[Worldtrippers home] [South America home]

February 15, 2012
Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you doing this?

Both Gail and Russell love to travel. We would like to see as many places as possible before we get too old to do extensive adventuring.

Both of our sons are now in college. Cameron is a senior at University of California Santa Cruz, while Joss is a freshman at San Jose State University. After two decades with kids at home, we are finally empty-nesters.

Given the current economy, there is a possibility that Cam will move back home after he graduates in June. So our empty-nestership may be a small window.

Why South America?

Our original plan was to take a 30-day cruise to the South Pacific right after Joss started at SJSU in October 2011. Upon reflection, Gail decided she would go stark raving mad staring at nothing but oceans and beaches for an entire month.

We looked further and found a 30-day cruise to South America. This resonated with both of us.

Eleven years ago, we had taken a one-year trip around the world. At that time, we used “around the world” airplane tickets to travel fairly horizontally from east to west. Given the time and expense to cross the ocean, we concentrated our travels on the other sides of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. While we traveled to more than 20 countries, we did not set foot in Central or South America.

At the time, we said, “Someday, we’ll get to the rest of the world.” We are happy that we finally have the opportunity to do that.

What preparations did you make?

Unlike our trip around the world more than a decade ago, we are not roughing it this time. We are bringing four suitcases and two carry-ons.

Russell is having his work duties covered by very understanding coworkers. Gail has spent months doing research on the Internet to learn about the countries, cities and attractions throughout our trip.

The Internet itself is also much different than a decade ago. Gail has already made several friends through Cruise Critic, an online forum of fellow cruisers.

How are you able to afford this?

We are not rich. We are middle-class, which is still a very good place to be, given the current state of the economy. We are very blessed in our lives, and we know it.

But basically, we saved up for this trip. We are both frugal with our money – Russell is so stingy that he often drives Gail nuts. We got our mountain home by building most of it ourselves, and Gail has furnished it almost entirely through FreeCycle and Craigslist. We don’t go out a lot, and we don’t have expensive vices or hobbies. We love to travel, and we are willing to make sacrifices in other areas to afford it.

We also got a really good deal. The cruise itself was on sale at Vacations To Go. We got our airplane tickets by using frequent flier miles accumulated from years of credit card points.

How did you get the time off?

We are also very blessed that Russell works for a very employee-oriented company. He has worked for more than 20 years at Hewlett-Packard and its spin-off Agilent Technologies, which means that he is able to accumulate and bank a lot of vacation time. He also has a very supportive manager.

In short, we have been planning this trip for almost a year, and we have been saving up both our money and our time to make it a reality.


[Worldtrippers home] [South America home]