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Perhaps the most frequently asked question; how do you start to turn such an elusive idea into a well thought-out plan? The answer is quite simple; with an empty template in Excel. The people standing close to me are now slapping their hand palms in their faces, and meanwhile think:

``Of course, Mr. Excel... We didn't expect anything else.``

How -or what type of template you use doesn’t matter at all, just use the tool you like to work in and that you feel comfortable with. Is that on post-its you’re gonna hang your wall with? just do it. The thing is; collecting information is the first step towards your dream. Reading, reading, reading, more reading, noting, further reading and a lot of arithmetic. Quite acid, huh? You have to do something for it and that’s not at all as romantic as the idea you had in the idyllic thoughts of “making a world trip”. Well; deal with it… unless you are a millionaire and you have the coins to outsource everything, this will be your life in the coming months. Still excited? Then read on, already dropped out? Experience this cool adventure with me in the near future, albeit digitally -and who knows, you might get so inspired by a certain place that you’ll soon be on the plane for a shorter trip. After all, you don’t have to organise a trip around the world to visit cool places!

DOES MY UTOPIAN IDEA HAVE ANY CHANCE OF SUCCESS?

This is what you first want to know before you put a lot of energy into it. This question can be broken up into 3 sub-questions:

  1. How much time will it take me?
  2. How much money will it cost me?
  3. Do I have arguments that stop me from going abroad for a longer period of time?

In my next blog ‘money matters’ we will discuss the main points of the financial calculation and planning. In this blog we will zoom in on the factor “time”.

Stop waiting for time. Time isn’t waiting for you.

HOW MUCH TIME DO I NEED FOR A WORLD TRIP?

We can now talk about the definition of a world trip, but I think we all agree that travelling trough three countries within a month should not actually be called a world trip. If you have to believe Wiki, is a world trip in the strict sense of the word a trip one in which each meridian is passed at least once. Whatever; does your trip feel like a world trip? Than it is a world trip from my point of view, agree?

Anyway, the question was how much time you needed for your intended word trip. Sometimes things are as simple as they seem. To make a world trip you simply need much time… a lot! However this answer have of course the equal value of an old brick! To be able to answer the question how much time you need, you first need to know where you want to go. Does your world trip consist of 10, 20, 50, 100 countries or 200 countries? You can make it as crazy as you want.

At the time of writing this blog (2019) there are 196 international recognised independent states and dozens of countries and territories not yet generally recognized. For example: the Islamic State (IS) is listed as “countries not generally recognised“.

Not exactly my cup of tea; but still... it might just fall into your interests.

Back to the subject; the last thing you want is to make the journey of your life under time pressure! Let’s take my trip as an example. My mission is backpacking trough 99 countries. Why 99? Read the FAQ and you will know.

I’ve listed these 99 countries and then inventoried

  • The size of the country
  • The transport infrastructure within the country
  • The hotspots of the country

 

In New Zealand you can easily stretching your legs at the white beaches for 6 weeks and you are still short of time while after 6 weeks in The Gambia you have really seen all fish markets. Trust me, you will. Furthermore; the size of a country doesn’t say everything too; if you want to see all of Russia, just take some time (and order a new liver, just to be sure). The question is: do you really want to see a whole country? Check the country for hotspots and variation!

Last but not least; transport infrastructure within the country. In some countries it will take you easily 16 hours to travel 100KM while in the neighboring country you check in in your next hostel 100KM away within 1 hour while you’ve even time to prepare yourself for a stunning sunset. Don’t be surprised, the times I’ve spent a complete day for relatively short distances within a country are not to be counted on twenty hands. Annoying? Nah no, not always. The experience of a long bus trip among the locals is sometimes an experience in itself! But time remains the same, regardless of whether it’s a fun experience or not. If you don’t want to research the infrastructure of all intended countries and you want to be a Pro-traveller, just use the rule of thumb that travel takes 1 day, regardless of national or international.

If you still want to see everything, you’ll have to make choices:

Travel longer, visit fewer countries or deal with the fact that you can't see everything.

Okay, you’ve moved on a while now and now have a clear picture of where you want to go, what you want to see and how easy it is to get there… Back to my own trip; this allowed me to divide the countries into 1-1,5 weeks, 2 weeks and 3(+) weeks. For the 99 selected countries in my trip I came up with the following percentages:

  • 15% 1-1.5 week
  • 55% 2 weeks
  • 30% 3(+) weeks

On top of that, I’ve increased the total number of weeks by 20%… remember; nobody wants to experience such a once in a lifetime experience at a fast pace. Prefer fewer countries which you really get to know over the “tick in the box”. Believe me, it’s really not worth it!

Travel longer, visit fewer countries or deal with the fact that you can’t see everything.

DO I HAVE THAT MUCH TIME?

That, of course, is the key question.

If you are reading this, you are probably a student, you have just graduated, you are an employee, you run your own business (hands up!) or you are, popularly said, “in between jobs”.

With the exception of the graduated student the answer will be in almost all cases “no” or “difficult”. After all, you have an obligation to apply for a job or you are entitled to a maximum number of leave-days with your employer/university…and so on. Plenty of reasons to think why it can’t be done. Do you have to throw the plan in the bin right away and drink away your grief at the local bar? Could be nice, but not directly necessary. Find out if your employer has included a sabbatical in its policy (don’t expect to get a “yes” on a sabbatical request of 36 months… with a request for an x-number of months to about a year this chance shall increase).

Can you (partly) continue your work/study with a laptop on location abroad? Maybe that’s your ticket to get out (More about that in one of my next blogs) Go look for possibilities! Be creative!

So far the motivating part.

You don’t have that much time and you don’t have the ability to create this in your current situation… Bad luck! Then you belong to the vast majority of people, including myself.

While writing this blog I still work as a QSHE manager at a logistics company. I won’t bore you with the question of what QSHE means, that’s why Google exists. And yes, I’m still working as… next week is my last working week. If you really want it, you might have to make a drastic decision.

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