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.

Wedding Ring bling
Wedding Ring bling

About Michael

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!”

We take cooking classes together!

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!

About Halef

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.

Our Lonely Planet Collection. It's more than doubled in size since this photo.
Our Lonely Planet Collection. It’s more than doubled in size since this photo.

Meet Cy

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!

Traveling Cy
Traveling Cy in a Costa Rican hostel world map.

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 root for the Atlanta Falcons. Even in Indonesia!
We root for the Atlanta Falcons. Even in Indonesia!

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:

Couchsurfing

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.

Round the World can include cruise ships! Sometimes, though rarely, we cruise together!
Sometimes, though rarely, we cruise together!

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:

  1. Saving lots of money
  2. Getting this blog figured out and building an audience
  3. Figuring out how to make money from it by establishing great networking and clients
Round the World includes antiquity! We love World Heritage Sites, like Petra!
We love World Heritage Sites, like Petra!

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.

Round the world includes the wonders of nature! We love the US National Parks Service!
We love the US National Parks Service!

Our tentative RTW Itinerary

After spending some time in South America we’ll do the following:

  1. Fly to Indonesia and spend 2-3 months there.
  2. Next to China and Mongolia for awhile
  3. Maybe take the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia
  4. Down through some of the “-stans” and India
  5. Through Iran and over to Turkey
  6. Fly to Dubai and then to Djibouti for an overland trip all the way to South Africa
  7. Somehow, we’ll make our way to France and visit friends for a week or so – a vacation from our vacation
  8. 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.

Partners in travel and in life.
Partners in travel and in life.

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