- So what are you going to do now that you have lived your dream and are back home?
My dream was to travel the world and yes even though I just got back from doing that I have only scratched the surface. Yes I visited over 100 cities in 30 countries, but um have you looked at a globe recently? Umm exactly I have so much more of the world to see and well I plan on doing. So now that I am home… I am going to make my goal to save as much money as possible again to well do it all over again. Oh yes… I plan on doing a 2nd trip around the world.
Question was asked by several people.
- What was your favorite and least favorite country?
I think everyone knows that my favorite country is Egypt and I don’t think I need to explain. Oh & if you don’t know why I love it so much you should read my blog more often. As for the my least favorite country that is a tough question to answer no not because I don’t want to be rude about a certain country, but because every country is so unique. I guess I would say Malaysia and the funny thing is I didn’t even have a bad experience there, but just feel of all the countries I visited it was the most bland, most boring or all. I don’t know how to explain it, but I guess that’s all for now.
Question was asked by several people.
- If you can go to any place you visited during your trip right now where would you go?
This was actually asked to me by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol when they did not allow me to re-enter the U.S.A. because I travelled too much. Oh yes you read right… I haven’t written about it just yet, but when I do you will read the whole story. You should have seen his face when I said “Cairo, Egypt”. I’ll leave at that just a tease of a good story to come.
Question was asked by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
- Would love to see a break down of the cost of your 31 flights names of the airlines would be good too.
I mentioned that I took 31 flights in my post “Random statistics from a 2 year backpacking trip around the world.“. Those 31 flights included layovers as well so for some I only booked one ticket but was 2 or 3 flights. Anyway I did keep track of every ticket I bought and with what air line I booked it with so here is the break down. All are one way unless specified:
- Houston, USA > San Jose, Costa Rica = $195.97 via USAirways
- Cancun, Mexico > Houston, USA = $207.74 via United Airways
- Houston, USA > Paris, France = $852.96 via United Airways
- Munich, Germany > Valencia, Spain = $106.07 via RyanAir
- Marrakech, Morocco > Seville, Spain = $74.31 via RyanAir
- Barcelona, Spain > Ibiza, Spain (round trip) = $32.40 via RyanAir
- Barcelona, Spain > Venice, Italy = $43.71 via RyanAir
- Rome, Italy > Athens, Greece = $99.61 via EasyJet
- Athens, Greece > Istanbul, Turkey = $167.11 via Aegean Air
- Cairo, Egypt > New Delhi, India (round trip) = $489.17 via Turkish Airlines
- Kolkata, India > Fort Kochi, India = $93.80 via IndiGo
- Cairo, Egypt > Istanbul, Turkey = $297.30 via Egypt Air
- Istanbul, Turkey > Bangkok, Thailand = $439.39 via Etihad Airways
- Bangkok, Thailand > Manila, Philippines = $128.30 via Tiger Airways
- Manila, Philippines > Boracay, Philippines (round trip) = $174.78 via Cebu Pacific
- Manila, Philippines > Puerto Princesa, Philippines (round trip) = $185.75 via Cebu Pacific
- Manila, Philippines > Kuala Lumpor, Malaysia = $116.14 via Cebu Pacific
- Kuala Lumpor, Malaysia > Hanoi, Vietnam = $81.64 via AirAsia
- Bangkok, Thailand > Cairo, Egypt = $604.00 via Etihad Airways
- Cairo, Egypt > Houston, USA = $611.80 via Emirates
Question was asked by Chris.
- So how long until you’re planning to set off again?
The truth is I have no clue. Right now I am currently enjoying the break from travel… yes I miss it and a lot, but am making the most of my time here at home (Houston, TX). I am also working and saving for my next adventure. I am at a temp job so I think it may depend on how long this job last & how much I can save. What I do know is that I am going on a big trip again, but not sure yet when or where. I hope it’s before the one year mark. Maybe March 1, 2014 or sooner… who knows!
Question was asked by Lindsey from Chasing the Wild.
- Is there something that you wanted to try and didn’t because it was not “necessary”?
