Hey Reddit!

My name is Walter Chang. After being overworked and tired with the way my life was going I quit my job and started to travel. What began as a three month plan ended up as a three year trip around the world to 60 countries.

I went to South America and trekked through Patagonia. In Zimbabwe, hippos, lions, and elephants roamed through our camping ground. When I got to South Korea, my relatives treated me as one of their own, despite having last seen them 18 years prior. The highs were also met with the lows. I caught food poisoning several times, was robbed of everything in Chile, and nearly died when my car flipped over in the deserts of Namibia.

I made a video capturing the places I went to and the people I met. I'm still overwhelmed with the response so far and some people asked for an AMA, so I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. Hope I can be of some help.

You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioYqFtr2D0Q

I was responding to a lot of the comments in /r/travel originally, the original post is here : https://www.reddit.com/r/travel/comments/3eyj77/guy_backpacks_around_the_world_for_3_years_to_60/?sort=new

There's also a Kickstarter for the photography book I'm currently crowdfunding: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wecallthishome/we-call-this-home-3-yrs-of-travel-to-60-countries?ref=category

Proof: my website www.wecallthishome.com


Thanks again for all your questions and watching the video!

Comments: 174 • Responses: 73  • Date: 

SuperEffectiveRawr18 karma

Just went to /r/travel for inspiration. Saw your video and WOW! I would love to do something like this sometime in my life. Money would be my biggest concern though.

How did you budget for your trip? Did you, at all, work for money along the way?

wecallthishome15 karma

I was spending around 20k a year. I've met people traveling on half that amount and a cyclist who was spending $10/day. I tried to keep a daily budget of about $40/day. This would drop to as low as $10 or $15/day depending on the country. I was lucky not to work while traveling. I saved up enough money working, made a few wise investments in stocks, and sold a lot of my belongings. I gave up the lease on my apt in NYC 7-8 months before I left and stayed with friends or slept at the building I worked in. Rent there is really expensive.

guy_in_a_knit_hat2 karma

Only curious, did you spend 20k/month or 20k/year?

wecallthishome6 karma

oh sorry that was 20k/year. will edit that.

ool0ng8 karma

What's it like to be back after traveling for 3 years? What do you plan to do now?

wecallthishome10 karma

It's an odd feeling. I always felt like this moment was going to be so far away and now it's here. During the last two months I felt moments of hopelessness because everything seemed so mundane and I was really lethargic. I would go from thinking about my experiences and how fortunate I am to wondering if I just wasted a whole lot of time ruining any chances of a career. I guess the post travel blues or reverse culture shock is a real thing. I'm doing much better now though. I'm planning to find a job after my Kickstarter campaign is over and I would like to live abroad somewhere. I'm not sure what I exactly want to do yet but hopefully I find something where I can put my experiences to good use.

SuperEffectiveRawr3 karma

Do you feel that with your travel experiences your career direction has changed much at all?

wecallthishome3 karma

I think it has. I definitely don't want to work long hours and sacrifice weekends. I'm still passionate about film but I'd like to find a balance. Hopefully I can do that. There's so much still to do out there and I want to be able to have time to explore more.

d____6 karma

Loved it as well as shared it with a few friends. Did you inspired by the editing anywhere? There are 2 videos that I could see you got inspired by: Casey Neistat's Make it Count and MOVE.

wecallthishome3 karma

I was inspired by several actual. Casey Neistat's Make it Count was one of them. Some others were "Where the Hell is Matt", "Move", "The Longest Way Home", and the GoPro product videos. I still love watching "Where the Hell is Matt", everyone loves to dance and seeing that represented in so many countries brings a smile to my face all the time.

damndudewtf4 karma

How'd you get robbed in Chile? I checked your other thread but there was no story there either.

wecallthishome9 karma

I think I had a brief bit somewhere, might have been in the /r/video post.

Basically I was coming from Santiago, Chile and bought a cheaper ticket to Calama instead of going straight to San Pedro de Atacama (near the border with Peru). I think it was around 24 hrs so I got there pretty exhausted. I met another traveler on the bus and we went to find the bus station where we could get the mini bus to San Pedro. We arrived at around 10am and had to wait around until 1pm for the bus. It's really empty at the station but at around 12:50pm the place starts getting crowded. I had my bag with all my valuables to my right leaning against the chair and the bag with all my clothes in front of me. We were outside in the waiting area when a man approached us from the left and started speaking to us. I turned to face him but I couldn't really make out what he was saying and he walked away after 10 seconds. I turned around and my bag was gone. I fell for the scam I mentioned above. I ran out trying to catch them but the street was already crowded and they probably had a vehicle and drove off. I felt like an idiot. We went to the police station but it was holiday so only two officers were there and neither of them spoke English. I tried to explain as best as I could what happened and used google translate on their computer so we could communicate. A few hours later after filing the police report (I pretty much filed it because it was taking forever for the police officer to translate words) I borrowed some money from my new friend and booked the bus back to Santiago. That was the most depressing bus ride I've ever taken. I stayed with a friend I met in Patagonia, went to the embassy to get an emergency passport and flew out of the country a week later.

I lost two months worth of footage because I forgot to put one of my backup external harddrives into the bag that was remaining. It was the one time I didn't do that. It was definitely an interesting experience and I'm glad that didn't discourage me but that was pretty tough. Calama is known for robberies and I've met several travelers who had the similar things happen to them there. It's also getting bigger in San Pedro. I'm convinced the people working at the bus station are also in on it. tl;dr don't go to Calama, Chile.

