One fine day, Daniel Baylis set off on his around-the-world trip. He would traveling for a year. However, this young man was not setting off on one of those exorbitantly priced luxury vacations; he could not afford one of those. A working vacation suited his budget better. In many ways, Baylis’ yearlong vacation is a trip that the wealthiest people cannot afford. For those who are used to living in the lap of luxury, traveling by private jet, resting on the softest king-size beds and eating at Michelin-starred restaurants, Baylis’ trip may seem out of reach. But anyone who hopes to see the world through new eyes will be inspired to (finally) make that trip, after reading about Baylis’ experiences on the road.
Baylis’ trip involved visiting twelve countries spread across six continents within one year. This was no ordinary sight-seeing expedition. Baylis wanted to experience these countries in all their splendor. He wanted to imbibe the local flavor. This was to be an immersive experience, one that Baylis has recorded beautifully on his blog “The Conversationalist”. The young man is now director of a marketing agency called N/A. He is also penning a book on his experiences, and expecting a 2013 release.
Inspiring, But What About Finances?
The thing is around-the-world trips are expensive. So how did the modest-incomed Baylis (his schoolteacher parents were not rich either) manage to finance his extensive travel plans? Baylis’ job as a blogger at the Montreal tourism bureau did not pay much. He earned only about $37,000 per year. Once he decided on going backpacking across the world, Baylis started saving $500 per month. $500 is a more than manageable sum, and it all adds up. After a couple of years of working hard, staying in a low rent home, not spending money on clothes and bars, Baylis had amassed about $10,000 by December 2010. He left his job, gave up his apartment, started his blog and was ready to begin his adventure.
Now, $10,000 is a fine sum. But it would not finance Baylis’ travels over a year. So he bolstered his savings with a line of credit. He managed to get a $15,000 dollar loan and was good to go. It also helped that Baylis was largely on a working vacation. He contacted various organizations looking for jobs that would pay in accommodation and food in return for work. Work vacations are a great way to travel without blowing a hole in your pocket.
The Costs Of An Around-The-World Vacation
Baylis broke it all down in his blog. He completed his yearlong trip recording total expenses of $13,931. These included food, accommodation, flight fares, insurance, visa fees and activities among other things. As it turned out, the flights proved the most costly at $7,399. This was about half of his total costs. Baylis advises cost-conscious travelers to cut down on their flight expenses by limiting their travels to a single continent. An around-the-world flight ticket would also cost significantly less.
However, Baylis was unwilling to limit his travels to a single continent. He also wanted to keep his travel plans flexible, and hence, avoided buying flight tickets in advance.
When some projects fell through or failed to provide accommodation, Baylis had to fend for himself, racking up relatively modest accommodation costs of $2,431 for the year. He largely depended on being fed by his employers. However, that did not work out sometimes and Baylis had spent $1,500 on food by the end of his travel year.
There were also the costs of volunteering on some projects, but Baylis was here to learn and did not grudge this expense. He was also smart about getting his visas. The costs are lower in certain countries than in others. He also advises getting travel insurance that covers all countries in your itinerary.
Baylis’ 2011 Travel Itinerary
While most other Canadians choose to go backpacking in Europe, Baylis was determined to see the world. Here is a quick view of Baylis’ yearlong trip from January to December.
Where: New Orleans, USA
He began the first leg of his trip by finding volunteer work in America. He started off by taking a flight from Montreal to New Orleans. Once here, he got to working with an organization called Common Ground Relief, which was working to rebuild an area that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The project included accommodation and food. However, Baylis had to shell out extra for a costly insurance. For the rest of his trip, he was covered by a $1 million Canadian insurance for which he paid $471.
Where: Costa Rica
After life in developed America, Baylis headed to a remote corner of Costa Rica. He lived in an off the grid, non-profit farm named La Joya del Sol where he hauled rocks and repotted plants among other things. It was hard work, and life on the farm was not easy. Baylis ate a completely raw, vegetarian diet.
