1. Make Sure You Actually Want to Take the Trip
Telling people about the trip makes it real. Before you begin to promote your trip, make sure you have thought through not only the exciting countries you want to visit, but think about how hard it will be and the stressful times you might have. You will miss a lot of weddings, births, and events with family and friends during a year-long trip. Your job might not necessarily be waiting for you when you get back. Traveling for 9-12 months is a risk (and great things only come with great risk), but you need to think through what you will be missing vs. what you will be gaining. Make your pro and con list, and commit to going (or not!).
2. Get Your Ducks in Order
Everyone will have a lot of questions and you should prepare your answers. You are doing something that many people dream about but not everyone is willing to sit and think through all the questions. The first question will almost always be, “What about your job?”, followed by, “How can you afford that?”. You don’t need to give them the long version with your full budget laid out, but I would suggest summarizing and anticipating the questions so this doesn’t look like a half-baked idea and risk them thinking you are going through a mid-life crisis.
3. Practice. Prepare for Reactions
Everyone isn’t as excited as you are. Realizing this is important as your emotions may take over while you go over your grand plans with friends. Know people’s personalities and cater your explanation to what is important to them. For example, my parents are very concerned about safety and work. When informing them, I centered my talk on how we are preparing a safe travel experience and our plan for our leave and re-entry to our jobs. To my friends (who are travel obsessed) I tend to not mention our safety and budget but talk about the itinerary and cultures we want to experience. Catering to each person will help them understand why you are taking the trip and they will be more excited and supportive of you.
4. Set Aside Time. In Person or on the Phone
Don’t throw such a huge decision on someone and expect a quick conversation. Leaving the comforts of home to live around the world is an exciting choice and people will want to hear details. For friends that are far away, I made time to video chat with them. It was more exciting for me to see their reactions and more sincere for them that I took the time to do it in person (even if it was via video chat).
5. Keep in Touch and Keep Them Updated on Your Travels
After you have made your trip public knowledge your friends and family are excited for you and want to know your most updated plans. If you start a blog about your trip send them the link and have the start following it. Even though they might not have traveled, almost everyone has connections to someone who has. If you aren’t the blogging type, send them emails periodically or update them over the phone. The more information they have, the more comfortable everyone will be. Start asking around and you may be surprised at the help and support you will get. Also, they might be realizing they only have a few more months with you and will want to start spending more time with you before you leave.
Announcing your travel plans is an exciting step in the process but be careful with the timing. Consider your jobs, landlord, and upcoming events that may be affected by telling people too early or too late.
Good luck in sharing your exciting news!