As my trip progresses and I share my stories on the blog, I often get people asking me about my journey and how am I able to do this Round the world trip. Well, here are the 10 most common Q&A:
1. Any advice on how I can start my journey (travel around the world)?
I see this as a “three main steps” process – or at least, that’s how it worked for me.
First is the “why”. Why do you want to make this trip? Think what appeals to you and what do you think you want to gain in life through this trip. Do you want to gain knowledge, culture, friends, religious development, etc? It doesn’t need to be fancy, but it has to be true to what you really want. I elaborate more about this on this post.
Then comes the “where”. Decide where to go based on your travel “goal” established in your “why”. You want to “eat the world”? Countries like Italy, Jordan, Vietnam, and a few more are a good option. Want adventure? Other countries might be more appealing. Spirituality? India is high on the list, but not the only one. You get the point. Do your research to find those destinations that will appeal to you based on what you want.
Then you can start budgeting the trip. I did a post on this where I list the most important things to budget on a trip. Also, you could work the budget after the “why” and select destinations with the budget in mind.
2. I was just wondering how do you afford all of your trips or how do you financially support yourself through travel?? It seems that you have a never-ending supply of travel money. Where does your income come from?
I definitely don’t have an endless supply of money, but I do my best to keep my costs lower than my income, or at least around the same range, by couchsurfing, staying at hostels, use public transportation, and such.
While living in New York City, I purged my regular/daily spending to save as much as possible to travel. At one point, I was saving $1000 per month by following a few simple tips. That’s how I lived my last year there. Of course, it was a sacrifice then, but now I’m enjoying it all!
Also, I did spend a lot of time working on the blog to try to use it as a source of income while on the road.
I wrote a post a few months back on how exactly I’m managing and earning the money on the road.
3. How do you manage to travel by yourself but not get bored or lonely?
Well, on traveling solo, the most important thing you need to have is an attitude towards the fact that you are traveling on your own, but that you’re not alone. The best way to do that is by being open to meet new people and flexible enough to go with the flow. Sometimes I like to have a familiar face around, and it helps a lot. That’s why; I often pair with old friends or meet new ones one the road and travel together for some time.
I like to keep myself busy by doing things I really want to do and that make me happy. Now a day, thanks to technology and social media, it is really easy to stay in touch with family and friends. The important thing is to know that you don’t need to have that company in order to enjoy your travels. I recommend reading this post on dealing with loneliness on the road.
4. How did you get started travel writing? How has the blog helped your travels?
I started my blog almost 3 years ago without any blogging knowledge. I have no background in journalism or anything related, so I took the MatadorU travel writing course to help improve my writing and blog focus. It is one of the best decisions I’ve taken regarding my blog. Through them, I got better connected with travel industry folks and got some good contacts for my trip.
I recommend, if you’re really interested in starting a blog… to just do it! Start your blog, try to find a niche you’re either really interested in or good at. Usually, blogs that have a clear focus and a great personality are the ones that do the best.
You don’t need to worry about being a great writer (I’m not one either), you just have to know to which audience you’re writing for and deliver the best content you can. And just be yourself!
Eventually, when the blog has a decent following, you will be able to monetize it. (If that’s something that interests you)
Even with my blog I pay for most of my travels. The blog helps a lot, though, by subsidizing them with the money earned through advertising, content writing, commissions, and collaborations with companies and tourism boards.
5. As a female, I worry about safety while traveling. What makes you so sure about the safety? One thing I envy about guys, they can go around the world and feel so secure. Need some advice please?
Safety is a serious concern and is one that you should be well aware of when traveling on your own.
Like you mentioned, being a guy makes it somewhat easier to “be around” in many countries. It’s easier for a woman to receive sexually harassing comments and to be approached in an unwanted way, than it is for a guy. But, it still happens for both sexes.
From my experience, when it comes to those types of approach you need to be well aware of your surroundings and learn how to ignore and move forward. It is better to avoid than to confront people in those types of situations.
In other types of safety issues, I always say to use your common sense and best judgment. For example, if there’s a dark alley, don’t go through it alone. If people around look un-trusty, move away from them. Always trust your instincts. Always!
When possible, try to blend in with the crowd to not bring attention to yourself. For example, in Arab countries, cover your shoulders and hair with a scarf or any other light fabric. While you might still look as a foreigner, the fact that you are respecting their culture means a lot and brings less attention to yourself.
