When I set out in June of ’09, I honestly thought the adventure would take about a year, and savings of just over $10,000 would see me through.
Haha! It’s hilarious to look back…
A combination of working along the way and a nice tax return helped the bottom line, though the remainder is still sitting on my credit card.
For the vast majority of the adventure I drew a few hundred dollars out in cash, spent it on anything and everything, then got more cash when I ran out. Unfortunately, this means I only have bank records for some of the big purchases mentioned below. I can see than I took out $400 in Guatemala, then another $400 in El Salvador, but I can’t say exactly what that money went into. At only $1/beer, I’m pretty sure it didn’t all go there
**NOTE: When I say everything else, I literally mean, everything else.
Food and accommodation would certainly be the next two big categories, then maybe activities (like park entry fees, etc.). Everything you can possibly imagine is in there somewhere; oil changes, small ferries, toll roads, tire repairs, flip-flops…. If I spent money, it’s in the everything else figure.
I did not include the following expenses for various reasons.
If you’re planning your own adventure, you may want to think about these things:
The cost of the Jeep has been excluded, mostly because in my view it cost net zero. I bought the Jeep in August 2008 for $6,250 and drove it around as my sole vehicle until June 2009 when I set off on the adventure. Almost two years, and 65,000kms later, I sold the Jeep for $5000.
Allocating the $1,250 difference to deprecation before the adventure even began, means it cost me net zero for the adventure. I’m extraordinarily happy with this.
These were in fact very specific for this adventure, though with all the health-insurance refunds I’m pretty sure it cost me something less than $300. They are also good for 10 years, so I’m still getting value from them.
I had almost everything I needed before setting out (tent, camp stove, hiking boots, etc.) although I did buy a couple of pricy things like my sleeping bag. I didn’t include them because I already had most of them, and the things I bought, I still have and use regularly.
Laptop & Camera:
I owned my camera long before the adventure began, but I did buy my little laptop specifically for the adventure. I didn’t include it as an expense, because it’s a completely optional piece of equipment and I still use it all the time.
$27k is an average of about $1200 a month for the 22 months I was on the road. I hope these numbers help people planning their own adventure. Feel free to ask for any clarifications.