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Marc Brosius in Melbourne, Florida, USA. <RtW21e at PerpetualTravel dot com>
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In September 1993, I was staring at the world map pinned to the wall over the computer, contemplating all the places Karin and I planned on visiting in short excursions from work over the next twenty years. Suddenly I realized we could make a continuous path out of the trips. I quickly justified it by saying that the separate trips would not leave enough time to see much, and would be more expensive. The daydreams started to sound like good ideas, then I started justifying a longer, or more open-ended time and money allocation!
Six years of reading rec.travel allowed me to think that way. Discussing it with Russell Gilbert and other travellers became time consuming, so I organized this guide as a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for the newsgroups, a starting point for further discussion, and my small contribution to fellow travellers. All comments are welcome and appreciated.
We left in July 1995 and "The Trip" was even better than we expected. Here is where we went for 31 months (arrows are flights): Florida → Dallas → Denver, San Francisco, Yosemite, LA → Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia → Australia → New Zealand → Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, China, Pakistan, India, Nepal, India → Netherlands → Florida → Caribbean → Florida → Caribbean → Florida and SE USA. We came home early to see family and save up for future travel. Some of the places we want to visit next are Peru, Turkey, Southern Africa, Southern India, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
In June 2005, we packed it up and hit the road again.
Ask people what they would do if they were to win the lottery and you will often hear that they would just "travel the world". Few win the lottery, but many manage to see the world. Most people who would truly like more than a short or limited vacation do not realize what is available to them. Through this guide, I hope to inspire you to consider the possibilities.
Some see RTW travel as the ultimate quest or challenge, a way to spice up a boring life, perhaps. Others see it as a way to learn about themselves and the world by broadening their outlook and understanding. And, of course, we should not forget about those postponing the responsibilities of career and family.
This guide is a work-in-progress. The original intention was to prepare for my trip, but it quickly grew into a FAQ. I meant to answer a few basic questions that were frequently being asked in rec.travel, and to point to the existing resources, whether online or in-print, since an RTW trip does require some planning and preparation. It has grown tremendously, but the focus remains on RTW travel, covering the extreme case of long-term, independent, budget backpacking (for those who will drop everything for a year or more), as well as short-term and business travel.
Some people read this and think I cull information from newsgroups, which I haven't read much since 1994. The variety of opinions were contributed from friends while privately discussing my trip via email (however, I did meet most in the newsgroups). Since I put it online, there have been a few readers who have freely volunteered information without my prompting! To show that there are many ways and options in planning and doing an RTW trip, I have included quotes from them, sometimes very different and even contrary. This is also why I have avoided summarizing the information.
The initial comments I received were generous, diverse, and very enlightening. These sent me in many new directions. The collective wisdom of travellers definitely surpasses the experience of any one author. I never have been very good at throwing things away, and since recycling is popular I decided not to let the comments go to waste, letting the guide grow as a repository of information.
Many sections have been added from the comments I have received, some are still very small and only contain references to sources of information (I could research all these topics to make them thorough, but I just do not seem to find the time). There is a reference section for general travel information at the end of the guide. For destination information, refer to the travel catalogs or online information.
Short summaries about books would be appreciated. If you send comments, please let me know if you do NOT want to be quoted, or have your name or address in the credits. Please include only the immediate paragraph, or section title, that you are commenting on. If the version date is greater than six months old, please obtain the latest version before sending comments. All ideas and criticisms are welcome. Feel free to add or rewrite paragraphs.
"Long-term travelling is different from any vacation you have ever been on. It is work. Your new job will be to learn new currency, new local transportation, new languages, new places to sleep, new types of people, and new types of food. Every day, instead of driving to work, you will do these things. But the moments in between make it all worth it." <Russell Gilbert>
You can also expect stress due to different cultures and languages, as well as financial, safety, and health worries. Cold showers, squat toilets, and no air conditioning is how most of the world lives. In some places, a bottle of water and your left hand are used instead of toilet paper. Bottled water, malaria pills, and mosquito nets will be your best friends. Of course, it is possible to avoid these 'inconveniences' by limiting your travel to certain countries.
"So many people told us we were crazy for leaving our jobs when the economy was so bad. Don't listen to them! Go! You'll never regret it, even if you have a hard time finding a job when you get back. The trip was the best thing I've ever done in my life." <Russell Gilbert>
The journey is the adventure -- not the destination.
You only need a passport and a credit card -- there is no better time than now!
Copyright © 1994-2021 Marc Brosius, PO Box 813, Melbourne, FL 32902 USA. All rights reserved. THIS WORK MAY NOT BE SOLD FOR PROFIT, NOR MAY IT BE INCORPORATED INTO A COMMERCIAL WORK without prior written permission from the author. Otherwise, the use and/or copying of this work, or the preparation of derivative works based upon this work are permitted, as long as the following conditions are met:
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