Round-The-World Archives

RTW Itinerary Small Our first round-the-world trip is a 7-month tour of the southern hemisphere. Finally a reason to clear out my Delta Skymiles account!

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90 Day Report and Trip Statistics

Thursday, September 6th, 2007 by Brian

We’ve been back now for just over 90 days. Since our last update, Jennifer has taken a job at Aruba Wireless in Sunnyvale, I’ve picked up a business partner in and am working out of an office and we have moved to Los …

30 Day Report

Friday, June 22nd, 2007 by Brian

It’s been just over 30 days since we said adios to Costa Rica and hopped a plane back to San Francisco. It has felt great to be home and see family and friends. Jennifer was so happy to be back she even thought the airport people in …

Winding Down

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007 by Brian

We are already back as Jennifer noted and here is the last entry from Costa Rica – beach time, diving and getting a new passport are all included.

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 by Jennifer

By the time you read this, we will be enjoying our first morning back in the good ol´ USA. We were originally scheduled to come home on June 5th, but we changed our plans to be present for my dearest friend Quiana´s wedding. I´ve known the girl for …

Pura Vida

Monday, May 21st, 2007 by Jennifer

“Pure Life.” That´s the slogan here in Costa Rica. I´m not sure I agree with it, but it´s on every souvenir here, so we´ll go with it. Brian and I have both wanted to come to Costa Rica for the natural beauty, outdoor adventures and ecofriendly travel. …

Archipelago Adventure

Friday, May 18th, 2007 by Brian

I’m sitting poolside on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica writing on my phone as the day winds down. I am about to recount, for the second time, our time in Bocas del Toro in Northeastern Panama since my prior literary genius is on the desktop of my stolen …

Recompensa ($$$) para mi mochillo robado

Thursday, May 10th, 2007 by Brian

Si usted tiene mi mochillo del autobus con mi computadora y pasaporte, pagaria mucho dinero sin preguntas para devolverlo. Mandeme un email a brian at

If you stole my laptop two hours ago on the San Jose – Fortuna bus and have my passport and computer, I will pay …

Sick and Tired of Panama

Sunday, May 6th, 2007 by Jennifer

We literally are sick, and are tired of seeing just our hotel room in Panama. We´ve been here 5 days now and have yet to see anything in Panama. Just after we left Cuzo and arrived in Arequipa, I got sick. Horrible stomach cramps, nasty diarrhea and …

Breast Cancer Free, but not Guilt Free

Saturday, May 5th, 2007 by Jennifer

WARNING: The following blog contains references to certain of my body parts and is rather personal. If you are highly sensitive, easily embarrassed, or are a friend of Brian’s and only know me as “that girl in the pictures on Brian’s blog,” feel free to skip this post.

As …

Machu Picchu

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 by Jennifer

Before we even started our RTW trip, Brian knew he wanted to see Machu Picchu in Peru. We did some research and came across a company called Peru Treks in Cusco offering 4-day guided tours of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Peru Treks provides community outreach programs …

La Calle Peligrosa

Sunday, April 29th, 2007 by Jennifer

Our trip to Peru started off pretty rocky. Our flight to Lima was Rome to Paris to Bogota to Lima. But due to the restrictions on our tickets (we had to always travel west), I couldn’t fly out of Rome since I’d already flown into Paris. As a …

We’re on the Inca Trail!

Friday, April 20th, 2007 by Brian

You might ask, how do we post a blog from the Inca trail in the Peruvian highlands? We don’t. We schedule it in advance. Most of you are unaware but we typically post the blog about 2 weeks after it happens. It takes us awhile to …

Scusi! Scusi!

Thursday, April 19th, 2007 by Brian

This is what my ears registered as my kidneys felt a one-two elbow from an Italian senior citizen pushing her way onto the already crowded bus. I was standing; make that, hovering, over the bus driver, cuddling the ticket validation machine, as the Campania region bus hurtled along the …

International Pit Stop: Italy

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007 by Brian

When we originally inserted a two week stop in Italy as part of our backpacker trip around the world, it was to celebrate surviving a month in India and to reward ourselves with some hard-earned rest and relaxation la dolce vita style.

