Author Topic: What is it like to Travel the World  (Read 17675 times)

enpower

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What is it like to Travel the World
« on: September 24, 2014, 05:05:41 PM »
My fianc'e and I are both mid 20's.

Our immediate goals are to get married, look to have children in mid 30's and build careers and our financial position.

However, our burning desire to save, invest, improve incomes, etc are to be able to travel extensively in later life.

So for those of you that are in a financial position to work if you choose to, have income coming in from your investments and those who have the opportunity to travel the world at a moments notice if you choose to...

What's it like?

Most of our current holidays have been limited to places close to home, a short 1-2hour flight away or a half day car trip. I've never been overseas but don't want to blow all our money and savings now for one trip and start from scratch. We want to build up our income from investments first and allow them to pay for our travel later in life.

sol

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2014, 05:26:33 PM »
If you're serious about this, my advice is to do it now rather than saving to do it later.  This is one of those things that is worth postponing FIRE for.

Travel in the third world is humbling.  You meet amazingly generous and happy people who live in squalor.  You learn to reevaluate your perspectives on what makes life meaningful.  Expanding your horizons expands your horizons.

Travel in the rest of the western world is quirky but not quite as enlightening.  Kiwis have funny names for things and Britons tend to be in a rush all the time, but their lives aren't really that different from ours. 

Travel in the undeveloped and uninhabited parts of the world can be spiritually fulfilling in a way that is hard to explain.  Creation is grand and people tend to pollute a place with their noises and schedules and narrow view of what's important.  Sometimes you need to get away from humanity to appreciate the places we do occupy.

If you're going to postpone traveling the world until you are old and rich, then your travel experiences will not be as different from your home experiences as you might expect.  The wealthy tend to follow well worn paths, adhere to familiar itineraries and sleep in hotels with familiar amenities surrounded by people with familiar lives.  Getting high with models in Ibiza is definitely an experience, but I don't think it's the best experience a person can have and it baffles me why the world's wealthiest people flock to it and so many experiences just like it. 


SnackDog

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2014, 05:36:06 PM »
Things are pretty exciting at first.  Every new place is a wonder. But, after a few years, you realize people everywhere are about the same.  The whole tourist thing gets a bit repetitive.

I sometimes feel like Karl. See his visit to the Pyramids at Giza at about 5:05....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7gL9ofxl0g

deborah

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2014, 05:42:25 PM »
Why don't you see what it's like by traveling the neighbourhood?

I'm serious. This year I have started to go to National Parks and nature reserves in the vicinity of my city - they are all different, they are all exciting - I had never visited any of them, and at the rate of one a week, I reckon I have another year or two of different experiences (none more than an hour's drive away). A few years ago (before MMM) I noticed that each neighbourhood shopping centre in my city had its own character, and that I should visit them all - but I still haven't gone even close. Walking around the neighbourhood and seeing the different houses (one even has a full blown telescope out the front) has given me a different perspective. And I have yet to go to the public places - museums, art galleries...

Once you have traveled some of your neighourhood imagine how much you would enjoy (or otherwise) this same experience in different places. Then you will know how much traveling the world would mean to you.

enpower

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2014, 05:47:44 PM »
Why don't you see what it's like by traveling the neighbourhood?

I'm serious. This year I have started to go to National Parks and nature reserves in the vicinity of my city - they are all different, they are all exciting - I had never visited any of them, and at the rate of one a week, I reckon I have another year or two of different experiences (none more than an hour's drive away). A few years ago (before MMM) I noticed that each neighbourhood shopping centre in my city had its own character, and that I should visit them all - but I still haven't gone even close. Walking around the neighbourhood and seeing the different houses (one even has a full blown telescope out the front) has given me a different perspective. And I have yet to go to the public places - museums, art galleries...

Once you have traveled some of your neighourhood imagine how much you would enjoy (or otherwise) this same experience in different places. Then you will know how much traveling the world would mean to you.

This is a brilliant idea.

I used to live in a different suburb and when I moved to live with my fianc'e, the first few months of exploring a new suburb were very exciting to explore all the new places.

klystomane

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2014, 05:48:15 PM »
If you're serious about this, my advice is to do it now rather than saving to do it later.  This is one of those things that is worth postponing FIRE for.

Travel in the third world is humbling.  You meet amazingly generous and happy people who live in squalor.  You learn to reevaluate your perspectives on what makes life meaningful.  Expanding your horizons expands your horizons.

