News! – Why I’ll be living in Belgrade for 5 weeks

I have tons of half finished posts – about packing, about going to go a Japanese hospital, about it taking 2 weeks to get a pedicure – but this information I want to share with you now because as we finish up our time in Asia, I’m starting to get excited for the next big chapter in the Adventure.

I have accepted a volunteer position with the Refugee Language Initiative teaching English in Belgrade!

This is something that’s been in the works for months now. I had thought about doing volunteer work on the Adventure for at least a year before we left, but it took a conversation with another traveler in Vietnam to get me to send the first email. I had been having a tough night missing home and she told me she had felt similarly until she did a month-long yoga retreat – something that was personally fulfilling to her – and suggested I find something that would be the same for me.

Since then, I have been talking to the coordinator at RLI about placement. Back in April, they didn’t know where they’d need teachers in July or August, which was my timeframe. We talked about Greece and Serbia and agreed to check back in with each other the first week of June when they’d have a better idea about placements for the summer.

Last week I committed 4 weeks – July 3-28 in Belgrade, Serbia – to work with adult refugees, most likely women. The program is already going on and students are attending even through Ramadan – that is how committed they are to learning. I am expecting to work 3 days a week and spend the rest of my time relaxing and enjoying the opportunity to fully unpack and also doing some traveling around the area.

Right now I’m working through an online course about teaching English and reading about Belgrade. We have an apartment in one of the nicest areas of the city – full of parks, shops, and restaurants and with good public transit. We leave Japan on June 27th to give me the opportunity to settle in maybe observe some classes before I start working.

Well, that’s the big news for right now! Now to get back to those half-finished blog posts you’ve all been asking about!

Day 54: Getting Lost Has Never Been This Much Fun

I know I haven’t been writing as often as I should and I apologize for that. If you’ve been thinking it’s because of non-stop action, you’ll probably be disappointed – really I’ve just been kind of lazy after some busy days. Well, first I was sick in Thailand, and then I got lazy.

We’re now about 8 weeks into the trip and the novelty of long-term travel may be wearing off just a bit. What’s left is a ton of fun, but also bunch of interesting problems to solve and I’m going to try to write about those in some upcoming posts – visas, choosing places to stay, deciding where to go next, and when do we pick up guides.

First, I just have to say that Hoi An, Vietnam is amazing. It’s a beautiful marriage between beaches and farmland, but also a fun place to set yourself down in for an adventure-filled or relaxing week – or for most travelers, a combination of both. Most of our days start off with breakfast at our guesthouse (which is awesome, but more like a hotel than a homestay) and then Jason and I set off on our 110cc rented motorbikes before it gets too hot. The first time we did this, we were planning to take the suggested bike route on the map provided by the guesthouse, but we found a small bridge leading to some rice fields and just decided to run with it – it’s been one of our better decisions. Hoi An is small enough to know that no matter where you wind up, you’ll always be able to get back okay.




The food in Hoi An is great (even if I’m missing the pho of Saigon) and the locals are super friendly. The downtown (or Ancient Town as it’s called) is a fun place to walk around at night and I cannot get enough of riding through the farms during the day. We also took a day trip with a guide to the My Son Sanctuary with stops to see some smaller local villages and went out one night for a food tour where we got so full I could only eat two bites of dessert!


My Son Sanctuary

With our guides from the food tour

(This is actually from two nights after the tour where we decided to go out again just for fun!)

Afternoons and evenings are often spent back at the guesthouse, relaxing in the pool talking to other travelers, or lounging in our room doing normal stuff – getting lost on the internet, watching TV shows (I’m loving this season of Survivor,) and playing video games. They have a good restaurant here, there are a few more within walking distance, and since we don’t ride the bikes at night, we can take a taxi to the Ancient Town for about $3.

Now to talk about a “problem” with open-ended travel when you unexpectedly find a country as engaging as Vietnam – our visas. When Jason and I chose Vietnam as our next destination while in Thailand, we expected to spend 2-3 weeks here, so there wasn’t any concern about the one-month e-visa. We had the opportunity to use the more involved and more expensive 3-month visa-on-arrival, but didn’t see any reason to. Well, here we are on day 20 and if we commit to leaving on April 15th when our visa expires, we are going to miss out on at least one place we want to see.

