Welcome to Roaming Around the World
Hi there! We are Heather & John and we’re addicted to travel. We have been on a grand adventure traveling around the globe for the past 4 years, across 70+ countries. We’ve always had an insatiable thirst for travel & adventure, so one day we finally decided to put our normal lives on pause in attempts to quench this thirst. We got rid of it all to travel the world for a full year!
But soon into that trip, we discovered that one year simply wouldn’t be enough. Our journey evolved into a lifestyle of non-stop travel. Now into our fifth year of this global odyssey, we’re still roaming around and currently (2018) in the midst of attempting to circle the entire world only traveling over land and sea (no flights), doing it all on a modest budget!
This website was assembled as a labor of love in order to share our travel stories and to offer detailed travel guides & reviews about the interesting far-flung destinations we’ve been roaming across.
If you love to travel too, you’re in the right place. Welcome! We’re happy to have you virtually joining along for the adventure as we share our travel discoveries and tips.
A Brief Background about the Duo Behind Roaming Around the World
We’re both born and raised in Florida. Heather grew up in Melbourne, FL while I roamed around Fort Lauderdale. Travel was always a part of our relationship. We first met while living in Orlando and mutual friends had planned a fateful journey down to Key West. As college students during this time, we squeezed into one small car for this trip down South, so Heather was forced to sit on my lap the entire way as we traveled across the Overseas Highway. I suppose I made a decent cushion, because the rest is history.
Fast forward a few years filled with countless trips around the US and we finally decided to take a few weeks out of our increasingly busy lives to explore Thailand. It was our first real big international trip together. These travels went so well that in the beautiful Phi Phi islands, I decided to propose to her.
It was around this time that we also decided we needed more travel together. So that’s when we began planning and plotting just how we could make that possible. We were leading normal American lives. But that was all going to change.
Meanwhile we got hitched in 2011 and relocated to Detroit, MI for a job. Who moves from Florida to Detroit? We do. And it was actually pretty awesome despite our preconceived notions about the area. I worked doing geeky things in the field of Marketing Intelligence while Heather spent her days in Human Resources hiring and firing people. We lived quite modestly and well below our means during those days. By doing that combined with some very strategic financial planning over the course of 5+ years, it allowed us to bank and save a decent chunk of change, which is chiefly how we funded the beginning of our round the world travels. (We now work remotely while we travel to sustain an income that helps to support our travel addition.)
In December 2013, we finally ditched our corporate jobs and got rid of it all in order to pursue our dream of a 1-year trip around the world. We’re still adventuring, eating, and drinking around the globe, maximizing a tight budget, all while trying our best to provide you with travel ideas, tips, and inspiration along the way.
Our Travel Style
We’re all over the map, both geographically and in terms of our varied travel style. Some people find our travel style difficult to pin down since we regularly go backcountry camping and bunk-up at hostels; yet also love cruises and 5-star luxury. Sometimes we enjoy seeing the major touristic sites just as much as we enjoy getting really far off the beaten track. It may seem that we’re quite conflicted, but there are many aspects about our travel style stays consistent: We love adventure, travel value, and drinking around the world.
A perfect day of travel for us involves an exciting adventure during the day, followed by a delicious local dish for dinner, then winding down the night by enjoying the area’s brews or drinks and accomplishing all of that at half the cost. We do enjoy visiting the major sites as we tend to find they are often well-visited for good reason. But we also find it extremely rewarding to get off the tourist trail to explore the road less traveled. This site chronicles our love for adventure, local cuisine and drinking culture around the world, both on and off the beaten path.
We really enjoy roughing it for a great experience. Yet after spending multiple nights camping in tents and on overnight buses, we’ve found that it can feel absolutely amazing to spruce up our travel game with a little luxury, but only when crazy travel deals present themselves. After all, it’s all about having an amazing experience. We’ve had equally incredible experiences while backpacking through the dense Borneo jungle, sleeping on the floors when we could find a dry spot to set up camp; just as we’ve had sailing across the Atlantic on luxury cruise ships, stopping at exotic islands along the way. These are two completely different experiences, yet both extremely enjoyable to us, as long as we’re able to do each of them affordably. So whether you call this “affordable luxury,” “flashpacking,” “value travel” or some other travel buzzword-of-the-week, we’re all about it!
Really, we absolutely love a good travel bargain and that may best reveal the reasons for our sometimes seemingly strange ways. We have champagne tastes on a Budweiser budget. Somehow we uncover creative methods to get the metaphorical champagne at Bud prices (like taking a two-week luxury cruise for only $300!) Before embarking on this crazy adventure, I spent the last ten years working in the discounts and promotions industry, so I know all too well the science of getting a good deal. I look forward to continue sharing some of the world’s best travel values we’ve found during our journey.
Where in the World?
We began roaming around the world in December 2013, departing from our home in Birmingham, Michigan.
Segment 1: Central America
The first leg of our global tour was Central America in which we made our way from Mexico down to Colombia, entirely overland and water. Check out our top adventures, eats, and drinks in Central America from the awesome first three months of our trip!