Travel in the rest of the western world is quirky but not quite as enlightening.  Kiwis have funny names for things and Britons tend to be in a rush all the time, but their lives aren't really that different from ours. 

Travel in the undeveloped and uninhabited parts of the world can be spiritually fulfilling in a way that is hard to explain.  Creation is grand and people tend to pollute a place with their noises and schedules and narrow view of what's important.  Sometimes you need to get away from humanity to appreciate the places we do occupy.

If you're going to postpone traveling the world until you are old and rich, then your travel experiences will not be as different from your home experiences as you might expect.  The wealthy tend to follow well worn paths, adhere to familiar itineraries and sleep in hotels with familiar amenities surrounded by people with familiar lives.  Getting high with models in Ibiza is definitely an experience, but I don't think it's the best experience a person can have and it baffles me why the world's wealthiest people flock to it and so many experiences just like it.

Agreed. And while early FIRE is quite difficult, it's not that hard to stay out of debt, still be able to save, and travel lots at the same time.

enpower

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2014, 05:50:29 PM »
Things are pretty exciting at first.  Every new place is a wonder. But, after a few years, you realize people everywhere are about the same.  The whole tourist thing gets a bit repetitive.

I sometimes feel like Karl. See his visit to the Pyramids at Giza at about 5:05....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7gL9ofxl0g

Have you ever tried living somewhere else for several months at a time? Not to be a quick stop tourist but actually become one of the local people instead?

I struggle to conceive the idea that travelling to new places would become repetitive or boring.

Canadian Nicole

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2014, 05:55:02 PM »
I agree with others that you shouldn't put off all travel until later in life, because you never know what your situation will be and don't want to have regrets.    Why not aim for a short trip a year and try to travel as frugally as possible?   It does wonders for your perspective on everything.   

enpower

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2014, 06:00:31 PM »
If you're serious about this, my advice is to do it now rather than saving to do it later.  This is one of those things that is worth postponing FIRE for.

Travel in the third world is humbling.  You meet amazingly generous and happy people who live in squalor.  You learn to reevaluate your perspectives on what makes life meaningful.  Expanding your horizons expands your horizons.

Travel in the rest of the western world is quirky but not quite as enlightening.  Kiwis have funny names for things and Britons tend to be in a rush all the time, but their lives aren't really that different from ours. 

Travel in the undeveloped and uninhabited parts of the world can be spiritually fulfilling in a way that is hard to explain.  Creation is grand and people tend to pollute a place with their noises and schedules and narrow view of what's important.  Sometimes you need to get away from humanity to appreciate the places we do occupy.

If you're going to postpone traveling the world until you are old and rich, then your travel experiences will not be as different from your home experiences as you might expect.  The wealthy tend to follow well worn paths, adhere to familiar itineraries and sleep in hotels with familiar amenities surrounded by people with familiar lives.  Getting high with models in Ibiza is definitely an experience, but I don't think it's the best experience a person can have and it baffles me why the world's wealthiest people flock to it and so many experiences just like it.

Only reason we don't want to do this is because many of our friends are just coming back from travelling the world in their mid 20's. Since leaving university, their only work experience has been in bars or restaurants working for minimum wage and they have no savings to their name, no career built, etc.

Where as myself and my fianc'e have bought our first rental property, have around $150k net worth combined, have built careers, earning $95k between the two of us and building up a solid base to prepare us for the future.

I don't just want to throw this all away so we can travel now.

I would have thought building up assets now to allow inflation work in our favour and then travel later on with the income from our investments paying for it all.

I figure if we travel now, spend all our money it will set us back over 5 years for our plan for children, retirement, etc.

However, we do both feel the urge to travel and explore new places, just whether having to spend thousands of dollars or spend only a few hundred and get the same satisfaction from travelling somewhere locally for the meantime.

For example the places we would want to travel the most would be Europe (my partner more places like Italy, France, Spain and myself more like places such as Nepal, Norway, Sweeden, etc)

enpower

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2014, 06:02:23 PM »
I agree with others that you shouldn't put off all travel until later in life, because you never know what your situation will be and don't want to have regrets.    Why not aim for a short trip a year and try to travel as frugally as possible?   It does wonders for your perspective on everything.

A frugal overseas holiday?

