WTF is RTW? or 11 Reasons to Stop Dreaming and Start Planning Your Round the World Trip

This is another inspirational post we have found that has led down the Rabbit Hole of RTW.  Read on to learn what RTW means.
By Adam Seper

You may never have heard or read the letters R-T-W before.  If you don’t know their meaning, that’s all right.  If you do know their meaning and have contemplated taking one, then you have come to the right place.

If you are a travel lover, an adventurer, or are questioning what it is you really want out of life, then maybe it’s time you find out what those three little letters mean, and why it is that you should consider taking a Round The World trip of your own.

Some think it’s crazy, some think it’s impossible, some think, “There’s no way I could do it.”  I’m here to let you in a little secret.  It’s certainly not crazy.  It’s most definitely possible.  And yes, there is a way you could do it.  So get rid of those excuses and get ready to hit the road for a life-changing adventure.

1.     You are only going to get older.

This is one of the most-used excuses in the book.  “I’m not 18, or 22, or (fill in whatever age you think is still appropriate for traveling for an extended period of time), so I can’t do that.”  That’s crap, and deep down, you know it.  I was 30 when we hit the road for our RTW, and we met travelers ranging from 18 to people in their 60’s to families with kids – in hostels, taking buses, on mountain treks.  We saw people of all ages, so while it may not be common to take a RTW trip at your particular age, it is not impossible, and other people do it.

Whether you’re 17 and sitting in class right now, or whether you’re already retired sitting at home sipping your morning coffee, or you’re any age in between, one thing is for sure: you are only going to get older.  So now is the time.  No matter your age, as time goes on, it’s common you will want more comfort and less adventure in your life.  It’s a lot easier to endure 24 hour bus rides, stinky, grimy, loud hostels, and multi-day treks through the Andes when you’re young.  These are many of the things you may have to do when on an extended trip around the world, and the older you get, the less likely you are to enjoy these types of activities.  One thing is certain, though, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to pull the trigger.

2.    In many cases, it’s cheaper to travel than to live at home.

One of the biggest reasons people give for not traveling long-term is that they can’t afford it.  That’s simply a myth.  Having the discipline to save for a trip of this magnitude is certainly not easy, nor is having to bypass luxuries like going out for dinner and drinks and buying that new car, television, or outfit.  But thinking that a RTW trip is only for the rich or those with a trust fund is simply wrong.

When we’re talking about the everyday expenses of traveling vs. living at home, particularly for those living in countries like the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere around Europe, chances are it’s going to be cheaper to travel for an extended period of time than to live at home.  Mortgage payments, rent, bills, car payments, food, and drinks are all more expensive in western countries.  Traveling around the world to areas like South America, Africa, SE Asia, India, the Middle East, and even parts of Eastern Europe are much cheaper than simply living your everyday life at home.

But thinking that a RTW trip is only for the rich or those with a trust fund is simply wrong.

Even if you’re a little older than the gap-year traveler straight out of high school or those in their early-mid twenties traveling right after college, you can still get by easily in many parts of the world for about $35-40/day.  And that’s for everything.  Accommodation (even private rooms with your own bathroom), food, transport, and activities are all included in that price tag.  Try living in the US, England, Canada, or Oz for that much.

3.    You will learn much more from experiencing different cultures than sitting behind a desk or in a classroom.

While school, work, and a career are certainly important, they’re not the most important things in life.  Educating oneself and expanding your horizons can have more impact on you as a person than your job, career, or even schooling.  You can experience new and interesting cultures on a daily basis and educate yourself on how the rest of the world lives while traveling.

It’s easier to understand a country like India if you are there, talking to the citizens and experiencing their daily lives than by reading a book about India.

It’s easier to understand a country like India if you are there, talking to the citizens and experiencing their daily lives than by reading a book about India.  You can see for yourself the impact that war and poverty have had in countries like Laos and Cambodia while you’re there, perhaps volunteering and making a difference.  You can learn many new skills, like patience, bargaining, and communication with other cultures while on the road much easier than you can while sitting in a cube.  Education and careers are important, and I certainly don’t mean to downplay either, but getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing different cultures firsthand can have a much bigger impact on your life than a year of schooling and/or work.  Besides, work and school will still be there when you return.

4.    If you’re not well traveled, here’s your chance.

Not everyone was lucky enough to grow up in a family that was well-traveled (mine certainly wasn’t).  Many people in their twenties and thirties may never have left their home country before.  And while this may deter some from embarking on a trip like this, it absolutely should not.  In fact, it should be a motivator to get on the road and see the world.  Don’t use “I’ve never left my country, it will be too hard” as an excuse.  Yes, it will be hard at times, but the only way to become a traveler and see the world is to actually get out there and travel.


To be continued 5-11 tomorrow



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