Logistics of RTW travel – part 1: When & where are you going?

I mentioned a few weeks ago when I introduced our #👫WorldTour that I was going to put together a little series of posts to explore the logistics of organising a round the world trip and wanted to get started now. I figured with so much time between now and when we’re actually leaving, I’ll give you one every few weeks during the lead up, and the most logical place to start with that is to work out when and where you’re going!

They may seem like a simple enough questions, but actually, there can actually be a bit more thought that needs to go into the decision making process than just picking a place on the map. Here are some questions that are worth spending some time mulling over before you really get started…

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WHERE?

Where do you WANT to go?
That should be easy enough – make a list of all the places you really want to see, however far fetched and impossible to get to they seem, and for whatever ridiculous reasons. I mean, to start off with, I only wanted to go to New Orleans to explore some of their more macabre history, myths and legends, even though it was on the other side of the world (and a damn expensive airfare away), and we all know how that worked out!

WHY do you want to go?
Similarly to the last question, work out WHY you want to go. Why you REALLY want to go. You want to walk through the cemeteries in New Orleans? Eat at the oldest restaurant in Rome? Visit that city your favourite movie was filmed in? The only person who needs to know the why is you, so be honest. Once you start asking yourself this question and answering honestly, you’ll be able to work out if your reasoning is good enough reason to warrant the time and money that’ll go into the adventure.

Are you compromising on destinations?
Once you’ve answered your first two questions, you can start putting a rough “itinerary” together – it may be nothing more than “London, Paris, Rome” at this stage. Once you have that list, ask yourself if you’re compromising on any of your destinations. For example, maybe in Italy you actually really wanted to go to the Amalfi Coast, but it looks way too hard and complicated to get to, so you compromised on Rome instead. When I catch myself thinking like this, I always stop; if I’m taking the time off work and spending that much money to get across the world anyway, I may as well do EXACTLY what I wanted to do, difficulties be damned. Because it’s never not been worth it, in the end 🙂

How much is it going to cost?
Some destinations are just expensive, even if you’ve budgeted carefully and stay in cheap accommodation. London, Tokyo or Geneva, for example, are all going to cost a lot more to spend a week in than Phuket, Hanoi or Goa. Ask yourself if you are going to realistically be able to save enough money to actually enjoy yourself in your chosen locations – there’s nothing worse than finally getting there and being dead broke and unable to make the most of your time away.

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WHEN?

Are you taking paid or unpaid leave?
This is a big one to consider and weigh up, because it can have a huge impact on your trip. For example, you may be able to take paid time off with restrictions around the time of year you take off (but you’d still be getting paid) versus unpaid time off any time of the year you please. Ultimately, that’s a call only you can make!

What’s going on in the world at that time?
Is it school holidays? That can drive prices up quite a lot. Are there going to be public or religious holidays on? That can limit opening hours of certain attractions and transport options. Are there any special events like major art exhibits or sports games on? That may mean accommodation will book out super early.

What’s the weather going to be like?
Again, this is a pretty individual one; I’m a winter girl, myself. I’d rather risk a flight delay due to a snow storm than risk missing a few days of my trip due to sun stroke. There’s also the consideration that certain places and attractions can have seasonal limitations – for example, driving around Iceland, we’re having to be quite aware of road closures during winter months, but there’s also a much better chance of seeing the Northern Lights at that time of year, so it’s worth it for us.

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Don’t let these any of these things put you off, but don’t go in blind, either; weigh up the pros and cons. And now, your turn to get planning 🙂 If you have any ideas for trips you dream of taking one day, feel free to share them here, too – more ideas for the bucket list is never a bad thing!

 

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Wanderlust: Another trip ends… Now what?

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I took this photo in January, as the sun went down in the late Bangkok afternoon as husband and I were approaching the airport to begin the trip back home to Melbourne. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I get to go back to Melbourne. Life is damn good there, and I can’t imagine permanently living anywhere else. But that final trip from the hotel to the airport to fly home, at the end of any trip, I find is always tinged with a little sadness for me.