So we have three choices here – okay,  really four, but we are not going to overstay, so that leaves three –

  1. Extend our visas. Vietnam immigration is like a mystical black box where once you find an agency willing to work with you, you are told to close your eyes, spin around a few times, and when you open your eyes they will have the answers as to the cost and how long it will take. I’m not kidding – there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason as to what the process is or the price. I’m convinced it’s just a question of whose palms they need to grease to get it done and every agency has different connections.
  2. Do a “visa run” where you take a long bus ride to Laos and then re-enter Vietnam with visa-on-entry the following day. Many people on a tight budget will do this, but Jason and I don’t have the willpower to endure it. The bus ride is pretty terrible and the border towns seem … “sketchy”, to use a term from my high school years. We also considered flying to a nearby country (Singapore, Laos, and China were all considered) but this is more expensive than just doing the renewal and who wants two additional air travel days if you can avoid them?
  3. Leave on or before April 15th and cut our visit to Sa Pa short (or skip it entirely.)

So what’s the answer? Right now we are planning to choose option #1. Our Ha Long Bay cruise booking agency agreed to handle our visa extensions for $120 each and it should take about 7 days. Why did it cost $25 for the initial one-month visa and $125 for a one-month extension? Great question, but one that will have to go unanswered.

I’m planning to write another post this week where I catch you up on where we’ve been so far, since we’ve attracted a bunch of new readers with over 150 likes on facebook! If you find these posts interesting please like, comment, and share!

And I still want to do a packing post, where I share with all of you what I brought initially, what I recently sent home, and (at least) one thing I wish I had!



Day 45: Put on a Helmet and Hold On – Motorbike Taxis in Ho Chi Minh City

When we arrived in Bangkok and found that outside of most metro stations there is a motorbike taxi stop, I thought it was crazy. Most women sat on the bike side-saddle and nobody was wearing helmets. Throughout the city, people on bikes would ask us if we wanted a ride – I thought they were insane. Who in their right mind would get on the back of a motorcycle driven by a stranger and just hope for the best?

Drivers in Bangkok


A month later, we’re in Ho Chi Minh City – a place with terrible public transit. Jason and I enjoy taking trains and public buses, but the systems here are very limited and unreliable. What does everyone do instead? Well, in a city of 10 million people, there are 8.5 million motorbikes.

We started by dipping our toes in – we booked an evening food tour on the backs of bikes. I had this recommended to me by a few people who are decidedly not crazy, so I found a company that could take us with just a few days notice (Back of the Bike) and made a reservation.

It was awesome! The riding on the back of the bike was easy to enjoy only a few minutes into the first ride. Our drivers were great – we never felt like we were going too fast or riding outside of the “pack” of bikes you can find on any street here. The drivers offered their shoulders to hold on to if you weren’t comfortable holding on to the back (or not holding on at all!) and we closed the evening feeling like confident motorbike passengers.

Over the new few days, we really only took GrabCar and walked. GrabCar is the best choice here because they base the rate only by distance between pick up and drop off – not the route the driver takes. This means the driver cannot go out of the way to drive up the fare like they can with Uber. We had several very successful GrabCar trips when we started to talk about GrabBike.

GrabBikes are everywhere. They wear green jackets and have green helmets. The drivers carry an extra helmet for their rider – something that we absolutely required! Motorbikes get around faster and let’s be honest – it’s way more fun!

Jason and I went out for brunch this morning and then did a little bit of our own walking tour to see some of the highlights downtown. When the heat got to be too much and we knew we needed to head back to our apartment, I think we both were thinking the same thing – we were ready to take the leap. I took out my phone and requested a bike – within 3 minutes, he was there.

I approached my driver and gave him a big smile and little wave. He handed me my green helmet and it was a perfect fit. He helped me buckle it because the clip was a bit different to what I was used to. I swung my leg over the bike and hopped on. I grabbed the bar in the back of the bike and held on – we were off!

What I immediately realized is that this was a lot different than riding in a pack of tourists. My driver didn’t go a fast as many of the bikes or do anything crazy – except maybe for the one time we crossed the center of the road to go around some stopped cars – but it definitely felt like the local experience. He even spoke some English, asking where I was from. I also told him it was my first time on a GrabBike and he laughed – he probably already knew that!

When we arrived back at the apartment and I hopped off, I thanked him very genuinely and just a few seconds behind me was Jason on his GrabBike – he also had a great time.

Now we’re back inside recovering from the midday heat. If you’re ever visiting Ho Chi Minh City, I would absolutely suggest GrabBike – but maybe take a city tour on the back of a bike first, since those drivers are used to newbies.

If you have any questions about this – let me know!

