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ABOUT THIS BLOG

In the summer of 2009, Nicolas Rapp decided to take a break from his Art Director job at The Associated Press to attempt a one-year overland travel around the world in a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. He was back in New York in February 2011 after traveling 15 months and 37,000 miles.

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  • Cost of driving around the world: $1 per mile

    Posted on September 11th, 2010 Nicolas 43 comments
    The commercial face of India, Mumbai

    The commercial face of India, Mumbai

    Not much happened in the last week. I have been really sick with the flu, which forced me to stay in bed for four days. Still now, I have low energy and still recuperating. It was the first time I was sick on the trip, and I am glad it didn’t happen while I was out in the wild. As I am taking rest at Vikas apartment, my truck is sailing somewhere on the Arabian Sea, and I wait for it to arrive in Mumbai. So I guess my body decided to take a break from the long travel.

    The notebook where Nadia and I entered every expense.

    The notebook where Nadia and I entered every expense.

    But as I was recovering in bed, I got some work done. Since I started the expedition, all the expenses have been kept in a notebook, waiting to be added up. Frankly, I was not looking forward to it, as I was kind of nervous about the outcome. I have been keeping a tab on gas, food and lodging expenses, but never added up all the rest. It is now done, and I can share with you my financial report.

    Close to Horniman circle.

    Close to Horniman circle.

    Since I left New York, I spent $26,500 on the expedition to cover the 25,800 miles I drove since departure which turns out to be very close to $1 per mile. That includes also the money Nadia and Dan spent when they were with me. Of this money, 19% or $5,000 was spent on gas. $3,900 was spent on food, and only $1,300 on lodging. I spent $6,000 on the truck, more than half of this money disappearing as a consequence of the accident in Honduras. $6,000 was spent on shipping, not including the Iran-India portion. $450 is gone in visa fees. Less than $1,000 was spent on entertainment, museums and visit fees.

    Flora fountain.

    Flora fountain, central Mumbai.

    But the bottom line is here. Of my own pocket, I spent $20,000 since departure, and approximately $14,000 before departure, to buy the truck, prepare it and get all the equipment. That gives us a total of $34,000.
    This means that I was about right on my budget projection of $50,000 for the whole trip. I would think I still have to spend an extra $6,000 for shipping until the end of the trip, which let me with $10K to cross India, get to South-East Asia, travel through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia (at least), get to the U.S. and cross the country from west to east. I will be OK if I am lucky and have no problem at all with the vehicle.

    Under the pavement, the beach...

    Under the pavement, the beach...

    If anyone here is interested by more detailed stats, you kind find a spreadsheet here. Of course when I will be done with the trip, I will be able to do more analysis and will publish the results.

    I worked on the website as well and did some minor improvements. That includes a more precise map highlighting the places I have been in the “Route page”. Also available now is a mobile version of the blog which should provide a better experience to people using a iPhone or Blackberry to access the website.

    Every day I take a cab to downtown where I take care of the paperwork.

    Every day I take a cab to downtown where I take care of the paperwork.

    Since few days I feel better and I am now regularly going to the center of town. It is easier to be here than in Delhi. The city is less chaotic and easier to navigate. There’s almost no tuk-tuk, and cab drivers are pretty honest. There I began to fill the paperwork for the truck import. I also met with the agent who is going to help me out at the port. Unfortunately, India is supposed to be a difficult place for clearance, so I keep my fingers crossed. The ship is supposed to arrive tonight in the port, and I hope to be able to get my house-on-wheels in the middle of next week. I have been looking also for a deep-cycle battery to power my fridge. It is down since Yemen, and I really don’t want to continue like that. I located one, and will get it next week.

    Projected route through India. Expect changes.

    Projected route through India. Expect changes.

