The only thing that has changed since then is that it now looks like this: “Turn 30, ????????, Alissa’s brother gets married, ????????, Alissa turns 30, ?????????”.

There are a few things that make these upcoming decisions really hard.  For one, we have had a lot of success with both monetizing this blog as well as our digital agency business, Black Beach Digital.  By “success” I basically mean that in cheaper countries we actually end up leaving with more money than we came with, and in more expensive destinations, we can sometimes break even.  It doesn’t mean we haven’t been spending money or using our savings, and when tax season comes up, we will really have to break into our pre-trip savings account.  However, we always said we’d come home when we run out of money, but at this point, if money was the only issue, we could technically travel continuously for 4-5 years if we really wanted to (not likely).

On safari in the Serengeti

On safari in the Serengeti

We get a lot of emails about how to make money travel blogging, because it really seems to be a dream of a lot of people.  The thing to remember is, while making money travel blogging is exciting and fun, it also keeps you away from home.  Up to 95% or more of the year.  Of course, by home, I really mean family and friends, not our physical home.  We also aren’t making enough money to comfortably afford the cost of living in the United States, so coming home and only blogging really isn’t an option either.  Since we get asked about it frequently, we WILL say that coming home in July means we will be staying within the United States until at least the end of 2014 before planning any more big trips.

The good news is we don’t need to make a decision anytime soon, but it is hard to not think about it every once in a while.  For now, we are focused on planning just the next six months of travel, from South Africa to the Middle East, across Europe, then Brazil for the World Cup.

Upcoming Travel Itinerary


  • February 2014: Zimbabwe
  • February 2014: Botswana
  • February 2014: Namibia
  • March 2014: South Africa

Middle East

  • March 2014: Turkey
  • March 2014: Israel


  • March 2014: Rome
  • April 2014: Poland
  • April 2014: Hungary
  • April 2014: Austria
  • May 2014: Czech Republic
  • May 2014: Germany
  • June 2014: Paris
  • June 2014: Normandy
  • June 2014: Brussels
  • June 2014: The Netherlands

South America

  • June 2014: Brazil (World Cup 2014)


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About The Author

is the founding traveler of This World Rocks. He enjoys writing in the present tense, is an avid sports fan, former NBA dunk team member, aspiring videographer, and a WWII & Civil War history nerd.