Every good story has a prologue, so let’s begin before the beginning. It was late in the summer of 2006 and the air was thick with autumn’s threats and freshmen perspiration. We were 18, freshly bereaved of our comfortable suburban childhoods, and desperate for acceptance and cafeteria tablemates. New Student Orientation, Point Loma Nazarene University. Kristen noticed Kelsey across the quad (as her Abercrombie puffer vest was 2006 chic defined), the necessary pleasantries were exchanged, and the rest is happy history.
The early bits of our higher education were spent google image-ing Ryan Gosling and inviting ourselves to strangers’ weddings, but eventually the wanderlust crept in, pushing our girlish frivolity into the background as our dreams grew large and began to fling themselves further and further from home. We studied in Italy, backpacked through Eastern Europe, and one day we got in the car and drove 10 hours straight through the night just to see the sun rise over the Grand Canyon. And then the unthinkable happened: we graduated.
Fast forward through a year of minimum wage jobs and unpaid internships. We found ourselves with nothing worth clinging to, with a lack of real roots holding us in San Diego, with 22 years’ worth of daydreams stored up, and with big wide empty futures to fill. The stars had aligned and the time was ripe to go. “But where?!” we asked ourselves. With resounding clarity and a drop of sass, we answered ourselves in unison: “Everywhere.”
So we impulse-bought two round-the-world tickets on credit, quit our jobs, settled on a laughably ambitious budget of $30 a day, and suddenly found ourselves at 30,000 feet, Paris bound, with the whole wide world before us. And we had big plans for it. We’d brought along cameras, microphones, a tripod, and the kind of amateurish enthusiasm that we hoped would make up for our lack of technical know-how. We had vowed to document our entire four-month trip through 12 countries and turn it into a documentary web series. Thus, Sixpenny Globe was born. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing. As we had never studied documentary filmmaking, had never operated anything more serious than a cell phone camera, and hadn’t made a single plan for the entire trip, it’s not hugely surprising that the word fiasco was in some way applicable to 70% of our movements. The tripod was lost within the first 12 hours. The batteries were more often dead than alive. Lime green gum made its way onto the lens of the camera one day, cheekily escaped our notice, and therefore landed in every bit of footage we took of Petra, the ancient lost city of Jordan. We mistakenly deleted the entire contents of memory cards. Also, come to find out, the old adage ‘if you leave your camera on the beach in Thailand and go swimming for an hour, it will get stolen’ knows what it’s talking about.
Plus, with a budget the size of a pinhead, we had to get creative not just with our filmmaking, but also with our day-to-day existence. We hitchhiked, couchsurfed, and street performed to save money and make ends meet. The fallout from our constant penny pinching was endless. We had several run-ins with the police, were abandoned in the desert, spent a night in a handicap bathroom, got drugged, got robbed, missed trains, peed our pants, and cried in the dark. But more worth noting is the fact that we had the time of our lives. Would we change a thing? Never. When you’re on the road, the road calls the shots; as soon as you accept that, fear and discomfort bow out and the good stuff can begin.
Sixpenny Globe is, in the simplest terms, a web series about long-term budget travel. But it’s far from a how-to guide to backpacking. If anything, it more often reveals how-not-to. We throw in some Cheap Tricks that we picked up along the way for the benefit of those who will hereafter embark, but at its core Sixpenny Globe is just a story. It was conceived and created in the spirit of adventure, and that’s the taste we hope to leave in your hearts. It’s a show about people, places, cultures, friends, and the serendipitous fact that, at least for now, we’re all here at the same time. This is life on Earth. Let’s do this shit.
-Kristen and Kelsey