Welcome to Roaming Around the World
Hi there! We are Heather & John, publishers of Roaming Around the World.
We have been on a grand adventure, traveling around the globe since 2013, across 100 countries and territories!
This website was assembled as a labor of love to share our travel stories and to offer detailed travel guides & reviews about the interesting destinations we’ve been roaming around.
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, from all around the world.
About Roaming Around the World
This website began as a hobby to chronicle our travel adventures, as we set off around the globe in back December 2013 for what was supposed to be a one-year journey. When we noticed that other folks were stumbling across our posts for travel inspiration and to plan their own trips, we further developed the blog to become a trusted source of travel information on the web. Since its modest inception, we’re humbled to learn that this site has now surpassed more than 6 million page views, from readers spanning nearly every corner of the globe!
Roaming Around the World focuses on:
- travel adventures,
- travel value,
- uncovering interesting travel experiences, and
- diving deep into local culture.
Among these themes, we share both lighthearted personal stories and detailed information-rich travel guides. Each post tends to incorporate a message of value, whether for an affordable luxury experience or a DIY travel suggestion about a remarkable destination. We want to help stretch your travel dollars so you can experience more of this beautiful world we live in.
Posts here tend to be longer and more detailed than other travel blogs you may come across. We try to deliver the travel information and tips people are searching for, based on our own personal experiences. We also love to provide travel inspiration by introducing places or experiences around the world that you may not have heard of before.
Our aim for this site is to continue being a dependable source of travel inspiration and recommendations on the web. To that extent, we’re proud to have been featured in many fine publications:
About the Duo Behind Roaming Around the World
We’ve always had an insatiable thirst for travel & adventure. So after many years of careful planning and aggressive saving, we finally put our normal lives on pause in an attempt to quench this thirst. We got rid of it all to travel the world for what was supposed to be a full year.
Soon into that trip, we discovered that one year simply wasn’t enough. This journey has since evolved into a lifestyle of non-stop travel.
After six years of constantly traveling around the globe, we were finally forced to slow down in 2020. Global conditions have made international travel difficult. But we also needed to stay put in order to start a family. We’ve slowed down significantly since then, basing ourselves in Florida while still continuing to travel for about half the year, now with some little travelers in tow.
But let’s back up to the beginning.
A Little About Us
We were both born and raised in Florida. Heather grew up in Melbourne, FL, and John in Fort Lauderdale. Travel was always a part of our relationship. We first met while living in Orlando when mutual friends had coordinated a fateful journey down to Key West. We got to know each other on that trip across the Overseas Highway and have been traveling together ever since. From short weekend jaunts on a tankful of gas to lengthy journeys halfway around the world, we’ve shared a deep passion for travel from the beginning.
A few years into our relationship, we decided to take a couple of weeks off of our increasingly busy lives for our first trip to Asia. Thailand was the destination and this trip went so well that in the beautiful Phi Phi islands, a surprise proposal occurred.
She said yes. But this trip not only solidified our love for each other. It also fueled our wanderlust and opened our eyes to the possibility of long-term travel. Soon after this trip, we not only began planning a wedding, but we began plotting how we could achieve the dream of traveling for more than a few weeks.
So we got hitched and the plotting continued.
Before setting off on this grand adventure, we led fairly normal lives back in the US. We worked long hours and made the most of our weekends. I worked doing geeky things in the field of Marketing Intelligence. Heather spent her days working in Human Resources. But that was all about to change.
How We Afford a Life of Travel
During this time in our lives when we each had developed decent careers, it would be natural to start investing and nesting in a home. But we chose to take the opposite route.
Instead, we greatly downsized our lives. We opted to live very modestly and well below our means during those days. We drove old cars, furnished our small home with second-hand items, dined out using coupons, and just stopped buying “stuff” altogether. We took some fairly extreme measures to curb spending, even though we were able to afford a more comfortable lifestyle than we were living. Our dreams of world travel far outweighed our desire for a new flat-screen TV.
By employing such cost-cutting strategies while aggressively saving for many years, we eventually felt secure enough to embark on our ultimate dream.
So we took the biggest leap of our lives by forgoing the financial security that our jobs provided to begin this journey of roaming around the world.
In December 2013 we sold or donated almost everything we owned, terminated our home lease, sold our cars, and left life in the US as we knew it. Taking these drastic measures also eliminated all of our regular bills and expenses, thus allowing us to focus on travel and pursue this trip around the world.
Somehow that one-year trip evolved into six. Since we took that leap, we have now become digital nomads. We began working remotely while we travel to sustain an income that helps to support our travel addiction. We’ve each picked up some part-time gigs along our journey, performing odd jobs on our laptops that range from social media assessments to data analytics.