And, always, always, keep an eye on your stuff… you don’t want to leave things unattended in public and lose them.
I give a few more tips on this post, but I would recommend you to check out a few blogs that can help much more that I can in terms of safety and experiences as solo female travelers. These are: www.nomadicchick.com, www.adventurouskate.com, www.legalnomads.com.
6. How do you navigate through maze of insurance cover & their small print when planning to have awesome world tour where for example various modes of transport, belongings & drink will be involved? How to compare it, where to find it, what to insure! This has been plaguing me since I started planning a trip; I’m not sure where to start!
This is a question I often get and one that requires a really extensive response. For this reason, I dedicated an entire post just to answer these questions and showing what you must know to select the correct travel insurance.
7. As an architect, it is great to see someone else in the field exploring the world. I am in the process of trying to incorporate long-term travel into my life, but find it difficult to do so as an architect with projects that overlap and last a year. While I love being an architect, it also feels that it ties one down to limited time to travel… How do you manage to balance both? It would be amazing to hear your perspective. (This applies to ALL professionals, not just architects)
Well, to be honest, it is quite hard to do both things at the same time (travel and architecture). For a few years, when I worked at a firm, I compromised some of my “social time” working extra hours to accrue some extra vacation days to extend my short trips. But of course, that only gave me so many extra days to travel per year.
Eventually, with the blog running and generating some income, I decided to quit the firm to travel long term. But, before doing that, since I knew architect employers are not that open minded with sabbaticals and remote-employees, I made sure to identify myself as an architect on my blog and the “blogosphere”. There are a lot of travel bloggers out there, but not many architect/travel bloggers.
While I wanted to travel long term, I didn’t want to distance myself completely from architecture, even if it meant “practicing” it in a different way. So, exposing myself as an architect on my blog allowed me to present myself as an “expert” in the field to many travel companies and tourism boards that would like to focus their tourism campaigns on architecture.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Belize, Norway, Eurail, Holland, Jordan, and a few more, as a travel blogger who is focused on writing about their architecture. Apart from that, I do some small architecture side jobs on my own that I consider I can dedicate my time to work on.
It’s true that you might not want to have a travel blog, but you could think of yourself as a freelancer, architectural consultant for companies abroad, or tap into another branch of the industry that can permit you to travel.
In reality there is no secret way to make it happen. I just had to “sacrifice” traditional firm work (but did it happily) for a more non-traditional approach to using my architectural knowledge.
I too love architecture, and I know I’ll be back at a firm eventually, but for now, this is doing just fine.
8. The before and after… How to prepare and where to start when you return?
On the before, I’ve somewhat answered it on #1 form the planning perspective, on #2 form the economical, and on #7 from the professional.
On the after, since I’m on the road I have not experienced this yet, but I recommend these posts from Meet, Plan, Go, a site for people planning their career breaks. Easing your Re-Entry, and Getting Back to Reality and Resumes.
I also recommend to be proactive a few months before coming home by sending your updated resume to companies of your interest, that way, you might have the chance to settle back quicker.
9. Which are your favorite countries?
My top 5 countries are:
Belize – Great cultural diversity and not over exposed
Peru – Machu Picchu and llamas… enough said!
Thailand – From ancient temples, to parties, to ladyboys… Thailand is just a high doze of craziness.
Tanzania – I don’t like the people, in general, but the sights and things to do are amazing… and there’s Zanzibar!
Jordan – Great food, history, and Petra! What else do you need?
10. What influence do you hope this experience will have on the rest of your life?
This trip has made an impact in my life, for sure. It is not one of those drastic “epiphany-like” changes, but the accumulation of a lot of small realizations. The things I’ve learned, not only about life, but also about cultures and the way people act and live in different countries have influenced me in my way of acting and living too.
I’ve become more confident in managing my life. While traveling, everything depends on me, so if I want to do or have something, I need to make it happen. And on the road (like with almost in life) there can be a lot of mishaps, so flexibility has been key. There’s always more than one way to get from “A” to “B”, you just have to be creative and proactive.
I think I’ve learned to differentiate better between the “issues” that really matter and the ones that are not worth my attention (that before I could have drowned thinking about them).
And finally, life is so much simpler when you live out of a backpack!
Do you have any questions you’d like me to answer here or in an upcoming post? Share it in the comments or send it to me via norbert (at) globotreks (dot) com.