January 15, 2009

Hugs for a Dollar

What could be better than taking a year off and traveling around the world?

The taste of Wendy's fries dipped in Frosty?
The smell of new shoes and bicycle tires?
The applause you get after finishing your 400 lb bench press?

While all of the above may be correct, the answer we were looking for is "taking a year off and traveling around the world for free." So that's what we plan to do. How, you might ask?

What if we give people hugs for a dollar? I assume you've seen the best movie of all time (if you haven't, stop reading NOW and go watch it). During one of the many - who am I kidding - all great scenes, Derice and Sanka set up a kissing booth to raise money to get to the Olympics. I'm somewhere from 10% - 100% sure that this is where Zhou got her inspired idea.

Since we are both math majors, we did a quick calculation. Wow, that would take a lot of hugs. What about five dollars per hug? The math was a little tougher, but we eventually calculated this would take 1/5 as many hugs. Still too many. There has to be another way.


Who wouldn't want to sponsor two young, well-spoken, intelligent, buff, adventurous, charming, Asian, well-dressed, courageous, outgoing, charismatic individuals as they enjoy life and don't really contribute anything to society? I sure would. So here's a few ideas:

(1) Like boxers, we tattoo our sponsor's logo to our foreheads and take our pictures all around the world.
(2) We create a reality series, "The Amazing Medium-Pace World Travelers Who Have No Competition," that follows our every move.
(3) Similar to, but not exactly like "Where the Hell is Matt?" (pardon the language), we do the Irish Jig everywhere we go (no, this is not a picture of me):

We'll keep you updated on how our unscrupulous, shameless search for a sponsor goes.

In other news, we have updated and added more details to our itinerary, and we thought as we narrow it down, we would keep everyone updated.

Newark, New Jersey to
London, where we'll have a 3 hour layover before flying into
Nairobi, Kenya. From there, we'll do a 46 day safari through:
Uganda or Rwanda
Botswana and ending in
Johannesburg, South Africa. From there:
Hong Kong (less than a week)
Nepal (21 day, 180 mile trek), then a month-long journey through SE Asia, thanks to Brenda:
Vietnam. From there, we meet our people in:
China (2 -3 weeks), then:
Tokyo (less than a week)
Australia (3 weeks)
New Zealand (2 weeks), then off to South America:
Easter Island (almost a week)
Chile (a week or two)
Argentina, a bus journey through the country down to Ushuaia, the Southernmost city in the world. From there, depending on time and money, we may or may not do:
Antarctica! Unfortunately, cruises there are very expensive.
Argentina, again by bus, up to:
Bolivia (a week or two, check out Salar de Unuyi)
Peru (three weeks, including Machu Picchu and the Amazon rainforest)
Ecuador (two weeks to relax)
Galapagos Islands (only if we don't do Antarctica), then back to Peru to fly to:
Spain, where we start a month-long Eurail journey through:
Spain, then fly to:
Egypt (two weeks)
London (a week or two), then back home.

The following is what the world would look like if it had chicken pox in all the places that we plan to visit:

Once again, we'll leave you with a somewhat famous quote from a famous movie:

"Show me the money in exchange for something that won't really help a business but would be cool to those who want it."
- Jerry McGuire

January 4, 2009

She's Pretty and I'm Funny

She's Zhou. I'm Kevin. This is our blog. She's the pretty one and I'm the funny one; that's why I get to write and she gets to look good. In fact right now she's doing Pilates working on that figure, and I'm eating a chili dog and petting a chilly dog. See what I did there?

Normally a blog about our lives would not hold anyone's interest, probably not even our own. That's why for the next eight months we'll try not to subject you to it very often. But on September 10th, that will change. We're going to do something that no one has ever done before: dress up as Lebron James and Joshua Cribbs and travel around the world. Zhou doesn't know about the first part yet - I'm planning on surprising her on September 9th. What better way to start the trip?

This is where you come in. In order to make our travels as interesting and fun as possible, we need help. Because even though I'm technically from China (depending on your definition of "technically"), I've actually been there less than Hadley:

So here's our planned journey:

Newark, New Jersey (don't worry, it gets better from here)
London, England
Nairobi, Kenya
Johannesburg, South Africa
Hong Kong, China
Kathmandu, Nepal
Beijing, China
Tokyo, Japan
Sydney, Australia
Auckland, New Zealand
Santiago, Chile
Ushuaia, Argentina
Easter Island, Chile
Lima, Peru
Madrid, Spain
Cairo, Egypt
London, England
Newark, New Jersey

This list is going to serve three purposes: (1) It is a teaser about how cool we're going to be soon, (2) It provides a chance for you to help us become cooler (we'll get back to this one) and (3) If you play your cards right, part of it could serve as your next vacation too!

