Broke my lease 9 months early, packed all the crap that would fit into a 5 x 5 storage unit, got rid of the rest, and refurnished my mom’s house with the big stuff (again, thanks mom!) She was in need of a ‘shabby chic’ makeover, anyway.
Cancelled my health care, yoga membership, put my cell phone on a ‘temporary rate suspension,’ bought a very small and expensive carry on bag (Thule roller w/ 15” laptop bag + backpack feature), and insured everything I was bringing. Sounds simple when you wrap it up in one sentence, but it was months of prep.
RTW Tickets and travel Guru’s:
Rewind a couple months. For weeks I scoured the internet for RTW (Round the World) ticket companies, travel advice, and just about any blog written by someone who had ditched their normal lives to embark on an adventure elsewhere. For example, a family of 4 took a 2-year trip starting at the tip of Alaska and cycled all the way down to the tip of Argentina. Kids in tow, mom and dad homeschooling them along the way. Stories like this got me hooked. Read their blog here: http://familyonbikes.org/blog/about-2/about/
One of the big guns in extended travel is Tim Ferriss, who has traveled around the world for 3 years. He hit fame by writing the bestseller, “4 hour work week,” and has since published several others ("The 4 hour chef," "The 4 hour body"). Through his blog I came across Chris Guillebeau, who’s goal is to visit every country (190 of them) by the time he’s 35 – last time I checked, he’s got like 2 countries to go and hasn't turned 35 yet. His blog is GREAT and a wealth of travel and life tips – a lot about how to create change. We could all use a little encouragement and framework on how to stop wishing for the “one day when”...and start doing today.
Tim Ferriss' blog with the post written by Chris Guillebeau on RTW travel : http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/10/08/round-the-world-plane-ticket/
In a forum on Chris’s blog, someone mentioned “AirTreks” as a good option for buying RTW tickets. Located in SF, I checked them out. Turned out to be such a good decision because the guy on the phone - Justin- knew his way around the world. Interested in getting to the Canary Islands via Morocco? Take a ferry from Spain, it’s easy from here … or a flight from _____ makes more sense. The little things that a real travel pro should know. Because honestly, I was thinking too big before taking the plunge and buying a ticket – Justin talked me into buying the first half, and then figuring out the rest while in transit. At AirTreks you have a personal travel specialist with you along the way. I needed some hand holding for sure. (www.airtreks.com)
*When you buy a RTW ticket you have to make all of your travel dates and destinations ahead of time. Any changes you make or missed flights, the airline charges a decent change fee + any fair increases. My dates were somewhat mapped out because of the set-in-stone-wedding-dates, but with a huge gap in time between the April wedding and the Sept in Italy wedding, my head was spinning with possibilities. Justin suggested a 1 way ticket to Spain and go from there. That’s where it stands now.
Other sage travel advice came from a co-worker in his late 50’s who set out to travel for 1 year when he was about 30 and ended up on a 5-year journey around the world. Advice he passed along was to make a list of every place you want to visit and the length of time you’d like to spend there. Multiply by 2.
Another must-read, "Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel," by travel writer Rolf Potts. http://www.vagabonding.net/
It’s a quick easy read on traveling in general, and how to make it a lifestyle, not just a 10-day holiday maybe once a year. We share several of the same beliefs and ideals on traveling; getting out of your comfort zone and interacting with the different cultures you come across, be open to possibilities around you, and basically – simplify your life so that you can have freedoms to explore the world. Traveling with kids, no problem. Don’t have the budget for extended travel, no biggie you can do it cheap. If you want it - do it now - and stop making excuses. My belief as well, if it’s your desire to travel for any reason or length of time – start making real moves and decisions that will get you on that path. Priorities will always make their way to the top, so start by making them as important as paying off that high interest credit card or going grocery shopping.
The picture above is a map I hung up in my studio months before leaving. I really needed a geography lesson and this huge map definitely helped. It also became a great conversation piece. I learned a lot about the many places people had traveled to or lived around the world.