In our revised schedule (and budget) with me spending …


Tuesday, April 17th, 2007 by Jennifer

We met Martin and Kasja on Frasier Island in Australia and quickly became friends. I mentioned I was going to be in Paris and they invited me for a visit to Sweden. So on the day before I was supposed to leave for Florence, I exchanged my train …

Goodbye India!

Saturday, April 14th, 2007 by Brian

I feel like a pro as I dodge the bus station touts, pre-emptively wave off the beggard child and pit three taxi-wallahs against each other to save myself 40% off my taxi to the airport, finally ignoring his attempt to bait and switch me for an extra 50 rupees. …

There’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead

Saturday, April 14th, 2007 by Brian

From Delhi to Darjeeling to Dooars, the ambient noise level hasn’t changed much but just 1km off the road at the Jaldapara tourist lodge in Madarihat the sounds are completely different. Chirping birds, mooing cows and some kind of howling animal (a peacock I think). Despite the pack …

I must have crossed the border

Thursday, April 12th, 2007 by Brian

That’s what I’m thinking right now as I take a break from reading the fascinating “The World is Flat” to look out the window of my top floor, wood-lined room with fireplace and sitting area out onto the small garden where someone is sweeping up leaves from the grass.

I have …

Inconvenience Caused Regrettably

Thursday, April 12th, 2007 by Brian

I found myself back at the post-rave wasteland of New Friends Colony yesterday afternoon but this time the shops were open, people were bustling and the rats were suspiciously absent.

Sankar, head of business developent for an Indian offshore development company had just dropped me off after a nice meeting at …

“Amazing means unbelievable”

Thursday, April 12th, 2007 by Brian

This is what my tout-guide told me as we sat looking at the shrine of the Shaikh Salim Chishti inside Fatephur Sikri. As if he was going to teach me something new about English but it did make me think about what constitutes “amazing”.

Having recently visited mind-blowing Angkor, …

Taj Time

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007 by Brian

I landed in Agra at about 5:30am after barely sleeping a wink. Six hours of swerving to overtake slower traffic or avoid potholes was not very conducive to resting. Regardless, I was here to see the Taj and I wanted to see it at sunrise.

Half-awake, I was ushered …


Tuesday, April 10th, 2007 by Brian

Getting to Jaipur by train was a no go with three separate bastards trying to “help” redirect me to an inflated bus ticket or a taxi for “only” 10x the cost. Eventually I took the Rajastan government bus which was nice and A/C and $4.50. I sat next …

Indian Food

Thursday, April 5th, 2007 by Brian

Even though I have come to enjoy Indian cuisine in the past couple of years, India wasn’t originally on my radar as a destination to visit. In college I went to this giant Indian buffet near El Camino and Lawrence Expressway and I only remember being overwhelmed and uninformed. …

A Cold and Wet Paris

Thursday, April 5th, 2007 by Jennifer

After a week in Bali I headed to Paris, France to take in the sites. I have been to Paris twice before, but both were weekend trips. However, I fell in love with the city. I really think it’s the most beautiful city in the world (at …

Incredible India

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 by Brian

Incredible India is an advertising slogan promoted by the government here and abroad. What a train wreck. This place is incredible in many ways but most of the adjectives that would follow would not be endearing.

Delhi’s version of Bangkok’s “no I don’t need a tuk-tuk…” t-shirt would require …

Balinese New Year

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 by Jennifer

While I was at Club Med, the Balinese were celebrating the New Year according to their lunar calendar. Unlike the rest of Indonesia, over 90% of which are Muslim, the island of Bali is Hindu and Nyepi, the culimination of the week long festivities, is a Hindu holiday. …

Club Med Nusa Dua Bali

Thursday, March 29th, 2007 by Jennifer

Aaaah, the good life! Now this is what I call a vacation.