Where: Trujillo, Peru
Next up was the city of Trujillo in Peru. Baylis joined a volunteer program at Horizon Peru to teach English to children in the city’s poorest district, a place called La Esperanza.
Where: Beunos Aires, Argentina
Craigslist helped Baylis get a job as a media consultant for a blog named Contacto Hotelero.
Where: Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town must have been a change for Baylis. Instead of joining another volunteer organization, the backpacker helped some friends manage a Cape Town boutique named “Seventies 80s”.
Things did not turn out as he would have liked in Morocco. A project did not work out and Baylis ended up spending on a hotel.
It was back to humanitarian work in France. Baylis got busy with restoring a Cistercian monastery dating back to the 12th century.
Where: Edinburg, Scotland
In Edinburg, Baylis joined up to volunteer with a theatre group. However, the accommodation and food stipend were not up to scratch. Moreover, he had to work 12-hour days. So he quit the project and once again found himself in a hotel.
Israel found him volunteering again. This time, Baylis got a job at a farm called “Goats with the Wind”, a volunteer organization that, as the name suggests, worked with goats. The project took Baylis to Tel Aviv and Israel. He received cheese, lodging and satellite TV for the work done.
Once again after Argentina, Baylis had to pay reciprocity fees for volunteering at a retreat on Ashwem Beach in India.
Where: Luang Prabang, Laos
Teaching English to non-native speakers of the language is one of the most popular work vacations. Baylis now headed further east to Laos to teach English in Luang Prabang.
His final stop was Australia and Baylis went all around, stopping at big cities like Melbourne and small towns like Lismore.
Daniel Baylis shares his first-hand experience about this beautiful tour:
Kindly introduce yourself to my readers.
My name is Daniel Baylis, and I’m many things. But some of the worlds I use to describe myself include the following: traveler, writer, friend, fool, runner, musician, uncle. I’m equal parts yoga and
You have beautifully recorded your experiences on your blog. How will your book be different?
Thanks. Whereas the blog was a series of snapshots (both in the photographic and literary sense), the book is a much more in depth exploration of the journey. There are anecdotes and characters that, due to time limitations, did not appear on the blog. The blog is visually stimulating, but slightly choppy in the overall narrative. The book will be something to truly sink into.
What inspires you to travel? Also, how do you categorize it: RIGHT or a PRIVILEGE?
To travel is to feel alive. I’m inspired to travel because I seek stimulation and greater understanding of different cultures and delicious food and access to the natural world. I think the raw ideal of physical movement across the planet should be a right, but that the ‘tourists’ element of travel is a privilege.
Which was your favorite leg of the journey, and why?
That’s a big question. There was a selection of things that made particular legs more enjoyable than others: successful work-exchange project, good food, interesting fellow volunteers, access to local
people/culture, beautiful landscape. I had really wonderful experiences in Peru, France and Israel. You’ll have to read my blog to find out why!
Any plans to set out on another tour?
I’m always daydreaming about trips I’d like to take. However, at the moment it feels really good to be in familiar territory, to have a routine and to work on my book. But there certainly shall be more
adventure in the future.
What remains on your travel bucket list?
Everywhere. Even the countries I’ve been, I want to go back because there was so much that I was unable to see, visit or experience.
If you could take a luxury vacation at any time, what would your itinerary be?
I would love to rent an island in the South Pacific, and fly a group of my friends on a private jet for a month-long, internet-free vacation. We would read books and sip a lot of rum.
We gathered you were looking for job prospects/ opportunities via this travel. Are you successful in doing that?
Yes. Recently I’ve had invitations for press trips and an opportunity to do television. But right now I’m focused on projects that will lend themselves to social change, which is why I’ve partnered with some colleagues who have started a new marketing agency.
Tell us more about your new agency N/A?
We are a group of creative and driven individuals with a singular goal: to connect people and brands in ways that affect positive social change. It’s marketing that helps businesses not only do well, but do good.
What is your take on high-end around the world trips that are making headlines lately?
It seems like the opposite of my around the world journey! I guess I don’t have a fully formed opinion because it’s so out-of-my-realm.
So when will you be setting off on your yearlong adventure?