I don’t think so. I know at times I would be at something amazing, but would not pay to go in. Sometimes I felt like spending crazy amounts of money to go into something famous was a waste of money. For example I didn’t go to the top of the Eiffel Tower or inside the Colosseum. I preferred to spend time marveling at them from the outside and enjoying the extra money else where. Like instead of going into the Colosseum a group of us used that money to buy drinks and we drank the entire night outside of it. That is one of my favorite memories from my time in Rome. I mean tons of people go into it, but how many drink wine all night in front of it? Not many! So to answer your question no… if I didn’t try it I had my reason. It’s all about giving and taking.
- How did you calculate your daily/monthly budget? ok you kept track of everything so it was easier for you, but what did you do if you realized you were spending too much? (i mean, not in developed countries where it is obvious that the cost is higher)…did you cut something in particular? did you change your destination to a cheaper country to compensate? did you cut your nights out?
I calculated my daily average budget by dividing the amount of money I saved to travel by the amount of days I wanted to travel. In my case I saved about $28,000 and wanted to travel for 2 years (730 days). That average came out to be about $38/day. The way I was able to stay on budget was by giving & taking. If I splurged one day I would cut back on the next and maybe an extra 2 or 3 to make up for the splurge. I also made sure I was going to be spending more time in developing countries because well we all know that our money goes a lot further there than in a develop country. Towards the end I did have to cut out Mynamar and Indonesia from my itinerary, because I was running out of money and the cost to get to & from these countries was going to be more than I could afford. So I cut them out and instead went back to live in Egypt (of course that wasn’t the only reason why I went back to Egypt).
- Did you book your flights many weeks in advance? or if you have any tactic/tips about that it would be great.
I would search for flights and book them as soon as I knew around what time I was going to be leaving X country to be X country or if I knew what day I was going to be arriving and only had a certain amount of days there because of VISA regulations. I normally used www.skyscanner.com to search for the cheapest fair and then go to the actual airlines site and book the flight directly. If that didn’t work then I would just Google what I was looking for like “Flights to the U.S.” and see what comes up and go from there. I know it’s strange, but in the end I always book directly with the airline site so if something goes wrong I am not dealing with a 3rd party.
- Any plans to explore and blog about Texas sights or travel the USA?
Yes I actually plan on taking weekend trips to cities around Houston and around the USA if I can find cheap airfare. I already spent a weekend in New Orleans and plan on writing about it soon. I’m addicted to travel and when I can I will travel on a budget and will write about it if it’s interesting.
- Also, did you make money in any way during the trip? Please give details on how if you did!
During my 2 year trip around the world I actually was lucky enough to not ever need to find a job to supplement income or prolong my stay anywhere. I did make money from the blog, but trust me it was not enough to live off. So the money I did make I just left it in the savings account.
Questions asked by Klelia from Keep Calm And Travel.
- I would love to see how your passport pages look like.
Oh I love this question. I will actually take photos of it and post as a separate post. I wanted to share photos of it once it was completely full, but why not share it now. I’ll post the post next week!
Question was asked by Sal.
- Love that you sent post cards, I think we are going to do that too! Any hassles there? Also was it super pricy to mail package to states?
The hardest part about sending post cards home was actually finding nice post cards. I would seriously love to find out who in the world chooses some of these post cards for such beautiful sites and countries. I think I had such a hard time, because my OCD, but still so many horrible ones out there it’s sad. Other than that I never had a hassle. Yes sending them is sometimes an adventure. You know visiting the post office no one speaking English and trying to figure out how to get it all done right. After they are sent you just play the waiting game and pray they make it home. Luckily for me all the post cards I sent made it to their recipients. As for mailing packages home it is very pricey if you use one of the major companies (FEDEX, DHL etc…), but if you use the local postal service just pick the cheapest option normally by boat and you will find that it’s not that expensive. I shipped things home from Egypt, Turkey and India and they all made it home fine. India was by far the cheapest so go crazy shipping home there and sending gifts home too.