Day 22: The Ultimate Taiwan Food Post

I now present to you a sampling of the food we enjoyed in Taiwan. This isn’t even everything – it’s only what we thought to take pictures of. I decided not to include the food we didn’t really like – which was mostly outrageous stuff we tried just to be a bit crazy – like pig intestine soup and BBQ chicken butts on a stick 😂

Ah yes, let’s start with an easy one for everyone to like – it’s a pineapple cake! The outside is buttery and firm and the inside is a very soft filling with real pineapple! When you visit, they sit you down for a free sample with a cup of tea. Sunny Hills

This one might be the most famous – stinky tofu! If you can manage the smell, it tastes pretty good. But then again, I’m a huge fan of most things tofu so I’m probably biased toward liking it. If you visit Taiwan, this is a must try!

Pig blood cake – the name is deceiving as this isn’t actually cake. It’s sticky rice made with pig blood and covered in peanut dust. If you put out of your mind that you’re actually eating blood, it’s really good!

This was my all-around favorite snack of the trip. Okay, maybe my 2nd favorite, but still SUPER AMAZING. It’s a savory pancake with green onions, sort of similar to a roti. Then they add fillings like egg, cheese, ham, basil, or any combination them and serve it like a taco. This cart was walking distance from our apartment and ALWAYS had a line – find it by locating the restaurant it stands in front of: Google Maps

This was another top pick for me – sweet potato balls. Not much to say about these but they are super light – almost hollow inside. You can find them at most night markets. A good one to try if you are not super adventurous. Almost as much of a guaranteed win as the pineapple cake!

This was my other all-around favorite snack of the trip. We found it through a blog post on food in Hualien and they called it the Bei Gang Spring Roll – not sure if that is the name of the food or the name of the stand. The wrapper is a steamed savory crepe and you pick your protein and sauce. I got pork, Jason got the black pepper pork, and we both got the original sauce. They add several additional items inside as well. The third night we were in Hualien I had to go back and have it again! You can find it at the Zi Quiang night market and they now have English on their signboard!

Step one – crack egg in hot oil, step two – cover with thin piece of dough, step three – flip and cook until crispy!

The best part is the egg is still runny!

These dumplings are both pan fried and steamed at the same time. I still prefer the xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung, but these are definitely worth a try if you’re in Tapei. Plus, the restaurant is literally around the corner from DTF so if you can’t stand the wait, you can always tap out and visit Kao Chi! (Tripadvisor link because their website is only in Chinese!) 

Radish cake – I wasn’t a super fan of this one, but Jason was. It’s like hash browns but radishes instead of potatoes.

Mini xiao long bao from Din Tai Fung – they only have these on weekend mornings until they run out. Officially the restaurant doesn’t open until 9:00 am, but a friend tipped us off that they’ll start seating people at 8:30. Not as good as the original size (at least to me) but definitely worth a try! (Din Tai Fung)

(If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, they have a location in Valley Fair Mall. It’s the only location that takes reservations and they are usually booked up 2-3 weeks out – more info.)

This is the famous Hot Star Fried Chicken from the Shi Lin night market. They became so popular that they have two stands here – both with constant lines. The boneless fried chicken is about the size of both hands with fingers spread. This was tasty, but I prefer my fried chicken in “popcorn” form. Hot Star Fried Chicken

These two pictures were from an area of Tainan that has very little English, so Jason and used our time-tested theory of going to the place with the longest line. It was a pretty good meal, although we didn’t finish it all. In this picture: braised pork over rice, fish ball soup, and the fried patties are shrimp cakes – we didn’t order them initially, but the woman kept pointing to the picture encouragingly, so we gave in. (Tripadvisor)

These are also from the same restaurant as the last pictures – noodles with pork and shrimp rolls. The shrimp rolls were kind of like shrimp tempura and they were my favorite of the bunch 🙂

These next few pictures are from the DaDong night market in Tainan – one of the best night markets of our trip. I’m not exactly sure what I’m eating here but it’s fried, it’s pork, and it had the longest line in the market. It was good 🙂

This was an unexpected big winner for me, and our Airbnb hostess told us we needed to try it in Tainan. It’s called beef soup, and it’s very different than the more-famous beef NOODLE soup in Taipei. It’s kind of similar to Vietnamese pho in that they put raw beef in a bowl of steaming hot soup, but they added ginger, which was a total improvement in my opinion. Also – no noodles.

