It is OFFICIALLY 6 months until I hand in my notice and leave for hotter/more exotic climes! Ahhhh. How exciting.
So what if you are doing the same thing? Or you want to do the same thing? Well I can offer my advice, from what I have learnt so far. It’s a big step arranging a trip like this, deciding that you would like to leave everything you know, to go somewhere else for a long period of time! It’s HUGE! But if you want to do it, then THE TIME IS NOW!
I set up this blog in February, whilst I was in Chicago braving the blizzards (see: https://gohemiantravellers.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/winter-in-chicago-now-talk-about-interesting/), because while I was out there I realised that solo adventuring really was my calling. I loved it. But rather than sticking to US tours, as always, it was time to branch out (way out!). And the rest is history, I’ve been researching my options ever since I came back. There are many, many options but as Jay-Z says “I got a million ways to get it – now choose one.”
I do think it is good to get researching as soon as you can really and really get an idea of what a trip like this is going to cost you. I went to STA Travel in April (see: https://gohemiantravellers.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/booking-up-a-treat/) and got an idea then which was great and really provided me with a great insight into how this all can be arranged.
But I have since decided I am also going to go to Intrepid Travel to get ideas from them too. Shopping around is crucial to figuring out all of your options, routes and most importantly budget. Even though I was very happy with the options STA provided, I think it’s also good to get some perspective too.
I am a big fan of Intrepid Travel and their fantastic destination-themed evenings at their stores (and in particular my local Angel, Islington store). In case you don’t know, the stores pick a destination and incorporate activities, related to that area, into the evening, to get you feeling even more inspired. For example when they picked South America, they had experts in the store cooking the cuisine for you to sample, a salsa class going on and experts doing talks about the sights. It’s brilliant. I’m heading to an inspiration evening very soon and will report back. This is the kind of travel agency I like – they go the extra mile, they’re experts, not young over-coiffed girls and boys who don’t know what they’re talking about. Perfect. See what events they have going on, by clicking on: http://www.intrepidtravel.com.
Read your guidebooks – prepare yourself with research. Figure out what you want to see more than anything else. But most especially, read HIGH HEELS AND A HEAD TORCH by Chelsea Duke! (see: https://gohemiantravellers.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/guidebooks-a-go-go/). It’s just genius, and I think really covers EVERYTHING that you need to prepare yourself for – I feel so much better for reading that book. It’s a must-buy! Learning about the politics of hostel kitchens, how backpack sizes are measured in litres (WTF!) and how rubber flip-flops really are crucial. Although it is aimed at girls (and there definitely are lotsa girly examples in there) but it still offers a lot of solid travel advice to guys too. It’s a book for everyone really because Chelsea really is so honest.
To read your guidebook I really recommend the Kindle or an equivalent small digital reader. I very naively did not realise I could download a Kindle app for my iPhone, I thought I was going to have to buy the tablet itself. Boy was I happy when I found out I could get it for free! This means any guidebook (or book I want to re-read and re-read like ‘High Heels and a Head Torch’) can be stored all on there on a small device. There was no way I was going to be able to pack all those guidebooks – lack of space and they’re all damn heavy, so this is perfection! I realise charging it may be a pain at times but still! It’s going to be a Godsend!
Speak to people who have done it before. EVERYONE knows at least someone who has done a trip round the world at some point, that’s what I’ve noticed anyway. As soon as I tell people that’s what I’m doing – I get reeled off names of people who could give me advice. And their advice is stellar because you can learn from any mistakes, learn new tips and hear about the best unknown places. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the advice that may be thrown at you, but just remember that each trip is unique and you have to do what YOU want. Make the trip YOUR OWN. All you can do, is take on board any tips and then when you get there, just go with the flow. I’ve realised there is always going to be ‘too much’ to see. You’re never going to cover everything and you have to accept that, so just research what you think you would undoubtedly LOVE to see and just concentrate on making it happen.
At the moment I am continuing to read my guidebooks and brochures to really narrow down my flightpath and routes. That’s all that can be done at the moment. I will be able to book everything from September onwards so it’s just a matter of having a clear idea ready for then. 🙂
From November will be when all the major work begins – travel injections, buying my backpack, sorting out my bank accounts, sleeping bag/walking boots shopping, preparing to leave London – very exciting. So further tips to follow in part two later in the year 🙂
Although there is lots to sort out in doing an around-the-world trip, it’s worth it, YOU can do it if you want it bad enough. So just GO-GO!
Love Em xox