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RTW Fear. Has this happened to you??

b_xandari

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Thorn Tree Refugee
 
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Joined: January 9th, 2011

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Tags: rtw, fear, planning
  • Added on: August 23rd, 2012
I've been dreaming about going to a RTW for years, but I never left. I think I've finally figured out why.
Fear.
I'm afraid that I'll get to my first destination and get overwhelmed and want to go home. Or that I'll never figure out the logistics of it (finding a hostel, getting on the right train, etc etc.) Has this held anyone else back? I'm sure it just takes getting into the swing of things and making mistakes. Am I over-thinking this?

Thanks for reading my rabblings. Advice is always welcomed.
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller.

travel droppings

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
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Location: Chicago, IL

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  • Added on: August 25th, 2012
Yes.... and no. I think fear keeps a lot of people from doing a lot of things. At the end of the day, if this is something you want to do you need to find a way to do it within your comfort zone. From there you will break out and grow as a person and a traveler.

I would not have undertaken a huge RTW trip by myself. In fact I didnt even know it was possible. I way over thought the whole ordeal. Then, one day in college I thought well maybe if I am working in a job that requires me to travel and jetset around the world, I would have that job security and thus have less to worry about. Im there to work, right? The travel was secondary.

Since doing that, I have surrounded myself with long term and life long travelers and I would now be comfortable doing a RTW alone. I didnt realize back then that this subculture existed.

So, sit back and really think honestly about what specifically is creating your fear, then find out how to minimize it. For me it was having a job. I can't tell you what your fears are. You have to address that. The rest will come.

Good luck and let us know how you get on!
Work and Travel Abroad: A few ways I have worked my way around the world
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Maestra LE

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

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  • Added on: August 25th, 2012
b_xandari wrote:I'm afraid that I'll get to my first destination and get overwhelmed and want to go home.


I can pretty much guarantee that this will happen.

...And I can pretty much guarantee that it will pass.

I think feeling like that is quite common and normal. A long-term itinerary is nice and neat when it's on paper, but then when you're actually living it, it's quite another ballgame. I definitely experienced those kinds of overwhelmed feelings during the first days of my first long-term trip. But then they went away, and I was able to enjoy myself.

Go ahead research and book everything in advance if it'll make you feel less overwhelmed. I did on my first trip, and I think it helped. Things probably won't be totally perfect, and that's FINE. That's how you learn! And plans going awry make for the best travel stories, in my experience. :mrgreen:

In summary, it's okay to feel apprehensive and overwhelmed. But don't let it hold you back.

b_xandari

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Joined: January 9th, 2011

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  • Added on: August 31st, 2012
Thank you both for the advice, I'm feeling a bit better now. I think I will be doing a lot of planning for my first trip because I've realized it's the logistics that I'm afraid of. The "which bus do I take?" "Is this a safe hostel?" Etc. Thank you for helping me figure out what I was afraid of. Now to start planning.
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller.

JasonT

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Lost in Place
 
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Joined: February 7th, 2009
Location: Vancouver, BC

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  • Added on: August 31st, 2012
Don't go too overboard with planning. When I was 6 months into my RTW, I met a British guy in Singapore who was just beginning his 12 month RTW. He had his entire 365 days planned down to the day, and when a blister on his foot became infected from his new sandals, he was off his feet for 7 days. This totally screwed up his plans enough that he was overwhelmed and couldn't figure out how to get back on track. After 12 days on the road, he flew home and ended his trip completely.

I've been on the road for two weeks short of two years, and my plans are so loose, that I have no idea where I'll be 5 days from now, or which country I might end up in next. I've typically given about a month minimum in each country, so I can get to know the locals and live their culture, and travel is slow enough that I have time to figure out the bus or transport I want.

Hostelworld.com or Hostelbookers.com (as well as others) are good sites for finding and booking hostels online, with a customer review and rating system. Some places you'll need to book in advance, and others you'll be able to just show up and find something.

For your first few days, I'd research things to do, that will keep you organized and occupied enough that you won't have time to think about going home. If you'll be staying in hostels in countries where cooking your own food makes sense, then have a few recipes for simple dishes on hand that you can head off to a grocery store and pick up the items you'll need.