In addition to that, this very website has become one of the pet projects we work on. And we’re now even able to make a modest living from it, through advertising and marketing partnerships!
Meanwhile, we keep our cost of living low while traveling. Like, really low. We’ve had months when our entire cost of travel & living comes to about $15 per person, per day, including our accommodation, food, activities – everything! That means we sometimes spend less than $500 per month traveling the world! That said, expenditures of about $50/day is more of a regular norm that we shoot to stay under (though occasionally exceed).
Despite this low budget, we like to travel large! It’s what we call low-cost, high-value travel. On our lowly budget, we regularly stay in 4-star hotels, seaside mansions, and even lengthy luxury cruises. As lovers of local cuisine, we splurge on fine dining along with chowing down at humble (yet often equally delicious) street food eateries. And we never hesitate to experience the attractions that make each international location incredible.
So how is this low-cost, high-value travel possible?
- We strategically linger in low-cost countries.
- We always seek out travel deals.
- We occasionally house-sit (caring for pets & property in exchange for a place to stay).
- We regularly redeem hotel points & airline miles.
- We travel to popular locations in the low season or shoulder season.
- We often move in short distances, using trains, ferries, and buses.
- We only fly where there’s a cheap connection.
- We utilize rental car relocations.
- Instead of inter-continental flights, we take cheap repositioning cruises to get around the globe.
- Other than a cell phone plan and insurance, we maintain no other regular expenses.
- We employ an arsenal of budget tactics throughout all our travels.
This is how we roll!
It actually costs us significantly less to live this fun-filled life of travel compared to our expenditures living “normal” lives back in the US, commuting to an office five days a week. That may seem completely counterintuitive, but it’s true!
With a consistent income in combination with our low cost of living/travel, that is how we’ve managed to spend our lives adventuring, eating, and drinking around the globe! Now traveling as a family, we plan to continue to maximize this travel budget, all while trying our best to show you the travel ideas, tips, and interesting places we find along the way.
Our Travel Style
We’re all over the map, both geographically and in terms of our varied travel style. We regularly go on backcountry camping adventures and are no strangers to hostels. Yet we also thoroughly enjoy cruising and 5-star luxury. It may seem that we’re conflicted. But there are many aspects of our travel style that stay consistent.
We always enjoy adventure, eating, and drinking around the world, which are sub-themes you’ll find all throughout this site.
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 always enjoy roughing it for a great experience. Yet after spending multiple nights camping in tents and on overnight buses, we find it feels amazing to spruce up our travel game with a little luxury. But only with a great travel deal, of course!
After all, it’s all about having an amazing experience. We’ve had equally incredible experiences while pitching a tent in the middle of an African savannah, as we’ve had on luxury cruise ships sailing around exotic islands. These are two completely different experiences, yet both extremely enjoyable to us, as long as it’s a great use of travel funds.
So whether you call this “affordable luxury,” “flashpacking,” “value travel” or some other travel buzzword-of-the-week, we’re all about it!
Where in the World?
We’ve been all over the map, having visited 83 of the world’s 193 UN-recognized nations. When adding independent territories, we can tally exactly 100 countries visited!
Will we travel to every country in the world? It’s not necessarily a goal of ours. But we always do love exploring new places!
Here’s a map of the countries we’ve traveled to as of March 2020.
Some fun travel stats:
🌎 We have traveled to six continents. (We’ll get to you one day Antarctica!)
🌎 We’ve also traveled by ship entirely across three of the world’s oceans: the Atlantic (5 different times), the Indian (twice), and the Pacific (twice).
🌎 Mexico has been the country we’ve spent the most time in. We’ve now been to more than half of Mexico’s 31 states while exploring the country off-and-on for over a year’s worth of time. You can read our many Mexico travel guides and tips here.
🌎 We’ve been traveling fairly fast during our first six years, covering lots of ground by thoroughly exploring many corners of each country we visit. The longest we’ve ever stayed in the same location has been six weeks, in Patzcuaro, Mexico. Beyond that, there are ten different locations where we’ve stayed put for a full month each. The rest of those six years has been very actively roaming around the world!
🌎 We’ve now spent over a year’s worth of time traveling throughout Mexico, off and on. Yet there are another dozen countries that we’ve had the pleasure of spending over a month more deeply exploring:
- Mexico: 492 days (16+ months)
- Ecuador: 155 days
- Canada: 77 days
- Spain: 63: days
- Japan: 62 days
- South Africa: 51 days
- Malaysia: 50 days
- Thailand: 43 days
- Argentina: 42 days
- South Korea: 38 days
- Philippines: 37 days
- Morocco: 33 days
- New Zealand: 30 days
🌎 We’ve circled the globe entirely three times, includingWhere We’ve Traveled.
