After we tell people that we are going to travel around the world the first question they usually ask is, “Where are you going?” I struggled with this question in the beginning. After stumbling for not having a definitive answer I would say, “Latin America and Southeast Asia.” Well, that leads to additional questions for specifics from those that are truly interested. We don’t have those specific answers, and initially I used the excuse that we were just beginning to travel plan. But, with only 4 weeks until we left for our first long-term backpacking trip, I still had very little to add to my travel plan.
Make a List of Countries to Travel
It’s suggested that you first list all the countries you may consider visiting. You will need that list to research the following:
Country specific entrance and length of stay requirements
Costs associated with each country (lodging and food, entrance and departure fees)
Recommended immunizations/vaccinations and prescriptions
Transportation options (flight, train or bus)
Weather and environment (what to pack)
Depending on the type of person you are, you may choose to do a more detailed search relating to each country.
Round the World Flight?
Aracely and I did not purchase a round-the-world flight ticket, we did not have any reservations or tours booked, and we did not decide on the exact countries we had planned to visit. This is how we choose to travel. Honestly, it’s a challenge for me, but not so much for Aracely. Part of this journey is learning to let go; live in a way that is completely different from the way we currently live our lives.
Before, we spent a significant time travel planning and organizing because we only had a weeks’ worth of vacation from our jobs. And often those vacations are meant for rest and recuperation from your job. When traveling long-term, you aren’t escaping the stress any longer. Now, there is no need to crunch everything possible into a week, plan extensively or recuperate. You can do what you want, when you want, on your own terms for as long as you want. It’s exhilarating just to say those words.
Central and South America and Southeast Asia were chosen because they are cheap and offer adventure. If we visited Western Europe we would blow our budget and the length of our journey would have been shortened. Instead we decided to travel on a budget for an extended period of time while passing on Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
We wrote down places we wanted to visit and things we wanted to see, but not much more. We created a spreadsheet with each country we may or may not planned to visit and what in that country we would want to see. The lack of commitment allowed us to be flexible enough to spontaneously join other travelers for a trek or road trip. The experience is more than just seeing new environments; it’s about meeting people from varying cultures and countries, it’s about full immersion, but most importantly, its about being free.