What do you think about taking a year off to travel around the world? I hadn’t even heard of this concept until I met a bunch of round-the-world (RTW) backpackers at a hostel on the Cook Islands. They were all young Europeans and they were all having a great time on a tiny budget. At the time I thought – what a great idea! However, I didn’t seriously consider putting my career on hold for a whole year to go gallivanting around the world.
I still think it’s a great idea, but it’s even more difficult now because we have a kid and Mrs. RB40’s career is finally on track. We are putting international trips on hold for a few years until Baby RB40 is old enough to appreciate the experience. We’ll travel within the US and visit Yosemite, Yellowstone, and all the other great destinations. I still want to take an RTW trip at some point, though. It seems like a pinnacle of achievement for globe trekkers and it would be awesome to say “Oh yeah, I went on a trip around the world.”
Free book from Adam Shepard
Taking a gap year to see the world is much more popular in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. It’s much rarer in the US and I don’t know anyone who has done this. Scratch that – now I actually know one because Adam Shepard sent me his latest book – One Year Lived. The book will be released on April 22nd, but Adam graciously offered an electronic copy to our readers for free. Offer expired May 31st, 2013.
Email me (joe at retireby40.org) with the subject One Year Lived if you would like a free copy (pdf.) Please share what destinations you like to visit if you take a long trip like this.
Adam Shepard’s name might sound familiar to you. He wrote Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream. It’s about starting over with just $25 and the clothes on his back. After 10 months, he met his goal of living in an apartment, owning a car, and saving $2,500. This one also sounds interesting, so I’ll put it on my reading list. Adam recommends checking to see if your library has a copy.
We’re putting it off for a while
Anyway, back to the RTW trip. I’m thinking maybe we can go for a RTW trip after Mrs. RB40 retires in 15 years or so. By then, Baby RB40 will be ready to go off to college or somewhere else so we won’t have to worry about him (much). We’ll both be around 55 and should still be healthy enough to enjoy a long leisurely trip.
15 years a long way to put off, though and you never know what will happen tomorrow. When Baby RB40 is old enough, we’ll \take two weeks trips to one destination, but it’s not the same as taking a whole year off to go around the world. I guess I’ll just dream about a trip today and see where we would like to go. Here is Adam’s itinerary in his words:
A month in Guatemala; two months in Honduras; a month in Nicaragua; a month in Costa Rica; a month in New Zealand; a month in Australia; two months in Asia; two months working around Western and Central Europe; my last month in Italy.
Of course, that’s a lot different than what I would like to do. I’m not too interested in South America right now, but Mrs. RB40 would like to spend some time there. For me, my top destinations would be the Eastern European countries and North Africa. I would like to visit Turkey, Morocco, and Egypt in particular. We’d probably stop in Thailand for a couple of months to see family and recharge our batteries. After that, I would like to visit a few South Pacific islands on the way home.
If you have ever wondered what it is like to take a year off to see the world, you’d probably enjoy One Year Lived. Check it out and let me know what you think. To be honest, I scanned most of the South American chapters because I’m not too interested right now. His time in Asia is quite interesting though. He also interjects personal stories from various times in his life into the book and those are pretty good reads too.
I still think it’s more fun to travel when you are young and if you can pull it off, you probably should do the RTW trip as early as you can. For us that probably mean in our 50s. That’s a bit older than those young people I met, but I’m sure there are a few older folks wandering the world too.
What do you think about a RTW trip? Could you take a year off to do it? Where would you go if you could?