    Once I get the vehicle, I plan on driving south to Goa, the east toward Hyderabad, reach the east coast and go up to Calcutta. There I would obtain the Bangladesh visa and drive to Dhaka and the port of Chittagong. When I will start driving, I will only have one month left on my Indian visa, so I really can’t spend as much time as I would like here, as I estimate the distance to drive at 4,000 miles to Chittagong.

    Horniman Circle.

    Horniman Circle.

    NOTE: This week I received a lot of notes from schools in the U.S., following a story in a kid newspaper. Teachers interested in gathering questions on the trip in the classroom can then email the list to me, and I will answer as soon as I can. My email address can be found in the section “About Nick”. Thanks for your interest!

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43 Responses to “Cost of driving around the world: $1 per mile”

  1. Glad to hear you are feeling better. How was that concert you attended?

  2. I sent your blog link to one of my friends who home-schools her children. She was excited to use it in her classroom!

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and appreciate you sharing with us!

  3. Thanks for updating the blog ! I eagerly await for your updates each time. I had got to know about the blog from amNY and since then been an ardent follower. Your Mumbai pics were great and makes me feel nostalgic about the four years I stayed there. Glad to see your route, seems now you will be exploring the western and southern parts of India as well. Details of your financial reports are amazing and you have managed pretty well considering each country has a different cost of living index. Have a nice trip and keep sharing your experiences.

  4. I was sorry to hear you were sick, but glad you’re getting better. Do you know what route you’ll take across the US?

  5. I like mobile app – much better for iPhone. Enjoy Mumbai!

  6. Hey Nick
    Glad to here your feeling better
    I look every day for your postings
    You inspire me with your travels
    All the best from Nova Scotia, Canada

  7. looking forward to your descriptions of India and your photos. Much luck with your home on wheels. So how much is that a month?

  8. Glad you are feeling better, i have been following since before you left :) its great to see how far you’ve come! Your photos have been amazing the whole trip. The Taj Mahal looks amazing. I hope you enjoy Goa, i hear its gorgeous!!!

  9. sometimes being sick is a blessing in disguise. it’s good to catch up on paperwork and get things in order; seems to have happened just at the right time too. in past blogs you’ve mentioned people you’ve met and people who’ve helped you while you were in their city. you haven’t mentioned anyone yet. are you finding the folks in India friendly and warm? what’s surprised you the most about the sub-continent so far? you travel through various time zones too. how’s THAT going?

    i hope you feel all the support and positive energy we bloggers send you everyday.

    take care!
    suzanne

  10. Murali in Reading PA

    Hey Nick,

    Glad to hear you are feeling better. Looking at your map and planned route of travel. After Goa try to see the Vijayanagara ruins at Hampi in Northern Karnataka. Also a slight southern detour in Andra can bring you to Tirupati the most famous temple in all of South India.

    Happy travels! Continue to look forward to your updates. I have a contact in Belgaum, if you need a number email me.

    Murali

  11. Nick, Glad you are feeling better and getting out. It’s good that you have had some time to take a rest and get caught up on “stuff”. As usual, your pictures are amazing. I sometimes wonder about the pictures that don’t make your blog. Looking forward to your next entry. Take care and God bless.

  12. GlaDE YOUR OVER THE FLU. Sounds like your a popoular guy in the Usa. Right on to be that travel role- model for the schools. Hope all goes well on the truck. Look forward to that update. You know I’ve been here since day one cool bro! Still praying too!

  13. Looking ahead, Nick, what’s your gameplan for getting through/around Burma?

  14. Hi Nick
    Folowing your trip,most interest ing, do you plan travel in Canada?

  15. Glad to hear you’re feeling better. Enjoy the sites in India. I’m looking forward to the pictures. Too bad you’re not going through areas where I know people. Good luck with the truck import. Hope it came in smoothly and with little trouble.

    If you decide to take the north route through the US (I-94) you have a place to stay in Minneapolis.
    -Chris
    Minneapolis, MN USA

  16. My students and I are following your adventure. We are also wondering if you will be passing through Nebraska on your way back across the United States.

