Archive for the ‘Pre-Trip’ Category

Last Week in Denver

It’s our last week in Denver. We’re done with work. We’re moving out of our apartment. And we’re enjoying lots of going-away parties.  With all the excitement and anticipation of leaving, we’re beginning to realize how much we’re going to miss this place. People often ask us if we’ll be returning to Colorado after our RTW trip, and the honest answer is we don’t know. A major goal of our trip is to live in the moment, which means making as few future plans as possible.

That being said, Colorado is an awesome place! For those who have never been, get here! For those who live here, appreciate it!  As we get all reminiscent and sappy about our years here, we wanted to share some of our favorites for locals and tourists alike…

While we still have a lot of the world to experience, Colorado has to be one of the coolest places out there.


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Word about our trip has spread amongst our friends, family, and colleagues and a question I am often asked is, “Michael, did you guys buy one of those ‘around the world’ tickets?”  The answer is no.  Those tickets are a great option for some but come with a lot of strings attached which lessen one’s flexibility in travel.  If you are planning your own RTW trip, think carefully before rushing into one of these.  We chose to build the legs of our trip on our own, with an aim to combine air, land and sea transport to maximize our freedom and ability to access more remote locations.  That being said, I felt a little strange telling people that we are leaving on a trip around the world but don’t know where we are going.  If you have read Where We’ve Been,  you know that we did create a rough list of countries that we want to visit; but up until recently we had resisted the urge to reverse our saving and start spending on tickets.

One thing I hadn’t put too much thought into prior to this week was the number of airlines we will likely patronize that I have never heard of before.  Have you ever flown with Air Eurpoa?  How about Vueling Airline? Cimber Sterling anyone?  I am sure these carriers are more well known to our friends in Europe, but I’m just saying. It took a little faith purchasing tickets from companies I’ve never heard of, but I am happy to say that in the last week we have made some travel plans that have started to bring the initial weeks of The Chamborres Expedition into focus.

The time has come for this experiment to get interactive.   A lot of people have shared their insight on great attractions, delicious foods, natural wonders, etc.  We would love to hear from more of you. What did you enjoy from your own trip?  What would you see if you were traveling the world?  Giving us an awesome, one of a kind, locals only suggestion is a great way to land yourself on the Shout Outs Page.  At the moment, I can tell you for certain that we will be visiting the following locations:

-Spain (Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Sevilla, Cordoba, Madrid, Canary Islands)

-Portugal (Faro, Lisbon, Madeira Islands)

-Denmark (Copenhagen, Roskilde, Osted)

-Czech Republic (Prague, Central Bohemia)

But seriously, help us out with the inside scoop.  We love hearing from our readers.  -Mike

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It’s funny the things I catch myself doing recently.  It’s like my brain has been taken hostage by travel ferries and I can’t control my thoughts and actions any more.  For example, this Sunday I found myself packing up my backpack.  Again.  I guess it’s useful to practice these type of things. To strategize if it’s better to put my tennis shoes along the bottom of the pack, or standing up vertically, one on each side.  Wow, now that is a big life decision.

Pack Test #3 – this time my fleece didn’t fit inside….

Another oddity is my continual obsession with our budget.  While attempting to relax and watch a movie this evening, I drifted off in my head for at least a half hour thinking about our budget.  As if it matters?!  We’ve already quit our jobs and are leaving town in three weeks.

Obsessive googling of travel destinations for at least 2 hours per day is now the norm.

With only 23 days left until departure, I have become crazed with hanging out with friends and family as much as possible, and doing everything “Denver” before we leave.  Guess I should have been doing this all along, but no time like the present!

Something funny that other people have been doing is saving and giving us boxes.  “Hey Amy, I have some great boxes if you need some”…as if they’re precious jems or something.  Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate it, it’s just, well, funny.

The packing pile is growing…

As a result of the box giving, we started packing up our apartment. All sorts of weird stuff is coming out of the woodwork. We are also donating (and re-gifting) a lot of stuff we just don’t need anymore.  Our fake Christmas tree is probably better in someone else’s hands.

I’m sure we’ll get to the point where I won’t be able to sleep.  As for now, I’m still REMing. And will continue test packing:)

– Amy

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The Picture Wall

We both caught the travel bug early in life.  No, not the bug you get while traveling that makes you hug the toilet for days on end…although we’ve had that too…the travel bug that creates an insatiable feeling of needing to go new places, see new things, experience new cultures, meet new people, try new food.  After studying abroad during college (Mike in Chile and Amy in Denmark), we both realized the need to see the world.  And thus a dream was born, to travel the world for an extended period of time.  Setting a goal is easy enough, but sticking with it can be a challenge.  How do you stay motivated to reach your dreams?