ShakeNBakeSpeare2 karma

I just want to say that I hope this didn't give you an overall bad taste for Chile. I studied abroad there and absolutely loved the country and its people. Funnily enough, I never had any issues my entire time there (and I travelled around quite a bit) but had my wallet and phone stolen a week after I got back to the states - assholes are everywhere. But anyway, it's an awesome country and the diverse landscape is pretty cool too.

wecallthishome1 karma

No I still had a wonderful time in Chile. I actually got to know Santiago a lot better while I was getting a new passport and found it a place I wouldn't mind living in. Valparaiso was great and Patagonia is of course stunning. It's a silly thing to think badly of an entire country because of one asshole (*edit: or probably a group in my case)

EinsteinTheory4 karma

As an Asian American, did you encounter any issue because of your race? I always wanted to travel to places like Middle East/ South America, etc but I don't know how they will perceive me.

wecallthishome7 karma

I didn't get an overt racism, most times I think people were trying to make a joke without realizing it might come off offensive.

A lot of people won't believe you're American. Once you tell them where your parents are from (if your parents are immigrants) then they'll just go with that.

It's pretty much like this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crAv5ttax2I

o_safadinho1 karma

While I'm not the OP, I am an American that is currently living in South America. So I can at least comment on that part.

There is a long history of asian immigration to South America. The country with the largest Japanese population after Japan is Brazil. Have you ever wondered why Jiu-Jitsu, something that is obviously asian in origin, has a Brazilian version?

There are also large asian population in other countries. For example, an estimated 3-5% of all Peruvians are of asian descent. Peru also elected a Japanese Peruvian, Alberto Fujimori, as president.

In Argentina, where I currently live, there are a lot of Chinese people that come over and start grocery stores. In fact mid sized neighborhood grocery stores are called "chinos" in Buenos Aires.

wecallthishome1 karma

yeah noticed all those areas. pretty cool. Even though there's a lot of Asians in Brazil, most are centered around Sao Paulo. In the northern parts of the country people were surprised I was there many times.

somekerfuffle3 karma

What was your biggest road block?

wecallthishome3 karma

biggest road block was lack of language skills. I wish I was able to pick up languages faster and studied harder in Spanish class during high school. It's frustrating when you can't have conversations with people.

I'm constantly amazed meeting people who speak multiple languages, mostly Europeans. It's nice that I speak fluent English and I can get by in many countries but I always feel pretty silly when I'm with a group of foreigners and they all have to speak a second language because I'm there.

DarkPasta3 karma

Hi, of all the places you visited, where could you imagine settling down?

wecallthishome6 karma

Istanbul is always very beautiful and it would be realistic to imagine living there and waking up to the mosques in the morning.

I really enjoyed Brazil and would love to one day live in the northern part of the country. Recife would be great.

crescin3 karma

Any common scams tourists/backpackers should be aware of?

wecallthishome6 karma

Thieves will usually work in groups. One person will come up to you and distract you and while you turn slightly to talk to them another person will come up and grab your bag while you aren't looking.

It's also common for people to approach you when you're really tired (after you get off an overnight bus) getting on a bus and convince you to put your bag in the luggage hold above the seats. You'll pass out and then they'll leave the bus with your bag.

In China and many other places girls will bait you into coming with them to have some tea with them. Take you to a "local" place and then when you get the bill its incredibly overpriced. A giant man will stand by the door preventing you from leaving.

Just some of the scams. There's a lot of nice wonderful people out there but there's still the occasional asshole.

kcash9353 karma

How many of the Great Wonders did you get to visit? I know it's a bit of a touristy thing to do, but that's just something you gotta visit given the chance. Also, did you get to go to Barcelona??

wecallthishome6 karma

The only place I didn't go visit was the Coliseum. Machu Picchu, Petra, Great Wall of China, and Taj Mahal were very impressive. I was blown away by each. Chichen Itza not so much. Christ the Redeemer itself is not that interesting but the view of Rio is lovely.

Didn't get a chance to go to Barcelona, at the very top of my to do list for European cities.

kcash9352 karma

Ahh man, I'm jealous. Macchu Picchu is at the top of my list for sure.

I got to study in Barcelona when I was a junior in college and I attended an FC Barcelona match. Awesome experience.

wecallthishome2 karma

Machu Picchu is wonderful, I would advise trekking there whenever you decide to go. Go early morning or wait until the afternoon. It gets surprisingly empty.

Would love to go to a football match in Europe!

kcash9352 karma

Did you trek it on your own or with a trekking company?

wecallthishome3 karma

on my own, I met a German who joined me. Early on we met a Swiss guy as well. We did the Salkantay trek. Unfortunately the trek is average if the pass is cloudy. Everything is signposted and you'll run into other people on the trek so there's no need to go with a company unless you want people to cook for you etc. If you're interested in trekking there's some very beautiful places up by Huaraz in the Cordillera Blanca range.

camerica193 karma

Did you plan your route out months in advance? Or was it more of a gradual progression that evolved from location to location? Thanks! Love the video.

wecallthishome6 karma

I planned a lot for the first year and really stuck with the itinerary I made in advance. I was less of a control freak later on in the trip and I found that it was best to keep my plans open ended. There's so many things that can pop up while you travel and you want to make sure you're flexible so it's possible to quickly change your mind.

