Tag Archives: Ewan McGregor

A while back, we wrote about Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman who travelled the world on their motorbikes. One of our comments about that was that when they went on their adventures they left their families at home :-( .

Ready for the big adventure...

Ready for the big adventure...


So today we were very pleased to hear about a similar adventure to their Long Way Down trip from Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa. This time though, it’s two Swedish families who are leaving from Sweden but with the same destination in mind. 4 adults and 4 young children under the age of 10 on this 8-9 months long road trip through Europe and Africa. They are not riding motorbikes though but two well equipped Land Rovers.

You can follow their journey that started today on: www.smallbigexpedition.se

It sure is an amazing adventure they´re setting off on. Maybe not something that all participants will remember but for sure an experience that will influence their lives in one way or another.

Please don’t be intimidated by this great adventure – it might not be for everyone. These families are well experienced travelers looking for something extra ordinary. For most of us though a more traditional long term journey will offer enough memorable experiences to satisfy us.

We hope to have a reason to come back and tell you more about this expedition and maybe also offer you an interview later on.

Last week, we wrote about Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman, who chose to travel around the world on their motorbikes. We’ve watched the DVDs from their trip several times and it seems like an amazing adventure with some amazing challenges as well:lol:

Rosie Swale running around the world

Rosie Swale's way to travel around the world


Well, now our friend Gabi (who by the way is an avid traveler herself as well as a fantastic photographer: www.5reicherts.com ) just told me about this book she’s reading. It’s about Rosie Swan-Pope who made the same trip as Ewan and Charlie, but not on a motorbike though. Rosies way to take herself around the world was by running!

I had to check this out and got really fascinated by this woman, who, on her 57th Birthday 2003, started off on a 20 000 miles / over 30 000 km long trip. After Rosies husband had died in cancer she wanted to do something to raise awareness of a couple of very small charities; a prostate cancer charity, a charity for orphan children in Russia and the Nepal Trust, and the way she chose to do this was by running around the world.

The initial plan was to use two years to run the whole way from Wales, UK, through Holland, Germany, Poland and Moscow, and the Trans Siberian Railway route. Then go on to the Bering Straits, Alaska, America, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland and England, before returning to the start and finishing line at Tenby, Wales. As we all can imagine, a trip like this can provide many different surprises along the way, as did Rosies.

With no back-up team and little funding, she ran through some of the planet’s most remote and rugged areas, pulling a cart containing provisions and camping gear. On most nights, she camped at the side of the road, sometimes in the snow, using up to 4 sleeping bags at the same time!

She had to overcome things like frostbite and broken ribs, pneumonia as well as being hit by a bus and knocked unconscious as she tried to cross a river. And when she got back home, 45 pairs of shoes later, the trip had actually taken her almost 5 years.

When asked why she wanted to do this, she says:

“What else would I be doing? Sit around thinking about what I did in the past?”

I love that, and I also love what she says when she gets questions about getting “older” and taking it easy:

“People think like: Oh now I’m 40, I better take things easy. It’s usually taking things easy that kills you! It’s the doing things that keeps you going”

This is something I have noticed so many times with people I have around me as well as people I’ve met. The more you “sit around thinking about what you did in the past” the less you usually do and the more limited and lifeless your life gets. And also the opposite, the more you interest yourself in others and in the world, the more you “do” the more alive you feel and the more you can do and see and be…

I just thought about my own mother here in Sweden, who recently, in her seventies went on a tour to Canada with her band (the kids loved telling people that “grandma’s on a tour with her band”). Not a rock band though:lol:

Anyway, there are so many interesting angles with Rosie and the way she takes herself around the world I think. Like the contact with people you get when you do it her way. We have often talked about traveling really slow, but haven’t done it so far. Like when we have been driving around Europe. Oftentimes we have felt that driving is a too fast way to travel to have the time to really experience people and the landscape. We have some friends though, a Swedish family, who walked all the way from Sweden to England and this has always fascinated me.

I just want to finish by quoting Rosie again regarding this:

“Running can take you to places that do not exist if you travel in any other way. Maybe even more than walking, because you can get so exhausted, almost fail so every often, and are vulnerable and shaky. Sometimes when you are weakest, you can feel things the most strongly. This is when those you meet in the midst of their own difficult lives and situations, are not fearful of you. You’re treading gently through someone else’s land, part of the life going on all around you. Part of the people, places, sunrises, storms, terrors and joys; seeing, feeling, laughing, crying, in happiness or despair.”

