Part 1 in a three part series on how we’ve made this a reality!
Junior year of college I studied abroad in Cost Rica and Guatemala. In Guatemala, I joined with a travel group that consisted of volunteerism, Spanish instruction, and a few other activities. Due to unfortunate circumstances, one night I found myself on a bus in the middle of the night leaving the group behind- off to Guatemala City I went. At that point in time I didn’t know what I was going to do once I stepped off the bus. I didn’t know where I would go. I didn’t know what would happen. At that point in time, I was a traveler for the first time in my life.
It was then, when things became totally unscripted, that I found myself on wholly unfamiliar territory. Travelling is not about the destination, it is about the journey. It’s what happens to you when you don’t have a script, don’t have an itinerary, and maybe are a little bit scared. It isn’t about relaxation, but rather about finding something new…both about the world and within oneself.
I ended up spending another 6 weeks or so travelling through Central America, but mostly Guatemala. It wasn’t an immense amount of time but it wasn’t a little nothing either. In those 6 weeks I believe I grew more as a person than in following 6 years combined. I came back home, relaxed, and reintegrated. My first semester back was my only 4.0 semester of all of college. I had changed, but I didn’t entirely realize it at the time.
It was later that year, amidst countless job applications that I realized I needed a goal. I wanted to travel again, just like I had in Guatemala when things went awry. Sitting with my roommates (two of whom have joined the peace corps) and looking a map of the world on the wall I started developing a plan to travel on my own RTW trip, before I had ever even seen the acronym. I started running numbers in my head on how much money I’d have to earn, and save. Studying the map I thought about a basic itinerary. (Americas first, I know that landscape….then east around the globe.)
Reality though, had something else for me…a serious relationship. I knew from my time alone in Guatemala that while I loved the idea of travel, the parts that made it special were the parts I spent with people. Being lonely and on the road just wasn’t fun. When I told my girlfriend (who I already expected would one day be my wife) of these plans they quickly became hers as well. Men often joke of their wedding day as the day they lose their independence and learn only to say ‘yes dear’…but this was not that, this was something different. My trip had become our trip nearly as soon as I opened my mouth. Not only was this a function of our relationship, but this trip probably wouldn’t even be happening if it wasn’t happening as a partnership, as a team. This trip is not the sum of our efforts and our desires, but those efforts and desires multiplied.
In two weeks, we’re off!
Part 2 in this series will discuss how we’ve saved money for this trip. Part 3 will be about how we plan to make that money last a long, long time.