AmbivalentMax3 karma

What is one thing you saw that you wish everyone could see? Also, what advice do you have for a young person about to start a life behind the desk?

wecallthishome12 karma

Rather than see some beautiful landscape or ancient man made structure I would love to have everyone experience a moment in a foreign land where the local people reach out and help you when you least expect it. It might be something simple as offering help when you're lost or more serious like coming to your aid after an accident. I think this is one of the great things about traveling. It keeps you alert and open minded about people far away.

Advice - I would try to avoid working long hours as much as you can. It's nice to make extra money if you are paid for overtime hours and it's wonderful to be passionate about work you believe in but there's a lot more out there. I regret working long hours while I was living in NYC. There were so many things happening all the time but I was at my office instead. It helped me fund this trip but I think I was incredibly unhappy because of it.

wildest_moments2 karma

Hello from a fellow Jersey native!

Whenever I go on one of these long far away trips I find that we're more alike than different. What personal insights did you come across?

wecallthishome5 karma

I had a lot of humbling moments. I felt ridiculously lucky so many times and ashamed when people would be willing to help me out when they clearly had much less. I felt so sheltered before doing this trip and it really gave me a bigger picture of the world. Personally I became a lot more confident and I'm much more open minded now. There's still a lot of personal traits to work on but this trip helped a lot!

LolaBoomBoom2 karma

How inspiring! Thank you for sharing your journey. My question is how much would you say this whole trip cost you?$$

Also, what did you do for income prior to leaving for this trip? ie How's you save all that cash son?!

wecallthishome3 karma

I worked in for Audio/Visual of an event management department at a university. I worked on the side in film/television as a grip/electric.

I spent about 20k a year and I saved up a bit more so I wasn't completely broke when I decided to finish traveling. It was a lot of overtime work and I hardly went out.

OwnTheNight2092 karma

Which countries did you feel not safe in? And did you ever feel racially profiled in a country?

wecallthishome6 karma

I never felt safe in Johannesburg. I got a bad vibe from the city and I wasn't planning to stay there so I was quickly in and out. On my way to Capetown though I tried to stay overnight in the main bus station. The bus company told me it was 24 hrs. But it wasn't. So they moved all the stragglers to some empty building to spend the night. I was talking to a man from a town north of Johannesburg during the night and we agreed to look after each other. There were some really shady people in there. We got breakfast together, he walked me to the train going to the airport and we went our separate ways. I wish I had taken a photo with him.

wecallthishome5 karma

I got some Bruce Lee fighting noises and people would squint their eyes but a lot of times they were just trying to make small talk. I'm pretty sure it was never malicious.

People in a lot of places were surprised I was American. They didn't think it was possible. "But you're Asian......"

halfaznpersuazn2 karma

What was the strangest country you went through?

wecallthishome7 karma

North Korea. It's time traveling back to the 1950s. Everything is frozen. The atmosphere is pretty weird too. You know that there's something wrong but everything is perfect.

halfaznpersuazn2 karma

How did you end up in North Korea?

wecallthishome4 karma

most people go with a tour company. They do everything for you so it's very easy. If you speak Chinese then it's much cheaper if you go with a Chinese based company. It's pretty expensive but this was one of those moments I spent money. I found the experience interesting. One of the tour guides had never met a Korean from abroad and she was a bit weirded out. I spoke Korean with the other younger tour guide and we had shots of soju together. He could have been my older brother. Hopefully more interaction with foreigners will be beneficial for the country.

constantlyoff2 karma

Which was your favorite festival you went to? I saw you hit quite a few.

Favorite country? Least favorite country?

wecallthishome11 karma

Overall I would say Burning Man. It was pretty crazy how they build a city like that in the middle of nowhere. There's lots of interesting people there and the atmosphere is wonderful. I would like to go again someday in the future.

Personally I enjoyed Electric Daisy Carnival 2012 the most. I went with my brother and his group of friends and it was there we decided to make a trip together to Africa the following year. Our relationship was improving before that festival and that trip helped us out a lot.

At the moment I usually say Brazil. There's a wide variety of things to do in the country and the people are so easy to befriend. I've made some wonderful friends there.

I didn't enjoy the UAE as much. I only stayed in Dubai so I can't judge the rest of the country but people weren't very friendly there. People looked at me like I was crazy whenever I smiled. I've also never experienced heat and humidity like that.

very_tiring2 karma

I know it's a direct, and some might say uncouth question, but it really is probably the main concern for most people that do this - the money.

How much Money did you have saved up for the trip? Did you work/What did you do for money along the way? How did you handle your budget throughout?

wecallthishome2 karma

Hi, the question above was similar - most of the answers are up above :)

I handled my budget by keeping a track of it in the beginning, but all that data was stolen along with most of my stuff halfway through the trip. After that I just kept a mental note of my expenses. Usually I could figure how much my daily costs were in a country after a few days and I tried to keep it consistent.

Murrican-Mickey2 karma

Can you give some advice for someone who is wanting to backpack across europe for a month?

Did you go on this trip by yourself?

What is a helpful tip that you wish you had known before you left?

wecallthishome3 karma

Yeah I went solo.

I would take half of what you think you need. Having a heavy pack wears you down quickly. Try out hitch hiking, you meet some really interesting people. Not everyone out there is going to kill you. Also take a backup atm card just in case your primary gets eaten by the machine or compromised by a rigged one.

maykarn2 karma

Wich country did you not go too but wish you did?

wecallthishome5 karma

Iran, heard so many wonderful things from other people. I met a lot of cyclists in Kyrgyzstan coming from there and they said the hospitality was amazing. People apparently just invite you to stay in their houses all the time. It's on the top of my list.

maykarn1 karma

Nice, one more that i forgot! Did you go too sweden? And what did you think :)?

wecallthishome1 karma

Sorry wasn't able to go to Sweden. I would like to go during the summer and use my tent throughout the country. It looks really beautiful there...