My Taiwanese friend told me I had to track this one down – it’s a giant pork belly bun. It also has a fried egg, some sort of slaw, plus pickles, and a mystery sauce. Big winner!!!

This was one of those “well how could THAT be bad” things that we passed and had to try. It’s a pancake (just like my dad makes at home) filled with strawberry jelly. They had maybe 8-10 other filling options, including creme, chocolate, red bean, matcha, sesame, and peanut.

These two pictures are from a cocktail bar Jason found called Fourplay. When were first seated, I was dumbstruck by the lines of cocaine on the table next to us. Turns out it was actually sugar and you suck them up with a straw into your mouth. Is it super campy? Yes – but worth it to try it once. These 7 drinks make up what they call the drugset and there is an digital counter of how many they’ve served – when we ordered, it ticked up to 4,586. (Tripadvisor)


And finally, this… thing. It’s a soft serve ice cream covered in cotton candy with a white chocolate lightening bolt and a cone cane. We people carrying them as we neared the stand and couldn’t resist giving it a try. Honestly I enjoyed the cotton candy very much, but I’m not super big on soft serve ice cream so I took a few bites and tossed it. But it looks super cool!

Thanks for reading. This was most of the cool stuff we ate in Taiwan. If you love to try new foods and are ready to push yourself gently out of your travel comfort zone, Taiwan is an amazing destination!

Day 20: The Tale of the Broken Tooth

At around age 12, Jason fell off his bike and chipped his two front teeth. He went to the dentist and had them filled and that was the end of it. Until 2016.

We have a great dentist in Campbell, California and her name is Dr. Ho. If you need a dentist, look no further – just don’t expect to get a same-day (or even same-week) appointment. So when one of the fillings fell out of Jason’s front tooth a mere two days before we were to leave for the British Virgin Islands in April, it was an issue. With Jason concerned he’d need a root canal if he left the inside of his tooth exposed for over a week, he called about a dozen San Francisco Bay Area dentists before finding one that could take him that afternoon. The timing of it was inopportune to say the least, but thankfully, it was an easy procedure and all was well.

Fast forward to last Wednesday: Jason and I were sitting in our room in Hualien, a relatively remote area of Taiwan. The town only recently got a highway built to it so travelers could reduce the drive from Taipei from seven hours to three hours. We were based there to see the nearby Toroko National Park and had planned to continue our circumnavigation of the island the following day with a long train ride to Tainan. It was about 10:00 pm; Jason was sitting on the bed, and I was sitting on the couch when I heard “uh oh.” I looked up – the filling in his other front tooth had fallen out.

At that point we tried to figure out our best plan for Jason getting seen that next day. We have good travel health insurance and while I was pretty sure we weren’t going to reach our deductible with one filling, they have a great online resource for finding well-educated, English speaking doctors almost anywhere in the world. Unfortunately however, they only had one dentist listed in Taiwan, Dr. Jackson Liu, and he was in Taipei, a three-hour train journey in the wrong direction. This was important though, so even though it was late at night, I sent them an email requesting an appointment for the following day. We also did a bit of research online and found a couple other good English-speaking dentists, both in Taipei, that we had planned to call in the morning if we didn’t hear back from Dr. Liu. At that point, we realized that we would no longer be going directly to Tainan, and instead would be returning (temporarily) to Taipei in the morning.

All of this had taken about two hours to hash out. We were prepared with our list of dentists to start calling when we woke up, but luckily, there was no need! Dr. Liu’s office, called DentistQ, had emailed us back around 6:30 am and confirmed an appointment for 1:00 pm. We packed up quickly and took a cab to the train station. We purchased tickets from the window for the next train to Taipei, leaving at about 9:00 am.

With only about 20 minutes to spare, we arrived at DentistQ following a bus ride from the train station in Taipei. Had we missed that 9:00 am train in Hualien, we would have been late. The receptionist spoke limited English, but we filled out a form that was (mostly) translated. At around 1:15 pm, Jason was taken back for about an hour, while I watched a TV show on my laptop in the lobby.

Jason returned with his tooth looking as good as new! He said that the whole visit went smoothly and that the doctor’s English was very good. At his suggestion, I took a peek into the office, which looked more modern than our dentist’s at home. A few minutes later, they handed us an invoice for $5400 NTD, or $175 USD. They only took cash, but we were prepared, so we paid and left.

I spoke to GeoBlue, our travel medical insurer, and we’ll be sending them the invoice to apply our payment toward the deductible. I can’t give a real review of them just yet, but they were quick to pick up the phone and offer lots of help, even though it was the middle of the night for them in the US.