- Did you ever have to fight Charles Schwab on ATM refunds, and provide receipts? Did you do your web banking on a computer or app? I am nervous of accessing that information while traveling, was going to have my mom always make sure we have a set amount of money.
Thankfully I never had to contact CS or provide receipts to get refunds of my fees. At the end of every month I would see a credit in my account from the fees that I was charged by the ATMs I used. It’s the most amazing debit card I have ever had. I mean I received NO FEES for using any ATM around the world. I also always accessed my accounts on my laptop. I had 2 accounts one with all my savings that I did not have a debit card for and would transfer from that account to my CS account $500 at a time to use my debit card at ATMs. I did it that way so if I lost my CS debit card I would only loose at most $500 and would have no ties to my savings on me if something happened. I also traveled with a Capital One Credit Card because it doesn’t charge you any international fees. So I would book everything with it and pay it off at the end of each month.
Questions were asked by Hannah from Getting Stamped.
- How did you find your current job when you came back?
This was pure luck. I honestly didn’t have plans to work for a few months after I got home. I still had some money left and wanted to travel in the US and Mexico a bit. My sister let me know that they needed someone to cover for the receptionist at the law firm she works at for 10 days. After doing that they let me know they could use my help getting file work done and well now I’m there and think I will be here for a few more months maybe even until the end of the year. I’d be so so happy if this job lasted until December. That way it gives me a chance to save up again to maybe leave in time for New Years.
- Did you end up selling your car b4 leaving? (can’t rembember) via @MissPointless
Yes I sold my car before leaving. I didn’t want to sell it, but I knew it would have been pointless to keep paying insurance for it and not have anyone use it for the 2 years I was gone. Plus since it was fairly new and I paid it off fast, I sold it for $14,000. That right there covered about a year of travel. Now that I am home no joke of course I miss it, but with that money I think about the memories I made on the road and it was all worth it. So for now since I work with my sister I don’t need a car and even though it sucks not having a car not having a payment or insurance is helping me save faster.
Questions were asked by @MissPointless.
- Do you travel with a laptop?
Yes and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My laptop was my key to communicating with everyone. Not only did I use it to keep my blog updated, but also to keep in touch with my family and friends at home. It’s also amazing that just about anywhere you go in the world now you can find free WiFi so it’s worth bringing. If you don’t blog I’d at least recommend bringing a tablet.
- How do you protect your laptop from the rain?
I bought a water resistance day pack. Here’s more about it on my packing list for traveling the world. That is where I kept it anytime I was getting from one place to another. If I knew it may be raining where I was arriving I would be sure to place it in a plastic bag and then in my backpack that way I made sure it wouldn’t get wet. Other than that I mean you’re really never outside with your laptop unless you are at the beach or something and well then if it was raining I wouldn’t take it out.
- Who’s your favorite Grey’s Anatomy character?
Damn this is a tough question cus it’s one of my all time favorite shows. Okay I’m picking 2 characters. I would say Yang and Karev are my favorite characters. Yang because she knows who she is and doesn’t change for anyone and Karev because he’s gone through so much and is such an asshole sometimes that for some reason I love him for that. I will end my explanations here, because if not I know I could go on for ever and write about more characers. Do you cry as much as I do watching this show?
- Ideal countries for a vegetarian?
I think you will find that many countries are ideal for Vegetarians, but if I had to pick one I think the best country for vegetarians is India. I’m a huge meat eater… I love all kinds of meats (hey I’m from Texas with Mexican parents), but in India I was able to go weeks with out eating any meat. Sometimes it was a mission to find meat. I lost so much weight in India it’s crazy. I so wish I could go back just to diet… my travels would be my diet.
- How to teach English without a certificate?
I don’t have the answer to this. I was able to teach English for 15 days in a small village in India, because I had a friend who knew the owner of a non-profit and they neded someone for that time frame between teachers. Here is more about my experience volunteering in India & photos of Sambhai-Trust & its students. I would recommend trying to find blogs of people who teach English abroad.
- What’s your favoritate Mariah Carey song?
