First Time Around the World

First Time Around the World

My first post on my RTW was published a while ago so let me get back to the issue.

Just recently I got a lovely gift: a guide titled ‘First Time Around the World. A Trip Planner for the Ultimate Journey‘ written by Doug Lansky, published by Rough Guides. I have already started reading it and I must share two thoughts with you.


The most striking in this book is a general perspective on travelling. What usually drive people to travel is they desire to SEE THINGS, like famous building, particular landscapes, rare animals or renown works of art. Or just SEE how other people live, what they do, how does their life look like. But the author of this book encourages to change this perspective from SEE towards DO. He actually argues for doing things while travelling rather than just watching them.

I discovered this is very true for my own travels. Doing things together with locals or other tourists is very enriching. Couple examples: when I started to learn cooking in Italy the new horizon of relations with the locals and with their tradition has opened up. Through the traditional food preparations I spent many hours with the Italians and it gave me an opportunity to get known them better. The moment I drove a scooter was a sort of braking point in my stay in Italy: I finally felt like all the other drivers, enjoying the sun and the wind. The same thing happened in Canada while watching wales: this was a memorable event so I’m still talking about it. Therefore, I found this thought very persuasive and very true.

And if you still consider your travel in terms of watching things you might find this guide interesting.

Venice masks

Famous Venice masks in front of the Basilica San Marco

Must-See or Must-Do List

The second important thought of the first chapters of this guide concerns so called must-see spots. Even with the slightly upgraded perspective to must-do things the author argues the universal list actually does not exists. And I fully agree with it: everyone has his/her own bucket list. The tricky part is to create your own before your travel (at least the basics) so you could experience of what you have been looking for.

If you go around the world just to see the famous spots there is a high probability you’ll return disappointed. Professional photos made in a perfect time of day and year rarely represents the reality to the letter. While it is true that you sometimes get surprised with the unexpected beauty you will get disappointed with many of must-see spots. It might be due to the wrong season you picked up or simply to the bad weather in a particular day, or because you felt lousy when you went there.

Venice Carnival

Venice Carnival

I’m not arguing that when planing your RTW trip you should skip all things you have always dreamt of seeing ‘once in a lifetime’. All I’m saying is that you should limit this list and not make it the most important thing of your travel. Write all your dream places down and try to find out as much information as you can before you buy the RTW ticket. This activity reveals some interesting news, for example: if you want to see a cherry blossoms festival in Washington or in Japan you need to go there in very precise dates. And even if you do you can still be unlucky as the blossoming thing varies depending the weather. If you want to see the whales in Hawaii you also need to be there in a within certain dates.

Sometimes you get disappointed with, let’s say, the size of Vermeer picture or the location of the Eiffel Tower, but this might be the best thing that happened to you during your travel. And even if you dislike a long awaited site this is still worthy to travel: at least you know you hate it.

Laundry in Venice

Laundry in Venice

The thing is not to get back home solely with a list of sites and things that you don’t like, right?


Some travelers-to-be have no particular plans nor their bucket list. If you are one of them what should you do then? My advice is as follows: take your time and think about the way to get known the world. About your senses. Whether you enjoy watching it or rather tasting it? What do you remember longer: the sound of a jungle or a smell of a flower? If you love vivid colors and energy events your choice of RTW stops will be quite different than a person who loves listen to the music more than anything else. Each sense is a channel on how the information about the world comes to us. Therefore, this is important to think how are you going to learn the world.

Like half of the world population, I am particular sensitive to multisensor experiences. This is the reason why I often take particular music pieces with me. For example: listening to the Rigoletto in front of the castle where the plot of this opera was placed is something really powerful. I could go on with the list on how to combine the senses to make a travel experience unforgettable but much more important is that you think and decide what works best for you.

PLUS: I really love the title of this guide. It simply suggests that you go around the world more than once ;-) because travelling is addictive.

About the author

I get easily fascinated with people and places. I am passionately curious. I get often seduced with the beauty of nature. Blue sky, pure water, white snow and endless horizon seams to be enough to make me happy.

View all articles by Agata Mleczko