About Us

We have yet to meet people that regret travels they have taken. More often than not, it seems to be the trips that we don’t take that we regret. At first, we had been waiting patiently for the right time to travel. There were always excuses or reasons to delay. Eventually we realized that the ‘right time’ would never exist unless we created it. So we decided, let’s just GO!

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Money

One of the hardest things to sort out when planning an adventure like this is money. How much is enough? It’s really difficult to keep to a budget when you’re trying to travel without a schedule in mind. Wandering and financial management don’t always go well together. But we are determined to wander, so we do the best we can. We aren’t independently wealthy, and to make this trip happen we’ve had to accept the fact that we’ll be paying for it long after it’s over. We saved money for a year, set up a line of credit with our bank, and paid off as much of our remaining school debt as possible before we left. Will it be enough? We hope so.

In the spirit of helping other travelers plan their own wanderings, we’ve been keeping track of our expenses as we go. The graph below shows our average daily expenditure in Canadian dollars for many of the countries we’ve visited.

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The numbers shown combine the costs of accommodation, food, transportation, purchases, and miscellaneous other expenses incurred along the way. We’ve also indicated the portion of expenses that goes towards our Oasis Overland adventure, and our unusual (and very large) mountain gorilla permit cost in Rwanda, as these have a big impact on daily costs throughout our African countries. We try to travel “budget-style” whenever we can, but this means different things in different countries. We try to balance the things we have to spend money on: when a dorm costs $90/night in Paris, we eat bread in the park for lunch, but when a cabin on a lake costs $5/night in Indonesia, we order beer with dinner. We’ve also been adapting as we go, and getting better at spending less — a necessary evolution when on the road long term.

Mark Rosen

I spent the first eighteen years of my life growing up in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. I was born just around the corner in Banff. For anyone who doesn’t know where Canmore is, look up Calgary on a map, and follow the Trans-Canada highway west about a hundred kilometers. Over the course of these 100 kilometers, the plains transform into the Rocky Mountains. It is still one of my favorite drives, and seeing the mountains grow out of the horizon is something I still look forward to every time I go back. When I graduated from high school I moved to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to study architecture at Carleton University. I graduated with my Master’s degree in Architecture, and I’ve been working and living in Ottawa ever since.

I met Meghan just as I was finishing my undergraduate degree. She’s the light of my life. We’ve been inseparable ever since we first got together, except for the six months she spent in the UK while I was finishing my thesis. Those were six long months, but it gave me a great excuse to fly out and see her in London when my thesis was done. That short trip gave us a small taste of what traveling together will be like—and that trip was great. I’m looking forward to sharing all of my adventures with her. What could be better than having the love of your life with you as you explore the planet? Sounds pretty good to me.

There are two things in life that I truly crave: good design and new challenges. Although that may sound a little cliché, either one or both of these two things are central to nearly all of the things that bring me happiness. They also seem to apply in many different ways, to many different situations. Here are a few:

I once bought a new tarp for camping. I love tarps, by the way—kind of a strange thing to love, I know, but trust me, they’re awesome. After I got it home, I spent several hours online reading about dozens of different ways to set up or use a tarp. Then I went out to the backyard, and spent a couple of hours setting up and taking down the tarp, trying different things, with no rain clouds anywhere in sight, just for fun.

I recently decided that hockey would be a great sport to play, so I went out, bought all of the equipment required, and signed up. I’d never played hockey growing up, and it looked like too much fun to miss out on. It took me twenty-two games to score my first goal, but every game I was getting better, and I loved that feeling.

Several years ago I visited the Art Institute of Chicago, and I discovered the Gallery for Japanese Screens completely by chance. This is a space designed by Tadao Ando, and it is exceedingly minimal in it’s execution. But the acoustics of the space overtook me. The best term I can think of to describe the sound of the space is ‘distant’. When silent, the room sounded vast, but in a deeply quieting way. When people spoke in the space, their words seemed to travel enormous distances to reach me. I sat in that room for at least an hour, just listening. I believe the sound quality of that space was designed, in the same sense that the walls and ceiling were designed, and that amazed me. It is one of my favorite spaces to this day.

So that’s me: I love extreme cleverness, good food, nature, challenges that force me to improve myself, and anything that makes my eyes open wide in awe. I’m looking forward to adding many more stories to my list!

Meghan Gough

I grew up in Ottawa with my two sisters Jess & Lin. It went a bit like this: “Let’s all go to the Dairy Queen. I see one just down the street. We’ll get a fresh whoo-oooo whoo frozen treat”. I have pretty much stuck close to home my whole life while my more adventurous sisters took off a long time ago. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Ottawa is a fantastic city, and a great place to grow up and to call home. Every time I try to leave, it somehow sucks me back and makes me appreciate how special it is.

Can we still call it home even if we don’t technically have a home in Ottawa when we leave? I think we’ll be officially homeless. Bah, home is where the heart is, and where most of my worldly belongings reside — in my parents’ basement.

I’m starting to discover that time goes by faster and faster as I get older (believe it or not I’m nearly 30 years young). I think that this has something to do with the fact that as I’ve aged to this point, I’ve become more and more comfortable with my everyday surroundings. My brain isn’t exposed to ‘new’ as often as I’d like. To counter this, I’d like to get out there to see and do as many neat-o things as possible; I’d like to be a more active participant in my own life.

It seems like so many of us are on a quest to find some sort of balance and some sort of place in this crazy world. I guess that’s part of the reason Mark and I have decided to embark on this trip together. The world around us is not static, and so to maintain some sort of equilibrium we need to change and move around in it.

One thing that is pretty certain in my life is Mark. He puts the ‘happy’ in my ‘ness’. He is the person who complements me (and compliments me, even if I haven’t showered in days). There’s nothing the two of us can’t do together. We’ve shared many adventures so far, but this one will surely take the cake.

This trip is also about slowing things down for us. It’s been a constant whirlwind of school, work, responsibility and obligation up until now. There is such a sense of immediacy out there, especially in the corporate ‘we’ve got to have it NOW’ workforce that we’ve been exposed to. Slowing things down will be a welcome change of pace. We’re not setting any time constraints on our trip, so we can spend as much or as little time in any place as we feel like. Wish I could say we had no budget constraints too!

So is there anything else I should mention? I’m a graphic designer. It is what I love to do and what I love to appreciate. I like all things designed and feel that the world would be a more functional and beautiful place if there were more designers employed throughout. I’m also a bit of a scientist. I studied ecology in university, stemming from my passion for the great outdoors. It’s a bit of a hobby I suppose, whereas design is my profession. I like it best when the two overlap. I’ve also been a self-employed entrepreneur. Work will be on hold while I travel, but I’ll come back with a fresh mind and eye and be better than ever because I’ll be so worldly.

If you’re still here, thanks for reading. We’ll keep you updated as best we can. Follow us to see how the places we find ourselves in change, and how we change within them.

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