    Thanks

  17. Nick,

    Glad to hear that you are getting better! At the moment, I am coughing my eyes out while reading your latest entry and this is my second flu this summer. Whatever’s been going around has been really vicious! I hope you get this “getting sick” thing out of the way and blaze through the rest of the trip. By the by, I am totally impressed that you’ve been so right on about your budget. I pride myself in being a good traveller–meaning that I LOVE to travel and have a great time when I go–but I tend to be a bit off on my budget most of the time (almost always over the projected amount, that is). India looks awesome–I would love to go someday. Thanks for the post!

  18. How old were you when you start to drive and will you stop driveing?

  19. Hello all,
    Here are some answers:
    To Dom: I was 33 when I started to drive, and will be 34 at the end of the trip. My birthday is in July.
    To Mrs. Noel: I am not sure yet of the route I will take when I get back to the U.S. Stay tuned!
    To Dave: no plan to drive to Canada, as I would most likely ship my truck to Los Angeles
    To Bill: unfortunately, I will have to ship the truck from Bangladesh to Malaysia or Thailand, as the Burmese authorities does not deliver authorization to drive across the country.
    To Murali: Will keep your advices in mind.
    To Suzanne: People have been nice in India. I still feel I didn’t really begin my trip here, and can’t wait to be camping and share the life of real people inside deep inside of the country. When it comes to time zone, I pass them slowly, so I have no problem. Here in Mumbai, I am 9:30 ahead of New York.
    To Juliette: $2,600 a month or something like that.
    I got news today that the vessel carrying my truck was waiting in line at the port of Mumbai, awaiting to come to berth. Will keep you guys posted.

  20. Hi,

    Nice to know you are travelling through Hyderabad(my home place). Let me know if you need some help with some thing. Will send you an email with more detail.

    Regards,
    Vijay

  21. Hey Nick,
    Great to read you are doing better. Thanks for your recent posts & making me discovering countries through a different angle. App works great. Keep driving

  22. Dear Nick:

    Good news about your best friend having arrived in Mumbai. You must miss her/him :) . As the song goes, “on the road again”. Thanks so much for sharing information about how well you are doing financially and for providing answers to the questions presented. I loved reading how you acknowledged the messages of children posting on your blog. I too was touched by their insights into travel. They are learning so much through you. I wonder if before you began your journey, you in your wildest dreams even thought of how many lives you will touch and how many paths you will intersect, including my own in South Africa, some 23 hours by air from my home in the USA. You are amazing, wonderfully blessed and one of these days some young lady out there in this “world” is going to be a very very lucky girl to meet such a prize, a well-rounded man who will no doubt know exactly what he wants in life. You will know life like most can only imagine. Enjoy the rest of the year. As always we will be with you to the end of your great journey around the world in your vehicle. Hugs,
    -joyMaria and Paul

  23. Nick,

    Glad to hear you are feeling better. Enjoying your blog about India. I was wondering…are you planning on writing a book about your experience? It would be interesting to hear more of your personal experiences in each country and what you have learned from your travels. Be safe and happy traveling!

    Victoria

  24. Hi Nick,

    I am a special education teacher in Lisbon, Ohio. My students and I just read about you in our News-2-You newspaper and decided we wanted to check out your blog. My students wanted to know what kind of music you listen to while you are driving? Good luck on the rest of your trip.

  25. Nicholas, I LOVE your expedition!

  26. thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. we, on this side of the screen, can only imagine what it must be like to be you. :-)

    friends in cyber
    suzanne

  27. I am a 4th grade student in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We read about you in a book today. I like your pictures. What is your favorite place you have been so far? Good luck!

