After 456 days of driving, Nicolas Rapp triumphantly returned home to Brooklyn in late February. He set out with a Land Cruiser in November 2009 from NYC with the mission to drive around the world. Rapp chronicled his adventures — from the striking landscapes in Bolivia and Peru to his life-threatening crossing of the Ethiopian desert — on his blog, Trans World Expedition. The cost of the trip was about $50,000, but his experiences were priceless. Rapp shares his tips for travelers.
Master the art of border-crossing: Be nice and polite, and then act like you don’t understand when they ask you for money. If they speak English, answer in French. If they speak French, speak in English. They will get tired before you do.
Eat anything: From bull’s balls in Honduras to spicy Indian food and fresh food on street carts in Malaysia, be prepared to try anything that is offered you or else go hungry and risk offending your hosts.
But also learn to cook: If you cook for yourself, you have less chance of getting sick — and you save money. Plan to shop once a week in a city to stock up on meat and other supplies to store in the fridge, rather than getting stuck buying sketchy roadside supplies, like “steak” from a long-dead cow.
Always have a plan B: Be ready to be surprised, and always plan a second route so you have options when a natural disaster or a political crisis happens.
Go before you get married: There is nothing like sleeping in a tent together for more than a year to test your commitment to and compatibility with the man or woman of your life.
Monkeys rule: You can’t stop monkeys from finding things to take. They steal anything, and you will be running after them until they let go.
Don’t expect a lot of personal time: Every day turns out to be a lot of work. It is a constant cycle of fixing the truck, planning the next day, cooking food and washing clothes.