MrEsolved2 karma

Where was the safest and most enjoyable place you went where you could get the most bang for your buck?

wecallthishome8 karma

There's never any guarantees for safety but I never felt like anything could go wrong in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. There's a lot of stuff to do and your money will go far in these countries. That's also where lots of other backpackers are. If you want to get away from that try Laos and Myanmar. If you want ultimate safety go to Japan, that was the first country I went to. I lost my passport and $300 in cash in Kyoto. I felt like a complete idiot and my Chinese Visa was in there too. Two days later while I was at the embassy we called the police station and they had everything. The cash had moved pockets but it was all there.

MrJellly2 karma

Heya, thanks for the video it's amazing - really quite inspiring. I plan to do something similar to you, just on a longer timescale. Save up for ~5 years then go travelling for as long as that lets me. So this is really encouraging to see.

Interested in what accommodation were you staying in? Also in a few comments you mentioned bikers, are you referring to cyclists or motorbikes? I'm looking into all methods of transport to find what will be best for me.

wecallthishome5 karma

I was staying in a lot of hostels (Dorm beds), I camped, and used couchsurfing. I slept in airports, train stations, and sometimes outside depending on the circumstances.

I met both. There's a healthy community of cyclists out there and I believe they have a different world of resources. If you're interested I can message a friend and try to get those names for you.

MrJellly1 karma

Ok interesting, did you ever feel unsafe camping? How did you normally go about finding a spot to camp?

Thanks for the offer, I would be quite interested in talking to that friend. While my own travels aren't for a few years would still be good to get some more info now rather than later.

EDIT: Also, how much did all your gear weigh?

wecallthishome2 karma

Never felt unsafe. Sometimes the hostels provided an area to camp. I camped in National Parks or while I was trekking most of the time. I didn't really camp randomly on the side of the road though like a lot of the cyclists do. When I had my car accident in Namibia I had to pitch my tent on the side of the because the tow truck never showed up and the closest town was 15km away. Luckily the lady who helped me out earlier returned on the same road after going to her farm and her family let me put my tent in their front yard.

wecallthishome1 karma

I'll send him a message, can you direct message me so I remember?

My bag with all the photography equipment was 18 kilos or so. The other bag was a lot less, probably less than 10.

The-Arctic-Hare2 karma

Incredible video! Making me very envious over in my tiny corner of America.

My question is there's what looks like a temple at 1:03 in your video, the white one with the hands of people reaching up on either side, just wondering where that was? I vaguely remember reading about a place like that maybe in Thailand? Very interested as I'd love to see that (and all the other places) myself one day.

Thank you for your video and doing this AMA :)

wecallthishome2 karma

Yeah that's the White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand. There's also a rival artist who created the Black Temple in the same city. Neither of them are real temple but both are really really cool to walk through. At the White Temple, the artist is sometimes there manning a megaphone yelling at tourists to move faster or stop touching things.

whosdamike2 karma

How was dating while you were on the move for 3 years?

wecallthishome13 karma

Not much dating going on. There were some interests along the way but I was constantly moving that it wasn't realistic. However, I did meet a woman who was traveling as well in Samarkand, Uzbekistan while I was there for two days in Oct 2013. We talked online back and forth for over a year and then finally met up again last November. We're now dating :)

whosdamike3 karma

That's awesome! Congratulations. What's the story on how you two met?

wecallthishome9 karma

Well this is how I remember it. I was in a hostel in Samarkand and while I was eating dinner a woman showed at the table and we struck up a conversation. She must have made quite an impression on me because I don't remember anyone else being there with us. According to her we talked to another traveler for more than a hour. We talked all night and we decided to meet up in the morning to explore the city.

Next morning she wasn't around in the courtyard so I went off by myself and got back in the afternoon, rested up and decided to go back out as the sun was going down. I specifically remember walking out and seeing her walk up to the door back lit by the sun. It was a pretty surreal moment. We spent the rest of the day together and then she left in the morning. I figured I would probably never see her again.

We ended up talking frequently online for over a year. I thought of visiting her in South Korea. (She moved there for half a year) But ultimately didn't do it. Through some very fortunate circumstances she stopped by NYC when I was there for a short time and everything worked out. :)

quackface2 karma

Did you ever have any moments where you were just over it and wanted to go home? I'm currently 4 months in to a 6 month solo backpacking trip through Europe and I'm a little over it. I still look forward to each day but it's exhausting being constantly on the move and I can imagine the relief I'll feel when my life stabilises a little again.

wecallthishome2 karma

I wanted to go head home after my car accident in Namibia. This was almost 2 years in. Luckily when I was on the phone with Hertz the lady told me a new car would be on the way instead of asking me what I wanted to do. I would have chosen to head back to the capital,fly home, and end the whole thing. Instead I had an amazing time for 5/6 months in Africa.

It is exhausting to constantly move. Some people are tired earlier than others. There are people I met traveling much longer than me and I find it crazy how they still have the energy. I would suggest you go to a different part of the world if you can. The different environment would be refreshing and you might get that boundless energy back.