Follow the Adventure
We now invite you to follow along with our crazy adventures (and misadventures) as we figure out the next destination we’ll be roaming around.
Wetry to keep our Facebook Page up to date. So please join us there, by liking and following, to receive daily travel inspiration from wherever we may be roaming.
While we tend to be most active on Facebook, here are some other places to connect with us:
- Instagram We share some of our favorite finds to our Instagram feed (roamingaroundtheworld).
- Pinterest For travel inspiration, check out our Pinterest boards (roamtheworld).
- Youtube See our latest Youtube videos and subscribe to our channel.
- Twitter You can find us on Twitter (@roamingdaworld), but we’re not very active tweeters.
First Time Here? Continue Reading
If this is your first time visiting our site, below are some popular topics and pages you may be interested in reading.
🎒 Want to know all the travel gear we recommend? Read: Ultimate Packing Checklist & Tips
🏔️ Do you like adventure travel? Check out these posts about adventures!
🚢 If you’re curious about how we use luxury cruises as a more affordable alternative to flying around the world, then parse through this collection of cruise posts where we share all our cruising tips.
🇲🇽🇪🇨 If you’re intrigued about why we love traveling through Mexico and Ecuador so much, click around a bit further. This intro post to EC highlights all the Best Things to Do in Ecuador. Or browse through our Mexico archive, where we share detailed posts about some of our favorite places and experiences.
Happy Travels to You!
We wish you very happy roaming wherever in the world you may be exploring.
-John & Heather
Usama Zia says
Hi, I liked your bog because I also love to travel around the globe. For this I m saving money and try to find remote jobs so that I will quick my 9-5 grind and begin to continue our beautiful world. I m sure I will start it from 2020.
Apart from it You should also visit Pakistan. You will be amazed the hospitality, beauty and nature of this land.
Take care and love
Debra Joynes says
I stumbled across your blog last December. I was looking for a way to see the east coast of Mexico. I flew into Cancun then went to Isla Majeures for 3 days. Then to Tulum for 3 days, then to Merida for four days. I then went to Playa de Carmen for 3 days, then to Cozumel for 2 days then back to Cancun for two days.. My husband and I were planning to travel to Mexico for our 20th Wedding anniversary and I spent 10 months finding the perfect hotel and least expensive flights. We were going to go to Cancun and use car rentals to see some of the country. Just when I was going to book the flights and hotel, then my husband said to me that he did not want to go to Mexico. I told him that he could stay home and babysit the dog as I was going to Mexico without him. I turned a two week vacation into a 18 day trip. You blog was very useful to me for things to see and do in Mexico. I was in Mexico in January of this year and want to go back very badly but have a bucket list of places that I want to travel to. I can not get enough of your blog and read it daily. Safe travels to the two of you. Love your pictures and all the things you say on you posts. Great information for future travels.
John Widmer says
That’s so awesome! What an itinerary change and sounds like you we able to really make the most of a solo trip! 🙂 We’re so glad to hear you had such a great time in Mexico, surely enjoying all the many aspects that we likewise love about traveling the country and keeps us coming back. Thanks so much for stopping by with the kind comment. We still have so much we’re planning to post about our last trip through Mexico this year. But we got too busy traveling to write about it all, lol. We’ll get there though. Keep in touch and feel free to give a shout as you plan your next Mexico adventures. ¡Buen viaje!
Leslie Bailey says
Just found your blog and love it so much!
It is so well done- love the writing and the pics and the links.
What a generous thing to do,
Leslie + Jeff
I stumbled across your blog and I’ve been in love with it every since. I love how you guys travel although I’m not nearly as adventurous as you both are. Keep it up! You are an inspiration.
John Widmer says
Thanks so much! 🙂
John and Susan Pazera says
Great travel blog. Nice layout, great writing, and photos.
John and Susan
John & Heather,
Love your pictures! I see that you went on a Nile cruise in Egypt and my question is regarding what to wear? On the cruise is it any more relaxed on what to wear? I know the rule of thumb is to always have shoulders & knees covered around Egypt but is that the same on a cruise?
John Widmer says
Yes, having knees and shoulders covered when on the ground in Egypt is a very important cultural courtesy to observe. On the ship, it’s a bit more of a grey area. As the crew on the ship is Egyptian, we still prefer to make an effort to conform to the local culture. But you can get away with not covering shoulders and knees while on the ship, as it’s usually a very international crowd. There are pools on the ship, so bathing suits are totally fine going for a swim and such on the deck. But I’d just use good judgment and common sense, as to not run over to the side of ship while in a bikini, waving to people onshore.