  28. Nick, a splendid new photo at the top of your blog home page. Love it so much more than the previous one.

    -joyMaria

  29. dear Mr. Nick i like all the picture that you took when you went to state to state i how was indiana

  30. Dear. Mr Nick i like your pictures that you took when you went from state to state how was indiana

  31. Dear Mr. Rapp,
    We are a class in Wichita, KS and have read our News2You paper about you and your trip around the world. We think it would be cool and interesting to drive around the world. We looked at your pictures today on your blog. The pictures were lovely. We have a few questions about your trip. Mrs. West, the teacher, is wondering if your miss your family being so far away for so long of time? Jesse wants to know if you have tried lots of new foods? Are there any you really like? We hope you have a good day.

  32. Dear Mr Rapp,
    What R U Doning Right Now Tell Your Friends & Your Wife Irron Said Hello Right Now Ok Mr Rapp Mr Rapp Plasse Call me Right Now Ok Mr Rapp

  33. Glad to hear you feeling better. Thank you for your pictures and post. I really like to see places that I may never go to. Learning is knowledge…thanks for bringing new places into my life.

  34. Hey Nick,

    It’s great to see so many schools following your blog. Did you ever imagine that so many classes would be interested in your trip? Children learn about a lot of different subjects in school but rarely get to see an experience like yours first hand, the “truth” as I see it. So now not only are you an adventurer, you’re also an educator. Who knew? With the billions of people that roam the earth, only a select handfull get to do what you did. A percentage much to small to even calculate. Good for you! I see some type of medal or reward in your future. Although I see many “Homecoming” parties during your return to the states, I think that the biggest should be in New York. And if I were there, I would get the city involved. A motorized police escort on your last leg into the Big Apple. A hero’s welcome, ticket parade.
    Thank you so very much for sharing your journey with us, “the world”. What will we do when we don’t have your blog to look forward too? Back to our mundane lifes. bummer.

    Godspeed my friend,

    Manolo

  35. Manolo expressed it well! What fun I have had following your travels. Wonderful pictures and sharing allows me to feel a little of what your travels are like. I will miss rushing to the computer at work every day to see if you have left us ordinary folks a post! Oh, what will I do then?

    Safe travels, Nick

    Linda

  36. Beautiful photos! I love your blog and adventures !

  37. Hola Nick, tengo tiempo visitando tu blog pero esta es la primera vez que te escribo.

    Quiero decirte que tu eres una de las pocas personas en el mundo que podra decir al final de tu viaje que tuvo el mundo entero por mas de 1 año a su disposicion, te doy las gracias por compartir estas experiencias que inspiran, nos hacen soñar y comprender que mas alla del horizonte hay muchos lugares por conocer, gente amable con quien compartir y muchos caminos por recorrer.

    Te escribo desde Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela.

    Saludos, German

  38. Hello there. Not much news down here in Mumbai. The Annapurna vessel carrying my truck made it to the port after a long wait due to multiple accidents in the port. It’s a mess there, and I am not looking forward to the next few days experiencing one of the most corrupted country of the world. Anyhow, here are some answers:
    To Manolo: Yes, it’s nice to see many kids following the trip. I also receive many emails, and answering those keep me busy. And to your question about what you will do when my trip will be finished is that you will start getting ready for your own expedition my friend. If you have four months, drive down to Ushuaia. Two months give you a round trip to Panama, and there are also tons of possibilities in the U.S. Man, I hope my trip will inspire a lot of people to do their own expedition. Doesn’t need to be far, you just need to go a little bit outside of your comfort zone. And that is the beginning of an adventure…
    To Mrs. West: Yes, I miss my family very much. I send them a lot of emails to make sure they are not worried about me, and I also use voice calls over the internet to speak to them at least twice a month.
    To Jesse: I tried tons of new food, some of them I should probably have stayed away of. Here in India, the food is very exciting if you like spicy. And to answer to another email I received asking if there was McDonalds in a lot of countries around the world, the answer is yes.
    To Raven: I didn’t go through Indiana, maybe on my way back…
    To Mr Hampton: My favorite countries so far are Iran, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Bolivia, Peru and Mexico.
    To Andrew: I listen to all kind of music while driving, but my favorite music is soul music from the 70′s and 80′s. I also sometimes listen to audio books I download from the web.
    To Victoria: With so many people asking, I think I will have no choice but write a book. Not sure what kind of book it would be. A lot of photos? A lot of text? Some kid of guidebook for people who want to do this kind of travel?
    To Vijay: I will shoot you an email when I get closer to Hyderabad.
    To Dr. Joy Maria: Thanks to be always here to keep my morale high after so many months. And yes, it will be nice to see my best friend (my truck) soon. India, I am sure, will be way nicer in the countryside.

