Some may wonder, ponder and question how and why we might possibly be able to travel and take at least a year off of work. I can just imagine the thoughts streaming through the mind of the person we just told about our 30,000 mile journey to celebrate our 30 years of life. “These crazy kids, don’t they know Mexico is dangerous…a year, wait, a year?!?! You both just turned 30? Shouldn’t you be focused on marriage, kids, buying a house….you know the American dream? Besides how can you afford this kind of trip, especially in this economy?”
Since this page is essentially about finances, I won’t get into the philosophical reasons of our lifestyle choices. That might happen later tonight after a glass of wine, or two.
Ken and I are both lucky enough to have careers that offer immense flexibility and the ability to make a lot of cash in a relatively short amount of time. Albeit, he has to spend weeks at a time on a boat in the middle of the ocean driving in circles, and I was equally as isolated in an Alaskan bush village walking to work in -40F weather for three months. We also were able to help some friends out with a place to live for the summer, so our rent was cut in half. I worked 2 jobs all summer, and we did our best to cut back on expenses, i.e. less eating out, trips etc. Long story short we were able to, in a relatively short amount of time, save enough money for the bulk of the expenses of the trip. In addition, if we happen to drain our bank account while having too much fun in Central or South America it will be very easy for us to park the truck and fly back to the States for some short-term cash generating endeavors.
During our research for the trip it was difficult to find any information about total expenditures. A few great resources that we found along the way 95deg.com has a very thorough presentation of every cent spent during their journey, and current PanAm travelers liferemotely.com and homeonthehighway.com both have monthly budget breakdowns. Eventually we decided on a travel budget of $25,000 which if we travel for a year will allow us $70/day. This doesn’t include extra expenses such as airline tickets for us to fly from Panama to Columbia or the cost of shipping across the Darien Gap. Start up costs were relatively low considering Ken already owned the truck and the Skamper only cost $1500. All told after repairs and additions to both truck and camper total cost for trip prep including other various miscellaneous items totaled close to $3500.
Neither of us are very good at budgeting so this will be a work in progress! We’ll try to keep a fairly thorough update on our expenses as we go.