We live in New Zealand so basically everwhere overseas turns into a quite expensive holiday as we are quite far away from the rest of the world.

We looked at travelling to Sydney for our potential honeymoon and this looked like it would cost around $3000 in total for a 2 week holiday.

Eric

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2014, 06:04:35 PM »
Check out www.gocurrycracker.com and www.bumfuzzle.com/

I'm sure there are a bunch of other blogs out there of people doing this as well.

Beric01

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 06:25:22 PM »
I hear people not saying to delay travel, but what does this mean? Right now I am taking 1 international vacation a year (2 weeks) to see a little of the world - very touristy. This is in part to give me an idea of where I want to live post-FIRE. I can't experience the full international lifestyle until FIRE, when I don't have work obligations.

However, my FIRE plans are by age 33 (currently looking at ways to pull that in to as early as 31), when I will be FIRE and free to explore the world as much as I want (within a frugal budget). Is 31-33 too late? I cannot imagine delaying FIRE for several years! (and having gaps in my employment).

enpower

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2014, 06:28:47 PM »
I hear people not saying to delay travel, but what does this mean? Right now I am taking 1 international vacation a year (2 weeks) to see a little of the world - very touristy. This is in part to give me an idea of where I want to live post-FIRE. I can't experience the full international lifestyle until FIRE, when I don't have work obligations.

However, my FIRE plans are by age 33 (currently looking at ways to pull that in to as early as 31), when I will be FIRE and free to explore the world as much as I want (within a frugal budget). Is 31-33 too late? I cannot imagine delaying FIRE for several years! (and having gaps in my employment).

What??

You want to retire from work at 33!!


limeandpepper

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2014, 06:37:02 PM »
If I were you I'd take a small portion of my savings to do one affordable international trip every couple of years or so. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Then do the more extended trips later on, when you feel more financially comfortable.

As for what it is like, everyone's experiences are different... I'm currently in a place famous for its pagodas, but I tend to be more fascinated by other things e.g. the other day we saw a man-powered Ferris wheel, which was pretty crazy.

I get joy from local travel as well, but it tends to be a different kind of fun and satisfaction. For me at least, one is not usually a substitute for the other. If you've never been overseas, at least try it once, see how you go, it will give you practice for your bigger future travel plans as well.

enpower

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2014, 06:42:51 PM »
If I were you I'd take a small portion of my savings to do one affordable international trip every couple of years or so. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Then do the more extended trips later on, when you feel more financially comfortable.

As for what it is like, everyone's experiences are different... I'm currently in a place famous for its pagodas, but I tend to be more fascinated by other things e.g. the other day we saw a man-powered Ferris wheel, which was pretty crazy.

I get joy from local travel as well, but it tends to be a different kind of fun and satisfaction. For me at least, one is not usually a substitute for the other. If you've never been overseas, at least try it once, see how you go, it will give you practice for your bigger future travel plans as well.

Would it make sense to go to a destination type holiday such as Japan, Hawaii instead of somewhere like London.

Theory behind this is that if we went to Hawaii for two weeks we could see a lot of the place and we would have to catch another expensive flight to the USA to travel more.

Compred to if we travelled to Italy, then it would make sense to combine that with the majority of Europe as they are all so close. These would be more of a gateway location to do an extended trip later down the track.

Beric01

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2014, 06:45:18 PM »
I hear people not saying to delay travel, but what does this mean? Right now I am taking 1 international vacation a year (2 weeks) to see a little of the world - very touristy. This is in part to give me an idea of where I want to live post-FIRE. I can't experience the full international lifestyle until FIRE, when I don't have work obligations.

However, my FIRE plans are by age 33 (currently looking at ways to pull that in to as early as 31), when I will be FIRE and free to explore the world as much as I want (within a frugal budget). Is 31-33 too late? I cannot imagine delaying FIRE for several years! (and having gaps in my employment).

What??

You want to retire from work at 33!!

This is Mr. Money Mustache, after all! Actually I'm following a lot of Jacob at ERE's writings as well - really another level of frugality beyond MMM, though unlike Jacob I'm very interested in travel. I want to backpack across Europe, live in Asia, and trek the Amazon.

I'd like to retire today if I could, but at least I might be able to pull that in to age 30 with some more cost-cutting (looking at renting a room, downgrading from my apartment), and a raise or two. I don't hate my job by any means - it's actually quite nice. I just don't see a desk job as my life-long goal, so I see no reason to spend any more time at one than I have to.