Kamala_Metamorph2 karma

wow, that is high effort editing. beautiful photographs, too.

i met this photo dude at a cs meetup and he eventually started the world travel too. https://chungconscious.wordpress.com/

you've already answered some of my top questions so here's one~ did you keep written journals as well as video and photo? and if so, are they publicly posted? i saw the random entries on the blog but they were mostly prep lists. or did i just not see the stories?

wanna share w you my most unusual place in my world top five: funchal, madeira in portugal. put it on your list. :-)

tell us more about the kickstarter. what's your plan a and b with it?

wecallthishome2 karma

thanks for the kind words :)

I tried to keep a journal but I became lazy and stopped after about a month. I jotted down notes so I could remember things I found interesting, funny, or unique. I still have those.

You can visit my tumblr for stories: http://wecallthishome.tumblr.com/

There's a lot of casual snapshots and I write some stuff along with the images. It's behind by more than a year currently.

Never heard of that place, will check it out!

As for the Kickstarter, I was really worried that the funding goal was too high but my friends have been amazing and really supportive. I don't have a plan other than to make sure the backers gets a copy. Maybe it can find a place outside of the Kickstarter world, that would be awesome.

AngrySenfglas2 karma

At 1:13 of your video, is this what I think it is? North Korea?

If you were really there, I would have some questions: How did you actually get there? How much did you get to see from the country? Were you able to walk freely or only in companion with your tourist guard? Were you able to speak to locals? How was your overall impression of North Korea?

Thanks a lot for doing this AMA and congratulations on your stunning video.

PS: Please excuse my bad English, I am from Austria. PPS: Did you actually get through Austria, too? ;)

wecallthishome3 karma

yeah that's the arirang games and a metro station in North Korea.

It's actually easy to go with a tour company. They handle everything but it's a bit expensive. I was only able to see Pyongyang and the DMZ. You can head further up north and to other places but I think it's more expensive. You can't walk around freely but the restrictions on photos is very lax now. I was snapping away everywhere except at the DMZ. My Korean isnt great but I tried to speak some Korean with locals at the restaurants and shops I went to. They were generally very shy. They may never have met another Korean outside of their country. It was very interesting, one of the strangest places I've ever been. It's a place stuck in time and looks exactly what a communist country in the 1950s would look like.

If you're interested I posted photos and some writing on my tumblr here: http://wecallthishome.tumblr.com/post/119945312587/more-photos-from-north-korea-as-you-can-see-the

You can click next at the bottom of the page to go through the posts.

Didn't get to go to Austria :( I passed by in a car from Germany to Lake Gaurda in Italy for a friends birthday. The small towns and the mountains were pretty. I have a lot of places to check out in Europe still.

8BitHedgehog2 karma

Which country had the best food?

wecallthishome3 karma

posted this reply in the /r/travel post

Best food overall was in Thailand. I really enjoyed Peruvian, sushi in Japan was unbelievable, and I started to like Ethiopian a lot more (it got a bit repetitive after a month there though)

Bert-Goldberg2 karma

Great video. What was your most dangerous encounter with wildlife?

wecallthishome8 karma

I didn't have anything very dangerous. A chimpanzee almost golden showered me from up above. Nailed a woman instead.

I did have a huge elephant walk right up to me (less than a meter), stop, and then turn. That happened in Mana Pools NP, Zimbabwe. A neighbor in the next camp took photos but never sent them to me :(

I also was sticking my body outside my car to take photos and didn't realize how close a lion was getting. Had them brush by my parked car twice.

shroobs2 karma

Awesome story. Hoping to travel the world like this one day. People like you really inspire me. Here's my question: what are some tips of keeping the budget so low? For instance, where did you sleep?

wecallthishome2 karma

You can always sleep at airports as long as don't close. If that happens it's not so bad and you can sleep outside. I tried to sleep at the airport in Jakarta, Indonesia and it was closed but there were hundreds of people sleeping outside so I just joined them. I tried to stay overnight on a train platform in India but some employees noticed me. They took me to a waiting room and kicked everyone else out. A bunch of soldiers joined me in the room because I was near Kashmir and started playing cards. Friendly guys but we they couldn't speak English. They kept giving me the thumbs up. Sometimes people will really take care of you because you're a foreigner. Otherwise carry a small single person tent and try to camp a lot, that will definitely keep the costs down. Or you can go with a route a friend I met does: go around and ask local people if you can stay with them. You can ask to stay in temples if you're in Asia.

Otherwise the normal route would be to stay in hostels, couchsurf, sleep on overnight buses/trains. Cook in hostel kitchens and hitchhike.

BorisYeltzen2 karma

How many times did you get laid?

wecallthishome2 karma

I was sleeping around more during the beginning and end of the trip. I was growing a beard (typo *not bear) for about half a year and it was hideous. I don't know what I was thinking.

Otherwise I looked like a dirty backpacker for most of the trip about to go hiking so I suppose I wasn't too appealing.

I_EAT_YOUR_CEREAL2 karma

If you're still around .. I've always wondered for people who travel a lot, don't you get lonely? As I guess you don't stay long enough in a place to develop real friendship or a relationship. Especially travelling for 3 years non stop

wecallthishome2 karma

I was lonely at times but I used resources like couchsurfing to meet people if I needed to remedy that. There's always people to talk to at hostels and I was able to travel together with other backpackers. I didn't mind having some alone time just reading or watching a movie. When I went multi day trekking I went solo most of the time and it was refreshing to be alone. I'm still in touch with many of the people I met during my travels via the internet. I also went and visited the same people when I swung by their country. Some people I might never see again but the memories will always last.