And there you have it, our first real medical issue while abroad. While initially there was some anxiety about who to see and how to get an appointment, it resolved relatively painlessly – in all regards 🙂

Day 15 – Long-term Travel and Healthcare: Why it’s so hard to find answers online

If I hadn’t told my dad I was writing this post Wednesday night, I would be wondering if I had dreamed up the coincidence. Healthcare while traveling is a complicated topic that few bloggers write about, so I thought it would be a good resource for others if I went ahead and shared the decisions we made – and then Jason’s tooth broke a few hours later. So, let me tell you first how we prepared for something like this – and then in order to avoid making this post a novel, I’ll write about Jason’s dental work in another post 🙂

If you’ve decided to quit your job and give up your home like we did, you probably have questions about healthcare and health insurance. You probably have asked Google what to do and not found many answers. My husband and I just left the US about two weeks and this was the single most complicated issue we dealt with when preparing for our trip. I started seriously researching it the first week in December and we finalized things on January 13th, so it took about six weeks. Despite not leaving until three weeks later, on February 4th, we still missed the delivery of our US health insurance cards by about a week – that’s how close we were cutting it without even realizing it.

(Please know this isn’t advice and you should do your own research before you make any final decisions. This is simply what we learned and the choices we made based on our individual circumstances. Also, I don’t receive any benefit for you choosing the companies mentioned in this post.)

I’m going to go ahead and make the assumption that you’ve already decided you want access to healthcare and health insurance for your trip. Not carrying health insurance is irresponsible because even the healthiest people could be the victim of a hit-and-run scooter or need to have their appendix removed. Stuff like this can be complicated and expensive if you don’t have the resources when you need them. In some areas of the world you won’t even receive treatment until you can prove that you can pay for it.

Jason and I carry two policies. Our US policy would cover us when we decide to return home or if we experienced a medical situation so serious that we’d want to be treated at home, like cancer or an injury with a long recovery time. Our travel medical policy covers us for stuff that happens while traveling, like a broken ankle, infected cut, or illness like Dengue Fever.

If you will be out of the US for more than 330 days in a year, you can purchase a single policy. However, because those plans are not ACA (Obamacare) compliant, we’d also be paying a significant fine since we are planning to be in the US more than 35 days this year. I’ll write a bit more on this further down just in case this applies to you.

Our US policy – Sutter Health Plus Bronze – pricing based on age & zip code, we pay $340 for each of us per month.

During the early planning of this trip, we assumed we’d go on the ACA Covered California website, indicate that we were not making any income this year, and be allowed to purchase a policy with a reasonable subsidy. Turns out this is absolutely not the case. If you tell Covered California you are not making any money, they will put you on Medi-Cal, which is the free health insurance for low-income Californians and not appropriate for Jason and I. We are happy to pay for our insurance and also wanted to keep our doctors. I tried having them adjust our income up to about $25,000 a year to bump us out of Medi-Cal, but they require proof of income, like an offer letter or last year’s W-2, so that wouldn’t work for us. Eventually we came to realize that we weren’t going to be getting any subsidy and started looking outside of Covered California for more options. The cheapest plan on the exchange was about $250 pp/pm, but it was a Kaiser plan that would require us give up our doctors and the cheapest with our doctors in network was a Blue Shield plan for $415 pp/pm.

Our doctors are at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, part of the huge Sutter Health system, and with a little bit of research, we found that Sutter has their own HMO, Sutter Health Plus. This was going to be the least expensive option to keep our doctors and similar to the Covered California plans, they offer four plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. We went the Bronze plan for $340 pp/pm. While the Silver would have been our choice if we were staying local, we are not expecting to use this insurance plan very much and wanted to spend as little as possible.

Send me an email if you’d like our broker’s contact information or you can read more about the plans at this link:

Our travel medical policy – GeoBlue Xplorer Select – pricing based on age and maybe zip code, we pay $133 for each of us per month.

Shopping for travel insurance can be confusing. I suggest you start by asking yourself “what am I actually looking for?”

Are you looking to be reimbursed for your trip if you can’t go due to injury or illness? Are you looking for money to help replace luggage if it is lost? Are you looking for rental car coverage? Are you looking for help rebooking cancelled flights?