I’m not sure how many of you have been to Club Med. It’s very French, which is usually a turn off for us Americans. My parents and my Uncle George and Mark have been …

Mas Mumbai

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 by Brian

Adding time to Thailand meant taking away time in India so my plan is to move fast and just see the highlights – the kind of travel I normally shun but duty calls. I had ambitious plans for day 2 in Mumbai but I had to stay up late …

More Mumbai

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 by Brian

The rest of my first day in India included some walking about (including a second trip to the train station to finish my rail tickets where two guys tried for 15 minutes to convince me with stories of hardship that I should buy them shoe shine boxes).

In the Fort area, …

Next Stop: Crazytown

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007 by Brian

I am standing in the Mumbai train reservation office at the head of the queue for tickets to Delhi on the overnight Rajdhani Express. The woman behind the counter is at least tri-lingual and runs her DOS-based reservation program as though she was playing 8-bit nintendo Track and Field …

“I’m disappointed in your writing because you haven’t been honest”

Monday, March 19th, 2007 by Jennifer

This is what Brian said to me over dinner. And I guess he’s right because I haven’t been completely honest. Mostly because I don’t want people to think that I’m ungrateful for this wonderful opportunity, or that I’m a “princess.” But truthfully, I haven’t had the best …

Leaving Southern Thailand

Sunday, March 18th, 2007 by Brian

The last three days of Khao Lak have been awesome. Awesome because we did absolutely nothing. We literally spent the majority of each day in an Internet café getting caught up on errands, onward travel, our travelogue (sorry about that 3 week+ delay… we’re almost caught up!) and …

Diving Expedition

Saturday, March 17th, 2007 by Brian

Jennifer has caught you up on where we’re at. We got into Khao Lak nice and early and checked in at Sea Dragon Dive Center to get our gear prepped for a 4 day/4 night liveaboard that would start in the Surin Islands, visit Richelieu Rock and Ko Bon …

A Little Tsunami Won’t Stop Us

Friday, March 16th, 2007 by Jennifer

Our fellow travelers were right, Ko Phi Phi is beautiful. There are actually two islands, Ko Phi Phi Don, which is fully developed and Ko Phi Phi Leh which is restricted from any development. What makes them beautiful is the large limestone formations that surround them. Imagine …

Island Life

Thursday, March 15th, 2007 by Jennifer

There was only one thing on our to-do list on our first full day on Ko Lipe , maxing and relaxing. Ko Lipe is a really small island and has 3 small dirt trails that lead you from beach to beach. There are a few motorbikes, but otherwise, …

Trying Thailand on for size

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007 by Brian

Have you seen those ferry disaster news stories from developing countries and wonder how hundreds of people die? I’m sitting on one of those boats now with every seat filled and every inch of available deck space filled upstairs. I can’t stand in the sun without sunblock for …

27 Hours to Paradise

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007 by Jennifer

Generally, in this blog we’ve talked about the great places we’ve seen, the wonderful people we’ve met, and the delicious food we’ve eaten. Those are the good parts of traveling. But it’s not all fun and games. Let me tell you about the less glamorous side of …

City of the Great Buddha

Sunday, March 11th, 2007 by Brian

Everything we had read called Luang Prabang the jewel of Laos. Indeed, it’s nestled in the north about six hours from Vang Vieng and enjoys certain protections from overdevelopment due to its UNESCO world heritage status making it similar to Hoi An, Vietnam. Luang Prabang was once the …

Vang Vieng

Friday, March 9th, 2007 by Brian

Laos is relatively green, mountainous and forested compared to its neighbors. There is apparently a big business in Vietnamese illegally logging in Laos (where its restricted) and then selling it back to Laotian middlemen who then sell it to Thailand (where logging is forbidden).

Vang Vieng is a mini adventure …

Into Laos

Thursday, March 8th, 2007 by Brian

We are on an 18-hour overnight train from Bangkok to Hat Yai in the south of Thailand so I am catching up on Laos.