GallopingMidget2 karma

I love that you're doing this! you are living the dream!

one question: financially, how did you make this happen?

wecallthishome2 karma

thanks! you can check some of the responses above :)

Anablue1 karma

Where did you get food poisoning ? And at what point did you feel you needed a car ?

wecallthishome1 karma

I got food poisoning in South Korea, China, and Nepal. The most serious one was in South Korea where I was stuck in bed for about 3 days. The other cases required me to be close to a bathroom for an entire day. I stayed in a KFC for an entire afternoon when I got sick after 30 hrs on a train in China. I think some old lady got me sick after I ate some of the lychee she offered me. In Nepal I decided to wait until 9pm to get 50% off some chicken rolls and got sick a hour later. I got slightly sick in India but I think that was carried over from Nepal. All those cases happened within the first 6 months. After that I think my stomach got used to it.

It would have been nice to have a car in New Zealand for my entire stay (I only rented one for a few days). You can book $1 bus rides but that requires planning ahead, which got annoying. Southern Africa was much more accessible with a car. In hindsight I should have rented a car in South Africa first and gotten the papers to cross borders with it. Otherwise I never felt like I needed one outside of that.

DeathBySnustabtion1 karma

How did you fund yourself? Did you save up before leaving, or do odd jobs along the way? Was it only you, or did you have any froends join you as well? How much would you say it costed you for the whole trip? Any tips for someone seriously interested in exploring our amazing planet but without much funding?This is something im looking to do in the near future.

wecallthishome2 karma

The answers to the funding part can be found in the other responses.

I went solo but I did travel with some people I met along the way for a week or two. There's some group tours you do in certain locations and so you're stuck with the same people to keep costs down. I always found someone in the group that I got along with.

I had some friends from back home join me in Turkey and Croatia. My brother joined me Kenya and Tanzania.

Without much funding? Look into WWOOF, couchsurfing, working in hostels. There's some other resources I can't remember right now. If you're able to save up money for a while you can travel in India or South East Asia for very cheap. No need to plunge right into a long trip, try taking a few weeks off and if you're inspired explore options to make a longer one happen.

itxo1 karma

I know is very dangerous, i'm from there but did you go to Venezuela? if you did, how did you like it?

wecallthishome1 karma

I went to Mount Roraima when I was there. Spent a few days in Santa Elena de Uairén after I crossed the border from Brazil. I wanted to spend more time to go elsewhere but I think I ended up spending more time in Brazil. (This was my second time in South America after I had been robbed there the year before). Roraiama was really beautiful and some of the landscapes really looked Jurassic Park like at times. I wanted to go to Angel Falls as well but the timing was off and it was dry season. People in my group went to Caracas as well and didn't have a problem. A Venezuelan in the group was telling us about the multiple exchange rates your country has, it's pretty ridiculous. Also I've never seen lines for a gas station quite like that.

Aleks071 karma

During your travels, what were the Top 3 items that you carried with you?

wecallthishome1 karma

besides my camera gear

toilet paper in my back pocket, phone/music player (lots of terrible music on long bus rides), and chaco sandals

garethbale20141 karma

thanks for doing AMA !! have you been to Morocco ?

wecallthishome1 karma

No, I was thinking of going to Spain and then down to Morocco, Mauritania and Mali but I decided to go home and finish the trip before that happened

Karpathos811 karma

How did you afford to travel to all those places with not having any income?

wecallthishome1 karma

i saved up all of it before leaving. I also invested in some stocks and sold those along the way

Audiophiler1 karma

What a treat it was to get a glimpse of your adventure. Thank you for sharing that video and it is my hope to embark on a journey similar to that in the next 5 years. I saw the list of countries you've visited and noticed that the UK wasn't there. Have you been there before?

wecallthishome2 karma

No unfortunately I haven't. I would love to visit London and go to a Premiere League game.

thatoneskullkid1 karma

What were the best and worst foods you tried during your travels?

wecallthishome7 karma

Best food was in Thailand. I had one unbelievable Pad Thai dish that my couchsurfing hosts took me to. I love Thai food so I'm a bit biased. I really enjoyed chicken hearts in Brazil, better than it sounds!

The worst was in Cuba. Having meals cooked by the hosts of your casa particulares (families that rent out an extra room, which is approved by the government) was really good most of the time but food in restaurants was terrible. I read that all the restaurants are owned by the government so everything is quite tasteless.

DayZavenger1 karma

Hi thanks for the AMA, going to places like iran or other middle eastern countries, did you ever feel so unsafe that you wanted to return home?

wecallthishome2 karma

Unfortunately I wasn't able to go to Iran. I did go to Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Oman. People were generally friendly in every country and I never felt like it was unsafe. The touts in Egypt were terrible though. The tourism industry suffered a lot and is still in horrible shape so I understand that its not the best time. But actively insulating and harassing tourists because they won't buy your products doesn't make anyone feel better.

