Hey there! Welcome to our Travel Blog. We are Michael and Halef – The Round The World Guys! We are a couple and we are avid travelers who met in Atlanta, Georgia. We’ve been together since 2008 and in 2013, we traveled to New York City to get married! While we’ve both been in the United States for nearly two decades, neither of us is originally from here.
So let us introduce ourselves.
I am hardly what you think of when you think of someone who wants to travel the world. Usually people my age are settled in with kids, a comfy house, just plugging away until they can retire. That’s not my thing. I love kids, but I’ve always said that I would never want a child of mine to wonder if she was holding me back from doing what I really want. So, I decided I wouldn’t have any. I consider this a selfless form of selfishness.
After getting a M.Sc. (Education) I moved to Atlanta from Canada to work at a university. Hated it! Since then, I’ve been working for a large telcom in their Learning and Development Department. I’ve been doing this kind of work for 20 years now and love my job. The great thing about sticking with a company for so long is that I’ve built up a lot of vacation time. I’m not rich, but I make enough to be able to save! As the saying goes, “Money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy plane tickets and that’s the same thing!”
Currently, I’ve visited about 50 countries. My longest trip has been a months; my shortest was a day and a half in Singapore. But it’s never enough. My goal is to see everything. Probably the same as yours! My first language is English; however, I can get by fairly well in French. I do well in Indonesian, and I am currently taking introductory Spanish. My goal is to be fluent in Spanish. When you travel round the world, Spanish comes in handy!
I was born and grew up in Bandung, Indonesia. After high school graduation in the late 90s, I moved to the States for college. I ended up in Ames, Iowa at Iowa State University. My American college life was enjoyable. I joined a fraternity, went to Myrtle Beach for a spring break one year, and even spent several months in a study abroad program in Rome, Italy. All three are uniquely American college experiences that can’t be replicated elsewhere.
I’m a Landscape Architect by profession, but a traveler at heart. My travel has taken me to over 50 countries where I love to learn new cultures and languages! I have interests in brushing up on my Italian, Mandarin, and American Sign Language.
Travel books are my favorite things to read, and I have an obsession with producing travel journals, which probably explains why I became a travel writer.
When I travel, I always carry our college Mascot – Cy, short for Iowa State Cyclones. He’s a red, stuffed cardinal who has been to all seven continents and about 80 countries. He even tagged along with other travelers. Check out Cy’s Facebook page.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know about him because he sometimes turns up here!
Travel brings us together
To know us simply from seeing us while we’re at home, you wouldn’t think we had a lot in common. We’re from two completely different cultures. There’s 9 years separating us. Michael works from home all day and he’s just happy to relax on the couch at night and binge on the latest thing he found on Netflix or HBO Now. Halef is an avid runner who has a life goal of completing seven marathons on seven continents. He’s done six so far, and will conquer his goal in 2019 in Antarctica.
It’s when we’re on the road together that you finally “get” why we’re together. Halef is a perfect match for Michael because Halef is a great travel planner. He loves to read his travel books and blogs, while daydreaming about the endless possibilities of where the road will take us next. Michael loves to tag along and his outgoing personality and wittiness entertain the people around him.
We see everything. We do more. And we learn more. Best of all, we do it together.
What you will find here
Our mission is to, hopefully, inspire you to travel more. We’ll give you tips on dozens of travel-related subjects, like:
- Interesting things to include in your travel journal
- Our experience diving on Liveaboards
- Food around the world (for example, Indonesia!)
- Stuff to consider before traveling to remote places
- Quirky stuff, like diving in aquariums!
- Weird places to visit
- and ideas that worked for us
In addition to all of the above, you’ll find lots of information about Couchsurfing here. We’re Couchsurfing experts – having hosted nearly 500 people and surfed dozens of couches and spare bedrooms around the world. From creating a profile, writing Couch requests, to hosting and surfing, you’ll find advice here that’s worked well for us.
Our Round The World mission
Eventually, we would like to travel full-time – and planning it is a fun part of the process. As of right now, our goal is to highlight past travels – reviews, unique experiences and travel tips we’ve learned about over the years.
We’ll still do plenty of travel between now and when we are ready to embark on our full time Round the World journey. But for now, our focus will be on:
- Saving lots of money
- Getting this blog figured out and building an audience
- Figuring out how to make money from it by establishing great networking and clients
Where will we go?
Another good question. While we love Western countries, we will likely concentrate on more developing countries during our round the world trip. We’ve both been to Western Europe, so we won’t need to spend much, if any time, in places like the U.K., France, or Scandinavia. We’ve already done all that, so avoiding Western Europe should be a big money saver for us!
Our current round the world plan, which changes weekly (or whenever someone who stays with us from Couchsurfing offers alternatives), is to fly from Atlanta to Argentina, where our first stop will be a voyage to Antarctica. That’s already booked. After that, we’ll likely travel around South America for some time. We’ll sell most of our stuff before we go, but things like diving equipment we’ll keep, for example.
Our tentative RTW Itinerary
After spending some time in South America we’ll do the following:
- Fly to Indonesia and spend 2-3 months there.
- Next to China and Mongolia for awhile
- Maybe take the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia
- Down through some of the “-stans” and India
- Through Iran and over to Turkey
- Fly to Dubai and then to Djibouti for an overland trip all the way to South Africa
- Somehow, we’ll make our way to France and visit friends for a week or so – a vacation from our vacation
- Then, … who knows?
All in 2 years? Or 5-10? Permanently? We’re not sure.
We really don’t know where our round the world ticket will take us. But we know we’re doing it. Not a day goes by that we don’t talk about it. And not a day goes by that we don’t get a little more excited about leaving this life for something different. In large part because we’re doing it together.