Every traveler, I have ever met, at some point has made the same mistake and will always tell you, that they’d make that same mistake again; “I sold everything I owned, packed my clothes, bought a plane ticket and left my home country.” It’s the traveler’s code that one most live by, selling all your worldly possessions in order to afford crammed tickets on stinky grungy old buses that might hit a pot hole or twenty-seven en route to your destination of choice.
Three nights ago, I quietly sat eating dinner at our dilapidated kitchen table when the wife laid out some strategic plan and asked the question every traveler dreams of, “would you be up for a round the world trip in a few years?” I began choking. Literally on my vegetables, I couldn’t believe the words she had spoken. These words were the ones, I never thought she would succumb to. She has always been the one who wanted to be “stable” wherever we were. She’s the one who always insisted, we have a home someplace to go back to. She has always been… the less spontaneous person and yet her she is asking if I, the spontaneous, go anywhere at anytime traveler, wants to go on an ‘RTW’ (airline lingo for Around the World Ticket)… I just smiled. When would you like to go?
Her reply, “within the next five er’ ten years?” “Ten years is to long, but five or less would be alright. But you love your job?” Her next response was the one that sleighed me the most… “we could just ask our companies, to give us a 1-year sabbatical and that we’d come back to our same jobs in a year, after traveling around the world.” Say What!? Wait, that’s brilliant! Let’s do it. Let’s plan and organize and draw up routes. Which route are you thinking? When are you thinking of departing? What time of year works best? Is this feasible? What about… logistics? How will we transport ourselves? Are we talking ultralight weight travel? Are we camping? or hostels? or bed and breakfasts? or home stays? Should we do a few weeks in each country? There’s only like 20,000 questions which all need answers. So, where do you want to begin?
And that’s what has been on my mind ever since. Where to begin this trip, when to begin this trip and how will we manage a year off on sabbatical? But the other side of my brain, the common sense side, the side that tells me when things are just “too good to be true” keeps kicking in, yelling at the top of it’s lungs; “visas, stamps, passport, health shots, funding and Contact Everyone Around the World You Know!”
Then reality kicks in… just keep reading books about travellers who have successfully circumnavigated the world. Start emailing those people. Get into contact with them about how they planned this trip, what preparations did they undertake. And surely, they will all provide the necessary advice for both Pre-Trip, During Trip and Post-Trip. It’s the perfect plan. A plan to begin planning an RTW within the next 10-years. And how will I prepare myself for the journey of a lifetime??? I know, I’ll buy an adventure motorcycle and begin driving short 3 to 12-day trips throughout western Canada and the United States. Then when it comes time to pull off the ultimate circumnavigational around the world trip, I will be eagerly anticipating any type of incident with welcome arms and an open smile…
Because after all those months of saving funds, planning, organizing, preparing and getting shots; my only job for 365 days will be waking up, brushing teeth, stretching out “the map”, eating toast, drinking coffee and planning today’s destination for maneuvering across the landscapes and roadways of the country were currently within.