Just a quick question,
Do you guys need a visa to roam around all of these countries?
John Widmer says
It completely depends on the country. Some countries require visas while others do not. Often a we can get in with just our passport, which is always nice. For those countries that do require visas, some require a painstaking visa process to procure in advance, while others make it easier by offering visas on arrival or electronic visas.
Job Ramirez says
Happy I stumbled into your blog and looks very interesting. Maybe someone asked already but how are you’ll making income to travel? I know you mentioned being on a budget but I assume that’s probable not enough to sustain traveling for 5+ years. Look forward to hearing from you and the blog. Happy and safe travels.
John Widmer says
Yes, our budget travel ways definitely help to keep our costs quite low but we still need to have an income to support that. We relied on savings to get us going for the first year or so, but we now earn a modest income from this website and we also slow our travels, from time to time, to work online doing things like data analytics and social media consulting. We plan to write a detailed post later this year about how we’ve managed to afford traveling around the world full-time over the past 5 years, so stay tuned for that! 🙂
Janelle James says
My husband Nathan and I traveled around North America for almost a year while we worked remotely. We had a blast! So glad I stumbled upon your site. It is fun to be a part of your travels vicariously. We now live on a ranch in Texas Hill Country on a river. If Texas is a part of circumnavigating the globe, you are welcome to stay in our lovely quest room. 🙂
John Widmer says
Ah, very cool! Sounds like a great experience across N America for a year! Once we (hopefully) complete circumnavigating the globe, we’d like to try and spend more time exploring more of North America. So much to see and do! So, who knows, maybe we’ll be roaming through Texas Hill Country one of these days! 🙂 Happy to have some fellow nomadic spirits following along this adventure – cheers!
Marianela Carcione says
Hi John and Heather,
Love your website. I am following your post about Yucatán. I will arrived in Cancun July 4 and leave the next day to Merida. I am traveling alone with my 12 years old daughter. I appreciate your advice. Marianela
John Widmer says
Great! We’re so glad you stumbled across our blog and that our Yucatan guides are proving helpful! Hope you have a wonderful trip to Merida! We miss it there. What a great, eye-opening cultural experience for a 12-year-old. Enjoy!
Hi guys, I found your blog while reading one of John’s posts on trip advisor asking about internet speed in San Cristobal, Chiapas. I’m a software developer looking to find a remote (US based) job that will allow me to do some extended traveling /living in Central or South America.
Any cities / areas would you recommend as a good base?
I will need very reliable internet and prefer a cost of living quite lower than the average US cost of living.
Enjoy your blog, thanks for the tips.
John Widmer says
There are so many great places in Central/South America to use as a good working base. It really just depends on personal preference. We absolutely loved San Cristobal. Internet speed was consistently 3-5 mbps where we stayed without any outages at all. That worked well for us (we could Skype/stream, etc) but you may need higher speed which can definitely be found in larger cities. Oaxaca and Merida were nice, popular expat/nomad communities and our apartments there had 20+ mbps. There are many other great bases throughout Mexico too, in addition to Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and elsewhere. All with significantly lower costs of living than US, by far. Check out the website: nomadlist.com which breaks down some great overviews to help sort out some of the best cities to live and work remotely. Best of luck on your journey to becoming nomadic and happy travels! -John
Thank you so much for your article around the world!!
Dave Menz says
Wow, what a great experience you are living! Safe travels!
John Widmer says
It’s been quite the journey and we’ve been having a great experience each step of the way. Thanks for stopping by and happy travels to you!
Hi John & Heather,
I really love your story & your passion of traveling around the world.
All the best
John Widmer says
Thanks Mustapha! All the best to you too – we loved exploring the Morocco!
Tristan Vogel says
I am so glad I stumbled upon your website.
John Widmer says
Thanks Tristan! Glad to hear from you!
Karen and Marty Koss says
Finally looked at your site. We were facilitators during the Great Race during the crossing on Celebrity. Maybe you remember us.
Didn’t realize that you were from Detroit. We grew up there and now live nearby. What a coincidence.
We are still roaming too, although not nonstop. Next up is a Country Western Cruise.
John Widmer says
Yes, of course we remember you! We always look back so fondly during the Amazing Race challenges as one of our favorite activities we’ve done while on cruise! Wish we would have realized we both were from Detroit! We hope you have a great time on any upcoming cruises you have planned!
HitchHikers Handbook says
Greta blog, John and Heather! Glad to have connected with you on Twitter 🙂 Take care and travel safe!
John Widmer says
Great to have connected with you too! Am glad we can stay in touch on Twitter.