EinsteinTheory1 karma

Beside the car crash and getting robbed, were there any negative experience during your trip?

wecallthishome3 karma

I decided to camp out in a random village while I was leaving Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP. When I went there two days before I noticed how the fog was hanging low between the many hills in the morning and I wanted to get a photo. I walked into the village and met someone who spoke some English. Everyone there thought I was lost in the beginning. The kid I met gladly showed me a spot up at the very top where their church was and I set up my tent. I left all my gear inside the tent and my camera on the sleeping bag. I went down with him to talk and get some food. It was a nice sunny day, but after a hour it suddenly got windy and then started pouring. There was no way I could get up and I thought my tent was staked in properly so I waited until it died down a bit. When I got up there the tent looked okay from a distance but once I opened it up the everything was soaked and my camera was in a puddle of water. The camera was dead and I had to sleep in a wet sleeping bag the rest of the night. I've been pretty careless at the wrong moments. This happened the same year as the robbery and car accident.

electromp1 karma

What was your itinerary when you started off? And did you sell your belongings on the way?

wecallthishome2 karma

Original itinerary was this (in order):

Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Nepal, India, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Israel

I didn't sell anything while I was traveling but after Israel I returned home for my younger brother's college graduation ceremony and I replaced a lot of my photography gear. I sold most of my stuff before I left for Japan.

MiG-351 karma

Have you ever been in Croatia? I you did, what were your experiences?

wecallthishome1 karma

Croatia was great. The coastline is really amazing and Dubrovnik was an incredibly beautiful city. Split as well. They use Dubrovnik as Kings Landing in Game of Thrones (heavily cgi though). Plitvische lake is also incredibly beautiful. I was there early in the morning and it was empty. A few hours later the Chinese tour buses rolled in. We didn't have enough time to explore the entire area but if you start early you should see the entire thing relatively empty of people. Food was really good too.

2steakknife1 karma

How old were you when you left for the trip?

I'm interested in doing something similar on a smaller scale. My family would be against me doing it even though I have money saved up. I have travelled to different countries with others but not sure how I would deal with it solo. I feel I may just get there and wish I was home...

Edit: originally asked some questions that were already answered

wecallthishome2 karma

Traveling solo has its own set of challenges. I think it's a good way to figure out how you deal with certain situations and spend time in your own thoughts. When you're traveling with another person you have someone to fall back on and be comfortable with.

There's a lot of travelers to befriend and plenty of apps that help you meet other people abroad. When you're solo you are also more approachable to strangers (locals or other travelers). It's very rewarding. I suggest you attempt it at least once and see if you like it.

DatGuyMason1 karma

Coolest and most memorable place you've traveled? Recommendations for 1st time traveler?

wecallthishome1 karma

forgot to respond to this. One of the most memorable places was Mana Pools NP where there were no fences so wildlife roamed through your campsite at all times of the day. Dongchuan Red Soil was also amazing. The place was empty of tourists and the landscapes were stunning.

Depends on where you are from of course. I think it's always nice to begin with Asia. The tourism infrastructure is there, enough English is spoken so you won't feel lost, and your money goes a long way.

a0peter1 karma

As for your kickstarter: What format will the ebook be in?

wecallthishome2 karma

It will be a pdf

mypasswordishey1 karma

If money wasn't an issue (say you are gifted a 40k/year annuity in perpetuity) would you keep traveling? What would you do?

wecallthishome2 karma

At the moment if I had an unlimited money supply I probably wouldn't continue an extended trip like this. I think I need to recharge my batteries. My mind might change at any moment but I think I'll be content making short trips for now. I really want to live in a different city as well. I've never lived anywhere other than a small town in New Jersey and New York City. I think there's going to be a lot to experience from doing that.

mrfudface1 karma

aay, that's inspirational, and very interesting! Especially as a new chef, I'm looking out for new countrys to learn new stuff. Have you ever been to Switzerland, and was it really neck-breaking pricey (beside of the beautiful scenery and the old towns)?

wecallthishome2 karma

Switzerland was absolutely beautiful. I couldn't believe the mountains while I was skiing there. My experience of skiing comes from places close to NYC so I was just floored. I also had a nice clear day for the Matterhorn. It is quite expensive. I was able to stay with a friend most of the time. The franc stopped being pegged to euro while I was there but I bought most of the expensive train tickets before that happened.

Have you looked into Peruvian food? I wasn't able to try myself but I was hearing that the Peruvian/Japanese fusion food was a hit. Oh I actually met a chef that was there specifically to try it out.

Peyman_g1 karma

Hey. I saw your video. Awesome. Did you visit Iran? How was it?

wecallthishome1 karma

Wasn't able to visit Iran. Several people have asked me that already. It was on my mind many times but it's more expensive and a bit restrictive for US citizens the last time I looked into it. Hopefully in the near future.

Bert-Goldberg1 karma

How old were you when you left? Did you leave any serious commitments behind (relationships, etc.)? What was your breaking point when you decided to leave? What was the worst human actions you saw on your travels? How about the best?

wecallthishome2 karma

25 yrs old

No commitments. Didn't have a girlfriend at the time. I still have college loans to pay back so I guess that's the only debt. My parents were kind of enough to help me with that while I was traveling.

Around a year before I left I was starting to get fed up with what I was doing with my life. I wasn't focused as much and it reflected in my attitude at work. I think I remember a friend mentioning he knew someone who was traveling and thought it sounded interesting, so I looked into it.

Worst - Just tourists being really shitty to people. Vang Vieng was probably the worst. I think all those bars are gone but the locals there did not look happy when I visited.

Best - Just people willing to help. Little acts of kindness go a long way and really change your perspective.

