I always wanted to travel around the world. It was very close last year when I traveled to New Zealand and back. But this year I am literally traveling around the world. The journey starts this Saturday in Paris and will end in February 2015. I am beyond excited to share this news with you and I am anxiously looking forward to this journey. Travel around the world should be epic. Not only because of places you visit but for two very particular reasons: you always go in one direction (west, in my case), and you cross The International Date Line only once. In my case I’ll cross it flying from Rarotonga on Cook Island to Auckland in New Zealand.
Since the lecture of Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne my imagination was dominated by a thought that one day I will travel around the world. Not necessarily in 80 days nor as a result of a bet. But reading the adventures of Phileas Fogg I was pretty sure I will share his travel. This was a powerful reading and I still like this book very much (especially because I have a very old edition that my Dad got in a primary school). Although books are really important in this story there is much more than that!
I always do my best to travel slow. I never count countries, national parks or UNESCO world heritage sites visited. I often go to the same place more than once. I enjoy seeing the same place in every possible season.
And this is the project for this journey too: at least 2 weeks in every location. I stretched my stay in New Zealand to 5 weeks so I could join the summer and outstanding landscapes. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies movie premiere is also in my schedule just as a visit in Matamata filming location that I missed last time.
Countries and languages
I prefer traveling to countries that I think I am able to understand. Starting with the language end ending with the local celebrations. You may say: how limited your image of the world is! But I see it quite differently. Most of all I appreciate when I am able to contact ordinary people, discuss issues important to them and simply feel like at home. Tradition and celebrations – equally important – are hard to understand without the previous background. And I am not satisfied with superficial “Awww, that’s cute!”. Thus, I am not lying to myself that I can fully appreciate India or Tanzania because I can’t. There is no way I can feel close to the people and their everyday life so I chose to visit the countries I know about in advance even if it comes for a price.
My favorite way of traveling is reading a book first and visiting a place afterwards. The world described by somebody in the past is precious. And reading books makes my travel multidimensional. I can compare how things has changed which always fascinates me. After all, comparative education field of research was my job for years! Old habits die hard.
Through books about places I visit I can feel the place with all my senses. I can stretch my perception and imagination. I can fully appreciate of what I see. I can see the history behind objects, monuments and buildings. I can try to understand the present through the past.
Now, I’m not saying I am always perfect and I am always successful but at least I am trying very hard to see not only what is visible for the eye. I often carry a book with me about a place I visit and this time it is Nicolas Bouvier masterpiece: The Japanese Chronicles. Yes, I will go to Japan, I will walk around Tokyo and Kyoto and Nara and will be reading HIS book at the very same time.
What else I could ever wanted?
I hope to bring you all the places visited as close as possible. Through the social media channels you can follow my journey and share my adventures. See the map below to know the itinerary and stay tuned for more!
[UPDATE] …and here is the first post after I got back home!