Segment 2: Morocco + Europe
Then we crossed the Atlantic by sea snagging our first repositioning cruise deal so we could get down to exotic Morocco for a month. That was a prelude to exploring all over Europe during the summer and fall of 2014 again taking a lengthy overland journey from Spain to Turkey, taking in nearly a dozen countries in between. Spain was our favorite. We swooned over beers in Belgium. Couldn’t get enough of the Alps in Germany & Austria. Meanwhile Ukraine was the most interesting. Turkey was the most surprising (in a good way). And we still dream about all the delicious Greek food.
Repositioning Ourselves from Europe to South America without Flights!
We grabbed another last minute cruise ship deal in the Fall of 2014 to cross back across the Atlantic to visit the States. So our visit back to the States would be a short one because we’d soon set sail yet again! This time we went through the Panama Canal!
Year 1 Highlights: These were our favorite experiences from our first year roaming around the world.
Segment 3: Southern South America
That last cruise positioned us to explore the very southern reaches of South America, which began our second year of this zig-zagging trip around the world. We started in Chile and crossed back and forth into Argentina making our way to the southern tip of this continent, AKA the end of the world! Making our way through the Andes of Patagonia really satiated our craving for adventure.
Segment 4: New Zealand & Australia
After 3 months exploring Chile & Argentina, we took a 5 day flight (no, really) over to New Zealand, where all the crazy adventures continued. New Zealand has been our dream destination so we tried to pack in as much as we possibly could within the 28 days we spent there. It was awesome! We then hopped over to Australia for just a few quick days before transferring to our next continent.
Segment 5: SE Asia
Segment 6: Middle East to Middle Europe)
We caught a flight to Dubai then spent a few very interesting and hot weeks in Egypt. From there it was time to return to Europe to see some new-to-us countries starting with Hungary. We then traveled through SE Europe visiting Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, and Slovenia before finally making our way into Germany to investigate How To Travel to Oktoberfest on a Budget.
We then made a beeline to England where we caught our 4th repositioning cruise, this time returning to the US, which marked the completion of entirely circumnavigating the globe!
Year 2 Highlights: These were our favorite experiences from our second year of roaming around the world.
Here is a video recap of our third year of travel:
Segment 7: Slowing Down in Mexico
We began our third year with a bang, by taking a trip to Cuba before it had officially opened up to the rest of the US!
We then tried to slow our travels by enjoying some longer stays in Mexico. We stayed for a month each in Merida, San Cristobal de las Casas, and Oaxaca, with many adventures in between. Next we roamed back around the US for a little while and took the brand new Fathom cruise to the Dominican Republic.
Segment 8: Repositioning to Portugal & Spain
We then took yet another repositioning cruise, this time from Panama to Portugal on the Pullmantur Monarch, our cheapest cruise yet – only $159! (Read Pullmantur Monarch Review.) We then enjoyed exploring Portugal and the Andalusia region of Spain.
Segment 9: A Grand Adventure Across Africa
We ended our third year of travel with one of our biggest adventures yet – a 3 month trip across Africa. We started in Kenya and hopped on a 56-Day Oasis Overland Safari from Nairobi to Cape Town. We then spent a month traveling across South Africa on our own.
Segment 10: An Andean Adventure
We spent the first few months of 2017 exploring Ecuador. That’s where we investigated How to Travel to the Galapagos on a Budget. Back on mainland Ecuador, we took a series of boats down the Amazon to get to Peru. Of course, we had to see Machu Picchu and so we went the most adventurous way possible: The Jungle Trek. We continued southbound on this Andes adventure into Northern Argentina and Bolivia, where we had our most scenic journey – taking a Salar de Uyuni tour. Yet ultimately we returned to one of our favorite countries: Mexico, to explore the city of Guanajuato for a month.
Segment 11: A Summer Celebrating Canada’s 150 + the Start of Circumnavigating the Globe w/o Flights!
We then spent the summer in Canada, staying for a month at a time in Halifax and Montreal, with many adventures in between as the country celebrated its 150th anniversary. Ultimately this is when we decided to pursue a dream of traveling entirely around the world only by land and sea. So Halifax became our starting point for this flightless journey around the world!
After accomplishing a goal of finding a moose in the wild, we departed Canada and crossed the US by Amtrak from Chicago to Seattle. We ultimately popped back up to Vancouver so we could cruise across the Pacific all the way to Japan! Of course we stopped throughout Alaska along the way and cruising through Glacier National Park became a clear highlight of the voyage.
Segment 12: Roaming Around Northern Asia
We close out the year spending nearly two months roaming around Japan and really enjoying it there, before crossing by ferry to South Korea. It’s there that Year #4 ended and we’ve last updated this section to our blog. Yet our trip around the world now continues into Year #5, as we work on accomplishing our travel goal of making it entirely around the world without taking any flights.
Year #5 – Where to next?
We’re going over land/sea from Asia to Europe! So we invite you to follow along our crazy adventures (and misadventures) as we figure out where our next destination will be. With a busy travel itinerary and a lack of Internet, sometimes our blog posts get delayed until our travels slow down. But we always keep our Facebook Page up to date. So please join us there! Here’s what we’re talking about today:
Happy Travels to You!
Want to learn more about this unconventional path we’ve taken? Have a look around the site or click through some of the links we just listed. You can also visit our FAQ page which answers some of the questions that curious minds want to know such as how we afford to travel the world and what is our favorite countries.
-John & Heather