How about that!

There is a short BBC film about her fantastic trip that you can watch here

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The other day we decided to watch “Long Way Round” with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman again. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, this is a TV documentary of Ewan’s and Charley’s journey from London to New York on motorbikes. As the title suggests, they took the long way by setting off through Europe and then heading east through Russia and Asia all the way to Bering Strait where they would fly the motorbikes to Alaska. Mounting their bikes again in Anchorage they would then ride them across the American continent to New York.

Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman from Long Way Round

Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman from Long Way Round


First of all let me say that I do enjoy watching the DVD’s although this is probably something I would never undertake myself. But that goes for a lot of things I guess :lol:. Even if it is about an extended journey both in time and distance the focus is definitely on the adventure part. It’s for big strong guys and maybe not something where you would bring your kids along.

Still, it‘s very entertaining to take part of all the ups and downs. They try to cover everything from the planning and preparation to finally arriving in New York. You definitely get the feeling that a journey like that is not just fun all the time. There are also struggles and obstacles to overcome before as well as during the trip. But despite that and all the hardship, I suppose it’s an experience they wouldn’t want to have been without.

Right now as we are watching it they are stuck in the mud in Mongolia questioning why they are there and why they are doing this at all. They probably found an answer for it or they must have forgotten about it quickly since they later took on a second challenge of riding their bikes from England to South Africa. Putting themselves through all that hardship once more must mean it was worth it somehow for them.

So let’s see if there is anything interesting that we can take away from this:

• For anyone concerned about the very common money to travel issue. Here is for sure a way of doing it that doesn’t take money out of your pocket but rather put money into it. Well, that’s just my guess but I would be very surprised if it wasn’t the case since the TV documentaries seems to be big successes as well as the books. Sure it helps that Ewan is a famous actor (Star Wars, Moulin Rouge and other films) but still it wasn’t just a walk in the park for them either. All it takes I believe is a good idea!

• I said before that this is probably something I would never do myself, the obvious reason being that I am not really a motorbike person. But more importantly than that, I wouldn’t want to exclude my family to that extent. My personal choice would rather be to come up with an adventure that could include my wife and kids as well. Why not get on a motorbike and put the kids in a sidecar and tour Europe or the US for six month instead? It wouldn’t of course be the same but it would for sure be great for the family bonding.

• My third point is time. Give yourself plenty of time! Watching Ewan and Charley in Long Way Round often being stressed because of a tight schedule and not having time to stop and enjoy the present moment, kind of takes away the point of traveling in the first place. Traveling is not a race to me. It’s not about getting somewhere quickly or visiting the greatest amount of countries or cities so you have a nice and big photo album to look back at when you get home. No, it’s about enjoying the journey when I am out there traveling.

Still I enjoy watching the DVD’s tremendously. I am very grateful to Ewan and Charley for making this journey and documenting it all so I can enjoy the adventure from the comfort of my sofa.

What I would love to see in the future though is a documentary of an extended travel adventure with a family. To see how they experience it and what their challenges and rewards would be. I am sure it would be something that would inspire other families to set off on their own adventure as well.

Maybe a film like that has already been made and I just don’t know about it? If that is so we would be very pleased if someone would tell us about it. And even if it has been done I still think there is a market for a new one if someone is looking for a sponsored long term travel adventure with their family…

Maybe something you would like to do?

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We were talking to a friend the other day about long term traveling and the fact that money being the major obstacle for a lot of people. “Wouldn’t it be great if it was possible to travel for free”, I said? It would be a lot easier for us to inspire people to really go for their travel dream if money wasn’t an obstacle.
Money to travel
Our friend took it even one step longer and said: “Wouldn’t it be nice if when you come back from your extended journey you would have more in your bank account than when you left?” This was really an interesting thought. Yes, why can’t it be that way?

That would mean not only to travel for free but actually make money while traveling. And sure enough considering the idea we realized that there are of course people who do go on extended journeys and when they get back they are better off financially than when they left.

• First of all we got those who have a passive income of some kind that makes them money no matter where they are. That makes them more money than they actually need to travel. Unfortunately not everyone is that well off.

• But then it is also possible to create a passive income for the journey itself like renting out your home. If that gives you an income and you also travel low budget, you may have more in the bank at the end of the journey than at the beginning. At the very least it will be a contribution to your expenses.