We flew from Angkor and Siem Reap to Pakse in southern Laos. This guaranteed us a visa on arrival. The dual turbo prop Lao Airlines …

Giving Something Back

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 by Jennifer

Brian and I have a policy of not giving money to beggars. You have to have a policy to deal with the countless number of beggars you find in these poorer countries or you’ll go broke or mad, or both. We don’t know who the money’s going to …

Angkor Wat

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007 by Jennifer

Really the only reason we wanted to go to Cambodia was to see Angkor Wat. It’s sort of like the pyramids in Egypt, you have to see it to believe it. And they shot parts of Tomb Raider there so how could we pass it up?

After a …

Monkey Business

Friday, February 16th, 2007 by Jennifer

Before heading up to Siem Reap, we went to the US embassy in Phnom Penh to have some pages added to our passports. I’ve never been to a US embassy but what I pictured in my mind was a building with a huge American flag in front, some …

“The Cambodian Police Want to Talk to You…”

Thursday, February 15th, 2007 by Jennifer

Brian didn’t mention that our Vietnamese guide said this to me as I tried to get my passport from her before we crossed the border into Cambodia. When I got on the phone, the guy on the other end would say hello, and I would say hello back, and …

Some Thoughts on Vietnam

Sunday, February 11th, 2007 by Jennifer

Sitting in the Danang Airport I saw a tourist sign that said, “Vietnam- The Hidden Charm.” I thought to myself, “It’s so hidden I have yet to find it.” As Brian has already mentioned, I thoroughly disliked Vietnam. After our experience in Halong Bay, and all the …

Same same but different

Saturday, February 10th, 2007 by Brian

This morning I was standing on the banks of the Mekong River in Vietnam, looking at the rising morning sun and listening to chanted Buddhist hymns. It wasn’t a show; just a local working towards enlightenment. The red sun was initially covered by clouds but had broken free …

Hue and Hoi An

Thursday, February 8th, 2007 by Brian

We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) today on a Pacific Airways flight from Danang. When confronted with a choice between a 17-hour $39 train ride and a 57-minute $55 plane flight, we plunked down our credit card about as fast as we could.

In our last update, I …

Climate Change

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007 by Brian

Although our friends here in Vietnam aren’t too keen on “recycling” (unless burning piles of plastic and trash alongside major motorways constitutes recycling), the news is full of climate change and the EU calls to focus on carbon caps. In countries where eating is more important than conservation, it’s …

Ho’s Hanoi

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007 by Brian

I worked hard to not title this first post from Hanoi, “Good Morning, Vietnam!”

We’re in Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, home to some 3 of the 83 million total people living in this country. After landing late on Friday, we caught a taxi for $12 to go the …

Going “Up Over”

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Brian

As we cross the equator and leave “Down Under” for Vietnam tomorrow morning, I’m caught with a few parting thoughts about our time here in New Zealand and Australia. We’ve found the people lovely, the scenery amazing, the activities breathtaking and the food… well, the food was just so-so.

Nonetheless, …

Finding Nemo

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Jennifer

One of the highlights of our trip to Australia was diving the Great Barrier Reef. We booked a 5-day course with Pro Dive Cairns, one of the best dive centers in the world. We spent two days in the pool learning all of the basic skills and three …

Happy Birthday to Me

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Jennifer

On NYE I turned 31. I didn’t think it was so bad until I was filling out a form and had to check the 31-40 box. Ugh!

After a 12 hour bus ride north, the rain finally stopped and we were ready to hit the beach! We …

G’day Mates

Monday, January 15th, 2007 by Jennifer

First, we apologize for slacking on the blog entries. We’ve been pretty busy here in Australia and are just now making the time to catch up. A few quick notes on some other sites we visited in New Zealand. Just before we left we headed to the …

About to go SCUBAing

Thursday, January 4th, 2007 by Brian

My laptop charger died after plugging it in to a bus socket so my phone and laptop are both out of juice. Usually Jennifer and I write at night and then upload pictures and post to the ‘logue here but we’re just getting short opportunities to check at Internet …

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 25th, 2006 by Brian

It’s 10:30pm Christmas Day here in Auckland. Tomorrow morning we get up and fly to Brisbane before catching a bus to Fraser Island on the Queensland coast. Today we called home with Skype to talk to our families on Christmas Eve (NZ is 21 hours ahead of …