We created a picture wall in our living room to remind us of our love for travel and keep us motivated to reaching our goal of traveling the world.  Well, ok, let’s be real, the picture wall really evolved because we needed a cheap way to decorate the stark white walls in our apartment.  Not bad, huh?

Our Picture Wall

Our Picture Wall

In addition to being a fun piece of art and conversation piece, the picture wall truly has served as a motivator for our travels.  We can look at a photo of one of our past trips and remember the people we met, the lessons we learned, the new thing or food we tried.  All 26 of these photos represent something different, but together they make up the story of how The Chamborres Expedition was born.

Here are a few stories of the photos on our picture wall…We can’t even imagine the pictures and tales we’ll have a year from now.

Billy @ the Blue Hole, St. Ann, Jamaica

During our honeymoon in Jamaica, we met an awesome rasta named Billy who showed us around for a day.  The Blue Hole was one of our many stops that day.  Good people. Rope swinging into beautiful water. Everyting irie.

Vor Frelser KirkeVon Frelser Kirke, Copenhagen, Denmark

We went to Denmark in June 2011 for Amy’s host parents’ silver anniversary party.  We highly recommend attending such an event if you have the opportunity – the Danes know how to party!  While sightseeing in Copenhagen, we climbed to the top of Von Frelser Kirke, overcoming our uneasiness with heights to see the amazing views of Copenhagen and the Øresund Bridge to Sweden.

Hot Air Balloon in Napa Valley Hot Air Balloon, Napa, California

While Mike was living in San Jose, CA for a year in 2008, we took a week long vacation to Sonoma/Napa, where we actually ended up getting engaged:)  We were feeling a little queasy on the drive to the hot air balloon launch site from celebrating a little too much the night before, but once we were in the air, all other feelings subsided and we were left in awe.  What a peaceful and mesmerizing sport.

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A Month of Birthdays

Do you like your birthday?

Some people really dislike the idea of growing older; others treat their birthday like it’s a world-wide holiday.  Either way the fact remains that another year has gone by.   We fall somewhere in the middle, but November is always a fun month for us because we both get to celebrate our birthdays and then head right into the holiday season.  But this year, having our “special days” amidst the final stages of our pre-trip preparations definitely brought a unique feeling.

We have so much going on that our upcoming trip has found its way into every part of our life.  Instead of spending on birthday gifts and big parties, we limited gifts to gear needed for the trip and had small dinners with friends.  We still had a great time, but it’s ironic because a major goal of our trip is to live in the moment. Right now we seem to be living very much in the future.  This brings us back to the fact that every birthday simply marks another year, giving you the chance to reflect upon the last year of your life and ask yourself, “what am I going to do with the year in front of me?”

However you answer that question when your birthday comes around, we hope the answer is doing something that makes you happy with people you really love.

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One Month ’til Departure

With only a month left in Denver, there is a lot going through our heads, a lot of anticipation, and a ton of excitement!  Each of us have different feelings about our impending trip around the world, different apprehensions, various things that we’re looking forward to, so here is a taste of what is going on in the brains of Mike and Amy. We wrote them separately so you will be just as surprised to read them as we were each others.


Most looking forward to…

  • Doing something I’ve never done
  • Asia
  • Trying new foods, even if they are weird and freaky
  • Spending a whole entire year with Mike!

Most anxious about….

  • No homebase to call my own
  • Not seeing the family for a year
  • Leaving my hairdryer behind

Luxury items that I’m going to sneak in my pack…

  • A pair of jeans
  • Qtips
  • An eyelash curler


What am I most excited about? Almost a ridiculous question considering the journey in front of us, but I’ll give it a shot….

  • Istanbul, where East meets West.
  • Spain (I love all things pig) and Spain is the homeland.
  • South Asian beach, stoked for some intense relaxation
  • Returning to Chile where I studied abroad in 2005

I couldn’t be more excited for this trip, but there are for sure a few anxieties:

  • I  only speak 2 languages.  There are hundreds if not thousands spoken in this world.
  • There might be such a thing as too much free time.  Filling it on a budget could be a challenge.
  • Safety is always a concern when exploring the unknown.

Tourist Traps I Definitely Want to Fall Into:

  • The Great Wall of China
  • Iguazu Falls
  • The Great Barrier Reef

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Round the World (RTW) trips can take many forms.  Deeper pocks=more luxurious accommodations.  If you’ve read our aspirations for this trip on our About Us page, you know that our plan is to simplify our lives and connect with new cultures (i.e. backpacking, hostel living, meals from grocery stores=cheaper travel).  Many people have asked us “how can you finance a trip like that?!” so we thought we’d share some details on how we’ve managed to budget for this RTW trip and our anticipated costs during the trip.

