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13 months
cape town
hong kong
new zealand
  buenos aires

not pictured here: the Americans losing the 400M men's relay
our table in Cape Town, South Africa; Nov 22, 2004

Check out our to get a visual overview of our journey.*

(You need to have Flash installed on your system for the map to work.)

Deciding where to go was tough. We started with a long list, and slowly whittled it down. The following factors came into play:
  -Assistance/Advice: We strongly considered places where we have a friend (or even a friend of a friend) that could provide some assistance (help us find an apartment, tell us about the neighborhoods, show us around, etc.).
-Cost: We nixed Iceland purely based on cost, and likewise, our stay in Japan will be relatively short.
-Interest: We chose locations that one or both of us really wanted to see, and that would remain interesting for the duration of our stay (typically one month).
-Safety: We initially considered the relative safety of different possible destinations, and we checked various options for travel insurance. In the end, however, we decided not to let this influence our decisions very much.
-Difficulty: We didn’t want the trip to be too difficult. Neither of us has ever traveled this extensively and we didn’t want to be roughing it or struggling the whole way. So China and India didn’t make the cut although we'd like to take a separate trip to each someday.
So here is our itinerary [version 5, updated Oct 7, 2005]. (The management reserves the right to change this at any time without notice.)
Oct/04 leave San Francisco (Oct 5)
England: Oxford - 5 days
Uganda: Kampala & gorilla tracking - 7 days
Tanzania: Arusha & safari - 15 days
  Nov/04 South Africa: Cape Town - 28 days
Hong Kong: 3 days
  Dec/04 Thailand: Bangkok - 3 days
Vietnam: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh - 22 days
Cambodia: Siem Reap - 5 days, Phnom Penh - 3 days
  Jan/05 Taiwan (visiting Susan's family): Taipei, Kao Hsiung, Kenting - 8 days
Japan: Tokyo, Nikko, Hakone - 17 days
  Feb/05 Australia: Daintree - 5 days, Heron Island- 7 days, Sydney - 18 days
  Mar/05 New Zealand: Invercargill to Auckland - 26 days
United States: Los Angeles - 2 days, San Francisco - 12 days
(to file taxes, refuel, and repack)
  Apr/05 Argentina: Buenos Aires - 7 days
Uruguay: Colonia - 3 days
Chile: Santiago & surrounding area - 7 days
  May/05 Brazil: Rio de Janiero, Buzios, Salvador - 33 days
Paraguay: Ciudad del Este - 1 day
  Jun/05 Turkey: Instanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Cirali, Konya,
Cappadocia - 19 days
  Jul/05 Portugal: Lisbon, then down the coast to Zambujeira do Mar
and Lagos - 25 days
France: Paris (for the finish of the Tour de France) - 9 days
  Aug/05 Hungary: Budapest - 6 days
Croatia: Zagreb - 3 days
Slovenia: Ljubjana - 4 days
Croatia (again): Split, Hvar Island (Jelsa, Hvar Town),
Vis Island (Komiza, Vis Town), Brela, Dubvovnik - 17 days
  Sep/05 Italy: Rome, Montone (Umbria), Florence, Praiano (Amalfi) - 28 days
  Oct/05 England: Oxford - 9 days
Morocco: 12 days
Belgium: Brussels - 3 days
back home to San Francisco
*After lots of searching, we finally found a good
map to use at
© 2004-2007 susan & grace, all rights reserved

-- comments from readers --


What a wonderful advernture! But, did you forget about Mexico? Did it seem too near, too boring, too predictable, all of the above? :-/ It's a wonderful country--from the Sonoran desert to the Mayan should check it out. I wish you happy and safe travels! P.S. Yes, I'm from Mexico...

--Monica P. (Carmel, Indiana, USA); Jun 16, 2007

Ah... Mexico. We both love Mexico, so no, we didn't forget about it, but we were trying mostly to go to places that we might have a harder time reaching later. And since we're Californians, it is not so difficult to get to Mexico. That said, if there's one thing that travel does, it's make you want to visit even more places. So many places, so little time... :)

--Grace & Susan; Jul 5, 2007


Very very nice site you have there, and obviously, very nice trip. My wife and me are going in November for our own RTW, and we'll pass in some of the areas you went, so you can expect more from me in the coming months ;)

As a tip for other travelog makes, we used the flash powered map sold on, but the guy is nice enough to offer a free version for travelogs, you just have to write him a nice email and explain your project.

--Oliver (London, United Kingdom); Sep 6, 2006


Is there anywhere that you did not feel safe? Either from people or wildlife? Is there anywhere that you absolutely have to go back to or are there too many other places in the world to worry about it?

--Cat (Aldergrove, Canada); Aug 5, 2006

Sure, there were times that we were somewhat worried for our safety, but nowhere in particular sticks out. Europe, of course, is really quite safe, but some of the less developed countries can feel less so. We are city folk, however, so we sorta' keep one eye on the back of our head, and we try not to get into situtions that we don't know how to get out of.