Action Packed

Thursday, December 21st, 2006 by Brian

The last three days have been absolute nuts. I try to let the pictures do the talking but I have diarrhea of the typing-hands – sorry! After the weather didn’t cooperate on Sunday for the Tongariro Crossing, we booked ourselves onto a white water rafting trip on the …

Orakei Korako

Sunday, December 17th, 2006 by Brian

The weather didn’t cooperate meaning we couldn’t do the Tongariro crossing. Instead we cruised out to Orakei Korako which Lonely Planet calls, “possibly the best thermal area left in New Zealand and one of the finest in the world”.

It’s essentially a geothermal area on the edge …

Oprah takes one to her fat head

Friday, December 15th, 2006 by Brian

Today was a mixed bag. We were in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Our primary mission was to extend our tourist permit until the end of the year so we can stay through Christmas. We entered the country without onward travel from NZ so immigration only gave …

Glaciers and Gourmet Food & Wine

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006 by Jennifer

We finally left the Queenstown/Wanaka area after two weeks of calling it home. We headed up the West Coast to the Marlborough wine region before crossing Cook Strait to the North Island. We stopped at Fox Glacier for a day and took a full-day hike on the glacier.

There …

Kayaking looks fun, but…

Sunday, December 10th, 2006 by Jennifer

Mitre Peak

Tallest sea cliff in the world

We rescheduled our Milford Sound Kayak trip for the day after we finished the Routeburn since we would be in the area. This was a stupid decision. Within the last week we hiked the Rob Roy Track, went canyoning the next day, …

The Mighty Routeburn

Thursday, December 7th, 2006 by Jennifer

One of the most popular activities in New Zealand is tramping (hiking or trekkng in Kiwi speak). There are thousands of kilometers of tracks and a network of huts throughout New Zealand and it’s a great way to see the natural beauty of the country. The Department of Conservation …


Saturday, December 2nd, 2006 by Brian

Day before yesterday we left Queenstown and headed up to Wanaka, about an hour north, to hang out while we wait for the Routeburn track to re-open. We decided to try something that we saw in a brochure called canyoning. It looks like running down a riverbed with …

Queenstown & Rainy Milford Sound

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006 by Brian

On a map, the drive from Christchurch to Queenstown looks really far. It’s from one side of the country to the other but that’s California thinking. If you’ve ever rented a car (“hired” a car) in Europe and crossed three countries in an afternoon or driven across the …

It’s a girl!

Saturday, November 25th, 2006 by Jennifer

Welcome to the newest member of our family, our campervan. We picked her up in Christchurch and will be calling her home for the next month. Of course we had to give her a name, and after my first two suggestions were thrown out (Matilda and Jesus), we agreed …

Fiesta de Gracias

Friday, November 24th, 2006 by Jennifer

Obviously Kiwis don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and they rarely eat Turkey, so no traditional Thanksgiving meal for us. Instead, we “splurged” on Mexican food. In any other country, buying Mexican food is far from splurging. In fact when Jesse was unemployed, he consistently ate burritos at Taqueria Cancun …

Calves, Kauris and Cape Reigna

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006 by Jennifer

We headed up north to visit another of Brian’s distant relatives, Anne and Phil Herbert. They raise calves on a 150 acre farm near the Bay of Islands, and they invited us to stay for a couple of days. On the way to Anne’s house, we drove through …

Tokyo to Auckland

Thursday, November 16th, 2006 by Brian

Tokyo is nuts. We arrived at the Narita airport at 3pm, navigated customs, arranged for a hotel and caught a limo bus into Tokyo. Working on very little sleep in the past few days, I know I nodded off at least a couple of times on the way …

We’re half-way to New Zealand

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006 by Brian

Here’s what has happened since leaving Zihuatanejo, Mexico on Sunday morning:

Arrived at LAX
Found no commuter flights would put us in SFO before our flight back to LAX for our connection to Tokyo and eventually Auckland
Brainstormed genius idea of renting a car and hauling ass up I-5
Rented car and hauled ass …