There are a few factors at play here;
– I have an incurable case of wanderlust and an insatiable thirst for knowledge about this big, wonderful world I live in.
After an epiphany is Egypt, I know now that travel doesn’t have to just be a dream for me. If I want to make travel my life, I can.
– I’m one of those weird women who are very happily married, but have absolutely no desire to start a “family” (read: I’m not interested in being a mother).
– I read. A lot. Always have. Because reading is a way to escape to another world, and depression is something you need an escape from.
– I’m incredibly easily distracted because my work doesn’t challenge me.
– I’m a planner, a lister, a strategy maker. And I’m damn stubborn. Translation: Once I’ve decided I’m doing something, be it a holiday or a new pair of shoes, it’s happening. I’m immediately writing lists, timelines and budgets that will ensure that my dream becomes a plausible reality.

As I sat in the back of that car, staring out the window as it wove it’s way back to the airport, I wasn’t just my regular brand of sad. I was genuinely hurting. I felt a real dis-ease in my soul. Something had stirred during this trip. It really drove home what I realised over our four weeks in Egypt and Europe 9 months earlier; that I was made to move. My raison d’etre is to get back on the road. My motivation for getting out of bed in the morning and making my way to my mundane 9-5 job is to earn enough money to fund my next adventure. While our friends are starting to discuss baby names and hospital options, husband and I are excitedly flicking through at atlas with a marker, drawing out future itineraries, happily chattering away about what we think we’ll see in Iceland and eat in Morocco.

The end of this trip got me because I wasn’t ready for it to end. I’d spend two weeks eating street food, shopping at local markets, exploring areas off the beaten path, and loving every second of it. It’s like a drug; every trip I take, the stronger the pull is to stay away for a little longer, to immerse myself into another world a little more. And the harder it is to go back to the “real world.”

So, what next? Actually, it was a pretty simple answer for me. Keeping travelling. Get to where ever I can, however I can. I’m sure there are more of us out there who want to do the same. And some of the big obstacles to this?
– Travel buddy: I got lucky. I married my best friend and we’re both on the same page. We’ve already done a lot in the last almost 10 years, and we’ve got a lot more to see. I’ve also got a pretty cool baby sister and a rock star best friend, both of whom would be ready to take an adventure with me at the drop of a hat. No travel buddy? No problem. Go it alone. I’m planning to take a solo trip myself next year, actually. – Money: AKA the biggest roadblock for most people. I believe that you should never judge another person’s relationship, religious beliefs or financial situation, so I won’t presume that the same advice will work for everyone. What I do know is that we’ve had a mortgage for 4 years, and paid rent for almost 2 years before that. In that time, we’ve managed to afford trips to Sydney (two 4 day trips), Fiji (2 weeks), Egypt and Europe (4 weeks), Thailand (2 weeks), and a wedding. We also have a 6 week trip to America/Canada/Mexico coming up at the end of this year. It’s not been without sacrifices, and it’s not always been easy. But it’s not impossible. We’ve said no to some big nights out, but when we were standing before the pyramids in Egypt and sipping on sangria in Barcelona, it was more than worth it. We’ve made travel our priority, and once we did that, saving was actually pretty easy.
– Time: This is a bullshit cop-out, in my opinion. At the end of your days, I’m pretty sure you’re not gonna be lying on your deathbed smiling about the fact that you turned down three weeks in South American because you felt like you had to work instead. You only life once, so put that time into the things that are important to you.

As for me, I’m gonna keep living the dream; as you’re reading this, my baby sister and I are getting ready to board a plane to Vietnam, where we’ll be spending the next 10 days cycling through the outskirts of Hoi An, doing yoga on the beach, navigating the markets and learning to cook from the locals, and floating along Ha Long Bay. She’s my soul sister, she gets what’s important in life, and I cannot wait to take this adventure with her! I’ve packed a travel journal so I can record every little part of this trip, and I look forward to telling you guys all about it when I get back! In the meantime, follow me on instagram for all of our international adventures and delicious food – I’d love to take you along for this ride!

But for now, we must fasten our seat belts, prepare for the road ahead, and be thankful for this wonderful opportunity. And when it’s all over, then what? Do it all again, of course  : )