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With A Little Help From Our Friends

by Gail Mooney
March 8 2010

As I continue to blog and to talk to people about the documentary my daughter and I are creating, which involves us traveling around the world, I get asked a lot of questions. One question that is asked quite frequently is “who is funding your project?” The short answer is – we are self-funding our trip and our documentary. I have learned from past experience with other personal projects that getting funding for an idea is no easy task. But I have also found that with a lot of careful planning, saving and budgeting, I have been able to self-fund my projects and have been compensated on many levels later on – after the projects are completed.

I had managed to save up about 330,000 miles with Continental Airlines and another 329,000 points with American Express over the years. I was saving them for something, just didn’t know what until a few months ago when I decided to cash all my points and miles in to subsidize our journey around the world.

So far, I have exhausted all but 4,000 Continental miles in ticketing my Round The World plane ticket, as well as getting my daughter and I to, from, and around South America. My husband Tom donated his Continental miles to my daughter Erin for her Round The World fare. I will still need to pay for airplane tickets to Iquitos, Peru from Lima, as well as for flights to Nepal from Delhi, India. That still leaves picking up the costs of air or train tickets from Istanbul to Warsaw and Moscow. I will use about a third of my American Express points to pay for the flights from Lima to Iquitos, Peru because those tickets are costly.

I’ll use the rest of my American Express points to fund some of our accommodations, along with any hotel points that I have. We’ll be staying at guest houses, people’s homes and budget hotels whenever possible. We’ll use public transportation for getting us around once we get to our destinations because renting a car isn’t in our budget.

Of course, there’s food and miscellaneous expenses on the road like Internet and admission fees. The vaccinations for the two of us have cost more than $1500 and the visa costs may reach $1000. And we’ll both need backpacks and other personal needs for the trip.

My biggest expenses will be for photo/video gear but that is the purpose of the trip. I have pretty much figured out the gear that I’ll need: read my blog entry Putting Together a DSLR Video Kit. When all is said and done, including buying an additional laptop as a backup, I’ll have spent about $12,000 on equipment needs.

So, how will I pay for it? When my mother died about six years ago, she left me a little money. I never really wanted to spend it and was fortunate that I never had to – so I will use it for this project and this trip. Somehow, I think she would love the idea of what her daughter and granddaughter are doing. And if she were still here, she might very well have wanted to join us.

I’ll be reaching out to Canon, Apple and others as potential sponsors. I’m also reaching out to my friends and connections that I have made over the years for donations in kind. If you have any hotel points that you may not be using and would like to donate those points to our trip it would be greatly appreciated.  Or any other type of “in kind” donations you may provide.

Please email at or call at 973-543-6868.

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