Travel Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How can we keep up with your travels?
There are two ways to subscribe, email or RSS. Both will notify you when there is an update to our travels. To subscribe to our email distribution list click on the Subscribe main menu option. To subscribe via an RSS feed, go to my blog by clicking here and click on the Subscribe:All Entries link. That will set up an RSS feed subscription to my blog. I will always post an entry on my blog when I post content here. By checking your subscription feeds you will always be updated on this site.
Aren't you afraid? What about bandits? How will you protect yourself?
Click here for the answers to these questions.
Why aren't you sponsored? Why don't you seek sponsorship?
Through direct, personal experience we know that accepting products and/or money from a sponsor can compromise the ethics and integrity of the people who receive those products or funds. We have witnessed people who have altered or filtered their reports of experiences with products to retain sponsorship. We have witnessed people limiting, altering and/or skewing requirements, deliverables, schedules, experiences and interactions due to sponsorship considerations. We have witnessed people being dishonest, duplicative and deceitful to obtain and retain sponsorships. But most importantly, we know that a sponsorship arrangement of any kind fundamentally alters who you are and what you do during a travel experience. We salute those who can accept sponsorships with none of these ill effects. For ourselves, we hope to continue our travels with no financial or product sponsorships.
What will you do for water?
Our rig is designed and equipped to filter and sterilize water from any fresh water source. This allows us to take fresh water from any source such as a stream, lake, well or municipal water system, filter it to one micron and sterilize it using ultraviolet (UV) light. Our rig has tank capacity of ~75 gallons / 284 liters of fresh water.
Where will you camp?
We prefer to travel in 3rd world / developing countries, so there are no campgrounds as you would think of them in North America. We will camp in designated areas if they are available, otherwise in suitable areas such as a clearing in a wilderness. In populated areas we will camp in hotel or restaurant compounds or other bounded areas.
How long will you be gone?
We plan to be gone for two to three years. We'll come back in six months if we are not having any fun. If we are still having fun and our economics are still viable we'll stay out.
How will you stay in touch/communicate?
Primarily via internet cafes, they are very inexpensive and surprisingly ubiquitous. For voice communication we have a GSM mobile phone and two different satellite phone systems. We buy SIM cards in each country for the GSM phone so we are using local service. For data we have a two low data rate satellite data communications systems and a 400k satellite system. All of the satellite systems, both voice and data, have full global coverage except for one of the low data rate systems that currently lacks coverage in the south Pacific ocean, New Zealand and far south eastern Australia.
Do you speak the language where you are going?
Steph is fluent in English and German. She also knows some Spanish (more than she will admit), Italian, French and quite a bit of Japanese. She is blessed with a linguistic gift that allows her to very quickly pick up on local languages. We haven't been anywhere where she wasn't able to pick up the basics within a few weeks. Doug, alas, is a typical monolingual American, who hopes to learn some Spanish while he's in South America.
How will you eat?
It is a common misconception that the rest of the world has no food. At least in the American perception of prepared, processed and ready to eat food. In fact, the rest of the world has fantastic food. We've both had fewer health problems related to food, actually zero, while we have been overseas than in the U.S.
Don't you miss your stuff?
We donated or sold just about everything we owned between traveling for the year on the bike and setting out in the expedition vehicle, so we get asked this a lot. America is based on consumption and your social status is primarily tied to your acquisition of goods. By turning our backs on that lifestyle we generate a fair amount of consternation, stress and discomfort among people we know and people we meet. It is a very foreign concept, and one that is extremely challenging for people in the U.S. to understand. We're not sure we fully understand it ourselves, but the short answer is no, we don't miss our stuff. During this chapter of our lives, we're more interested in learning about the aspects of life that are not related to material acquisition so it helps to have unburdened ourselves of a lifetime's worth of acquisition.
How do you get the truck overseas?
The truck is put on a ship and it is shipped from port to port. The service is called RoRo, shorthand for Roll On / Roll Off. It is a type of service used to move large trucks and construction equipment around the globe. The truck may be below decks or on the deck, depending on how it is loaded. It is tied down by the axles during the shipment. We take everything out of the cab (radios, electronics, etc.) and the RoRo team only has a key to the truck cab. We use freight forwarders and customs brokers on each end of the transaction to get the truck out of and into each country.
What is the greatest challenge when you are in another culture?
Viewing and experiencing the culture, its customs and its norms without overlaying, filtering or judging the experience with our cultural expectations and values. It is very challenging, but ultimately the most rewarding, when we can experience another culture without viewing it through the goggles of our American culture's viewpoint, expectations, maxims, beliefs and presumptions.
What is your favorite place?
It sounds trite, but my honest answer is I havenít found it yet. Iíve still got a lot of exploring yet to do. But for these trips, Iíd say: For spirituality and warm energy of the people, the Buddhists of the Himalayas. For happiness and positive energy, the people of sub-Saharan Africa. For sunsets, the Atlantic coast of Namibia. For most surprisingly excellent food, China. For friendliness and hospitality, Syria. For history, Turkey. For customer service, Japan. For entrepreneurial spirit and energy, India. For healthiest diet, Mediterranean and Aegean coasts of Turkey & Syria. Loneliest, Kalahari and Syrian deserts. Friendliest and most helpful border guards, Syria. Un-friendliest and least welcoming border guards, Jordan. Best talisman, Turkey. Best life changing experience, Okavango Delta, Botswana.
Excluding the U.S., where would you live if you could?
Based on where Iíve been so far, in no particular order or ranking: New Zealand, Japan, Namibia, S.W. Turkey, Syria (probably Aleppo), or the Sea of Cortez coast of Baja California, Mexico. If I had to live in Europe, The Hague Netherlands or the Tuscany region of Italy.
What was the most spiritual experience?
Being blessed by the Incarnate (Buddhist Monastery, Sikkim), visiting the Inner Sanctum Holy of Holies (different Buddhist Monastery, Sikkim), private mass at the last house of Mary, mother of Jesus (Turkey), visiting the site of Jesusí baptism (Jordan), Muslim call to evening prayers (Hamma, Syria), visiting private family Shinto shrine to ancestors (Japan), spinning prayer wheels (Buddhist monastery, China)
What was the biggest lesson you learned?
Those who had the least, had the most.
What was the most painful lesson you learned?
Western media canít be trusted. I wanted to be a journalist when I was a kid and was planning on majoring in photojournalism in college. Some of my biggest heroes were journalists. It really pained me to witness something and then read a completely distorted report of it in the New York Times.