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The Great RTW Debate!

Not the first Travis

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  • Added on: December 30th, 2004
A lot of people on BnA do the RTW thing. (What does that mean anyway? Is there a definition? You leave on a plane in one direction and return from the other?) Anyway, I have no burning desire to do a RTW trip.

Do you think less of me? Re-phrase. Do you think EVEN less of me?

The way I like to travel is in month-or-so chunks. Go to one place or area, hang out there long enough to get to know it as much as possible, then head home to my pillow, dog, partner and life. Recharge batteries. Rinse and repeat. And no, I don’t just go to places and “see the sites”. Depending on the destination and purpose of the trip, I try to immerse myself as much as possible in the local scene. And yes, I realize that by only spending a short amount of time in an area, I limit my ability to do that somewhat. But I manage pretty well.

So here are my questions for you RTW advocates.

What do you experience (and what do I miss out on) when you travel RTW and I don’t? All I can think of is that maybe you feel a sense of accomplishment. The “I did it” factor. But that doesn’t seem like that big a deal since, well, it’s not as if you’re navigating the globe in a hot air balloon. Airplanes are airplanes, border crossings are border crossings. Still, I'm sure there is an endurance factor involved, so I can understand that somewhat.

Which leads me to the other thing I think I may be missing out on. I imagine you experience “higher highs” because you also experience “lower lows” when you’re on the road for that length of time. If we’re all honest about it….traveling for a long period can be pretty weary at times. So I imagine the inevitable “lows” of a long-term trip only make the “highs” feel that much better.

What else am I missing out on?

NTFT

skobb

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  • Added on: December 30th, 2004
I think traveling in one month (or slightly longer) chunks to one place (or region) is an excellent way to travel.

I don't necessarily see any advantage in a traditional RTW sort of trip assuming that in your one location trip you are immersing yourself as much as you like. I imagine that the popularity in this RTW has grown along with the widely available specialized air tickets now available.

After our recent trip, my wife decided that she would much rather do trips of a month to a more localized area in the future.

Gertrude

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  • Added on: December 30th, 2004
I'll tell ya one thing, travelling for 6 months or longer sure makes going back to work harder!

We got pretty tired going for so long but really enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being real vagabonds and not working for that period of time and distancing ourselves from our "normal" lives--there was some psychological revelations to all of that.

But we'll do shorter trips from now on!

Prisa

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  • Added on: December 30th, 2004
I consider 1 month a good amount of trip. Geez, I told my friend the other night I might go to Honduras or something for 2 weeks and how bummed I was that I wasn't going to get a 'real' vacation. "Two weeks is a real vacation for most people" is what she said back.
I suppose that's true.
If it's less then a month I consider it a mini-trip. 1-3 months is to me a fantastic vacation
anything longer and I'm afraid I'll never get back to reality.
Maybe one day I'll do a RTW trip that lasts 6-8 months, a year, or whatever...but for now I'm good with 1.5ish months.
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  • Added on: December 30th, 2004
Sorry, I also don't see a problem with your way of doing things. As long as you can get the month-long chunks of time off. Many people can't. It's much easier to take a leave of absence or quit ones job than to take 4-6 weeks off every year. At least in America.

And I suppose traveling for a longer time is cheaper than taking a several different trips. For example, when deciding whether to include Vietnam in my current itinerary, I'm reminded that if I save the country for a separate trip, I'll have to spend another $2000 bucks and 20 hours to fly back across the Pacific. If I include it in the big trip, I'll only spend $100 and an hour to fly from Laos.

seraphim

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  • Added on: December 30th, 2004
My last trip was about 5 months (though I did go home for a week after 1 month - not because I wanted to but because I had to get my Russian visa), and I would like to do something similar or maybe even longer (but I don't think I could stand to be away from home for a year or longer) again in the future, but it wasn't a RTW trip, it was just eastern Europe and Asia. I had planned to do it all overland originally but ended up flying twice (Brussels to Helsinki, Ulaan Bataar to Moscow to Berlin). Anyway the fact that I don't like flying is one reason why the classic RTW doesn't appeal to me that much. The other reason is that travelling overland makes it easier to adapt to a foreign culture imho. I mean, things change slowly so you have time to take 'em in one by one, and you're not disoriented by jet lag and all that. I did suffer from a bit of a culture shock when I flew back to Berlin (which I have visited many, many times before), so I can't imagine what it would've been like if I'd done it the other way 'round. Travelling to a radically new culture every month or so would wear me out quickly, I think. And like you, I like to immerse myself, not tick off countries from a list.
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  • Added on: December 30th, 2004
The one benefit I can see of traveling longer is that after only one month, most people are just getting out of their routines that they are used to in their daily life and just opening up to the new experiences that are coming to them...this is mostly a personal opinion and i'm sure a lot of people open up more quickly than I do, but for me I need a longer period of time to get into it.
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  • Added on: December 30th, 2004
The main advantage of having gone round the world is that I have had 367 days in 2004! Big Grin
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globetrotter

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  • Added on: December 30th, 2004
For me, the beauty of extended travelling is the detachment involved. Being able to say "screw you" to all the impositions of mainstream life. Don't get me wrong, I like 1 month trips, but they are like weekend getaways to me. When I plan a serious travel (over 6 months up to 18 months my longest) I'm planing also on de-programming myself and reinventing my perception on life. Each trip is a whole new chapter of my life, a stage of life per-se, as was highschool, college, my working years, etc. And out of each, a new me comes forth, with new dreams, new expectations, dissapointments, and plans. On each time my sense of liberty from self imposed chains is heightened, and the more I do it, the more I feel like happiness can be a constant state of mind in this life span.