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2014, 06:48:49 PM »


I'd encourage you to read and respond to Sol's very eloquent description of developed/developing world travel.

Quote
Travel in the third world is humbling.  You meet amazingly generous and happy people who live in squalor.  You learn to reevaluate your perspectives on what makes life meaningful.  Expanding your horizons expands your horizons.

Travel in the rest of the western world is quirky but not quite as enlightening.  Kiwis have funny names for things and Britons tend to be in a rush all the time, but their lives aren't really that different from ours.

Travel in the undeveloped and uninhabited parts of the world can be spiritually fulfilling in a way that is hard to explain.  Creation is grand and people tend to pollute a place with their noises and schedules and narrow view of what's important.  Sometimes you need to get away from humanity to appreciate the places we do occupy.

Does any of that resonate?  Or do you intend to just hit the tourist spots on 2-week vacations?  There's nothing wrong with that but it's all very different. 

I'm always experimenting with new ways to travel.  I've done europe on rail, mexico by bus, long international roadtrips, multi-month volunteer work abroad, professional corporate work both domestically and abroad, living with local families, selling all my stuff and leaving the country for a year, hosteling, renting rooms, camping, couch-surfing, two-week backpacking trips, lazy trips, adventurous trips, hitchiking trips ...

What kind of travel do you want to do?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 06:51:11 PM by RetireAbroadAt35 »

mozar

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2014, 07:58:27 PM »
Yes, what is it that you want to? I traveled in my mid twenties but FIRE was delayed because of unrelated reasons. How many weeks of vacations do you have exactly? I'd like to travel after I FIRE as well, but I still think you should do some travelling now. This is because you start to have less energy after 30. So I recommend doing some hard travelling now. By that I mean changing time zones and staying in hostels. When I was in my twenties I didn't care if I had jetlag and I didn't how care how dirty my room was as long as it was cheap. I can't do that anymore. I went to California a few weeks ago (3hr time difference) and it took me two weeks to recover (I'm 31).

There is also nothing wrong with doing things that are touristy, and honestly, sometimes the touristy things are as interesting as it gets.
After I was laid off in 2010 I took my severance and traveled to New Zealand and Australia for two and half months.It cost me 3k total (I live on the East Coast of US). NZ flight was almost 1000 and Sydney about 300, the rest was cheap food and hostels. I decided to go to Australia because I actually got bored. I had done NZ from top to bottom. New Zealand is lovely though. no offense.

bogart

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2014, 08:27:08 PM »

Where as myself and my fianc'e have bought our first rental property, have around $150k net worth combined, have built careers, earning $95k between the two of us and building up a solid base to prepare us for the future.

I don't just want to throw this all away so we can travel now.


Seems to me there's a pretty fair range between those 2 endpoints.  Can you not finagle a month off from your jobs and go to Europe (as that's a destination you mention) and kick around a bit, and see if and how much you enjoy it, and which parts you enjoy? 

milkmustache

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2014, 08:29:13 PM »
It's great! I've travelled to/lived in about 70 countries in my 20's, spending from a few days to a few months at a time, and there are a lot of wonderful experiences I have had.... Frugal money management and a bit of creativity can enable you to do it without ruining your finances: my own net worth is now very comfortably positive, starting from -25K post-college.

I would say that if you're interested in visiting the 'developing' world, I would suggest going while you are younger: it can be a lot less comfortable and require a lot more flexibility, both of which are easier to tolerate when you are young, and it is more difficult (though not impossible) to do with kids. If you're mostly just focussing on Europe, then waiting until you have money to afford it will make your experience very different in some ways--e.g., hostels vs. nice hotels, street food vs. restaurants--but the essence of Europe itself probably will be the same. Do realize, though, that having kids may make all travel more expensive, constrained, and complicated (though it will be no less rewarding).

That said, like the others I don't see it as a necessary either/or: only if you wanted to travel for months at a time would you need to quit work now to travel. And i think the suggestion of 'traveling the neighbourhood' is awesome, too!


enpower

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2014, 08:29:21 PM »


I'd encourage you to read and respond to Sol's very eloquent description of developed/developing world travel.

Does any of that resonate?  Or do you intend to just hit the tourist spots on 2-week vacations?  There's nothing wrong with that but it's all very different. 