In terms of going back... mmm... we'd love to, to many of the places we visited. Of course, we'd also love to go to new places... so little time...

--Grace & Susan; Nov 15, 2006


Hi! I just have to say your website is incredible. I am about to embark on a year long trip around the world with my wife, and I just started working on our website:

The one thing I'm having a hard time with is figuring out how to do a map of our travels. What you have done is absolutely amazing. Did you do it on your own in flash? Do you think it's something I could figure out how to do (I don't know anything about Flash...)

--Jason W. (San Francisco, California, USA); Jul 19, 2006

Yea, the Flash map was my learn-something-nifty-while-we-travel project. It was a lot of work, but fun to learn. If you're technically inclined, it's a great little project. If I really knew what I was doing I would make it available for other folks, but I fear that the code is too finicky for that to work very well. :(

--Grace; Nov 15, 2006


Hi, Great site!!! Really!!

I thought it was funny you cut iceland out from scratch. :) I actually helped a couple out from Greece once, they came to a café I was in and had come to Iceland for two weeks, not realizing how costly it was and had a hard time finding out what to do... so i helped them along.

Basically, I have an advice for people travelling to iceland. Couchsurfing! Check the couchsurfing websites and arrange somebody to host you on your stay here, we're generally hospitable people and hate as much as you do how expensive this place is!

--Þórgnýr T. (Iceland); Jun 11, 2006

Great advice! Okay, we're on our way! :) We were so sad to cut out Iceland from this trip but we're hoping to go some day. We'll check out the sites you mentioned and hopefully this will help some other people hoping to go there too. Thanks for reading our website and writing in! Hope to see the sunny skies of Iceland soon,

--Susan & Grace; Jun 30, 2006


My main question is this, and apologies if it's been covered somewhere in your site (but I didn't see it): I am a paranoid neurotic when it comes to travelling, and I am one of those people who needs to have everything arranged months in advance in order to stop twitching about it. It seems that you made changes to your itinerary on the road at times. Did you have most of your trip planned in advance or was it kind of as-you-go? With accommodations at peak tourist season -- and with booking flights -- I would think that a lot of that would be difficult and very expensive to arrange at the last minute although the flexibility would be very nice!

--Steph T. (Maryland, USA); Dec 29, 2005

Honestly, it really depends. In Tanzania and Cape Town (at the beginning of our trip), we arranged everything in advance. There are several reasons for this (unfamiliarity with Africa, safari booking, wanting an apartment waiting for us in Cape Town, etc.). There were also many times later in the trip when we booked things well in advance. Sometimes this was because space was limited (Heron Island, Australia), sometimes it was because we wanted to be sure of a spot in high-season (Italy), and sometimes it was simply for peace of mind. In general, we had a basic plan from the beginning, and for the most part, we stuck to it, with a few exceptions (we switched Greece and Egypt for Turkey and Morocco). That said, however, we also made a lot of it up when we arrived somewhere. For example, we pre-arranged our first night stay in about 75% of our destinations, but we often looked for a longer-term solution after we arrived. We understand that some travelers like to make it all up as they go along, and that can be great, too, but we prefer a combination.

In terms of changing flights, we didn't do that very often; we usually only booked flights when we were confident in our timing. The exception to this, obviously, are changes we made to our RTW ticket (you can read more about that on the cost: tickets page).

--Susan & Grace; Dec 28, 2005


Hey guys! Thanks for this site - it is so amazing and helpful. I did have a question... noticed you reference every once in a while that you were hitting places off season (good and cheaper!) but am wondering how much weather played into your travels. I'm planning a RTW trip for a year from now and don't want to hit crowds but also don't want to end up in certain places at the hottest time of the year. Advice? :)

--Erin (Washington DC, USA); Dec 19, 2005

Well... we kinda' geeked out a bit when we were planning. We made a list of all the places and then rated the months for each place. We rated them in terms of how busy they were, average temperature, and average rainfall. The guidebooks tell you when the low-, mid- and high-seasons are, and the popular weather sites will tell you the average temperatures and rainfall for most places (but not all). In choosing our route, we tried to avoid high season, avoid really hot or cold times, and avoid rainy season. As you might imagine, it didn't always work out (we hit Croatia in high season, we hit Japan when it was really cold, but we did manage to avoid running into too much rain). But with a few exceptions, we were able to time things pretty well. (Note also that your starting month and place are quite significant in all this planning, too.) This might all sound a bit tedious, but it only took a few hours, and then, combined with each place's actual location on the globe, we plotted our basic path. In the end, it makes sense to weigh your own preferences (temperature tolerance, how much you hate crowds, etc.) and we also recommend that you mix it up a bit (going somewhere when it's somewhat crowded once in a while is probably okay). Hope this helps - safe travels!