When you’re taking a shorter trip, one where time is a limiting factor, you probably want these benefits. However, Jason and I don’t and didn’t want to have to pay for them. What we did want was rock solid health insurance that would cover medical issues (both emergencies and non-emergencies) and not try to send us home as soon as possible to then be covered by our US policy. What we realizes we were actually looking for was closer to ex-pat health insurance than the usual travel insurance.

We found GeoBlue both through an insurance broker recommended by our financial advisor (even though she doesn’t sell it) and also suggested by a cruising couple I met on a sailing Facebook group. These are several plans to choose from based both on length of your trip and whether you are keeping US health insurance or not. We have the Xplorer plan – their ex-pat plan for trips longer than 6 months. The Xplorer has 3 options –

(1) Select – this is our plan. It does not cover you in the US AND you must have US health insurance to qualify for it. This plan is for people like us that are planning to be in the US more than 35 days this year.

(2) Essential – this plan will not cover you in the US, but you don’t need US health insurance to qualify. Essentially, this means you are not planning to go to the US for a visit or for treatment of a serious injury or illness.

(3) Premier – this one DOES cover you in the US, but does not meet ACA minimum requirements. This plan would work for people who will be in the US fewer than 35 days a year AND would be willing to pay the ACA fine if you overstayed that limit.

Send me an email if you’d like our broker’s contact information or you can read more about them at this link:


I’m sorry this post got to be so long! Let me try to wrap it up with some questions we’ve been asked and some answers we received –

Q: So you only have travel medical insurance? What about insuring your stuff?

A: We have insurance on our laptops because they are the only really high value item we carry with us. We have a State Farm Personal Articles policy that covers both of them. If it covered cell phones, we’d include them too, but State Farm won’t allow it. Our clothing and other smaller electronics are not insured.

Q: What about cancelled/delayed flights?

A: Since Jason and I have a completely flexible timeline for this trip, we don’t mind waiting an extra day or rerouting to reach out destination.

Q: Does our travel medical cover EVERYTHING?

A: No – it has a 6 month waiting period for pre-existing conditions and it has limited coverage for some extreme sports. Because of this, Jason and I have DAN insurance for scuba diving (and if you dive, you should, too.) Also, if you hurt yourself doing something stupid, most (all?) travel medical plans reserve the right to refuse coverage.

Q: Do I need a travel medical policy if my credit card provides travel insurance?

A: Generally yes, if your trip is longer than a certain number of days. For example, our Chase Sapphire Reserve cards limit trip insurance to trips 60 days or shorter.

Q: Should I skip US health insurance and just pay the ACA fine because it’s cheaper?

A: Probably not, because most travel insurance plans I’ve found (like World Nomads) require you keep US health insurance OR pay for their plan that includes US health insurance (like GeoBlue Xplorer Premier.) If you are thinking about applying for the GeoBlue Xplorer Essential, ask yourself where you’d want to to be treated if you were diagnosed with something very serious, like cancer. Probably near your family, right?

Q: Can I be denied travel insurance due to my medical history?

A: Yes, because they are not held to the same requirements as ACA plans in the US. Jason and I had to fill out an application that included several medical questions, including one that was something like “have you ever been diagnosed or treated for anything not listed in the questions above?” However, I will tell you that I am obese by BMI and have mild asthma and was approved with no premium increase, so they are not looking for small reasons to deny you.

Q: When applying for US health insurance, what address do I give?

A: At first we were told that Sutter Health will not provide us with insurance if we would not be physically present in the state of California. I had to call them directly and speak to a supervisor to explain our situation. The ACA dictates that we had to keep insurance, so if they would not insure us, who would? I was put on hold, and then the supervisor confirmed that we should provide our current address at the time of application (we were still living in our apartment in California) and then could change our address to the mail service later.

Q: This all sounds great, but it’s too expensive for me. What’s the least I can spend and still be pretty well covered?

A: This was a question that was added after I wrote the blog and to be honest, I only have a vague suggestion of where to start. If you live (or are leaving from) Santa Clara County, I am pretty sure Kaiser Bronze HMO will be your cheapest plan. For us at age 32 and 33, it would have cost about $225 a month each. For travel insurance, check out World Nomads. This company is recommended by a lot of backpacking and low-budget traveler blogs I’ve read, but the reviews on actual claims are somewhat mixed. I’ve heard the cost is between $50-75 a month, depending on if you want extreme sports covered. This means the total cost would be around $300 a month for both – not too bad considering the consequences of skipping coverage!

If you have any other questions, let me know and I’ll add them!

I hope this post was helpful. I tried the write the post we were looking for when we started doing this research 🙂

Happy travels!