So, I’ve just got back home after almost 100 days of travel around the world. Needless to say, this was a fantastic time! Travel around the world has a particular flavour: not only is a lifetime dream for many but also provides a particular set of experiences collected in a short piece of time. My travel was exotic, tiresome, full of wonders, tough, interesting, fascinating and rich in everything else imaginable. I hope it is your dream too. And if it is, read this guide before you go. And do everything you can to make this journey meaningful.
Too many things
I know that this one sounds so trivial. I know that everybody repeats it over and over again. But it is because it is true! Even if I was aware of that and I limited myself to one suitcase shared with my companion it was still too much. And it was not about the clothes that I always take the same but about books. I couldn’t limit myself to one and so I took few and it was few too much. So what happened was that from New Zealand I sent few things home, including a large part of my library.
It was also related to the new regulation made by some airlines which are rigid rules on luggage. I don’t mind the weight limit, but I thought we can easily spread one suitcase of 25kg to 2 people and for the whole trip having our luggage checked-in was a nightmare.
MY ADVICE: most of the airlines do not allow sharing the luggage and are very strict regarding the actual weight. Not to mention 3 scales of the same airline at the same airport show different weight. So my advice is this: leave home with a suitcase limited to 20kg because you’ll get few extra things along the way. And when you do, you’ll struggle at every luggage check-in procedure.
Yes, meeting people is important but don’t push yourself too much. Even though this is one of the reasons why we all travel in the first place, try to think about yourself for a while. Each meeting of a new person means you’ll need to tell your story. And, however, fascinating it might be, when you say it ten times a week is not that fascinating anymore. It is a sort of trade: you tell your story to listen to a story of somebody else, but even this has limits!
MY ADVICE: I tried to stick to at most 2-3 meetings a week and it was more than enough! For somebody else it might be more for the others it might be less, but it’s important to keep a good balance between being only with yourself and meeting others.
What I found challenging during this travel was a constant need to discipline my mind in order to stay focused on the present. Having next three months scheduled I could easily get distracted and rather watching and enjoying with what I see in present I could think about places and time to come. I think this is really difficult but telling myself few times that present is all I have, helped. I consider this the most important element of a proper mindset.
MY ADVICE: Always discipline your mind focusing on the present. Don’t plan too much and enjoy every day.
It was hard to follow time zone changes. Even if I stayed for weeks in one place, it brought many misunderstandings in skype scheduling. I had few important meetings over skype and G+ hangout and being there at the right time for all participants was always difficult.
MY ADVICE: I don’t have any other advice to give despite planning in through Google Calendar and sending direct invitations with proper time zone.
Unhealthy conditions of work
I have always used to make fun of Work Safety procedures, but I think this journey taught me a good lesson: after a couple of weeks of typing when sitting on my bed my wrists started hurting. And it looks like this trend continued when I proceed with my journey. Unfortunately, hotels and AirBnB rooms rarely have something that looks like a desk, not to mention comfort place to work.
MY ADVICE: The moment you notice returning pain is the right moment to act. I was using bandage to stiff my wrist and when pain was really sharp I was using a painkilling cream and 2 days offline (which is the best remedy, really). Also, it made me more conscious of choosing places to work.
Give me a break!
Traveling is so demanding that you sometimes just need a break. It’s not possible to go home every now and then just because you don’t feel well in a place, so here is how to deal with it. Stick to the places you are familiar with. When I was in Hong Kong – a place that drained me out in just a few days – I had to visit Starbucks. It was just too much for me. The language that I didn’t understand, food that I didn’t like, noise, dirt and rude people everywhere – it all made me miserable. So just to keep my balance I stayed in Starbucks for two hours or so just not to watch Chinese characters everywhere, not to be pushed all the time and just not thinking about how crazy this place is.
MY ADVICE: Don’t be ashamed to visit chain restaurants and places you are familiar with. Just because you sit in McDonalds for an hour will not turn you into a lousy traveler. Sometimes it is the cheapest remedy and is a sign of being resourcefulness rather than anything else.
Always return home
The journey with no end is a big temptation. If you travel long enough it turns into a lifestyle. A dreadful one, to be honest. It cuts your relationships at home, it forces you to eat unhealthy food (not always but often it does and for sure it forces you to change diet drastically when you move from country to country), it makes gaining weight easy and it makes healthy habits like regular running and good sleep very difficult.
Without a return home the travel loses half of its pleasure. And it cuts also the whole point of traveling. It’s the return home, looking back, telling stories to loved ones and evaluating the experience is what makes it so valuable. People who travel continually for years may tell you many things: about knowing other cultures, meeting people and the personal fulfilment. Half of it is not true at all. If you travel long enough you’re tired of the new things, you can’t marvel with small things and you’re absent minded because all you do is you focus on what’s next. The level of your concentration lowers and you push yourself into the need for everlasting excitement.
Without returning home you’ll never appreciate the travel itself and neither your home. Looking at foreign countries is helpful in appreciating your hometown, your surrounding, your neighbours. Suddenly, it’s not that bad. You’ve seen worse things in your life.