Read current and past posts on bootsnall to see what other travellers have come across or questioned, may be something there that you haven't thought of, such as health or travel insurance, what you'll do with your photos to back them up, visas and immigration, proof of onward travel, etc...

Jason

busman7

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Began Gap Year Trip Six Years Ago
 
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Location: El Salvador

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  • Added on: August 31st, 2012
I second the do NOT over-plan![code][/code]

On my trip the weekly ferry from Vladivostok to Japan was cancelled one day before the train reached Vlad, upon arrival I found a ferry departing the next day to South Korea, took it & had a great time in a country I had planned to skip.

Another time I had messed up on Australia's rainy season in Darwin so found myself with 2 months to kill, ended up taking a TEFL course in Bangkok, Cool. 8-)
"Being normal? Ugh. I can't imagine how awful that must be" unknown

b_xandari

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Joined: January 9th, 2011

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  • Added on: August 31st, 2012
Thanks for the replies, great advice. I know that I need to plan a bit, just to get my feet on the ground and a list of things I don't want to miss. Other than that plus or minus, I think going with the flow so to speak is probably best. I'm sadly a bit of a control freak so that'll be hard but probably just what I need. Thanks again!!!!!
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller.

2wanderers

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Extra Pages in Passport
 
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Joined: August 20th, 2003
Location: Edmonton, Canada

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  • Added on: September 5th, 2012
Have you considered doing a shorter trip? If you have anxiety about going somewhere without a plan, the solution seems to me to be to go somewhere without a plan. Book 2 or 3 weeks off, fly somewhere you've never been before, and see what happens.

Either you'll hate the lack of structure, in which case you'll go home and decide that it's not worth it to do a RTW trip, or you'll find it liberating and then have less concern over committing to a longer haul.

Your profile says you've never left the US (not sure if this is still true) so instead of having to put years of effort into saving up for a RTW, why not pick up a cheap flight to Peru or Colombia and see what happens. Book your first night's accommodation and bring a guidebook. Otherwise, do your best to avoid planning, lest you defeat the purpose of the trip.
Last edited by 2wanderers on September 21st, 2012, edited 1 time in total.

Kathryn M

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Joined: June 16th, 2005

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  • Added on: September 6th, 2012
I totally agree with Niel, if you haven't been traveled before take a 2 week trip and see how it goes. When I started my trip I had things planned pretty tightly. Partially because I just enjoyed planning, but also because I spent a lot of time in Western Europe in the summer and planning ahead can save money.

Europe is a good travel wading pool. You can find everything online, transportation times, hostels, pretty much everything you'll need. As it became winter I usually just a booked places a day or two ahead. When I made a snap decision when in London for a few days and randomly flew to, well, its complicated. I was meant to end up in Bangkok but due to the riots at the airport I ended up stuck in Qatar for about 20 hours and on a plane to Singapore instead.

Typically its not that hard to figure out the bus you need, just ask, ask anyone if you don't understand the time table. Eventually someone will be able to help. Usually guesthouses are easy to find, often touts come to you or there's a place in the guidebook that looks good to you. I found that when everything was full my 'survival' mode would kick in. I'd became so determined to not let such and such city beat me that there wasn't any room for panic.

The biggest thing, is that you need to be ready for things to not work out, or for you to really like a place and just want to stick around for a while.

Jbro33

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Joined: May 17th, 2011
Location: Dallas Texas

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  • Added on: September 19th, 2012
Yes, it has happened to me. Multiple times.

I planned on doing it right after high school, I planned on doing it right after college, and well it didn't happen. I found excuses all the time.

I turn 30 next month, and I finally realized that it is time to stop being scared & worried about it, and plan it. So I started taking the steps needed to do it, and I have finally paid off all debts, and started saving money. I am 2 years away, and I am told all the time that it might be time to settle down, but I know this is a journey I am ready to take. That age doesn't matter. I will consider it a career break. I even have a man in my life who is ready to go too!

I read a lot of ROW travel blogs, and the one thing I can say I have learned, don't plan, I think I am going to plan my arrival city, and really go from there.

Good Luck!

Jen

b_xandari

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Thorn Tree Refugee
 
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Joined: January 9th, 2011

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  • Added on: September 21st, 2012
Thank you to all the posters!! I think taking a shorter "test trip" is a great idea. Thank you all for the great advice. I feel more at ease now.
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller.



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