Planning a RTW Adventure: Determining The List

Not long after my mother died, I woke one morning and wondered “where had my twenties gone?”  Her death had a profound affect on my life.  Not just because I had lost my mother (whom I was very close to), but her death at such a young age made me sit up and really assess my own life and the direction it was going.

My mother was 56 when she died. If her death taught me anything, it was that life was short.  Damn short. I needed to make a move on the dreams I’d had for as long as I could remember.  So, I started a list.Ironically, I didn’t move on that idea for another ten years.With all great things, making a change in your life like this takes a lot of planning, a lot of sacrifice. I’ve dreamed of travelling full time for so long that it feels like this is all a mirage:

The full time travel life.  It’s not just a round the world (RTW) adventure.  it’s a completely different life.

Even so, it’s still planning an adventure AROUND THE WORLD.  That’s HUGE!    

Our dream is to travel the world, slowly.

When we first wrote out our Living List, it was a mother-trucker of a list.  Damn it was long.

Before we could plan anything, we knew the places we’d dreamed of going made for a very long list.  So, we asked ourselves:

Why do we want to experience all of those places?  We dug deep on that question.Over a few bottles of wine, we talked of all the places we’d always dreamed of seeing and stuff we’ve always wanted to try.

Rich’s burning wish has always been to explore the Serengeti.  To this day, he talks of his parent’s trip to Kenya.  His brother got to go, but he was stuck at University.  His own dream of an African safari in a hot air balloon remains unfulfilled – for now.

For me, it’s walking the 800km Camino De Santiago in Spain.  It’s spending three months in a self-retreat, writing somewhere overlooking Lake Como in Italy.

How do you even begin on your Round the World (RTW) List? 

The problem I have is that the more I think about what I want to do, the deeper I go, the more I add to the RTW list.  The list I have is long.  Add in Rich’s list and well, you can imagine how lengthy it was to begin with..  (If you want to see our Living List, click here.)

While I’ve been dreaming of full time travel for as long as I can remember, I’ve be checking off places over the years already:  Rome, Venice, Florence, Paris, London, New York and yep, even Disneyland (counting three times now).

But I still have a long way to go to see ALL the places I want to see.Once we wrote all the places down, we looked at each and laughed. We could not fulfil this list over ten lifetimes.

We had to have a realistic measure of what we could and couldn’t fulfil.  Then we had to ask ourselves whether it’s something we could actually DO. For example, I’d love to have a three-month writing retreat somewhere overlooking Lake Como in Italy.  Realistically, it would be more like a two-week self-imposed retreat in a rustic cabin somewhere in Croatia! So, it was back to the drawing board.

So we have decided to make our list a Living List.  It’s a living breathing list that is bound to change along the way.We reviewed the places on the the list. We looked at it individually and prioritised our lists, asking ourselves where we would regret NOT going, Look at the things we would regret not doing.When we combined the list again, everything that made a #1 on our lists became a priority on the overall list. There is no way I would ever stop Rich from going to Africa!

The list is still long but it’s doable.

Of course, it will continue to be a living, breathing list, until the day comes when we finally hang our hats somewhere. But on the initial work, we now have a damn fine list and one we are REALLY excited about.

The planning has begun.I won’t lie. There are so many more questions and we will be writing about these as we go.

  • Where to start the adventure?We’re currently in Australia until March 2017, so we know we’ll be exploring as much of Australia as we can before then.  There will be slower adventures we’ll want to take though, while Natalie settles into University, like Western Australia and Tasmania, so we will most likely head there first.
  • How will we fund it?We have an online business with this website, so our plan is to work on building our readership, securing sponsorships and partnerships while we are ‘settled’ in Sydney and build a sustainable platform.  We will also be working on some projects as we job that will help cushion the budget.
  • How much will travelling around the world cost?This is all part of the planning.  Working out a budget for the things we desperately want to do, and working out how to travel slowly and within budget.  We’ve read that we should budget anywhere from $20k per person to $50k per person.  It all depends on where and when.  Having a travel blog means that we will work to gain sponsorships along the way, as well as look into house sitting to keep the costs down.  We’re not afraid to free camp or stay in hostels either, so this will be an interesting one to work out…
  • How much time do we want to take to fulfil this list? (Forever…?)In our initial planning, we’ll be travelling through 2019 with destinations still on the list. ( I told you it was a long list…)
  • What will we do with our current possessions (the sentimental crap) while we travel?This is a bit of a stumper at the moment.  When we moved to Australia from the United States in 2013, we purged much of our ‘stuff’ but we still have sentimental items.  We will need do store those somewhere when we head off full time.  We joke with Natalie that she’ll need a big enough space to store some boxes for us, but we know that reality probably won’t work out that way, so we’ll have to factor a storage unit into the budget.
  • What gear will we need?With plans to walk 800km on the Camino and travelling full time, it means we need to be flexible with our gear.  We’re currently researching what may and may not work, but you can be sure we’ll be travelling light.  I’m a “carry-on girl“, so I’ll be doing what I can to stay that way while travelling around the world!  Of course, electronics are necessary, so we are also testing out what we can do minimally to run a business while on the road as well.
  • What vaccinations do we need?Something on the list to think about later in 2017.  We’ve found some great websites that are helping with this one, which we’ll be sure to include with this post.
  • What visas do we need?As we plan the route, we’ll be researching what we need. Since we are travelling with two different passports (Rich is on a U.S. passport, Tara with an Australian one), it’ll be double the research on this.  We know that getting into Russia is tricky, as well as with  China, but we’ll figure that plan out as we get closer to planning those routes.
  • How will we manage our finances?Apart from the point of how we’ll be funding it, we’ll be using some great apps to keep track of the budget.  One we love is Trail Wallet.
  • Where will we settle when the list is complete and the money runs out?Hopefully the money won’t run out because we’ll need some to set up our life, once we’re done with the list.

    At this point, I cannot see myself NOT travelling for the rest of my life.  However, we do talk about where we will ‘settle’ once we are done with the nomadic life.  Tasmania is on the list.  So is Washington State.  (We’ve ruled out Texas and Sydney completely for various reasons.)

    Who knows?  The world is large and maybe we’ll find Utopia somewhere in Italy or Scotland.

We’ve used some pretty sweet tools to narrow down out list, which we wrote about in “Make Your Bucket List a Reality Using these Dream Tools.” Check them out.  Maybe they can inspire you too!

It takes a lot of planning to fulfil a lifelong dream of travelling RTW.

But if the dream means that much to you, if it’s that important to you,
it is worth whatever time you can give it.

Right now, we’re willing to give it all we’ve got.

What is the top item on your Living List?

What plans are you making, to make that dream a reality?

Leave your comment below.  We’d love to hear from you!

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