This past Sunday I was informed that one of my favorite journalists from the Coachella Valley, Maggie Downs (Staff Writer of the Desert Sun), caught an itch. She was bitten by a bug. And it was the kinda bug bite that bites back. This itch, caused by this bug, is called…. “the traveler’s itch!”
From the article, Maggie explains that this travelers itch came at no surprise what-so-ever. In fact, she knew she had been wanting to travel in a grand fashion for some time now. It started out slowly… and sounds as if it has practically snowballed into the reality of actually getting on the plane next month and going.
What I found the most inspiring about this article was the amount of independence that she is excersizing. I also love what a dare devil she is and how punk rock she goes about it all. Maggie explains that it would be easy to continue her safe and steady lifestyle in the desert, but she’d rather give it all up for a year to get out there and travel the world. And she is not going on the most glamourus trip, mind you, she passing up Europe and traveling to Ethiopia and Bolivia and Southeast Asia and India and many more.
Often times, when I hear stories like these, I am pretty intimidated by the whole thing. It’s either the price tag that throws me off or it’s the thought of having to get all the immunity shots that makes me kinda sick. But, after reading this article… I didn’t feel either of those emotions. In fact, I felt empowered just by reading the article. And then… when I saw the price tag… that’s when I thought… man, this is rad, and it’s actually… doable (give or take a couple years of saving up)!!!
Maggie’s price tag on a trip that will cover about 10 countries and take 365 days to complete was budgeted at only… (drum roll please)…
Yes, $10,000.
That’s one year of your life for only $10,000 while you travel the world.
And it sounds like a lot, but it truly isn’t in the big picture. The adventure that will be taken, the stories that will be told, the people that she will meet… that will have to be one of the most interesting and exciting life experiences ever.

Alas, I could go on and on about how inspired I am at the story I read, but instead I will spare you the sob song and just provide you with direct links to Maggie’s story and share a few good quotes from the feature.

The whole truth and nothing but the truth on her travels can be found at:

(the build up)

(while on the road)

(while on the road)

Aside form reading her whole story, I loved the quick questions of interest that I am sure she gets a lot of, but are actually really great and pretty informative. Here were a few of my favorite’s featured in her article:

How Can You Afford This?

When I first came up with the idea, I shifted my financial priorities. I stopped going out to restaurants and bars, I packed my lunch, I didn’t go to movies or concerts. I had two garage sales and sold the leftovers on Craigslist. I cut out little luxuries like satellite radio.

That said, I’m doing this on an extremely tight budget. I’m going to be staying in hostels, crashing on couches, eating street food and pinching pennies … er, rupees

What Scares You The Most?

Snakes, stolen passports and intestinal parasites.

What If You Get Hurt?

I purchased international travel insurance that will cover me in most places or, in severe situations, evacuate me to another country with better medical services.

Also, several countries on my itinerary offer low-cost, quality health care.

Will You Call? Will You Write?

Yes, Dad.

What Excites You The Most?

Seeing all the places I’ve read about but never thought I would visit. That includes Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Iguazu Falls in Argentina and the churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia.

Aren’t You A Vegan?

Yes. I’ll just do the best I can in every situation. And I’m going to pack lots of peanut butter for protein.”

– provided by Maggie Downs of the Desert Sun, via

Check out this map provided by the Desert Sun that pinpoints all of the places she will be visiting:

and just in case you can’t read that text, the countries listed have been enlarged for you:

Now that is what I call living life to the fullest.
Way to go Maggie! You have inspired one person already. 😉

Again, and for the whole story.