If you love Mariah as much as I love Kelly Clarkson you are going to hate my answer. The truth is I’m not a huge fan of Mariah. Okay calm down… I know she is amazing and one of not the best female vocalist of our time, but I just never liked her music. I do own a few of her CDs though and if I had to pick a favorite album I would pick The Emancipation of Mimi. My favorite song of hers though is “Without You”… I mean who hasn’t wanted to sing this atop of there lungs drunk all alone in their room??? Is that only me???
Questions were asked by @priyasobsession
- Was your plan really to travel for two years or was it originally shorter and you just decided to extend?
The funniest thing is that it all started while I was on probation for drinking and driving. I was prohibited from leaving the state of Texas with out permission so I started planning vacations for when I was off probation. That was when I learned about backpacking. Before then I had never heard of it. When I learned about it I thought oh wow I’d love to quit my job to travel for 3 months through Europe. While doing research for that I found out about people doing it for longer and thought well I could do it as well. So it evolved from a 3 months backpacking trip around Europe to a 2 year backpacking trip around the world.
- Do you keep in touch with people you met on the road and how?
Yes with some I do. The thing about backpacking around the world is you are going to meet hundred and hundreds of people. Along the way you are also going to make friends with many of them, but of all the people you meet you will click with a handle. By click with a handle full I mean you are going to relate on many levels and spend more than just a few days traveling together. It’s these people you know you will have a friendship even a million miles apart. It is those people you will stay in touch with. So yes I still stay in touch with those people and we help each other out when we can.
Questions were asked by Al
- When/are you heading back to Egypt?
This is a question I have received often and honestly I don’t know. When I left Egypt he was the last goodbye and we ended things before heading home. Now that I am home we still talk every day and even though my plans right now are to save to travel more a part of me knows I want to go back to Egypt. So the truth is I don’t know when or if I will ever go back to Egypt. It’s so hard for me to talk about this because it is honestly my favorite country in the world, but also when I think of Egypt it’s him… it’s all about him and will always be about him so for now who knows. I still love him though, but like everyone in life we can’t have it all right?
- I’d love to hear about your impressions of the other travel bloggers you met on your way…and when/where will your next trip be?!
Some of my favorite moments during my 2 year trip around the world was when I met up with other travel bloggers. The reason I say that is because when we would meet it’s like meeting an old friend. Yes we were meeting for the 1st time, but had already known each other for a while online so it was like picking up where we left off online. It was also a relief to travel with someone who understood that some mornings I would need to spend them working on the blog before I go out and explore X city. As for impressions it was sometimes shocking to see that some personalities did not match with their online personalities. Other than that though not much else to say. As for when/where my next trip will be… I don’t know when yet, but I am planning the where as we speak. I know I will do South America for sure, but not sure after that… maybe more of the Middle East or Australia or go into deep Africa… not sure at all yet. When I know though I will share it with everyone for sure.
Question was asked by Sam from Indefinite Adventure.
- Do you think that you’ll ever love another country as much as Egypt? I know this is a very subjective question, but I wonder if I’ll ever love another country as much as Cambodia. All my stars aligned and my time there was so wonderful. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back. Curious as to whether or not you felt the same way or what you think about it.
Damn Mary, I have honestly stared at this question for a while now. The short answer to this question is NO. No I will never love another country as much as I love Egypt. You know how they say a place is not about the place, but about the people you meet in said place? It’s about the memories you make while you are there with others. I fell in love with him from the moment I arrived in Cairo. I mean seriously my 1st day there was a gay date through the streets of Cairo. Everything about Egypt even when I was not in Cairo with him goes right back to him. We spent 13 months together and of those 13 months I was in Egypt 7 of them and we lived together 5 of them. I was also able to see so much more of Egypt then most people have seen of Egypt when they visit. Egypt is such an amazing country with so much to offer and people don’t realize that. I guess the reason I know I will never love another country as much as I loved Egypt is because it was my first international love that gave me a million emotions and well we can never forget our first. Ahhh I can keep talking, but I don’t want to because I can feel the tears coming, because I miss him and Egypt more than you can imagine.
Question was asked by Mary from The Search for Cookie Mountain.
