Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Indiegogo Campaign Update Video

There's less than 10 days left in the campaign... please join forces to help make this travel series a reality!  Let's try to get to at least 10% of the goal!  Thanks for your support, everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Seven By 30: Antarctica Officially Booked

I am one step closer to making "Seven Continents By 30" a reality!  I have officially put down a nonrefundable deposit and booked my Antarctica trip for November!  After doing months of research I decided to go with the Ortelius Basecamp Voyage operated by the Dutch company Oceanwide Expeditions.  I booked through an agent in the UK called Antarctica Bound, who have been really helpful and informative through this whole process.

Going to the white continent is not cheap nor for the faint-hearted.  If you are active, adventurous, and want to make the most of your expedition down south then the Ortelius Basecamp is the voyage for you.  The least expensive cabin on any vessel to Antarctica, no matter what the company or ship, is at least $5500-6000 USD.  This is usually for a triple or quadruple cabin with bunkbeds and they room you with random members of the same sex.  Twin rooms and singles are upwards of $10,000+.  Other than zodiac landings not many activities are offered on most ships, and all activities are at an additional cost -- kayaking alone is an extra whopping $895.  The Ortelius and Plancius basecamp expeditions, however, include all activities in the price... kayaking, mountaineering, snowshoeing, overnight camping on the ice, you name it.  They even offer polar scuba diving, but this requires having 20 or more logged drysuit dives and bringing your own equipment.  You definitely get the most bang for your buck with this one!

Some of the other vessels might be a bit more luxurious and have a jacuzzi or spa, but when it comes to outdoor activities and spending more time with Mother Nature, the Ortelius and Plancius are unmatched!  Who wants to be cooped up on the ship when you are in Antarctica, anyway?!  You can bet I will be doing every single activity and making the most of my once-in-a-lifetime experience on the seventh continent.  Who knows when I'll be able to go back again!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Leaving on a Jet Plane... Don't Know When I'll Be Back Again

It's official, I finally bought my flight to Dubai... I'm leaving June 2nd!  It's completely nonrefundable and non-changeable so there's no backing out - it's set in stone.  There's something quite unsettling yet liberating about that!

I have been following some of the great travel bloggers, including The Points Guy, who taught me about "travel hacking" to maximize my travel rewards credit cards and collect airline miles and points.  I have excellent credit, so I added a few new travel rewards cards to my wallet (Chase Sapphire, Barclaycard Arrival Plus MasterCard, Capital One Venture Card, and Citi ThankYou Premier) that offer 40k-50k bonus points if you spend a certain amount within the first three months.  By the end of this year I should have enough points to fly around the world for free!

Anyway, as for my ticket to Dubai, I used Priceline Negotiator's Name Your Own Price feature - found a great deal with Delta, only $732 return from LA to Dubai.  It's always cheaper to buy roundtrip, so I booked my return leg for November 2nd.  That's five full months!  Considering I have 34 countries to see in that time, I hope it will be long enough!  I will spend the whole summer and autumn months in Africa and the Middle East.  When I return to LA I will have a week or so to gather my warmest winter clothes and then head off again, this time south to Ushuaia, Argentina (southernmost city in the world) where I will set sail for Antarctica to celebrate my 30th birthday with the penguins, seals, glaciers, and icebergs!  Seven continents and 100 countries before 30.  That's my plan.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sorry Boys, But No Yellow Fever for Me! ;)

So I finally bit the bullet and got my yellow fever vaccine today.  I can't believe I actually did all of Central and South America and spent three weeks in the Amazon rainforest last year without getting the vaccine or taking any malaria medication!  I am living proof that sometimes there is a lot of unnecessary worry and overmedication, but by all means I am not recommending you to go unvaccinated.  Anyway, this time I needed it because it is a requirement to get into some of the African countries on my itinerary this summer.  Just so you know, most insurance companies don't cover travel medicine, and it can be a bit pricey.  I was considering waiting until I arrived in an African country where it wasn't required and getting the shot there much cheaper, but finally I decided to just get it out of the way now so it will be less headache on my trip.  And hey, it's good for ten years so I won't have to worry about it again for a while.  I did my research and found the cheapest one to be at the Pasadena Public Health Department for $127, which includes the yellow card/international certificate of vaccination that you are required to carry in your passport.  Hope that helps those of you going to a country where this might be necessary :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

My Indiegogo Campaign Is Now Live!

I'm happy to announce that my Indiegogo campaign is now live!  I just launched it two days ago and have already had four awesome contributors, Jordan Blackman, Bruce Frausto, Jason Moskowitz, and Justin Stephens, as well as an outpouring of love and encouragement on Facebook from my wonderful friends.  Thank you so much for supporting my endeavor!  Keep showing the love!  :)