Preparations for world trip 2002 & 2003
Funny, to decide you're going to travel around the world, but the real work only starts then! Fortunately there were many others who did the same before us and added their experiences to the web. In order to support future travellers and others who are interested, we decided to do the same. Below you will find details on our preparations for our trip.
When you read all those websites of people who do a "world trip", it is obvious
that most only do it with a kind of guarantee to the same lifestyle when they
do return home. Travelling: yes, but only when one still has a house upon return,
a car and at least a job. So a lot of people go for the option of unpaid leave.
And than one goes for a "world trip to Asia". Contradictio in Termine. Which
is fine if you go for one year. But in our case we were aiming for about 1,5
year. Which turned out to be about 2,5 years. Right now (2008) we have left
Holland about 6 years ago. Our travels would be all about absolute freedom.
No strings attached. And absolutely no little rules and laws like we have so
many of in Holland. So basically we only had one option: to quit our jobs and
hoping we would find another job upon return. By the way, we did not plan to
work along the way. There was no necessity to it. In the end we did some work
along the way but it was all for good causes or to help friends out. We worked
for about a month for the Jane Goodall Institute in Entebbe, Uganda; we also
managed Mukambi Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park in Zambia for about 1,5
maand to help out friends. And we also managed the bar of Fatima's Nest in Tofu,
Mozambique until early in the morning for a week or so, just to help out Fatima.
The volunteering at animal rehabilitation centres in Guatemala en Bolivia which
we settled up front, did eventually not take place. And also the valuable contacts
in Kalimantan with several urang utan centres we haven't used (yet). To cut
a long story short, we never returned to Holland. We ended up in Zambia after
2,5 years of travelling. In Zambia we helped in the management of Mukambi Safari
Lodge in Kafue National Park for almost 3 years. After that we started as managers
at Stanley Safari Lodge in Livingstone (also Zambia). Up until now we are still
living and working there.
House and furniture
If you go travelling for a longer
time and you rent or own a house you've got 3 options. First, you keep your
house but leave it for what it is and you trave while paying rent or mortgage.
Which is an option if you have too much money so the worst one for us. Second,
you can rent out your house so you are sure you have a house when you return
and you have some income while travelling. The third option is selling your
house or, in case of rent, discontinue the rental agreement. We chose for selling.
We didn't like the idea that we had to come back to Holland just for a house
(for instance when the rental agreement with a 3rd party was finished) which
might have meant that we had to finish our travels sooner than we really wanted.
So we sold our house in Rijswijk and we would just see where we would go and
live upon our return. Another (not unimportant) advantage of selling your house
is dat it gives you money to travel! After that we had to go to City Hall to
let them know we no longer lived in Rijswijk. There they asked where we would
go and live, because it is impossible to be a Dutch citizen without a permanent
address. Since we would be leaving Holland they asked us our address abroad.
Were we about to emigrate? No, we go travelling. Ah, so you will come back after
that? Well, that's the plan, but then again, maybe not. Future will tell. I
can tell you, in 2002 the computer programs of the Dutch government did not
allow any Dutch citizen to leave Holland and NOT have a permanent address elsewhere.
The programs crashed. We kept on getting phone calls about the matter. We got
fed up and ultimately just said Paris, since it would be the first stop-over
on our flight to Tanzania. We did however gave a postal address with the municipality,
but this is not the same as a permanent address (where one lives). For a permanent
address local government wil still let you pay all kind of taxes, which is not
the case with a postal address. However, if we would have returned to Holland
it would have been very difficult to get a medical insurance from the start
because we wouldn't have a permanent address. And since we returned to Holland
only once Marieke was pregnant we desperately needed a medical insurance. Usually
in Holland the insurance companies only cover pregnancies when you have been
covered by them half a year to a year BEFORE pregnancy. We were however very
fortunate. Holland was just in a transition phase regarding medical insurances
so we could immediately apply and admitted. Our belongings (incl. furniture)
we stored as much as possible with friends. The result was 260 boxes at 3 different
addresses. Only recently we got everything together in just one place and also
the number of boxes got a bit less. Funny though to find out that we never really
missed anything in these 260 boxes during the last 6 years! By the way, you
can also decide to store your belongings at commercial storage companies but
it will cost you. So better to go for a cost-free option. Mind you, if you go
travelling and you don't know for how long, storage with family and friends
in not always the best option because it might last longer than they expected
which might eventually result in annoyance!
Car and motorcycle
Because we sold
our house it was no point keeping our cars. Rick's lease-car went back to its
rightful owner. The Volkswagen Golf of Marieke we sold (for which we bought
a Landrover to go to Africa). Our motorcycle Honda Magna 750 we kept because
we couldn't say goodbye to it. Its still waiting for us!
We made a
rough budget for our 1,5 year travel plans. we divided this budget in the following
categories: flight tickets new passport (business passport with more pages)
first visa travel insurance cancellation insurance (for first flight) medical
costs (material, First Aid course) other material (like new backpack) vaccinations
& malaria pills clothing daily expenses Africa (75 guilders p/p/p/d=about 34
Euros at the time) daily expenses Asia (50 guilders p/p/p/d=about 22 Euros)
daily expenses Oceania (100 guilders p/p/p/d=45 Euros) daily expenses Central
America (75 gulden p/p/p/d= 34 Euros) daily expenses North America (100 gulden
p/p/p/d= 45 Euros) daily expenses South America (75 gulden p/p/p/d=34 Euros)
daily expenses Caribbean (100 gulden p/p/p/d=45 Euros) airport taxes transport
Africa (with our own car (fuel) en costs for carnet de passage among others)
transport North America (most probably rental) GalĂˇpagos Islands (at least one
week, to be arranged in Quito) other costs The expenses per person per day were
based on our own experience, travel logs/websites of others and an extra margin.
