One year on the road

So I was sitting at the Steel Horse Filandia in the heart of Colombia’s coffee region and it occurred to me that it was exactly one year that I had been on the road, leaving Chicago on July 2, 2016. Looking back over the past year it’s incredible how far I’ve come, what I’ve seen, who I’ve met along the way.

One thing people always ask (not fellow overlanders, because they know it’s like asking “how long is a piece of string?”) is how much does this cost, being a world adventurer?

I have a little notebook that I track every day where I am and what I’ve spent on everything (in local currency).


So after exactly one year on the road, the total is 24,184.28 or $66/day. Not bad compared to living in the center of Chicago.

Trip Expenses 1

Almost one third is direct traveling, 17% being gas and another 12% tolls, ferries, airplane tickets, container shipping Panama to Colombia, vehicle expenses like insurance, oil changes, filters, parts.

Lodging is slightly more than one third, although I probably spent an equal time camping as staying in hotels and Airbnb the latter is much more expensive. In North America I camped almost all of the time, then in Central and South America it’s probably 50/50.

Food is one quarter of the total. I started out tracking restaurants, groceries, beer separately but gave up after a short time. It’s all food.

The Other category at 9% of total includes tours, haircuts, dentist, vaccines and prescriptions, toiletries, laundry, clothes, etc.