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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 No 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!