• It is also of course possible to turn your actual traveling into a money making activity. You can write articles or take pictures to sell. You can negotiate an advance on a travel book deal.

• You can write a travel blog, or any other blog for that sake, that makes you money. Some guidelines on how to write a travel blog that makes you money can be found here.

• Find a sponsorship like Matt did in “Where the hell is Matt”. Find out what’s the special twist on your journey and then find someone who is willing to pay you for doing it. We mentioned before about Ewan McGregor and his friend Charlie Boorman who rode around the world on motorbikes. They got sponsors for that journey even though they probably had the money anyway.

• You can become a guide. If there is a journey you want to make there are probably others who would like to do the same but are afraid to do it on their own. We have a friend who has been taking groups of people to Hawaii for 3 weeks once every year for the last 20 years. Our daughter Aurora who is a great Jane Austen fan (see her blog at www.myaustendreamworld.com ) just met up with friends from the USA who were visiting England and the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. A journey arranged by another Jane Austen fan…

• Get a travel job and work along the road. Stop in places, find some seasonal jobs and get to know the area. John and Tyson have some great tips her on how that can be done.

Well these are just a few ideas that popped into our heads. We are sure you got some idea of your own which probably will suite you the best.

A cool thing to remember though is that this is a mind game. What you believe you will perceive, as some smart guy said. If you expect an extended journey to cost you lot of money it probably will. But if you put your attention on finding a way for your journey to actually make you money you will sooner or later come up with a solution.

And if it is not your choice to spend time working during your extended journey then that’s just great to. All you have to do is create the money you need before you take off. You can check out our Creating Money page on some tips for that.

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As we mentioned in our previous post on this topic, we have split the costs up into different categories to look at them separately. The first one we’d want to look at is the actual travel cost. The traveling can of course be made in many different ways. In another earlier post, we mentioned some of the more common ones, like flying, driving, sailing, cycling and even walking. Yes, we’ve been reminded that we’ve left some out like motor cycling and hitchhiking. We are sure there are even more…
RTW ticketAnyway, some of these ways may not be so suitable for an around the world journey even if there are examples of people using them. Just a quick search on the internet and we found: an English man who drove around the world recently, a Korean woman who walked around the world for 6 years. And then of course, on motorcycle we got the famous actor Ewan McGregor who rode his motorbike the “Long Way Round” with his friend Charley Boorman.

For, what we hope, understandable reasons, we can’t possible cover all the different ways of transportation at this point. We may get back with an in depth look at the man who drove and the woman who walked, but for now we will focus on the most common way, flying.

Make a search on the Internet and you will find endless of hits for round the world tickets. But basically they all come down to the three major airline alliances Star Alliance, One World and Sky Team.

One World we think has the coolest booking engine, where you can go all the way to actually buying the ticket. This is great when you are looking for what the actual prices may be. Many of the other booking services have extra charges which you don’t know about until you’ve contacted them for the exact price. To do a test, we did some quick searchers for a RTW ticket including stops in Stockholm-Los Angeles-Honolulu-Sydney- Mumbai-Stockholm over a 6 month period. The total price on offer for that was US$ 3 150.

Another booking engine we tried offered, for a similar journey, a price range from US$2 350 – 3 150. But then, to get a more accurate price you had to contact them.

Anyway, this is a start. Our guess is that the lady taking herself around by walking did not spend that amount of money on shoes. But then, it took her longer to complete the journey. Instead of paying with cash she paid with her time and effort and got a totally different experience.

So what does this amount represent?

Well, to put it into some perspective, we checked what someone commuting in the London area had to pay on a monthly basis for a travel pass. If you live, for instance, within a 20-30 minute train ride of the very center of London, you would have to pay roughly US$ 200-300 a month. That would make US$ 1 200-1 800 for a six months period. And if you have the inspiration to go traveling for a year the amount of money you would save would be US$ 2 400-3 600. In other words your trip around the world would pay itself if you didn’t have to go to work!

We know there are probably a lot of objections to this comparison. But why? If you could make money by not commuting to an office in central London the money you were saving could actually go to a ticket that would take you all the way around the world.

The only trick now is to figure out how to make that money in some other way…

We are willing to admit that we are not RTW ticket booking experts and would therefore like to point you to someone who is considered the guru in this field – Edward Hasbrouck. Also check out his book The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World

That’s it for now. Stay tuned and we will soon take a look at some of the other costs…

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