--Susan & Grace; Dec 28, 2005


Hey there what about ireland!!!! Like the site and wish you all the best :)

--Feck; Oct 11, 2005

Yea... we wanted to go... too many places and too little time. One thing about traveling is that the more you do, the more you realize that there are so many places to see in the world. Hopefully next time! :)

--Susan & Grace; Oct 20, 2005


We're planning to travel the world next year and have started planning - almost have our RTW tickets! Can you shed some light on Visas? Did you retain them all before you left SF? I know some countries offer Visa purchase on entry. (Is this info on your site?)

Your trip/site is unbelievable and we would love to meet you when we return in 2007 to compare notes in SF. You are a very inspiring couple.

By the way, is that Grace's picture in the comment window? :)) He looks like he's 'The Thinker' in Uganda.

--Dave (San Francisco, CA, USA); Sep 26, 2005

Regarding visas, we acquired them before we left for Uganda, Tanzania, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Australia. (As a side note, you can do the Australian one online which is a nice convenience - you just need to copy down the number). For Brazil, we obtained it when we stopped in San Francisco midway through the trip since if we had done this earlier it would have expired. All this said, it is not so difficult to get visas mid-trip as long as you're in a fairly large capital and have access to various embassies. This, however, can stall you for a few days, so we were trying to avoid this in general.

And sure, we'd love to get together back in SF - that would be fun. As long as you can feed Grace lots of bananas! :)

--Susan & Grace; Oct 6, 2005


Your website is awesome! My wife and I are heading out for a RTW trip starting in January. We are not as savvy as you guys, but we looking for website ideas. Your interactive map is *exactly* what we are looking for and I wanted to know if you had to make the flash yourself or is there some sort of program that let's anyone make the map the way they want it.

You photo section is incredible!

--Chris; Aug 2, 2005

Congrats on your upcoming journey – that’s great! And thanks for the kind words about our site. Yea, I was thinking about trying to make the map re-usable by other folks, but since I was just learning Flash, I’m afraid it’s not very “robust,” as a programmer would say.

--Grace; Aug 8, 2005


Your trip looks amazing! I would only give u one suggestion: instead of spending so much money on flight tickets why don´t do cover certain regions by land? you will see more places and at the same time you will not be spending so much time on airports. Ex. US, Turkey, way down to Egypt and South Africa. Then Asia and Australia and New Zealand. From there back to SF, South america, Europe and US. Anyway, your trip sounds brilliant! Enjoy!

--Francisco N. (Argentina); Jul 20, 2005

Thanks for the suggestion! Since we bought a round-the-world ticket, however, it's often cheaper for us to fly. (The ticket is quite cheap: $3700, which is pretty good since we're getting 20 flights out of it.) Still, we do travel overland when we can since we love to stop at all the small cities between destinations.

--Susan & Grace; Jul 23, 2005


I just looked at your website (it was referenced on the LP Thorn Tree) and am wondering what technology you used for the interactive map? I really like the idea, and would be interested in doing something similar myself in the future. Is it all written by yourselves in java/scripting language or is it something you can download/purchase?

By the way, the site looks really good.

--Niall G.; Jul 21, 2005

The map was my learn-Flash-while-I-make-something-useful project, so it’s all in Flash, a Macromedia product. It’s not free, however. In another life, I used to do a bit of programming, so that helped a bit. Best of luck, and thanks for the kind words!

--Grace; Jul 22, 2005


Have just had great fun with your interactive map. Well done - it's incredible what you are doing, and it seems like ages ago you were visiting us in CT. All the best and I will continue to follow with enthusiasm

--Kathryn M. (Cape Town, South Africa); Jul 15, 2005


Oh the map is good. Very good.

--Kevin C. (San Francisco, CA, USA); Jun 7, 2005


The map is awesome!!!! Can you guys add a voice over that calls out each of the countries/cities?

--Olinda P. (San Francisco, CA, USA); Jun 7, 2005

That would be funny! Or we could use the airport announcement. Some of those have been either completely incomprehensible or hilarious. The recorded announcements in Rio are VERY sexy. Actually, they're a bit weird...

--Grace & Susan; Jun 8, 2005


I would also consider Spain. Although they now use the Euro I found it less expensive than other Western European countries.

I must tell you guys that you two are fulfilling the dreams of many couples. Me and my fiance would probably love to do something like that and I am sure we will at some point. By the way, what did you do to the cat ?

--Angel P. (San Diego, CA, USA); May 18, 2005

Yes, we'd love to go to Spain, too! The only reason we didn't include it was that we've both been there before (and really enjoyed it).

Regarding the cat, we were lucky enough to have some good friends rent our apartment (and water our plants and feed our cat) while we're gone.

--Grace & Susan; May 25, 2005