In the winter of 2014/15, I took off from the USA for four months to do some dirt biking in Africa, dog sledding in Sweden, and general exploring around the world!
I hadn’t traveled much internationally prior to this. I did a semester abroad in Ireland, but that didn’t really seem like long-term, solo, international travel — probably because the school program had everything so tightly organized for us.
This time, I organized everything myself stitching almost every activity on my bucket list into an epic 115 days of geographic, cultural, animal, and personal exploration. I gotta say, the month-long planning process was almost as fun as the actual travel. I started planning about a month of travel. That grew to 1.5 months. And then that ballooned to almost four months. There was so much I wanted to do, and I knew I might not get an opportunity like this again.
My dad asked me this as I was planning out the itinerary. He was worried he wouldn’t hear from me for months and wouldn’t know if I was having so much fun I just didn’t have time to call or dead in a gutter somewhere. Fair point.
I knew that I wasn’t going to write. I probably was going to forget to call. But I knew for sure that I would be taking pictures. So I setup a simple static web page with a Mapbox map on it and pre-define some hashtags for each location to which I was planning to travel. Any time I posted a picture to Instagram all I had to do was tag it with one of the pre-defined hashtags and it would automatically appear on the map web page associated with a pin showing where I was. This was great because I wasn’t going to have a computer with me while traveling. I wouldn’t have been able to manage anything more complex.
All of this was and is completely free to run. The HTML/CSS/JS files are stored on GitHub and served by GitHub Pages. The customized map was free with a Mapbox Starter Plan.
Tweet at me, crc, if you have any questions about this!