BootsnAll indie travel guide

What is Your Why?

What is the reason you want to take a round the world trip? Is it something that you’ve really sat down and thought about? Have you come up with your “Why?”

For most of us travel lovers, the initial answer is something along the lines of, “I want to see all the places I’ve dreamed about.”

But if you really think about it – digging deep – I would guess that you have a bigger purpose than just ticking cities, countries, sites, and experiences off your list.

What is your Why?

What is your Why?

Your “Why” can change

When my wife and I decided to go on our RTW trip, we were in our late 20’s, just getting established in our careers, contemplating buying a house and starting a family.  Right in the thick of the American Dream.  When the trip idea first came up, our initial why was simply that we loved to travel, and the thought of leaving our jobs, traveling for an entire year, seeing all these amazing places, and doing what we wanted when we wanted was the biggest appeal.

But was that enough to take such a big risk, giving up good paying jobs at the beginning of our careers and do something that most thought so unconventional?  Our love of travel was enough to make us really contemplate taking off to see the world, but it wasn’t enough to make us take that leap.  To really get us over the hump, we reflected and dug deep.  We thought about what it was that we wanted out of life.

Like many others who choose to take the leap of faith and travel around the world, it ultimately came down to one thing – regret.  In 5, 10, 20, 30 years, what would we regret more?  Playing it safe and joining the million of others in the rat race?  Or taking a risk and doing what it was we really wanted to do?  When we thought about it in those terms, the decision became easy.

And now, a decade after making that decision in 2007, I can honestly say it was the best decision of our young lives.  And thinking about our Why? made us feel more at ease with that decision and confident that we were doing what was right for our us.  Though many thought we were crazy, we knew that this is what we were supposed to do.

Examples of “Why”

BootsnAll has been around since 1998, and in that time, we have made connections with thousands of travelers.  Here are some “Why’s” we’ve heard over the years:

  • I don’t want to wait for retirement.  I want to see the world when I am young.
  • Regret!  On my death bed, I don’t want to think about the things I was too scared to do.  I want to remember the great things I experienced in my life.
  • I’m not sure what I want to do and I feel uninspired in my current life. Long-term travel may help open and challenge my assumptions of what is possible.
  • I want to learn about a specific part of the world, and by going there, meeting and talking to the people, and learning about it is the best way.
  • Because I can!
  • I have always dreamed of seeing [Machu Picchu, the Pyramids, Everest, the Great Barrier Reef, etc.]
  • My passion is surfing, and I want to surf the best places around the world.
  • I have a physical accomplishment on my list – hiking Everest, the Boston Marathon, etc.), and what better time to do it than on an epic RTW trip?
  • I want to volunteer and really make a difference, not just do it for a few days or a week.
  • Because I want to share the world with my children.  I want them to understand how others live.  And the best way to educate them about other people and other parts of the world is not by having them sit in a classroom, it’s getting out into the world and showing them.

Real life folks and their Why?

  • Surfing Around the World – As the website url suggests, they are surfing (the wave kind) around the world. Most of the decisions they make about where and when to go are influenced by the surf.
  • From Tourist to Townie – Gareth has planned his travels around digging deeper into Latin American culture, “to truly understand foreign communities through the people and culture that define them.”

Some more more resources on the Why

Simon Sinek on the Golden Circle – Why, How and What. It’s starts with why? – He talks about it from a company perspective…think about you, as the company – and what the Why is for your RTW. It is powerful when you figure it out.

There is no right or wrong answer to this – it’s your answer and yours alone. But if you can identify your why, it really can motivate you to take that leap faith. And it’s going to be much easier to actually plan this whole thing going forward. You will have a purpose, and that purpose will shape where you go and what you see.

Photo credits: Frederick Lin Photography

Comments on What is Your Why?

Jamy Garcia
02 February 2013

I will be retiring in a few years. I want to experience a variety of places, explore culture and museums, volunteer with animal welfare/rehab projects. From these experiences, I will decide where I want to live.

Heather Hastie
02 February 2013

My why is simply my desire to understand others. I live in a country where a lot of immigrants come to make home. I want to understand where they come from, and why Canada is a destiny of choice. I know why on an intellectual level but really want to understand on a visceral level. I also want my children to understand this. so that when they hit their teen years, they’ll understand why a $200 pair of jeans is so immaterial to who they are.

03 February 2013

To me, traveling is an investment in who you are and your future. Every time you go out of your comfort zone and experience new things you become a more down-to-Earth individual. It also teaches you to take things as they come because there is always an element of unknown. Life is about exploring who you are and experiencing the world around you. Travel = learning.
09 April 2013

Because it’s there. Because we were told the way we were raised was the only way, it’s a great feeling to know , that there are many ways of doing things.

Because there are over 300 countries in the world and I have only seen a tenth of them. Because I love street food and enjoy it immensely. Yes, I do travel for food and people as well as nature.

13 April 2013

I am 56 y.o. have always want to see the world. I had to put traveling on hold 7 years ago. It’s my turn now before I can’t enjoy myself.

An B. Lim
13 April 2013

Because I can sit down for long hours at an office/cubicle job for the rest of my life whether or not I am in good shape. Can’t say the same about journeying around the world! Gotta do that while your fit and capable! There’s always money to be made and it will never go away, but the opportunity to see and enjoy the world when you still have the energy and strength to do so is limited.

21 July 2013

Because if I don’t see the world and experience what it has to offer this is my life forever

Pat Hooper
17 September 2013

As two retirees who have travelled internationally over the past 30 plus years we can never explain the joys of an “early morning market”, a “sunrise/sunset over anywhere”, a discussion with “locals” as these are moments that make your life so much better.

03 November 2013

I think that a lot of people don’t travel (especially in the states) is because they see it as a luxury and I never understood why people consider it a luxury. I see it as a necessity too. It all boils down to what you value and the investment you’re willing to make in your life which is a personal decision.

05 December 2013

I am 37 and still have no clear picture of what I want to do with my life. I just know that what I am doing now is not it. I want to see the world, experience something different, make a difference with my life. Long term travel will open me up to new experiences and hopefully one of those experiences will point me in the direction I need to go.

26 December 2013

I want to keep exploring new places, meeting new people, getting to know cultures different from my own, and continuing to have adventures…

16 January 2014

Because as Steve Jobs so elequently put it” Your Time is Limited ” So dont live somebody elses lie! And as for me never forget YOU ARE A LONG TIME DEAD!

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