You have been on some pretty awesome adventures around the world. What originally inspired the two of you to go on your first RTW trip?
Traveling has been a part of our lives for a long time. In our field of mobile/experiential marketing, it’s part of the job. That kind of travel, though, is following someone else’s directions. We’re told where to go and when, and what we’ll be doing in each location. The positive part is that someone else is paying, although we never seem to have enough time! There are many places we’ve visited that we never would have chosen on our own. For example, we absolutely love the southwestern part of the US, and almost every visit there has been work-related. We try and take advantage of days off to get out and explore.
Most recently, we were able to go canoeing on the Hillsborough River near Tampa, spotting alligators, birds and getting away from the big festivals and events we usually work. Working on a contract basis, we have the opportunity to take an extended period off in between jobs. We finally decided that between the burn-out we start to feel at the end of a long contract, and the growing desire to slow way down and really get to know a place, we had to take some time off. We thought and talked about where we wanted to go on our first RTW trip for a few months, and focused our savings toward the goal of being away for about a year. We also used personal credit cards for business spending as much as possible to rack up airline miles. We ended up with enough for each of us to buy a RTW ticket for 100,000 American Airline Miles each with an estimated value of $4750 per ticket. Each ticket included 7 flights.
We noticed you guys have a “Don’t Skip” section on your blog. Of those, is there one in particular that stands out to you as your most memorable or favorite?
Through the “Don’t Skip” series, we try to call attention to destinations that may otherwise be overlooked. They aren’t necessarily off the beaten path, but they’re certainly not on everyone’s list either. Of those we’ve written about so far, our most memorable is probably Danba, China. Not only was it an arduous journey just to get there, it opened up a whole different side of China, one that changed our impression of the country as a whole. Danba town lies in a valley near the east border of Ganzi province, about a 12 hour bus ride west from Chengdu. Snow-capped mountains tower in the distance over the lower grasslands and valleys. It’s part of the Tibetan Plateau, and the unique architecture, colorful dress and friendly people draw you in immediately. Danba was also our jumping off point for visiting perhaps our favorite place in China, Tagong, which will be the topic of an upcoming post in the “Don’t Skip” series!
Overall, what is it that you love about traveling and keeps you going (even through the not-so-glamorous moments)?
As travelers, we feel a great affinity with the sea turtle. He breaks out of his shell and sets straight out on journeys of great distances. He’s independent and follows his own path. Travel encourages us to be calm and wise observers, not jumping to conclusions, taking things slow. The rewards of travel far outweigh the challenges. In fact, the challenges often prove to be inextricably intertwined with the experience as a whole. One of the things we mention in our post about Travel Lessons, is that priorities change with travel. We have certainly learned to not sweat the small stuff, and that’s been an especially helpful one for us both while traveling and at home. Refocusing on what really matters in life requires continuous attention, and we love that travel really helps us to do that.
Where is your next adventure taking you?
Our current work contract runs through the end of 2013. We’re in the Miami area for a few weeks, followed by Dallas, San Francisco and finishing in Los Angeles just before Christmas. After that, we’ve got no immediate plans. Since we spent most of our last extended trip in Asia, we’re thinking we’d like to focus on Central and South America next. On our first trip, we were running out of time, and ended up spending a couple months in Venezuela with friends for the holidays. That was wonderful, but we did skimp on our time in other places to make it happen. Donny would also really like to get his Spanish to a level where he doesn’t get left behind: a worthy goal! We have friends in Panama, Honduras and Colombia, so we’d love to spend some time in those places particularly.
Can you share some advice for people who want to plan an extended Round-The-World trip?
Our best advice is to set a goal and take that first step. Whether that means making a plan or a budget or convincing your partner you’re not crazy, once you have a goal there is something to work towards. Say it out loud. Talk to others who have done it. Most (including us!) are more than willing to help with advice, encouragement or just to bounce ideas off of. There will never be an exact “right time,” and once you’re off, we guarantee you’ll ask yourselves why you didn’t get out there sooner! We have a post on saving to travel the world that may be particularly helpful.
** All photos were kindly provided by TurtlesTravel.com.
We want to thank Donny and Tamara for sharing their travel stories and tips with us. As luck would have it, they were in Atlanta recently and we were able to meet up with them at a couple local events. The two of them were so much fun to chat with because they really have some amazing stories! So definitely be sure to visit their website at http://turtlestravel.com. We hope our paths cross again in the future, but until then, we wish them happiness on their travels!
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