I'm always experimenting with new ways to travel.  I've done europe on rail, mexico by bus, long international roadtrips, multi-month volunteer work abroad, professional corporate work both domestically and abroad, living with local families, selling all my stuff and leaving the country for a year, hosteling, renting rooms, camping, couch-surfing, two-week backpacking trips, lazy trips, adventurous trips, hitchiking trips ...

What kind of travel do you want to do?

Staying at hostels, camping and couch surfing isn't something that we would like to do overseas at all.

We would prefer motels, short term apartment accomodation, etc.

I guess that has pretty much answered the type of travelling we would want to do. In terms of that type of travel, I suppose it would be better suited to doing later in life as staying in motels/hotels on a budget travelling in our 20's isn't the cheapest ways to do things.

Much of our day to day life we sacrifice things to be able to save and live a generally very frugal life. However, in terms of travelling we don't particularly like to slum it. We work and save week in week out and would prefer the trip to be enjoyable rather than an extension of the scrimping and saving of everyday life.

Random Poster

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2014, 08:29:40 PM »
It can become quite tiring and exhausting. If you aren't careful (and even if you are), constant travel can be a grind and not much different from a self-employed job.  You'll likely get sick quite a bit, and annoyed and frustrated at other travelers.  It can be a life-changing experience, but don't fool yourself into thinking that it will just be all fun and games.

MsRichLife

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2014, 08:38:29 PM »
If you're serious about this, my advice is to do it now rather than saving to do it later.  This is one of those things that is worth postponing FIRE for.

Travel in the third world is humbling.  You meet amazingly generous and happy people who live in squalor.  You learn to reevaluate your perspectives on what makes life meaningful.  Expanding your horizons expands your horizons.

Travel in the rest of the western world is quirky but not quite as enlightening.  Kiwis have funny names for things and Britons tend to be in a rush all the time, but their lives aren't really that different from ours. 

Travel in the undeveloped and uninhabited parts of the world can be spiritually fulfilling in a way that is hard to explain.  Creation is grand and people tend to pollute a place with their noises and schedules and narrow view of what's important.  Sometimes you need to get away from humanity to appreciate the places we do occupy.

If you're going to postpone traveling the world until you are old and rich, then your travel experiences will not be as different from your home experiences as you might expect.  The wealthy tend to follow well worn paths, adhere to familiar itineraries and sleep in hotels with familiar amenities surrounded by people with familiar lives.  Getting high with models in Ibiza is definitely an experience, but I don't think it's the best experience a person can have and it baffles me why the world's wealthiest people flock to it and so many experiences just like it.

I agree with this. Travelling while you are young is great for opening up your mind, and what you learn will stay with you for the rest of your life. When you are young, travelling to third world countries on a shoestring is a grand adventure. I highly recommend it. At 37, with a 2 year old, I already feel like those days are behind me and this is coming from someone who suffers badly from wanderlust.

Also, it doesn't need to be either/or. I travelled a lot when I was younger (cheaply) and still saved for FIRE. Could I have got to FIRE earlier? It's possible. But honestly, travel and living in other countries has shaped me so fundamentally that it's hard to seperate the person I am and the goals I have from those experiences I gained.

If this is what your heart and soul are set upon, at least give it a little try now.

enpower

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2014, 08:42:44 PM »
It can become quite tiring and exhausting. If you aren't careful (and even if you are), constant travel can be a grind and not much different from a self-employed job.  You'll likely get sick quite a bit, and annoyed and frustrated at other travelers.  It can be a life-changing experience, but don't fool yourself into thinking that it will just be all fun and games.

So restricting travel to a few weeks a year makes it more "special" and is enough but not too much to lose the appeal of travel?

Zamboni

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2014, 08:50:23 PM »
^I agree that the actual "travel" part is a drag.  Hanging out somewhere after the travel part is over . . . that's what's fun.

My preference is to know someone local, hang out with them a bit, and not plan to do/see very much on the "tourist" list for many of the days.  I'd rather just wander around on foot or via public transportation, although that bit about Karl trying to get from point A to point B in Egypt was hilarious.

After FIRE I'm planning ultra-slow travel where I spend at least 3 months per location.

limeandpepper

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2014, 08:59:13 PM »
Would it make sense to go to a destination type holiday such as Japan, Hawaii instead of somewhere like London.

