Telling people that you’re planning on taking a year off to travel around the world is always an interesting experience. The range of reactions you get is quite large. Some people can barely contain their excitement for us while others can scarcely hold in their horror. There are definitely some commonalities though. The largest being the question: How in the world did you decide to do that?
We thought we would focus on that idea: How does one decide to take a year off from their established life and travel around the world?
The answer is varied of course. There are as many reasons as there are people who decide to do it! There are some answers that you would probably get from almost everyone, however.
1. The world is a gigantic place. How else would you find the time to see and experience all the amazing things out there? With close to 200 countries on our globe, you could never find enough time to visit all the sites that are worth seeing. Taking a year to do it seems like a necessary step.
2. Sometimes a break from the day to day grind is welcome and needed. It becomes very easy to get bogged down and potentially disenchanted with the jobs that we do every day. A year to explore, awaken our senses, and reevaluate the reasons that we choose our jobs in the first place may be necessary.
3. For some people, there is an innate desire to stretch the boundaries of our comfort zones. A trip like this can make us supremely uncomfortable at times, but at the same time teach us how to be stronger. If we can navigate our way through different cultures, with different languages, without the comforts of home, there is nothing we can’t do!
In addition to the general reasons, every person has something that tipped them over the edge, or ultimately brought them to this kind of decision. We thought it might be interesting to explain our stories separately, because we came to our choice to travel in very different ways.
1. This in many ways sounds silly, but it is definitely true: I wanted to do something like this because my parents did. I have heard about their trip since I was tiny. They describe their trip with such humor and excitement that I couldn’t help but want to do one of my own. Because of their stories (of which there are many that I have heard over and over again), it has been a lifelong dream of mine to see all the places that they saw – and more!
2. There is so much to see and know in the world. I want to see and know it all. I feel like the travels that I have done in the past have opened my eyes to such diversity and have helped me form my views on life. I am intrigued to learn more.
3. The adrenaline rush! Figuring out how to survive day to day in completely foreign situations is very exciting. Plus, I want to see if I can do it.
Della is making me.
Just kidding! But I certainly can’t claim that I have had the RTW travel bug for as long as Della has. I had done a decent amount of domestic travel before I met Della but she has opened my eyes to the world of international travel. So these are my main reasons:
1. The quest for knowledge. There is so much going on all around the globe that I only vaguely know about and want to learn more about. Or there are things that I have learned that I have forgotten. But I feel like traveling helps you connect with stories from the past and the present in much more detail, and to remember those stories better in the future.
2. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. Originally, when Della told me about her parents’ trip and her grand vision, I thought it sounded impossible to pull off. But some quick Googling proved that many people have done it before, and they have published excellent planning resources.
3. I don’t want to be too old to cross things off of my “bucket list.” Well, first off, “bucket list” seems somewhat overplayed so I’m going to not use that terminology. But the idea is the same – many people put off doing things that interest them until they have completed the “normal” life checklist. But what if by the time you are fully retired your health has declined? Or you are in a situation where it’s impossible to go? There’s no time like the present to just do it, because while it may be a gamble to deviate from the “traditional” path of earning money, it’s also a gamble to assume that you’ll be able to do everything you want in 30 years.
4. I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to planning things, and travel provides an outlet for doing cool research and then seeing it come to fruition. It’s fun to spend a bunch of time researching the best options and then seeing it pay off.
5. Meeting people with a wide variety of stories. In our past international travels, we have met people from all over the world and had a great time hanging out. Being able to learn about other cultures and share our culture is fun! Plus, remember how at summer camp you felt like you had made best friends for life by the end of the week? Meeting someone out traveling often feels like that as well.