In Myanmar I had most of my cash stolen while I was exchanging money. The country had no atms at the time so the only way to fund yourself was to bring cash with you. I noticed too late and the thieves had already run off. People on the streets saw what happened and I was able to start talking with two locals who spoke English. We went to the police station but it was closed so we asked around and found a few drinking tea nearby. People started tagging along and soon we had about 20 people in our group. Somehow they were able to find one of the girlfriends of the thieves and the police started interrogating her on the street. At one point some police officer came out of nowhere, walked up to the lady, and slapped her really hard. Now we all go back to the police station and I think they get her to call the boyfriend. I really have no idea what's happening. The two guys who speak English are still with me but they don't really elaborate on what's happening even when I ask. Because it's monsoon season it suddenly starts pouring outside. A few minutes into the raining a guy from the street runs into the police station comes up to me and hands me $300. The two English speaking men told me it might be a nice gesture to offer some money to the policemen. I was told that the police were really corrupt in Myanmar. I had some Burmese cash on me so I offered it to one of the police officers but he wouldn't accept it. I tried to take the two English speaking locals out for food but they refused. They were just really relived that I got my money back and hoped I wouldn't think bad of their country.

Another one.

I slipped and face planted while I was running for a bus in China. My face was covered in blood and these group of Chinese ladies came up to me and offered me some tissues they gathered between each other (I'm pretty sure they were used). One of the ladies bought me band aids then I ran into the bus station still seeing if I could catch the bus. I didn't make it. But I probably looked like a psycho since I didn't realize how much dry blood was all over my face. Then I went to the hospital to get stitches.

And

Random strangers taking 30min out of their day to walk me somewhere when I was lost. Random strangers buying me food or offering me ride.

There's a lot of good people out there.

Norse_warrior1 karma

Hello, i just have one question.

Tent or cabin?

wecallthishome1 karma

i feel weird in cabins, i prefer being in a tent

Suldani1 karma

What would you recommend for someone wanting to do volunteering in a gap year?

wecallthishome1 karma

I don't have much experience volunteering. I would like to in the near future. I thought about Peace Corp for a while. Don't pay to volunteer though and find something you're passionate about. My friend is in love with animals and she volunteered at an animal clinic/shelter in Bolivia I believe. Just make sure you do plenty of research and talk to people who have also volunteered with the same organization/NGO

Farobi1 karma

Did you visit the Philippines? If so, how was it there?

wecallthishome1 karma

I went. The people there are incredibly friendly and I really enjoyed Cebu. I stayed with a great couchsurfer there. The tarsiers were really cool, very odd creatures. You can see it in the video (E.T. looking animals). The hanging coffins at Sagada were another of those weird discoveries. Pretty unreal. There was a lot of rain while I was there which was a bummer, I think I would have enjoyed the country a lot more with better weather. Manila can become a mess when it rains.

ed0y1 karma

Very inspiring!

How did decide on your travel destinations? Once there, how did you choose on what you wanted to see or do?

wecallthishome1 karma

I planned my destinations when I first started the trip but then as it progressed I started changing where I wanted to go if I learned about an interesting place from someone I met on the road. I usually used wikitravel and read some of the general information for each city I was visiting. In the end I wasn't planning much. I think i you're planning a lot and looking at photos you'll end being disappointed. Go in with no expectations and you won't form these unrealistic ideas of a place in your head.

EinsteinTheory1 karma

I just want to let you know that your photography and video skills is very talented. Your creative vision for the GoPro is awesome. Do you mind if I steal your angle and shot. I will be traveling to South East Asia soon. Also, how long did it take you to master a DSLR like that? Can you produce the same shot and effect with the Sony RX100 iii?

Also, is your underwater picture taken with the GoPro as well?

What GoPro version is that?

wecallthishome2 karma

thanks :)

Sure, its not patented :), try to make something better. I was always into photography and cinematography (I went to school for film/television) so I've developed a sense for framing over the years. I didn't really shoot many stills before this trip but I got better each day. I noticed I was improving slowly. I still have a lot to work on.

I'm not too familiar with that camera. The most important part is framing and patience. Wait for the right light and be patient for the "moment".

Yeah all the underwater shots are from a gopro. I started with Hero 2, 3, and 4. I just sold the previous version and then bought the new one.

MiG-351 karma

Did you used Couchsurfing?

wecallthishome2 karma

I tried to Couchsurf once in every country. Didn't always happen though. I hosted before I left. It's not really what it used to be honestly. I think there's a lot more people out there just using it for a free place to stay. Money is obviously a factor for using the site, but the other benefits are even better. I would have never had the chance to spend time with other interesting and amazing people or learn unique aspects of the city I was visiting.

There's been some bad experiences as well, mostly hygienic, but it's been a great experience overall.

trideviumvirate0 karma

What is one place you haven't visited that you still really want to see?

wecallthishome1 karma

I listed Iran in a comment above. I'm also very curious about Iceland, Mauritania, and Sri Lanka.

crescin0 karma

Do you have any tips on getting exercise when backpacking?Especially in remote places without a gym.Thanks

wecallthishome1 karma

You get a lot of exercise just walking. You do plenty of it. I had chicken legs before I left on this trip and now they actually look normal.

If you're worried about losing muscle I'm not sure what to do to prevent that. You would have to find time to do pushups and other non weight exercises but I always found that weird in a dorm room. Sorry can't really help any further.

Jalfredo0 karma

Why exactly did you wish to travel in such a difficult way and for so long?

wecallthishome1 karma

Mainly because I was on a budget. In many cases I wanted to see how people of that country lived and how they moved around. I never thought it was that difficult for the first 1.5 yrs. It felt uncomfortable at times but I think I was just excited the entire time that I didn't think about it too much. It got tiring near the end and that's why I stopped the trip.

PermTrouble-1 karma

Didn't you do this earlier?

wecallthishome4 karma

sorry made it go live by accident and then deleted it. It's for real now, so I'm here to answer any questions.