Almuerzo Oficial

Sunday, November 12th, 2006 by Brian

This is what I’ve been waiting for since we got here: taqueria showdown! Although they advertised four kinds of meats, they only had carne asada but the taste was great. I also liked the assemble-it-yourself approach to the onions, cilantro, salsa and fresh limes. Still, if this …


Saturday, November 11th, 2006 by Brian

Our first stop is Zihuatanejo, Mexico to see our good friends Kevin and Natalie tie the knot. Kevin and I race sports cars with the SCCA and have shared a 2-car trailer for the past two seasons. Zihautanejo is a small town near Ixtapa on the Pacific coast. …

Now It’s My Turn

Friday, November 3rd, 2006 by Jennifer

After several lengthy discussions, Brian has generously allowed me to share his blog. He seems to think he’ll have “editorial review” of everything I write. But we’ll see about that…

At any rate, we have just 4 days until we begin our trip and after the last few stress-filled …

21 Days & Counting

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006 by Brian

Since I’m sending lots of emails to old friends, colleagues and family, this may be the first post you’ll see in my travelogue. Thanks for taking a look, I am sorry it’s been so long since we’ve been in touch and I’m trying to improve my record in that … Calling Cards

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006 by Brian

Like everyone else and their brothers, I ordered 100 cards for $20 by pulling images from Flickr. Except instead of just randomly picking some photos, I built a small image to be used as a contact card I could hand out while I’m travelling. …

Fujitsu P1510D and HP HW6915 and Backpack

Friday, October 6th, 2006 by Brian

Both of my big purchases for the trip showed up today, the Fujitsu P1510D Lifebook laptop/tablet and HP HW6915 quad-band GSM phone with Wi-fi, bluetooth and GPS. Pictured next to my Indian Visa and Int’l Driving Permit, you can see the relative size of the Lifebook. …

Indian Visa

Friday, October 6th, 2006 by Brian

Jennifer and I got up this morning and headed to the Indian Embassy near Geary and Arguello to obtain tourist visas for early next year. Six months for $60. We stood in a pretty long and chaotic line while the passport customers were turbo’d to the front of …


Friday, August 18th, 2006 by Brian

Since I’m a new Kaiser Permanente member, my doctor signed me up to have the full slate of blood work done. Everything from cholesterol to HIV. Two of the tests were for Hepatitis A/B to see whether or not I need the vaccines. The tests came back …

VOIP on the go

Friday, August 4th, 2006 by Brian

I currently use Vonage as my home/office telephone in addition to my cell phone. It works pretty well so long as you have reliable Internet access. I’ve been wondering how I will stay in touch with my customers and contractors while I’m on the road. Even …

Tickets in hand

Monday, July 10th, 2006 by Brian

Now it’s really real. We have the tickets. They are huge. As thick as an owner’s manual for some complicated electronics. Do we need to insure these things? They seem easily lose-able.

Because the ticket has so many legs, I had to go to San Francisco …

Tickets Booked!

Monday, July 3rd, 2006 by Brian

The hardest part of any trip is finally done! There have been about fifty changes since my last post, the most important of which is that we ponied up to go Business class instead of coach. We were looking at a half dozen 15-20 hour plane flights to …

RTW Itineraries

Thursday, May 11th, 2006 by Brian

We sat down this past weekend to hammer out our itinerary and came up with the following plan:

SF – New Zealand – Overland to Australia – Vietnam – Overland to Laos – Overland to Cambodia – Overland to Thailand – India – UAE – Tanzania – Overland to Kenya – …

New Zealand Rocks!

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006 by Brian driving route that is. We have been looking a lot at since that’s our first big stop. Their website is incredible! It shows the full range of things you can do in NZ and goes way, WAY beyond …

Round-the-world planning

Saturday, January 28th, 2006 by Brian

When I took my European Sabbatical, the timing was great. I had just quit my job, put my stuff into storage and left my car with my dad and hit the road. It was relatively easy to get going.

Jennifer and I have been planning a 3 or …