How My Travel Plans Evolved
I’ve grown up watching countless episodes on National Geographic, which caused me to dream of traveling to distant places from a young age. Luckily for me, my mother loved to see new places, and she would bring me along. By the age of 18, I had been to many destinations, from Panama to Canada with many stops in between. I had lots of good times and experiences, but it wasn’t quite how I imagined it to be from my childhood fantasies.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, until recently. I have not be traveling the way I really wanted to. Living in the Caribbean is different from living in a big city in USA or Europe. The islands are so small, that everyone knows everyone. I kid you not. Needless to say, many beliefs are passed on throughout generations, and sadly to say…travel is not one of those beliefs. Many people in my society see travel as either shopping trips to New York, or a week-long vacation ‘somewhere nice’.
Please do not get me wrong. I have done the whole week-long vacation strategy, and I have had nothing but good experiences. However, it has come to the point where it is no longer enough. A week does not give enough time for adventure. Momentary panic attacks when you lose your way, and the strong feeling of accomplishment after you get yourself back on track. I dream of getting lost in the winding narrow paths of a small town in Italy, or simply finding a special cafe in which the locals meet for lunch. Tourist traps have been interesting enough, but I am now ready to create my own experiences, rather than easily booking a package tour from the comfort of my room.
So, it’s pretty easy to talk of things I’d like to do someday, without actually committing to the idea. Well, I’ve done something very unlike me recently. It started out like any average day, with trip ideas floating around in my head, when I decided to google a map of the world. Mindlessly, I began to pinpoint the locations to which I’ve been to, when something became suddenly clear. I have never been across the Atlantic Ocean! I was in state of disbelief. How could I have traveled so frequently, and for so many years, and have only stepped foot within my immediate region??? It was at that very moment that I made a snap decision. I was going to visit Europe in 2011.
This decision was made in October 2010. I was madly in love with the prospect of seeing the Old World, and hours upon hours were spent in research. I had a friend who volunteered to come along and boy, was I thrilled! Since this was to be our first trip so far away from home, we were not anxious to travel for any long period of time, so we were planning to simply visit London for a week with a day trip to Paris. When January 2011 came around, and it was time to get the actual financial side of things rolling, my friend backed out. I was crushed, and unfortunately, was still bitten by the travel bug. So, for the moment, I disregarded my European plans, and settled for a trip to New York to visit family members in early February.
After I came home from the trip, I was still not happy. I felt as if I had let myself down and I returned to my internet research, more determined than ever, that 2011 would not meet me still not having crossed the Atlantic. I started to look at European cruises, and I found one that suited me. It had a nice balance between Western and Eastern Europe, and the cost was well within my budget. The departure date was set for 8th October, 2011, so I decided to apply for my vacation time around that period.
Google searches led me to links containing several travel blogs. I had no idea that other people were so in love with travel as I was, and it was extremely comforting. I laughed with others, and felt bad for them when things did not go their way. I was unknowingly becoming attached to the world of travel bloggers. Soon after my new hobby of living vicariously through the travels of others, I came across an article about RTW trips. The idea of traveling Round the World was enticing, and the thought stuck in my head.
I kept blowing it off, thinking that it was impossible to do. How could I afford to do a RTW trip so last-minute? There were only 6.5 months between then and my proposed departure date of early October. Could I make it work? If so, how long could I be gone for? These were only a few of the questions which plagued me nonstop for days on end. I finally decided to give the idea a chance. At the very least, I could be consoled with the knowledge that I’d tried. Do you think I can do it? Let’s find out!