Making a Travel List…Checking It Twice

What’s the best approach to making a travel list or plan? Maybe this is an easy conclusion for yourself, or maybe not so easy. Growing up, both Jess & I in our own individual minds could have easily sat down and listed off a hundred fifty different places that we would want to see. Some of these paces we don’t know anything about and we would just go there because it’s popular, and some of them we wouldn’t miss without question. At the end of the day, however, when it is time to come to a true conclusion as to “where the heck are we going,” the game begins to change a bit. You start to really think about where do I want to go. The motives behind your decisions start to change. The questions that are asked come from a different angle. We know that for us, we have 12 months to fill, and we plan on filling it with 12 countries.

The decision is not to make a decision.

Call this the more expensive route or the potentially cheaper route: we are not making any set-in-stone decisions about our RTW itinerary. Certainly if we have to make a decision on the spot, we could pick a place, but what we do know is that our desires may change a bit once we get into the field. We know without a shadow of a doubt that we will be traveling to Thailand for our first stop. We have known we were going to be traveling there since the week we met, so we will be going there first. The question is: will we love it so much that we want to stay for 2 months? This is the question that enables us to stop questioning. Once we let the need to have a plan go and chill out a bit, we found that the trip will become what  it needs to be: fulfilling. If we haven’t had enough of Thailand, we’re not leaving. We spent so much time stressing out over this issue, and it started to take the fun out of the process. Now we can trust that wherever we go, it’ll be awesome.

Another reason that we plan on not having a plan is that we want to be open to changes. Say we wanted to go Germany (which we may or may not end up there), we had put a down payment on a flat in Berlin, and a trusted source says “Don’t waste your time in Berlin, go to Cologne.” We’re now in a potentially sticky situation with wasted money that we can’t get back. By opening up our schedule, it opens up or flexibility to travel to places we may not have thought about traveling to. Another example of why this is good is that we may want to go to St. Petersburg, Russia in April, but then find out it will pretty much rain the whole month. Perhaps if we shifted it to June and stayed further south in April, we would have had a warmer, drier month!

The main reason we don’t want a plan as well, is because of you. First, Jess or I want to keep our plans SECRET, and we love to tell people what we’re doing too far in advance. We want you to come along the ride with us and experience the thrill of choosing where to go next. Who knows…maybe we’ll let our viewers pick where we go one month! 😉 The other reason we don’t want to share where we’re going is because we know that a lot of people think that you can save a ton of money by buying everything in advance. We’re going to test this out. Is it really cheaper to get an apartment months in advance, or wait and see if there are great last minute deals? Is it possible to get a ferry, train or bus to go somewhere, or is it cheaper to pay for the flight in advance, hoping I paid the lowest fare for the best plane and itinerary? We may just find out the hard way, but we will be the lab rats.

We’re not really sure how we travel, yet.

Jess and I have both had different types of traveling experiences than what we are looking to do. Jess came from a more, “rough it,” missionary background, and I came from a very luxurious background. Although we are both intending to rough it a bit and find some relaxing finds along the way, we are going to redefine and develop the way we travel as a couple. Do we cook a lot, or do we eat on the side of the road a lot? Do we like to do a lot of tourism, or do we like to enjoy nature? Do we want to just chill, or go, go, go? You would think these would be easy questions for us to answer, but those are things that will be defined in time. The key is that we want to be fully flexible. Time is something that we have desired for our lives above all else, and now that we will have more time on our hands to pick and choose what we want to do with our days, we are going to enjoy every second.

We have read enough RTW blogs to know that just because you go to Thailand doesn’t mean you have to get your Lonely Planet book and do all of the touristy things. We may just end up going to a cool temple, get the idea, go to the market, get some food and a massage and head to the beach. At the end of the day, we’re not going to stress about what we did and didn’t experience. We want to see it all, but there is a side of us that wants to pick a spot and plant ourselves on it so we can admire the life around us.

Just because we’re not discussing our plans doesn’t mean we’re being stupid!

We actually do have a mental plan. We know where we want to be in the winter and where we want to be in the summer. One of the reasons we’re going to Thailand in January is because we get enough “hot” here in Florida. There is no need for us to chase after 100 degree super-humid weather in the summer. We’ll be going north for the summer! So, if you’re planning your RTW trip in the same way we are, make sure your “trustee(s)” back home have the plan so if something, God forbid, were to ever happen, someone would know where in the world to find you.

Then again…it’d be kind of cool for no one to know where we are, except us. That’s kind of a turn on, don’t you think?

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