- 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: Grad Student
- Now: Grad Student
- How did your travels affect your career when you got back?
I’m behind on my thesis, so I’ve had to take an extension until May (I should have been done in December). I also am unable to work for the entire month of August in order to catch up on my research. Once school starts in Septemember and I start teaching again I’m going to be living paycheck-to-paycheck because I haven’t been able to save all summer.
- What is the route you took/places you visited?
I started in London to get oriented to being out of the country again. Then I took a two-week course in Dubrovnik, Croatia. This included a day trip to the Elephant Islands and Mostar, Herzegovina. After my class I really started traveling. I visited: Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina; Zagreb, Croatia; Plitvice National Park, Croatia; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Lake Bled, Slovenia; Vienna, Austria; Prague, Czech Republic; Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Main, Phuket, some random islands, Koh Samui, Koh Phanang); Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; Byron Bay, Australia; Hunter Valley, Australia.
- Why did you decide to take this trip? What got you into this type of travel, and/or influenced you to go?
I was invited to take the course in Croatia and decided to continue my travels since I had no coursework to complete for the rest of the summer. I previously lived in Dublin, Ireland on a study/work abroad program and in Sydney, Australia in between my undergrad and grad programs. From Dublin I traveled to a few places around Europe, from Sydney I traveled around most of Australia and the south Island of New Zealand. I caught the travel bug hardcore. And I realized what a great experience you can have, and how much more personal the experience is, when you travel alone.
- Out of all your experiences traveling around the world, what was the:
- Best Moment
- Worst Moment
- Biggest Hurdle, Obstacle or Difficulty?
- Biggest surprise?
There are so many! It’s a tie between Bamboo Rafting in Chiang Mai and climbing Mt. Warning in Byron Bay
Incident with a homeless man that had been let into a hostel in Slovenia
The amount of people that spoke English everywhere
- Who is the most memorable person you met on your trip and why?
Oh I hate to say this, and boost his ego more, but I have to say Sonny in Sarajevo. He started the War, History and Tolerance tour out of a hostel in Sarajevo. He stopped doing the tour because of money matters, but we were lucky enough to have him as our tour guide because the regular guide was busy that day (this is all according to him of course…). The tour was great. His ego is unfathomable. The best/most memorable part about him though? He directed a comment at me (and I’ll say up front, I’m not a supermodel but I’m NOT fat!) along the lines of “Yeah, but it’s still my goal to sleep with a fat American.” Lovely man I tell you. But he does have some wonderful, powerful, stories.
- How much planning and preparing did you do?
Winged it a lot
- What was your favorite piece of gear?
Mesh dunk bag – it’s designed to be in water so it doesn’t get moldy. It’s perfect for carrying your things to the shower, and, more importantly, putting wet bottles and towels back in to dry if you have to move on.
- What did you bring, that in hindsight you could’ve left at home?
A lot of things! I had trouble packin because I was going to be in 3 climates and a professional as well as a backpacker setting. However, I should have listened when people said “just bring warm clothes, you’ll buy stuff for hot weather when you get to Thailand!” Boy, were they right! I shopped my brains out in Thailand!
- How did your round-the-world trip change your life? How did it affect and change you as a person?
Going back to Byron Bay made me see how much I’d grown from my last trip, my experiences at home over the past year and the experiences of my current trip. The last time I was there I had just left Sydney and got injured pretty badly, so I ended up staying for a week. The people there were amazing, I laughed and cried and thought, a lot. This time I went back and I had an amazing time again, but I realized that *something* I was looking for last time is already there. I’ve become a lot stronger, more independent, more able to “just say no” to any number of things. It’s a great feeling!
- If you had to sum up your round-the-world trip in one sentence, what would it be?
Just the beginning.
- Are you planning more trips and travels for the future? Are you planning another round-the-world trip?
Absolutely to all of the above. I have discovered local/domestic travel is something I’ve sadly overlooked, so I’m going canoeing on a nearby river for a weekend this month. I hope to go to Puerto Rico in March. After that I am going… somewhere! I have enough frequent flier miles for a free flight anywhere in the world. Odds are, it will bring me back to Oz, but I will explore a new place there for part of the trip and visit my friends there for the other part.
- 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?
It’s so easy to ignore the culture when you know you’re going home in a few days. There’s no reason to learn to eat the local food or meet the local people. Staying in hostels requires a lot of energy, meeting people is an amazing experience, but it can be draining! If you’re just going home in a week you might not be so inclined to make an effort and you’d miss out on a lot. Everyone has something to say that is worth listening to! Aside from that, you can hardly see anything in a one or two weeks!
- What is the most valuable thing you learned?
I need to learn to budget better and pack lighter.
- What is the biggest myth that people have about round-the-world traveling?
That it’s all fun and games. Even travelers have bad days.
- Why do you like to travel?
I love meeting new people, I love seeing new sights. The food is a big bonus too!
- What is your advice for people planning their own RTW trip?
Budget for yourself. You know you. If you suck at sticking to a budget then you need to save more than most people because you are not going to just instantly change when you get on the road.
Tickets are meaningless. They can always be changed. Plans are made to be broken.
Talk to people! Always. Everyone. Don’t be afraid of couples traveling together (heck, the guy and girl you think are a couple might be just friends!). Often times nobody talks to them and they end up getting left out of a lot. Take pity and stop the “3rd wheel I feel stupid” thing!
May 2005-July 2005
near Boston, USA