On September 2, 2015, Jon and Eva Mahoney set off on a trip that is just nearing its end. They’ve visited 33 countries and were able to live on less than $5 most days.
Jon grew up in Truro and the couple has recently been spending some time with his family in Truro before heading back to their home in Moscow.
“We learned that the world is not a scary place,” said Eva, who is from Russia. “In each country we met wonderful people who gave us rides and often invited us to stay in their homes. People, in general, are very good.”
Jon was studying Russian in Moscow when he met Eva during an overnight train journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow.
“We talked all night and never stopped,” he said with a laugh.
They married, in Truro, in December 2014, and once they’d worked (He’s a teacher and she’s a doctor.) and saved up enough for a longer journey they headed off to see more of the world.
They’ve hitchhiked, couch-surfed, been invited into many homes for meals and even attended a wedding.
Among the places they’ve visited are Egypt, China, Mongolia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia, Namibia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Thailand and Cambodia. They tried to avoid the cold so that they were comfortable walking and could often sleep in a tent.
Jon stopped shaving the day their journey began, going from a man with a smooth chin to one with a long, thick beard.
“It was a good excuse to grow a beard, and I was curious to see how long it would get,” he said. “Every section grew in a different country.”
During one of their stops in Brazil he fit right in, as they met people in a Russian speaking community where the men all grow long beards.
They never experienced and serious injuries during their travels but they did travel over some scary roads, such as those in mountainous areas of India, where there were big drop offs, crumbling soil and fast drivers.
They have a YouTube channel with more than 42,000 subscribers, and were able to meet with some of the subscribers as they travelled. In the videos they speak Russian, although some have English subtitles, and the majority of their subscribers live in Russia.
When they got to North America they bought a car and drove themselves from place to place. Once they got to Truro they took some time to relax, although Jon has been working as a substitute teacher at École acadienne de Truro.
While they loved travelling, they constantly had to plan where to go next and how to get there, and take care of the paperwork needed to cross borders. They want to travel more in the future, but hope to do it at a slower pace, as a busy schedule doesn’t allow time for dreaming.
“There are so many countries left,” said Eva. “Thirty-three is a lot, but at the same time only a few.
“I think people think of others are vulnerable when they’re travelling so they want to help. I think the best part of travelling was the people who let us share their culture and food.”
The couple is heading back to Russia on January 17, but Jone said the more he’s away the more he appreciates Canada, and he will continue to come back.
For more pictures and information on the Mahoneys travels, ‘like’ the “Jon and Eva” Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JonandEva/ and/or subscribe to their YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/JonandEva
Things they’ve learned:
You don’t need much.
People all over the world have similar problems.
The world isn’t that scary.
Days spent travelling - More than 800
Distance travelled– 103,112 km (More than double the circumference of Earth, which is 40,075.)
Nights in a tent -11
Nights in cars – 27
Nights in trucks -2
Nights in hotels – 33 (22 at no cost)
Homes stayed in – 170
Times people fed them – 1,104 (214 in restaurants)
Vehicles they got drives in while hitchhiking – 643
Cars – 560
Trucks – 63
Buses – 8
Motorcycles – 13
Donkey cart – 1
Speed record – 210 km/h while in China, in a BMW i535
Longest distance with one driver – 820 km (in Zambia)
Expenses before getting to North America - $8,497.39
Cars - 3,546.19
Total expenses- 12,043.59