Theory behind this is that if we went to Hawaii for two weeks we could see a lot of the place and we would have to catch another expensive flight to the USA to travel more.

Compred to if we travelled to Italy, then it would make sense to combine that with the majority of Europe as they are all so close. These would be more of a gateway location to do an extended trip later down the track.

I think destinations are quite a personal thing... but for me and my boyfriend, since we're not retired yet, we have mostly been opting for wherever's cheaper, not just in terms of the cost of living, but also the flights to get there. At the moment this means our travel is concentrated in the Asian region. We also try to stay in a country for at least 3 weeks each time, mainly for two reasons - firstly, we want to make the most of what we've already paid for the flight and the time actually spent on the plane, and secondly, more time enables you to explore a place more thoroughly.

I can imagine the pain of paying for flights from NZ, but once you're in a country where the cost of living is cheap, your on-the-ground costs can be kept low. You mentioned you don't want to stay at hostels, camp or couch surf. The alternatives don't have to be that expensive, especially in most places in Asia, you can get your own room with ensuite for a very reasonable price, though of course it does still depend on how high your standards are. You also mentioned that you don't want to "slum" it, but I don't know what your definition of that is. For example, I love street food, so even though it is cheap, I don't feel like I'm depriving myself at all, quite to the contrary... and I still splurge on a nice restaurant occasionally if I feel like it, for a different experience.

MarciaB

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2014, 09:33:49 PM »
A blog I like a lot is AffordAnything.com   She does a lot of travelling, and talks about FIRE and other subjects. Excellent writing. Really informative posts.

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2014, 11:45:39 PM »
When I was active duty in the armed forces I would always take my whole month of annual leave and use it all at once to take a longish trip - often combined with transfers. I also took a couple of years off mid-career to travel solo (grungy el cheapo backpacker style in hostels and occasional rented apts or rooms) around the world. Got my old job back when I returned. Since then I've FIRE'd (at 42) and travel solo in the states a few months each year with my dog and generally camp.  I like longer term travel as I find it's generally much cheaper and you can stay in one place as long as you like. If you don't want hostels, then off-season vacation rentals or even regular apt rentals can be very inexpensive if done for a month or longer rather then weekly or daily.  I also second Sols recommendation to travel to Third World Countries. They are very inexpensive as well as humbling. However on long trips they can often become too much (especially as a lone female) - the poverty, crowds, the constant begging, starving homeless street children and animals, etc... So on my long trip I ended up in Europe after about a year of travelling and then travelled for 4 months thru Europe (also had a 2 month Eurail Pass that was great) and then lived in a shared rented apt in Spain for another 8 months. I was more expensive the some countries but it was kind of a relief from the poverty of some places in Asia and India.

In any case, I would love to be able to do something like that again overseas full time with no time limit or home base back in the USA (again as a grungy backpacker staying in hostels) and it has always been one of my post-FIRE dreams once my pets were gone. For now I have to satisfy myself with doing driving trips (something I don't like would rather bike or walk or take trains or buses) because of the dog but once she's gone I plan to get rid of everything and go overseas.  Now I'm in the process of getting rid of everything I own (mostly done) and plan to sell my house in a couple of months to travel full time (via car) around North America.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 11:57:31 PM by Spartana »

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2014, 11:52:57 PM »
Things are pretty exciting at first.  Every new place is a wonder. But, after a few years, you realize people everywhere are about the same.  The whole tourist thing gets a bit repetitive.

I sometimes feel like Karl. See his visit to the Pyramids at Giza at about 5:05....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7gL9ofxl0g

That's one of my favorite shows!!  I highly recommend watching all of An Idiot Abroad for a look at the less sexy, but very real, side of traveling.

Short term accommodation can be cheaper or the same as hostels/motels. Can you and your partner take some time off from work (at least a month, but three months is better) to do an affordable long-term trip somewhere?  There are plenty of places in the world that you can go to for not much money, especially if you are flexible on time of year and can get the best airline deals.  There are also lots of volunteer programs that provide free room and sometimes board for a couple months, which can further decrease costs, if you are up for that. Volunteering can be great because it gives you a set up social network with people who know the area.  $1-3,000 can go very far if you do it right, and that's only 2% of your net worth. 

