Knowing where to start when you have a huge list – let’s call it our Living List – is probably the hardest part in planning.
I’ve ALWAYS had this dream to travel the world. Not just a vacation a year or see as many countries in a crammed amount of time. I’m talking really discovering the world, one country at a time, and doing it right.
Granted, I’ve made a good effort so far. I’ve been to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland as well as Italy and France. I’ve seen a lot of Australia and of the U.S. (duh!). But this dream of really pulling up stakes and going for it long term? That discussion really started getting serious around eight years ago.
Our plan at the time was to wait until Natalie finished high school, travel the world, and finish in Australia where we’d hang our hat somewhere and live out the rest of our days.
But, our plan changed. We moved to Australia.
Yep, circumstances changed which enabled us to finally get the hell out of dodge (aka Texas) and move to somewhere else.
One of the reasons we chose Australia was because, well, I’m from here. Natalie had never really experienced life in Australia, apart from visits to see family and friends; and Rich was eager to spend time in ‘my country’ for a while. So, we moved. (At least that’s the short version of the story).
So, now we are here, it changes the plan somewhat. Flips it really.
The advantage is we’re exploring all the places in Australia that are on the Living List, spacing it out while we are living here.. Or, if you like, travelling slowly.
Then it’s on to the rest of the world.
So How Do You Plan the Route for a RTW Adventure?
Now we’ve determined the list for our RTW Adventure, we sat down to map it out. We have a huge, whiteboard type of map in our lounge room that allows us to see where everything is. It’s also helping us to keep reality in check.
We purchased this amazing map through Amazon. We’ve mounted it to a piece of plywood, so we aren’t marking the walls on our rental. Some people get a huge world map and use pin tacks. That works too if you can mount it easily.
With our Living List in hand, we’ve marked all the places we want to explore on the map. That way, we can not only route it out, but also see what else we may be missing!
We’ve put together an excel spreadsheet, listing all of the destinations on our Living List and the best time to visit those places. We’ve found some great websites that have helped us determine those times: Lovely Planet destination guides are one example. My current bible however is: The Traveler’s Handbook, in it’s 9th Edition and written by editors of Traveller Magazine. I’ve read this book back to front and inside out.
We know we’re off season travellers, so that’s been really helpful. We also know that we travel slowly. I’m not one for seeing a whole country in two weeks (although we did that for New Zealand, which is why it’s back on the list for a 6 month road trip!)
There are some things that we know we don’t want to do…
Russia in Winter? No, I don’t think so…although it would be breathtaking.
Exploring America’s National Parks in summer? Ah, no thanks. I’d rather the spring or the autumn to really experience the beauty.
Hiking the Camino? May.
Now we’ve figured all that, we’ve mapped out our route and now on to getting it nailed down!
I am so freakin’ excited by this adventure – can you tell?
So, now what?
Well, here’s what it looks like. (Subject to change, of course.) Now it’s on to planning out the details…2017 Update:
Our departure date from Sydney was March 3rd 2017. We began our 10-month road trip spending the majority of our time in southern N.S.W and eastern Victoria. We will spend June and July in southern Victoria before we head west to Western Australia (via South Australia). We’ll then return east again around October and spend the remainder of the year in Tasmania.
In 2018 we will continue with our plan as stated above but it, too, is subject to change.
Isn’t that what’s great about indefinite, long term travel? The ability to go with the flow and be flexible with whatever comes along?