Featured writer: Rachael Ruddick
Taking a year off from work and traveling around the world has always been on my ‘to do’ list and finally last year my husband and I, after losing an auction on a house that we weren’t entirely sure we really wanted and probably couldn’t afford anyway, decided it was now or never.
A year of travel requires a certain level of planning, especially if you have a long list of bucket list items you plan to tick off along the way. In our case the list was prolific and the 6 months of pre planning just barely left us ready to go. Our basic premise of the trip was to ‘follow the summer’. So we started in Africa for the southern hemisphere summer, and we are now inEurope till October, after that there will be a short stint in North America, and finally down to South America for our ‘third’ summer in a row.
When considering a massive trip such as this I recommend the following:
Starting out –
the first thing to do is to grab a pen and paper and start writing down anything and everything you have ever wanted to do/see/or travel to. Look at magazines, websites, books, anything you can get your hands on. I recommend trying to be specific where possible with dates/seasons as it will help you later on.
Once you have done that try and organise your lists per region and start looking for patterns. After a while you should be able to come up with a rough plan of where to go and when.
The next step –
Lock down your budgeting and timeline. Make sure everyone in the group knows what each others budgets are, if they don’t match you may have problems. You may also want to leave some time to readjust to life on your return, so don’t plan on starting work one day after your return, reverse culture shock is real!
The boring but super important bit –
Logistics. The majority of planning time will be spent organising visas, passports, flights, accomodation, tours, insurance, meeting up with friends/family before you leave and on your trip, sorting out banking and communication, buying gear, getting dental and medical checkups and vaccinations, sorting out life back home in your absence, dealing with last minute things you can’t even concieve of and saying your goodbyes. Leave as much time for this part as possible and keep on chipping away at it every day.
Finally – Get on the plane and start this trip all ready. Leave time for rest and recovery in your plans as well as some flexibility. We have already discovered we missed out on the Queens Jubilee celebration and the Monaco Grand Prix by just a couple days each, we have also arrived in France ready to start our GR5 walk but most of the Gites don’t open for another two, weeks so we have extended our stay in Nice for an extra week.
In the first two months of our trip we have managed the following
Big wall climbing up Mount Kenya
Safari in the Masaai Mara
Seeing Lemurs in the wild
Living the life in a luxury resort in Mauritius
Hiking the cirques in Reunion
What I am looking forward to next
A month traveling through the fjords in Norway
A picture at the chock stone in Norway
Completing my first long distance hike (30 days, followed by another 30)
Via feratta at Muren, Switzerland
Getting a sore neck from seeing the north face of the Eiger
Watching a mountain stage of the TourDe France
Going to Euro Disney
Hiking in Scotland
Running the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington DC
Watching the Halloween Parade in New York
Being in the audience for a taping of the Letterman show
Hiking in the Lost world and seeing Angel Falls
Hanging out with Blue footed boobies and massive turtles in the Galapagos
Seeing the giant heads on Easter Island
Walking the ruins at Machu Picchu
Taking funny photos on the salt flats in Bolivia
Returning home and being able to put my clothes in a cupboard and eat a home cooked meal!
Read more from this author at: http://rachaelruddick.wordpress.com/
Wow! Now there’s an ambitious undertaking. Doing something like this almost seems like a job with all the planning and things to do along the way. I know it’s even better than a job, but definitely takes some forethought. What an amazing memory you are creating. 🙂
Thanks for sharing these useful tips! Love the photo of Mount Kenya and glad that you got to see the Masai Mara, it’s one of my favourite places!
Thank you for your messages. Even three months in the planning process is constantly underway. On the ground you find out about so many events and activities that you would never hear about otherwise. Tomorrow we are planning on going to see the European Speed Climbing Championships, that we found out about yesterday.
This is something that most people dream of doing and somehow always find excuses not to. Congrats for having taken this decision and the best of fun for the rest of your journey!