I'll be "in between jobs" soon and I'm considering doing something similar. This thread literally brought me one step closer to leaving everything behind...
I've got a few (quite practical) question, if you don't mind:
1) I've seen this graphic of your total/avg spending on your blog. That caught my attention because the spending is so incredibly low - how did you manage that? I've got three big topics... first: accommodation. I guess couchsurfing (i.e., staying somewhere for free) is a big part of it, but what about the 12 bucks a day in the US? When I was there I felt that even AirBnB is not very popular, and cheap hostels are hard to find (as opposed to, for example, Brazil or many other countries). And if you find them they're easily 20-40 bucks depending on the region. Incidentally, 18 avg in Brazil is relatively high, so I guess there you went with hostels/backpackers, but it was the highest overall on your trip! So... what's your secret for other places? I know that in other South American countries couchsurfing works well, but what about Canada?
Second, food also caught my eye. Did you consciously make an effort to minimize food spending, or is it just the result of always getting the first best choice - street food, simple restaurants? It's not difficult at all to get by with 9 bucks per day if you just eat arroz com feijão every day, but one trip to a churrascaria (which is a must if you stay in Brazil in my opinion) is 20-30 already. Or did you get some free meals due to couchsurfing?
Third, what's not included is travel - the flights in between locations, but also the bus/train tickets within a certain country. Can you estimate how much one needs to keep in mind for that and if there are any tips and tricks to consider? Blue ticket was something I always had in mind, but just realized it's not an option anymore due to the age thing ;-)
2) Many people prepare such trips way ahead of time. Can you - off the top of your head - name a few things one absolutely *has* to prepare well in advance? Like - what has to be done 3 months before, 6 months before and so on.
Seriously, your blog is such an inspiration (and has been for many years before, just naming Kilimanjaro here ;-)). Absolutely amazing stuff!
Man, every now and then I look at this thread and I'm so jealous!
Several years ago, I spent a few months traveling through Brazil, so just some hints of what I found to be really enjoyable:
- In Florianopolis, we stayed in a backpackers hostel right at the coast, which was really cheap and nice. Most importantly, they had a few wetsuits that you could borrow for free - but only ~5 or so and it was first come, first serve, so we set our alarm clocks to 6am to grab them and went surfing all day (they also had free surfboards IIRC).
- Florianopolis has some great dunes where you can try sandboarding if the weather permits.
- I see you already picked the right choice for Iguacu - the Argentinian side is much better. Depending on how much time you have on that day and how crowded it is, there's a small, hidden waterfall just a ~2km walk away from the big tourist attraction. It was marked on the map you get inside the park, but there were only a handful of people there - you might want to check this out. The main perk is that you can swim in the small lake and swim right under the waterfall, which is amazing!
- In Pantanal, we booked a trip with one of the various camps; we did some activities like horse riding through the swamps, fishing piranhas, a boat trip, and so on. The most awesome thing though was the stay in the camp itself: we slept in hammocks basically in the jungle (in small open huts that were a bit elevated off the ground, only protected by mosquito nets). It was absolutely mind-blowing. Problem is, you're going there a bit too early - the water level is still quite high so I'm not sure which activities are possible there at this point, as everything is still flooded I believe (we went there in September/October or so). We started in Campo Grande as well, so you might find some offers there. Of course those trips are a bit more touristy than what you usually do - but Pantanal is an incredible area which you cannot explore on your own, so you need a guide anyways. And I'm sure sleeping in the jungle in hammocks for a few days would be something you'd be interested in, it's not like you're staying in a five star hotel there ;-)
Not sure how to answer you question - we went to Campo Grande by bus (16h from Sao Paulo) and from there it was a 3-4h road trip through the (then dry) roads of Pantanal, done by the organization we booked the trip with. I can't find their name anymore, but not sure if they even still exist since that was several years ago - you might just check Tripadvisor or Lonelyplanet forums for advice, or maybe book it spontaneously when you're in Campo Grande.
I was gonna say "Going to Africa and miss Kilimanjaro/Tanzania? That's a mistake" when I saw your signature. And then I realized I have read your blog already! On the Kilimanjaro forum, where you posted your amazing Barrhorn hike (which is on my bucket list for next year). I'm the one who's addicted to hiking, if you're wondering about my username there ;-)
That's an awesome world trip, mine would probably look similar - but I think I wouldn't have the guts to just quit everything and travel for two years. Kudos, sir! And don't plan too much. Seriously. Many things will change anyways "on the road". I know so many people who traveled around the world, and they all fell in love with at least one place and stayed for much longer there, some of them even eventually cancelling other parts of their plan.