Around the world with Natalie and Stoytcho

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Hello! Welcome to the blog that will document our journey around the world.¬† I’ll update this as we move through the planning stages of the trip, then as we hit the road as we begin our journey through Central America, South America, Oceania, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Russia, and Europe. But why a yearlong trip around the world? Two reasons: the love of travel and the challenge.

Reason #1: The Love of Travel
I’ve always loved travel. I grew up on road trips through the national parks of the U.S. and longer trips abroad to Mexico, England, in China. In college, I started taking my own trips for fun (Australia) or for research (Tahiti). No matter where I went, I always came back with new experiences, new information, and new learning. The world is so big, and every person has something I don’t know, something to learn. It’s unlikely these people are going to find me, so I better go find them!

There’s also a sharpening of the senses that occurs in new and unknown places. The colors are brighter, the sounds are clearer, and every smell seems to hang in the air, mixing and swirling around to create an almost synaesthetic symphony. Much of this comes from the the nature of travel itself–when we find ourselves in new places, the lack of familiarity engages our mind, placing us on alert. Even in the absence of danger, this sharpening of senses occurs, thrilling us and and drawing us to focus on the immediate, present experience.

Reason #2: The Challenge
Travelling around the world for a year is a HUGE planning and logistics challenge. I loved fitting together all of the interolocking pieces of the trip, and part of the reason this blog exists is to share my travel experiences¬† and help others plan their trips. I’ve broken down below into four categories of planning below, with examples of what it entailed:

  1. Route planning
    1. Rough-draft route around the world
    2. “Bucket List” locations we definitely wanted to visit
    3. Specific activities we wanted to do
  2. Financial
    1. Estimating total cost
    2. Finding ways to reduce costs
    3. Setting up financial instruments that would enable us to access money safely worldwide
  3. Gear
    1. Figuring out how we wanted to live
    2. Identifying potential equipment we would need
    3. Narrowing equipment options based on planned locations and activites
  4. Life Interruption
    1. Setting up ways to keep in touch with family and friends
    2. Fitting career with travel plans
    3. Planning immediate next steps post-travel (lodging, savings)

Each of the above categories had three stages – exploration/research, then decision/execution, and finally testing and review. Our goal was to be able to test and then change anything that didn’t work, because more than anything we wanted to have fun on the trip and minimize our worrying. In coming blog posts, I’ll add more details about our thought process for each step.

In addition to logistics and lessons learned, we will also be posting pictures and writing about the amazing things we experience on our travels. Stay tuned!

– Natalie

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