  39. Hi Nick,
    Thanks for the update and for answering some of our many questions. Best of luck in retrieving your truck. I’m sure you are looking forward to getting out of the city and on the road again. Travel safe and keep us posted when you can.

  40. Donna Ft Lauderdale USA

    Hi Nick.. I can’t wait to hear about you finally getting your truck.. please try to post at least a comment as soon as you do. Glad you’re feeling better and that you got your paper work out of the way… A book is a must!! Filled with your pictures and your first hand experiences. Then a book for “would be travelers” of your preparations, lessons learned…, expenses.. etc. Then you’ll become a very rich man and get to travel to all the places you didn’t get to! Sounds like a good life to me.. !! Praying for God to keep you healthy, safe and for your truck not to break down…. take care .. !

  41. Nick,

    I really like what you wrote in your update “…you just need to go a little bit outside of your comfort zone. And that is the beginning of an adventure…” For some it could be a 1-3 hour drive. Obviously you don’t have a comfort zone. Well…figuratively. I know you miss relaxing at your own house. But I guess it’s what makes you so likeable.

    On another note, I can’t believe you didn’t add Djibouti as one of your favorite destinations! With all the bribery and hard labor you had to deal with here…and I’m talking about ME not to mention the guys at the port! lol

    Good luck with getting your truck. I’m sure you’re right about the Indian countryside. It’s probably in the middle of the large cities where the corruption is so high. The nice people in the countryside probably wouldn’t even know how to be corrupt.

    BTW, Alex and Mimi say hello and take care.

    Stay safe!

    Dave

  42. Hey Nick, Bet your feeling better. I was wondering when you hit the states are you going to be headed down hwy 70 through St. Louis to NY? If so I would love to meet you on your way by. We live about 35 miles east of St. Louis just off 70. I don’t want to keep you but my family and I would like sit down with you and have a soda pop at let’s say Hooters? Or even a gas station would be cool. I’m sure by then you are ready to get home and get some long overdue sleep and a nice dinner with the folks. If you can, if not that’s cool and I understand. Be safe. “Peace”

  43. Hi Nick. We have been planning our trip for the past 6 months. We leave on our 3 year “Around the World” trip in December 2011, hoping to visit every country on the planet, bar the conflict zones. My wife and I along with our 3 young sons who will be 9, 11 and 13 when we leave, are all well seasoned travelers. I have covered most of Southern, Central and East Africa – and know it like the back of my hand!I along with my 3 sons were born in Zimbabwe.After having lost our family farm during the much publicized land invasions we decided to do something very different, and decided to travel. Our 3 sons are avid sportsmen representing their school in every A team in every sport they play and they are way above average academically, so home schooling while we drive won’t be an issue. We will be running a fantastic website while we travel and our kids will be writing their own story on a daily basis – they hope to reach tens of thousands of kids around the globe. I will be driving a Mercedes Benz 6×6 with a 3mt x 8mt living quarters – which is being designed and built in Germany. It will be fully kitted out with HF Radio and Sat link up plus sat TV, GPS etc.Coms is critical in Africa. We will be towing a large 6 mt trailer and in it will be our land cruiser, inflatable boat, kayaks, Quad Bikes, fishing and diving gear, mobile workshop etc. Good luck for the rest of your travels – Great site! Iain