Monday, April 12, 2010

Round The World Travel

~ Discovered a very interesting item on the Round The World Ticket website today that I thought I’d share and comment on.

Titled, 8 Not-So-Obvious Reasons To Go On A Round The World Trip, the writer talks about breaking routines; reinforcing your world view or re-examining your own culture and habits; making new friends and maybe even discovering a new home; the chance to reinvent yourself; and learning to appreciate your home (it may not be quite as dull – or dangerous – as you thought it was).

However, the writer’s second reason, Lose your desire for materialism really caught my attention. The concept of travelling light has been touched on before on this blog (Jim's Guide to Travelling Light). But the chance to declutter your life has not, and this is as good a place to mention it. But first, let me quote the full passage from the above article.

2 – Lose your desire for materialism
People who are preparing to embark on long-term travel are often forced to liquidate many of their possessions before they go out of necessity, but even those who aren’t will likely take on a new relationship with the material world. There is something about living out of a backpack for months or years on end, that tends to make people wonder how valuable their DVD collection or 10+ pairs of formal shoes really are. It doesn’t happen to every long-term traveller, but it seems that quite a few who survive with but 10 kilograms of possessions for an extended period will change their ways upon return to society at large.

Especially if you’ve gotten rid of most of your stuff before you left, you’ll think twice about nearly every new purchase when you get home, and this will likely save you quite a bit of money, though you’ll probably just use the extra dosh toward more travel anyway, so it’s not like you’ll get rich as a result.

When you live out of a backpack for a long time you realise that you need amazingly few things on a daily basis, and each new thing that you might add to this begins to just feel like extra cargo that you’ll have to sell, give away, throw away, or store again one day.

That last paragraph really struck a chord with me. On my seven month 2008 trip, I sent several boxes of ‘stuff’ (memorabilia, books, CDs and DVDs, clothes, etc) at considerable expense back to Australia. Eighteen months later apart from the books, CDs and DVDs, and a couple of items of clothing, almost everything else has been thrown away! And even those books and multimedia items I’ve kept have not been read or re-read, and neither have the CDs and DVDs received much replay since my return.

So why did I buy them in the first place? Mostly because I wanted to remember some of the more significant events of the trip. I think I was afraid I would forget the most interesting and exciting parts of the journey, and thought if I kept permanent reminders, then I could keep those memories alive. All of this makes perfectly good sense of course, but then it has occurred to me since that in fact, as travellers the things we do ultimately remember are precisely the most interesting, and exciting events we experience during our travels.

Maybe those details we eventually forget, are not quite the life changing events we thought they were.

Mind you, as technological innovations continue to change and miniaturise, keeping those memories alive is becoming easier and easier. Small digital cameras, and cameras on virtually every mobile phone now allow us to record everything from skyscrapers to hotel receipts; the meals we eat and the rooms we stay in; our methods of transport and much more besides.

Hopefully, the next time I travel, I will not feel the need to accumulate more baggage and ‘stuff’ than I absolutely need to help me enjoy the travel experience to the full.

Read the full article here…


  1. Very interesting, Jim - I am in the process of downsizing and finding it very difficult, so I think I'm going to have to read a few more articles like this and maybe get into a group that is trying the same thing before I make any progress.

  2. Good luck with it, Angie, I know it isn't going to be easy. My weakness is books, music and movies. I've pretty much stopped buying CDs and DVDs, but I just can't seem to stop accumulating books - and at a much faster rate than I can read them! And even when I read them, I can't seem to let them go, especially the good ones.

    When I head off to New York this summer, all these books (read and unread) will go into storage for another 6-12 months, only to be dragged out and unpacked and sorted and resorted until... who knows what I will do with them!


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