Everyone that travels around the world can talk about the catalyst that pushed them over the edge. Whether it was a career change, lost job, mid-life crisis or insistent curiosity about what is beyond your front door. Most trips start as a wild dream. An irrational thought that maybe you could live an unconventional life. It starts as a seemingly unattainable dream, with a long list of excuses holding you back.
- I can’t afford to travel
- I have family at home
- My career is just starting to take off
- No one will travel with me
- I watch the news, the world isn’t a safe place
Planting a wild dream in your head can open doors you didn’t even know existed. Once you consider the possibility of achieving that dream, it sticks in your unconscious and grows. Even if you quickly dismiss the idea, it will always be in the back of your mind.
Every travel story you hear or every time you spend 12 hours sitting behind a desk at work, that wild dream moves a little bit closer to consciousness and becomes a little more probable. You might be reading this with that nagging idea in your head, or you might be starting to plan an around the world trip. Either way, I hope this article helps you think through your motivation for travel and what you want to accomplish.
Once your wild dream has moved into the action stage, you can officially say you are planning a trip around the world! Be confident in that decision, as it is truly a freeing experience. If you have a travel partner, this is when you will both sit down and have a bit of a reality check.
If you are going to be traveling long-term with someone else you need to both ensure that your goals are similar or at least mutually understood. For example, if one of you wants to see as many countries as possible while the other would rather practice slow travel and live in a few cities for 2-3 months at a time, you will have a tough year ahead of you.
Pick your travel partner wisely, they will be there when you’re sleeping in questionable hostels, taking 20 hour bus trips and picking restaurants to eat at three times a day.
Step 1: Answer the following 3 questions (yes, write them on a piece of paper)
- What is motivating you to make such a huge life change?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- How will this trip lead to self-improvement?
You want to have a purpose laid out for your trip ahead of time because once you start traveling it is easy to get caught up and want to do everything. With a plan, a budget and goals you will be able to pick your destinations, focus your efforts and avoid fights throughout the planning process.
A purpose allows you to spend your budget on what’s important to you and skip the parts that don’t matter. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any spontaneity, just that you should be ultimately driving towards fulfilling a purpose or goal, with a few side trips on the way.
Finally, I have found that telling people about your RTW trip is one of the most difficult parts, pre-departure. While some friends and family members will be supportive, many will have endless questions, doubt your ability to pull it off and consider you a bit insane for taking on the endeavor (remember, people don’t normally leave good jobs and a happy life to venture out into an unknown future).
If you already have a stated purpose for your trip, it makes your announcement easier. If someone challenges you and calls you crazy, you can display the thought that into the trip and explain what you hope to accomplish.
The wild dream doesn’t have to be about travel. Mine was, but it could be about a job you think is unattainable, moving across the country to a new city or simply accomplishing a new activity that has been on your list. Stop suppressing these wild dreams and start actively considering them.
What do you want to accomplish?