Back to part (2). Below this post, you'll have a chance to impart little bits of wisdom from your previous travels to the cities mentioned above. However, we should probably clear something up now. DO NOT leave comments about the places we're leaving out. We've tried to include all the cool locations in the entire world, but ran out of (a) money, (b) time and (c) round-the-world travel segments. So DON'T DO IT. This may sound harsh, and if you like me less for it, please direct your bits of wisdom at Zhou. Thank you.

[EDIT: Please do feel free to comment or send us an email about the places on the above list, or places within 114.5 miles from the geographical centers of aforementioned cities.]

While we have your attention, please feel free to take a gander at our site (and also offer ways to improve it). In order to keep track of where we are in the world, we've put up a handy dandy world map for your reference. Although it may appear that we are currently fat enough to occupy the entire Southeast America (you may think it odd that we had to clarify "America," but that will be necessary before you know it), we are actually just in Charlotte right now.

Also note our fun little interactive poll. If all goes well, we will change the question every now and then, but only if people vote and show interest. We've already submitted one vote to get the ball rolling (think: the Wendy's tip jar that for some reason is full but you know couldn't have come from customers because the service was horrible, even though the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger was beyond delicious).

It may seem odd that there's a steepandcheap.com advertisement at the bottom of our blog. Don't worry, we wouldn't dare pay for a free blog that insisted on advertisements that clutter our page. We put that there ourselves. No, we didn't sell our souls to Mr. Steep and Mrs. Cheap. If you must know, we put that there because we read our own blog all the time, and we love the deals they have (although we've never bought anything). Hopefully you'll decide to lighten your wallet there too.

There you have it. An introduction to our journey, and more. We hope this tidbit whets (not wets) your appetite for us to keep posting. Because as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito said in that movie about twins, "We'll be back."

January 1, 2009

1,000 Visitor Extravaganza Contest

As initially explained in our 1,000 Visitor Extravaganza Post!, this is our 1,000 Visitor Extravaganza Contest.


This contest will consist of five questions, each with a numerical answer. Each question will be graded individually, from first place to last place. For example, if 1,324 people answer question one, and you are 176th closest, then you get 176 points.

We add your rankings on each of the five questions, and the person with the lowest total score wins! Also, as an added bonus, if you get a question exactly right you get a five point deduction from your total score. So if only two people respond, then that almost guarantees you the victory!

(1) How many miles will Kevin and Zhou fly?
(2) How many hours will Kevin and Zhou spend on buses, trains and the Eurail combined?
(3) How many pictures will Kevin and Zhou take?
(4) How many games of Scrabble will Kevin and Zhou play?
(5) How many new foods will Kevin eat?

Matt B.36,4225632,3741028
Kevin's Mom16,0133,6155,6502135


SafariSouth AfricaOctOct
FlightHong KongOctOct
FlightNew ZealandFebMar
FlightEaster IslandMarMar
FlightUnited KingdomJulyJuly

Puzzles for Postcards Winners

Blog Competition Leaderboard:
Paul O. - 7
Steve C. - 6
Aaron H. - 4
Matt B. - 1

Where Am I? Cambodia (7/19/09): Paul O.
Wacky Jack's Better Chargers (7/12/09): Paul O.
Rhyme Time (6/28/09 & 7/5/09): Steve C.
When Gangster Johnny is Home Alone Anagram (6/22/09): Aaron H.
Consonantless Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Flavors (6/14/09): Paul O.
A Lyrical Anagram From Every Party Since 1981 (6/7/09): Steve C.
Some Kind of... Song VQs (5/24/09 & 5/31/09): Steve C.
Dan's Belt Better Chargers (5/17/09): Steve C.
Gettin' Jiggy Wit' A Statistical Sample Anagram (5/10/09): Aaron H.
Consonantless U.S. Cities (5/5/09): Paul O.
No Dark Clouds By The Cliff Anagram (5/3/09): Matt B.
Familiar Better Charger Sayings (4/28/09): Steve C.
Movie VQs (4/26/09): Paul O.
Consonantless Colors (4/19/09): Aaron H.
The #1 Reason To Get Up In The Morning Anagram (4/12/09): Steve C.
Musical Body Parts Better Charger (4/7/09): Paul O.
Popular Song VQs From the Year 2000 (4/5/09): Aaron H.

Today's Yummy Better Charger (3/29/09): Paul O.

First Postcard Winners:
It's Safe to Say "Seven Dirty Words" is Funnier Than This Anagram (3/15/09 & 3/22/09): Aaron H.
Build Me Up! VQs From a 1987 Movie Classic (3/8/09): Paul O.
The 43rd President's Response to a Millionaire Anagram (3/1/09): Matt B.
1988 Olympics in Hollywood Anagram (2/26/09): Aaron H.