But when I'm earthbound by the powers that be (my dad) I don't much crave the little month-long escapades.. their scheduled returns make me too conscious about society's gravitation pull. Anyway, as I wrote earlier I enjoy them (in the meassure I percieve them to be enjoyable). In other words, dont look a gift horse in the mouth.. or better put, take what life has to offer... and if it's only small trips.. well, rejoice. However, if you can and are able to, getting out of your life will open undreamt-of new windows of perspective. But that's just crazy ol' me

Happy New Year to all ! Big Grin

Matt Kennedy

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  • Added on: December 30th, 2004
Why should it matter what anyone on this board thinks about the way you like to travel. If you like how you do it, keep doing it. If you see value in trying something different, make an effort to accomplish that, but don't do it simply because everybody else seems to be doing it.
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thebigfella

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  • Added on: December 31st, 2004
Due to various commitments (work, family etc.) i do much the same as you. Six weeks is the longest I can ever get away at one time. I find it works well for me.

As Matt says, odn't feel pressured into doing a RTW just because it's the "real travellers" thing to do. Nobody has written a rule book saying you must travel in a particular way. Do whatever you're comfortable with.

Not the first Travis

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  • Added on: December 31st, 2004
Thanks for all the replies. As to "why should it matter what anyone on this board thinks about the way you like to travel"....oh, don't worry. What other people think about the way I prefer to travel doesn't matter to me at all. I'm an adult. I'm just interested in hearing from people who do the "mega-trips" because I'm curious as to what I might be missing out on, if anything.

Menudio touched on something, about how on long-term trips there can be moments of revelation, for lack of a better word. And globetrotter went into it more deeply.

I'm just interested in hearing how it's different when you're on the road for a long time.

Thanks,

NTFT

Not the first Travis

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  • Added on: December 31st, 2004
OH. I see what you meant, Matt. In my original post, after saying I didn't have any desire to do a RTW trip, I wrote "Do you think less of me? EVEN less of me?"

That was just a joke.

Humor is hard on the internet.

NTFT

travis

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  • Added on: December 31st, 2004
Ok NTFT I'm not the guy you asked to respond on this thread
quote:
I'm just interested in hearing from people who do the "mega-trips" because I'm curious as to what I might be missing out on, if anything.

I have never done the 'mega-trips' but I have done 3 months here, 5 months there, the one-way ticket overseas thing, and such. And I've thought about the RTW but I just don't see many positives to it. Well unless I had tons-o-money. But sooo many people I meet doing the RTW never seem to stay in one place as long as I'd like too, example...I spent nearly 3 months in NZ and it was just long enough to get a good feel for the place, to hike a bunch of the big trails, to get around to almost every corner, to venture off the path, etc... to really enjoy it. But I met soo many people just stopping by there for 3 weeks or so before heading off to Fiji for a week, then LA for a week, then eastern Europe for 2 weeks and all this after spending 2 or 3 weeks in places in Indai and Asia. Many of these people just rushed through areas seemingly checking them off a list and hurring on to the next stop. Now maybe that's how some people like to travel but it's just not for me. Again I spent 2 months in Thailand and many RTWer's thought that was ridiculous but I thought it was hardly enough time, I barely saw half the country, but when i woke up in my little beach hut and walked down to my favorite cafe for the 8th morning in a row, I waved to the little old lady on her porch, she was always there and then when I get there they bring out my iced coffee with out even asking, the waiter would sit down and we'd talk for a while, basically I'm saying i got to know people and become familair with the area, explore all the woods, swim at every beach, etc...
And I think allowing yourself the freedom of a one-way ticket with no plans on where to go next or when to go home can offer the same type of personall satitisfation and discovery as a RTW.
Ok I just re-read my post a bit and it may come off too harsh on you rtwer's. I don't mean to sound like that, I just want to support my form of traveling. And I'm also interested in hearing some more responses from you rtwer's and hopefully some of you who have traveled both styles could give a bit of compare and contrast.

Eowyn218

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  • Added on: December 31st, 2004
quote:
Originally posted by travis:
I'd like too, example...I spent nearly 3 months in NZ and it was just long enough to get a good feel for the place, to hike a bunch of the big trails, to get around to almost every corner, to venture off the path, etc... to really enjoy it.


Yes, that's how I am too. I like to savor places. Now granted I am a virgin traveler so I don't have any input, except for U.S. travel...but this is how I will be traveling in the future.

I was in southern Spain for only a week last year, and even sticking to just southern Spain was too much of a whirlwind for me - I could have extended southern spain to 2-3 weeks easily, which would mean ALL of Spain would take maybe 6 weeks??

Sorry to derail the thread. I just liked what you wrote, travis.

I would love to hear from other RTW travelers as well.


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