I’m going to, in this article, try to cover everything I wish I’d known when I started planning my Round the World trip. Full disclosure, there’s a lot of admin and crazy amounts of planning that go into travelling for an extended period of time… which probably doesn’t come as a shock. I think that a lot of travellers like to perpetuate the ‘pack your bags and go’ myth, but there are quite a few loose ends you’ll need to tie up before you leave.
Everyone’s got an opinion
You will have to deal with your friends, family and colleagues questioning your decision, constantly. And until you fly away from home, this will probably be your sole topic of conversation. Which is sometimes nice but when your Dad just won’t quit giving you murder stats for female travellers and your mates are talking about how you’re so ‘brave’ (read mental) for giving up your WHOLE LIFE… it gets a bit old.
My suggestion is to memorise a small speech about why you’re going on a round the world trip and simply regurgitate it to anyone who asks. This should include an abridged version of why you’re leaving, the pros and cons, and a firm but friendly closing statement about how you’re totally happy with your choice to travel but you understand it’s probably not for everyone. You could maybe add a joke in about Delhi Belly or something.
Travel is a sacrifice…
From the moment I decided I wanted to up sticks and say au revoir to my life in the UK, there was a never –ending succession of things I had to give up, compromises and just general horror. I had to quit my job so that I could leave very, very expensive London. I had to move back in with my parents (shout out to Linzi & Mark) so that I could save money on rent. This meant I had to live ion my hometown for months, which was boring… so boring.
Other things I had to give up: Cocktails, Diptyque candles, impromptu Nandos trips, Topshop, Starbucks, nights out on the town, haircuts, hobbies other than trip planning.
So, be warned, unless you already have a nest egg of a few thousand pounds, a rich family, or a winning lottery ticket, you’ll probably have to make a lot of changes in order to save up for your travelling. But don’t worry, it’ll be worth it in the end!
So, you want a love life
In the 9 months from when I quit my job and moved back home to start saving I went on about 3 dates but didn’t even kiss any of them, let alone, er, you know. This is because in the back of my mind all I was thinking was ‘I’m outta here soon mate’. So my love life suffered to say the least, I guess if you’re already in a committed relationship you’re probably not considering roaming the world solo for a year or longer. Or if you were you’d do it as a pair? A final note on this is that backpackers f*ck like freshers (here’s hoping)… so, you know, you’ll get yours. It might just be in Thailand instead of Tunbridge Wells.
Welcome to admin hell
If you though you were going to chuck a sarong and your passport in a backpack then head off into the sun #YOLO, you’re sorely mistaken. Before you leave you will have to endure more paperwork than you ever have in your life. On the plus side, that’s a life skill that will stand you in good stead should you ever wish to, for instance, represent yourself in a small claims court… maybe not.
Here is a short and un-definitive list of things you’ll have to sort out before you travel: Cancelling bills, sorting out your phone contract, handing your notice in, travel insurance, doctors, dentists, contraception, injections, visas, flights, connections, hostels, tours, bank accounts, getting a credit card, selling all your worldly goods… and worst of all, PACKING!
Okay, so I didn’t cover everything, it would be impossible to… the levels of excitement. nerves and anticipation are probably on a par with being pregnant. Except your child is… the world. Hmmm. Bad analogy. Anyway, Just remember, whatever you’re feeling or whatever questions you have there are a million resources to turn to. Let’s get planning!