Scrabble Log

1: Zhou 369 (SWATHEd, READINGS); Kevin 278 (none)
2: Zhou 365 (RESOLvER); Kevin 328 (ENTReATS)
3: Zhou 340 (RETILES); Kevin 351 (ShOVELeD)
4: Zhou 332 (SIfTING); Kevin 437 (BRIDGeS, POINTERS)
5: Zhou 363 (SOGGIER); Kevin 332 (NASTIER)
6: Zhou 333 (SLOTtED); Kevin 328 (SALIVaTE)
7: Zhou 423 (CANCERs, STrANGLE); Kevin 301 (STEWARD)
8: Zhou 345 (MENdERS); Kevin 479 (PrEHEAT)
9: Zhou 379 (QUARTERs); Kevin 401 (SILVERs, HEATING)
10: Zhou 356 (RoSINING); Kevin 386 (REUNIOnS, ERECTING)
11: Zhou 410 (iNSTEAD, PRUNIER*), Kevin 398 (STAINER, StRAINER)
12: Zhou 363 (OMiTTER, OVaRIES), Kevin 381 (REMINED*, STATURE)
13: Zhou 394 (DARNERS, NEATEns), Kevin 376 (STAMPER)
14: Zhou 365 (AVATaRS, CLIQUEs), Kevin 279 (none)
15: Zhou 364 (DOSsIER), Kevin 341 (LEAVENeR)
16: Zhou 293 (REVErSE), Kevin 344 (ARTiSAN)
17: Zhou 360 (DIETErS, VICIOUs), Kevin 311 (none)
18: Zhou 273 (THIRSTED), Kevin 419 (DANGERs, STAPLeD)
19: Zhou 331 (TARRIES), Kevin 402 (DETaILS, INSERTED)
20: Zhou 486 (InVOlVES, MANGOES), Kevin 306 (COASTER)
21: Zhou 387 (SCANNeR, TOOTsIE), Kevin 436 (TALLIERS, BATONED*)
22: Zhou 384 (DIETERs, CASHERS*, SAPIENT), Kevin 334 (OUTSIdER)
23: Zhou 386 (TEETHES, NIbBLES), Kevin 363 (READInG)
24: Zhou 360 (sAINTED, REASONS), Kevin 438 (fLITTING)
25: Zhou 275 (DIALERS), Kevin 421 (sHAWLED, RATIONs)
26: Zhou 328 (ENTASiS), Kevin 319 (UNTRACED)
27: Zhou 283 (HANDBAGs), Kevin 398 (none)
28: Zhou 401 (STUNTEd, WEDGIES), Kevin 359 (RETINAL)
29: Zhou 434 (SULLIER*, ELATIoN), Kevin 433 (TEARIER, SHINIER, EDITORs)
30: Zhou 361 (rEMINDS), Kevin 380 (RETILES, CLeANSER)
31: Zhou 327 (PrAISING), Kevin 313 (REINDEER)
32: Zhou 467 (NARCIST, METHAnE), Kevin 274 (INVErTER)
33: Zhou 335 (UNSTrAPS), Kevin 338 (DENOTiNG)
35: Zhou 292 (SASSIER), Kevin 342 (PEnCHANT)
36: Zhou 401 (SOLVInG), Kevin 390 (DEnIZEN, DONATER)
37: Zhou 367 (TATTERS, YEARnING), Kevin 386 (TAStABLE)
38: Zhou 494 (STYLERS, ANIMATe, wITTIER), Kevin 218 (none)
39: Zhou 365 (VITTLES, ASExUAL), Kevin 364 (PARTIERs)
41: Zhou 383 (DOPIEST, DoTTIER), Kevin 351 (bLOUSES)
42: Zhou 372 (WEIGHeD, SLANTED), Kevin 389 (PRiSONER)
43: Zhou 369 (LOITERS, NAtIONS), Kevin 334 (LASTInG)
44: Zhou 313 (WALKERS), Kevin 454 (REEDITS, UPsTAGE, INTERAcT)
45: Zhou 369 (QuIETLY), Kevin 419 (NOTIcERS)
46: Zhou 356 (INSIDES), Kevin 398 (MATERIAL)
47: Zhou 390 (FILLIES, ENTAILS), Kevin 417 (UNsWEET*)
48: Zhou 398 (PORTENTS), Kevin 409 (RATIONs, CRINGES)
49: Zhou 364 (CAUSING, RAiNIER), Kevin 382 (RINSING)
50: Zhou 355 (REPOsED), Kevin 334 (BRAiSED)
51: Zhou 348 (RAtIONS, ASTERIK*), Kevin 330 (STEALEr)
52: Zhou 336 (SOLDiER), Kevin 372 (sTINGIER)
53: Zhou 403 (fIXATION, ORATIONS), Kevin 383 (TEARERS)
54: Zhou 384 (SMARTED, PULLEYs), Kevin 360 (INSPIrED)
55: Zhou 315 (SENIlES), Kevin 397 (sETTINGS)

Record: Zhou 28, Kevin 27