Pre-Trip Budgeting

While we haven’t drastically changed our lifestyle, we have made a conscious effort to cut back.  Our budget has evolved during the planning process in an effort to be as realistic as possible.  Here are some ways we’ve managed to save:

  • Make a budget, and stick to it
  • Limit shopping for new things (saying yes to new socks when needed, but foregoing the new couch)
  • Less traveling (ironic, huh?)
  • Brewing coffee at home
  • Eating in, not out (rice & beans have become a big part of our lives)
  • Creative gift giving (re-gifting anyone?)
  • No TV

RTW Trip Expenses

We won’t know exactly how much a RTW trip costs until we’re actually on the road and then back home again, so we’ll share what we’ve learned after the trip is over:)  Here are somethings you’ll definitely need to take into account if you go on a trip around the world.

  • Vaccinations
  • Gear
  • Travel insurance
  • Daily living expenses (this blog has some good examples)
  • Transportation (RTW plane tickets vs. pay-as-you-go)
  • Visas/passport services
  • Loans (student/car/house/loan sharks), if applicable
  • Storage
  • Emergency funds
  • Return home funds (what are you going to live off of if you don’t find a job?!  Those with trust funds may ignore this bullet point….we however do not fall into this category)

We hope this helps anyone who aspires to take a trip around the world.  Bottom line is that the cost of a RTW trip depends on a lot of things – where you plan to go, how often you move, solo vs. companion traveling, type of housing accommodations, health needs, comfort level…the list goes on.  Feel free to contact us with any questions!

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Willingly resigning from a job that you love to go on a trip around the world for a year doesn’t sound that bad, but when it actually comes down to it, its not so easy, and definitely not fun.

Informing our employers about our pending trip was something we knew we would have to do eventually, but time flies, and November was here before we knew it.  Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk in order to reach for a goal.  Traveling is ours, so we said adios stability! Shit just got real.

Both of our companies were surprised but supportive.  We will be sad to leave, and we think the feeling is mutual.  A lot of people at work have asked about our travels (we hope you’re following the blog!) and have made some great suggestions too.  It’s nice to leave a company on good terms, knowing it’s a place where you would happily return to work.

After the dreaded resignation talks were had…dun dun dun…bubbles!

Champaign Celebration

Celebrating taking a major step towards realizing one of our dreams!

Resigning was a bit of a relief, to be able share our excitement with everyone, but also a reality check, to realize how much more planning and preparation we need to accomplish before we leave.  Did we mention that Mike had shoulder surgery 2 months ago?

We did check another big item off of our to do list recently, selling Mike’s car.  Craigslist once again proved its greatness; car sold to the first person who made contact.  Score.  $$ in the bank.

The next few weeks will include a roller coaster of emotions, finalizing details, hiring our replacements, packing and moving, and yes, more immunizations.  Mark your calendar for December 16th going away party at our place.

And likely more bubbles.

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Pre-trip Preparation

Countdown to departure: 53 days

Today someone asked us “How do you plan for a trip around the world?” Amy’s response, “Google it.” It’s hard to describe step-by-step what you have to do to plan a trip like this. We’ve been planning for some time, Googling and such,  but are just now beginning to physically take action, to do things.

Last Friday we started on our first round of immunizations. 3 injections each. Today we went back for batch #2. Before all is said and done, we will each be vaccinated for yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, the flu, typhoid fever, Tdap and Japanese encephalitis. Also there are the dreaded malaria pills. Creepy!

Last night we cracked out our packing list and put it to the test. Not a bad first try. Amy’s portion fit in Mike’s 40L backpacking pack with room to spare.

Is this really a year’s worth of gear?

It all fit!

We still have a lot of gear we still need to get.  But after this successful packing test, we were so excited that we impulsively purchased a new Gregory Jade 38 (in Beta Red, actually 39L) for Amy. Stoked!

Like we said before, it’s hard to know exactly what you need to do to prepare for a trip around the world.  Have you ever considered what you would do if you ran out of pages for stamps in your passport?  Mike had that very thought.  So, today we mailed in our applications to get an additional 48-page added (see Form DS-4085).

So far, we’re having a blast!  Can’t even imagine what fun the trip itself will bring.  Here are a few tasks on hand we’ll be tackling in the coming weeks…

  • Continue researching awesome destinations, visas, etc.
  • “Go talk to Chuck”
  • Finish last round of vaccinations
  • And of course, keep shopping for new gear!

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