Africa however was difficult: costs for accommodation and food did not need
to be high (we would be camping most of the way), but fuel prices and especially
the fees for national parks are very high. Looking back at it we can definitely
say that our budget was not that crazy. We kept track of our daily expenses
so we could see if we stayed within our budget. You really need to do that because
it very much determines the last part of your travels! Mind you, our budhet
was such that we could afford to drink a beer whenever we wanted or go partying
once in a while. That's the way we wanted to travel: absolute freedom, no limitations.
To be honest, there are not a lot of things we didn't do during our travels
around the world. Of course all of you would like to know what we have spent
in total. During 2 years travelling we spent about 20,000 Euro. This amount
consisted of the following components: Round the world tickets Single Flight
tickets Cost of living The purchase of our Landrover was extra. With regard
to the finances in Holland: despite the fact that we left Holland, more administration
matters than foreseen were left behind. As such we asked a family member to
take care of this with whom we also instated our postal address. Mind you, if
you want this person to be able to represent you officially (so he can also
sign official papers on your behalf) you need this to be officially certified!
Website and Newsletters
A special website (which is the predecessor of the current
-this- website) was built to inform family, friends and other travellers. We
could place texts ourselves by using Blogger (which was quite new at the time
but which is very popular right now). To inform family and friends about our
preparations and travels frequently, we sent out a monthly newsletter from January
2002. This newsletter was also published on our website. It helped a lot for
family and friends, but also ourselves that we wouldn't see eachother for quite
some time. The links to the abovementioned newsletters are as follows: 18 weeks
before departure (Newsletter I) 15 weeks before departure (Newsletter II) 11
weeks before departure (Newsletter III) 5 weeks before departure (Newsletter
IV) 1 day before departure (Newsletter V)
Our passport at the time was not about to expire soon, but because the planning
was to visit about 30 countries the available space for visa and stamps might
not be enough. And with the knowledge that some immigration officers refuse
to put a stamp on any other than an empty page, a business passport was th answer.
It has got twice as much pages as a normal passport.
trips RTW's or Round-The-World-Tickets are very popular. More information on
these you can find on: www.thetravellerslounge.co.uk/round-the-world/roundtheworldtickets.htm.
Mind you, RTWs do have a number of conditions: they are for only one year, you
are either limited to a number of stop-overs or to a maximum mileage, you can
only go one-way around the world and as such cannot backtrack, you can only
change the dates but not the destinations without extra payment and you have
to return to the country where you started (can be different airports though).
This meant too many limitations to our desired freedom, so we just bought a
one-way to Dar Es Salaam and planned to buy separate tickets afterwards. However,
after a year travelling in Africa we bought a RTW after all in South Africa.
The ticket would bring us to North-America (via Europe), South America, Central
America, Carribean, Pacific and Oceania. And back again to Africa. We choose
for Star Alliance, which is one of the best suppliers of RTW's to our opinion.
In 2002 were not many insurances to be found which would insure you sufficiently
for more than one year. We eventually chose for ISIS Insurance which was the
only company that would insure us for 1,5 year or more (Elvia, the other company
that would offer medical insurance for world travellers in Holland, only did
so for maximum 1 year). ISIS also offered some months insurance after we would
return to Holland and besides that we read positive reports on them from other
travellers. In the meantime many medical insurance companies discovered the
lucrative world of world travellers and as such it is quite easy to find an
insurance company that would insure you for a longer time. Mind you, these insurances
are very different (at least in Holland) from the "normal" travel insurances.
The latter are usually only for short periods and do insure you ON TOP of your
normal medical insurances. The long term travel insurances also have to cover
your normal medical costs because when you leave the country you won't be insured
the "normal" way anymore.
We went for consultation to the Travel Clinic
in Rotterdam and we were told that we needed the following vaccinations for
the countries we were planning to travel: DTP hepatitis A + B yellow fever malaria
typhus. rabies Japanese encefalitis meningitis tuberculosis We already had these
vaccinations from previous travels except for Hepatitis B. The vaccination for
typhus was expired so we had to get a new one. Furthermore we were advised to
take vaccinations against rabies, japanese encefalitis, meningitis and BCG/tuberculose,
but the chances to get these diseases were so limited and the prices of the
jabs so high that we decided to run the risk. As a result we ended up in a fierce
discussion with the doctor who was telling us the most ridiculous things (he
told us to take a stick to hit dogs whenever we would enter a local village
in order to prevent us from getting bitten!) so we fled the hospital. For Tuberculosis
we took the Mantoux test which determined if you have TBC before departure,
and after return you have to take the test again to prove you're not effected.
Note: if you choose for the vaccination, the Mantoux test will be impossible
to prove anything which means it is only harder to prove the disease! For Malaria
we started to take pills but stopped after 2 months. Especially Lariam is a
medication with lots of serious side-effects and we were willing to take the
risk. Rather have malaria once than to take those pills for more than a year.
By the way, Malarone is much better but very expensive. Paludrine/Nivaquine
is only reliable in Asia. We are certainly not down-playing malaria as a serious
disease but locals look at it as we did regarding the flu 200 years ago!