- When did you go on your RTW trip?
- How old were you when you took this trip?
- Including your air ticket and other expenses (from accommodation to souvenir-buying), about how much did your trip cost?
- Where do you live now?
- Before your trip: Travel Tour Manager
- Now: Retired
- How did your travels affect your career when you got back?
I am not back yet. Just two months into a year journey. Hopefully, I will write about traveling alone as a senior citizen woman, using only my social security to pay my way.
- What is the route you took/places you visited?
Departure – Clearwater, Florida,USA to Castledawson, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland, so far. Ahead is still Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey….for the Eastern European 4 month segment. 2 weeks in Egypt, 3 months in India, 4 months in SE Asia, Hawaii, Seattle, Denver, and home to Florida in Spring, 2006.
- Why did you decide to take this trip? What got you into this type of travel, and/or influenced you to go?
I have traveled a great deal….under the radar….but never for this long and RTW. So, it was time. Before I grow OLDER, for goodness sakes. I used to lead trips to the Soviet Union and learned to love the unknown and the uncertain in travel. The Spirit of Adventure got me into it.
- Out of all your experiences traveling around the world, what was the:
- Best Moment
- Worst Moment
- Biggest Hurdle, Obstacle or Difficulty?
- Biggest surprise?
Meeting another travel writer in Sofia, Bulgaria, and spending 4 hours talking to him.
None really,unless its sitting in a train station at midnight, waiting for the 1 am train to Krakow, as I will be doing tonight.
None really, unless it was cooking in the heat of the Sofia-Budapest train that sat on the sidelines for ten hours in Belgrade.
So far, its been as expected.
- Who is the most memorable person you met on your trip and why?
Eric Torjuson, who is Norwegian,but now lives in Spain, currently working on his 4th travel book. I spoke up when he seemed to be considering the menu board at a Sofia bufet. I highly recommended the gyro sandwich I was eating, so he sat with me over lunch. We had so much to talk about that we didnt stop for many hours, even though, at one point, we had to shift locations to get out of the strong sun.
- How much planning and preparing did you do?
- What was your favorite piece of gear?
It has not been invented yet. It is the suitcase in my head with 4 wheels and a motor, and a gadget that will climb stairs, and a good, tall handle. It will weigh only a few ounces, and hold all my stuff very easily. I work on its design going up and down all train station staircases…which are endless.
- What did you bring, that in hindsight you could’ve left at home?
Extra toothpaste tube, first aid stuff, duct tape, drinking bottle, …. all the things that RTW authors suggested I be sure to take. But, I have another 10 months to maybe be glad I have this stuff.
- How did your round-the-world trip change your life? How did it affect and change you as a person?
I will have to answer that next year when it is over. I will probably be the same person, just even more sure of myself. So far, there has been nothing at all in the way of danger or problems.
- If you had to sum up your round-the-world trip in one sentence, what would it be?
I just love to be on the road.
- Are you planning more trips and travels for the future? Are you planning another round-the-world trip?
Hope so. Would like to go West to East next time.
- Why do you think people should go on round-the-world trips? Why not just take a regular old one- or two-week vacation instead?
Because they learn to depend entirely upon themselves in countries where they neither speak, nor understand, the language….and where English is rarely understood or spoken. That has certainly been the case in Eastern Europe. Still, one must find the way through a train or bus schedule or a menu. When you can do that consistently, over and over, then you know you can cope with anything. This also teaches you to scope ahead and take care of your future steps while you are walking in your current ones.
- What is the most valuable thing you learned?
Self-reliance. And that nothing bad ever happens. I knew that already, but its been confirmed again. That people are wonderful and very much alike, and that they are basically concerned with their own life and problems….not yours. They are not trying to hurt you. They are trying to do their job. They can be trusted to give you the right change. They will help, to a limited extent….usually the extent of the language they understand…but you must take care of your own self.
- What is the biggest myth that people have about round-the-world traveling?
That it is dangerous. It is not. It can be mighty inconvenient, and you must be willing to be inventive and to get very tired, pulling your own suitcase, and getting out of your own fixes. But, if you are cheerful about whatever presents itself,and if you are not afraid, then everything works out eventually. Ones attitude makes or breaks every experience.
- Why do you like to travel?
Sometimes I wonder,when I am body sore, but when I am home, I am always longing to be out again. I think that its because I am tackling the unknown and winning. I have an inner gyroscope that stays quiet when I am having adventures. I look for transcendence of the ordinary……though I am often aware that many, many moments of travel are very ordinary. Life is life and not just a barrel of monkeys at every minute.
- What is your advice for people planning their own RTW trip?
If you are even considering this sort of travel, then it is for you. Because most people would never consider it. They know, for sure, that it is not for them. But, if you think it could be for you….then, it is. So just go, for heavens sake. But, if work and family interfere for now, dont despair. I could not go RTW till just now, and I am pushing seventy….at least, on paper. My body feels as young as my thirty-something hostel mates. And that is necessary, because RTW travel is a lot of physical work. No way around it, even if you spend bigger bucks and do all hotels and taxis,which is, frankly, boring. RTW is not for the fair weather traveler and not for sissies. But, it sure is rewarding if you are not among the faint-hearted.
May 2005-May 2006
Currently -Eastern Europe