#23 Musings on Taking The Leap To RTW

I once read that to become someone you have to start calling yourself that, in other words, not labeling myself as a ‘wannabe’ or ‘aspiring’ so-and-so. Which is why I refer to myself as a traveller and never a tourist, despite the fact that I often do “touristy” things. (Note: I say “touristy” with a condescending tone.)

I am trying to wean off the need to check off my list of the must-dos and must-sees at different places I visited, but then again travelling is about the self, and if what it takes is having to see your run-of-the-mill, packed-to-the-brim UNESCO World Heritage Site sometimes, then well, I will forgive myself on being sporadically touristy.

And this I must cultivate, before I embark on my Round The World (RTW) trip. (Again, note: I say this with surety.)

I just read an article about Gunther Holtorf, hailed the modern-day Marco Polo for his extensive travels in a car around the world, having been to nearly 200 countries (that’s practically 80% of all the countries in the world, for those of you who slept in Geography class) over more than two decades.

I was awed, and about to set him up as my personal hero (among other hardcore travellers out there), when I realized that he started his RTW trip only when he was 50-something, an age where the talented, accomplished and relatively wealthy can easily retire and live in peace and comfort for the rest of their lives. And I suppose he did this at a time when he is financially secure, he is already long married (kudos to his wife whom he took on his travels!) with a son, and has sloughed enough in a high-powered top corporate job to both earn enough money and know that that’s not the way to live until the official retirement age rolls around.

I don’t want to wait until I’m 50.

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#22 Bringing Back your Traveller’s Glow

Remember how excited you felt when you were a kid and when you took your first big trip with your parents? Fast forward half a decade or so, and then you were completely psyched to embark on that school trip sans the parentals, think of the secret late-night talks with the girls in the hostel and not having your folks breath down your neck. You know, deep in the core of your bones, that you could almost taste the scent of freedom.

Push ahead a few more years, and you’re at university! You move hundreds or thousands of miles away from home, for the whole time, or just a couple of months on study abroad, and you could not wait to graduate and finally be your own person. And then in between all that, you have somehow cultivated the insanely addictive passion for travel, and your backpack is now your best friend. You also pray that you won’t have to start downing painkillers for that impending chronic back problem that often accompanied travellers, hardcore wanderbugs or not.

You are now, almost, a half-baked wanderbug.

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