- If you could narrow it down to your top 3 cities visited, which ones would you pick?! Did you eat anything bizarre, completely unusual on the western hemisphere?!
Man picking only 3 cities is hard, but if I had to I’d say my top 3 cities would be Istanbul, Cairo and Barcelona. I could go into details, but won’t because I could write pages about each of them. As for eating bizarre things, I ate crickets in Mexico, I ate snails in Morocco and can’t think of anything else of top my head even though I am sure I did eat stranger things. Oh & I just read the western hemisphere part so I guess cross out Morocco…lol!!!
Question was asked by Anais.
- What’s the top country you felt that it’s most alive?
You are going to laugh at this because you are from Egypt, but honestly I would have to say Egypt. Aside for other reasons that is one of the reasons why I loved Egypt so much. No matter where I went it was always chaotic and so full of culture and life. Of all of Egypt my favorite is Cairo of course and it’s all because the streets of Cairo. Every day walking on the streets of Cairo is an adventure and you are presented with a million things to awe at and are constantly reminded that you are not at home and that you will never understand how it works.
Question was asked by Ahmed.
- This is my most hated question to be asked because I can never answer it lol but where was your favorite place?
Oh I don’t hate this question… I hate the people who can’t answer this question and say things like “Oh I can’t answer that. It’s like asking a mother who her favorite child is.” – Ummm no countries are not like questions and don’t pretend you don’t have one… we all have a favorite country for one reason or another so just answer the damn question people. Okay sorry so went on a tangent, but um yeah I have answer it several times… like even above. Everyone knows my favorite country in the world is Egypt!!!
Question was asked by @wheremegclaire.
- South Texas boy traveling countries full of hate for the West… Were you ever threatened or felt threatened?
I think of all the questions I was asked this is my favorite because it’s a very common thought because of what we see on the news. The truth is though that not once did I get threatened or felt threatened because I was from the USA. I think it’s actually the opposite when you visit countries that according to the media are full of hate towards us you learn that they are intrigued by us and want to learn more about us. I will use Egypt as an example since I spent 7 months there and during that time I visited remote villages, major tourist areas and even lived in Cairo (the largest city in Africa). Through out my time there any time I mentioned I was from America they would stop me and want to know why I am visiting their country or what I think about their country or food or just random things because they don’t understand why someone from America would want to visit their country. I would be invited into strangers home for a cup of tea because that is their culture and tradition that if you are a guest in their country you are a guest of theirs and they are supposed to treat you to what they can. It’s beautiful to see first hand that people really don’t hate us… yes they hate our government for what it’s done to their countries and who can blame them? Have you seen some of the damage our government has done around world? It’s heartbreaking, but when you learn that people know the difference you open your midn to endless possibilities. One of those is that you learn that the media at home is good at one thing… showing the evil over good and making sure it keeps us scared to do anything, but stay home and make sure we keep the capitalistic America dream alive. In reality it’s a false dream and we are a slave to it until we are able to breakaway from it. Lord I got on a tangent again. To answer your question is no I was never and honestly the chances of that happening are slim to none and it would have to be being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Keep in mind the people who hate “The West” in some of the countries I visited are less than the 1%, but it’s that percentage the media uses to make sure we think they all hate us. When in reality most can care less about what is happening in “The West” and just trying to survive in their home country.
Question was asked by Joey.
- I’m sure you try to live your life with no regrets, but do you have any from this trip, the past 2-3 years was it? Or maybe not regrets but things that you think, “yeah….maybe I should have done this different…”?
Honesty Cynthia, I have no regrets about anything that happened during the 2 years I traveled around the world. I had many ups & downs, I cried and laughed, I was lost and found, I even found love and let it go, but in the end every memory I made was a memory I will love forever. If anything I wish I had been a bit more adventurous. I know that sounds crazy, but trust me even when you are backpacking around the world it’s easy to stay within a comfort zone.
Question was asked by Cynthia.
Well there you have it answers to all the questions I was asked. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the answers to these question. Like usual if you have any questions let me know and I will answer them if I can. Thanks again everyone who asked me a question!