Personally, I love living in different countries, but I hate traveling.  I've done everything from one week trips in fancy hotels abroad to year long stays and I by far prefer a cheap apartment for a couple months over a five star hotel for a few days.  I don't care much for seeing "tourist" sites.  While there are some things in the world that are more breathtaking in person, most sites can be experienced just as well by looking at a picture.  Meeting different people, living in different cultures, eating amazing food is what I enjoy most about traveling. 

I agree that it's not all sunshine and rainbows, but that's part of the experience/fun. If you stay in one place long enough, you will inevitably become homesick for hamburgers and fried chicken or cars that obey traffic laws or a hundred other minor annoyances. But once you come back home, you realize all the things you loved about wherever you have been and learn to see the world with a different lens. It's pretty amazing.

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2014, 11:58:19 PM »
We would prefer motels, short term apartment accomodation, etc.

I guess that has pretty much answered the type of travelling we would want to do.

I'm still totally confused actually.  All I know is you prefer hotels and apartments to hostels and campgrounds.  You've talked about 2 week trips to Hawaii but also implied you might want to be somewhere long enough to live like a local.

Maybe it would help if you described why you want to travel and perhaps some of the trips you'd take.  Going back to the original question, "what's it like" ... I am struggling to answer because I don't know what your "it" is.

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2014, 02:37:47 AM »
Hi enpower! Given the inquisitive nature of your post, it sounds like you haven't done much if any non-vacation travel. When I say non-vacation, I don't mean not fun- in fact the vast majority of the greatest experiences of my life have happened when traveling this way. But there's something you need to know.

There's a huge difference between the two. It sounds like right now, your comfort level is staying at nice places in top tourist destinations like Hawaii, London, and Tokyo. In fact, most of the people you hear who are "traveling the world" are visiting places that aren't really vacation destinations and are doing so both to experience the true cultures of the places, and because it's damn near impossible for all but the richest of us to travel the way your describing for long periods of time.

I don't say this to insult your ambitions, and I really hope you don't take offense to what I'm telling you. But I really, really hope you consider taking another approach. I promise you that if you can let yourself be comfortable staying in hostels and on couches, you will have the time of your life. I probably take travel frugality to a more extreme level than you'd feel comfortable with, but just to put things into perspective, in the last month and a half, I've traveled through 8 countries and spent under $1000 total including flights. Every night but one (camping in northern Italy), I've slept on a bed or equally comfortable couch. I've met countless new friends, tried strange and often scary exotic foods, and had many nights where I've gone to sleep with sore cheeks from laughing at incredible shared experiences with my new friends from cultures all over the world.

I really hope you consider going that route, rather than exclusively visiting tourist destinations. You'll have an incredible adventure, learn and grow as a person more than you ever thought possible.

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #31 on: September 25, 2014, 02:59:54 AM »
Another possibility that I am throwing at you is to become an expat.

For me it has been a great way to see some parts of the world. I have lived in Europe on and off for 9 years this year and while I didn't see everything that I wanted yet, I have seen a great lot. While I lived in NY, a trip to Italy was $700-$800, now I can find flights for $150.

How is it like? Travelling is what I like most about life (the good and the bad part of it).

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2014, 03:27:57 AM »
You have many options. "Traveling the world" means something different to everyone who does it; there are as many options as there are travelers. You need to find your comfort level, and often that means pushing it a bit. I've traveled on anything from $500/month (overland within SE Asia) to $2500 (through far too many countries in one go in Europe, including a r/t ticket there).

Expatting it is another option. But take a handful of short trips before doing so.

Start with Europe if that's what you're keen on. It'll break you in a bit to explore how you and your partner travel together. Agree with other posters who say do the third world while you're young. The first world isn't changing half as fast as the rest of the world, and will still be there - with drinkable tap water and heritage buildings and nice museums etc - when you're old.

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2014, 07:53:28 AM »
It can become quite tiring and exhausting. If you aren't careful (and even if you are), constant travel can be a grind and not much different from a self-employed job.  You'll likely get sick quite a bit, and annoyed and frustrated at other travelers.  It can be a life-changing experience, but don't fool yourself into thinking that it will just be all fun and games.

So restricting travel to a few weeks a year makes it more "special" and is enough but not too much to lose the appeal of travel?

Perhaps you missed my intended point.

That said, I suppose that there is some truth to the thought that the more often you are exposed to something, the less "special" that something becomes.

For the record, I've done a 9-month long around the world trip and a multi-year expat assignment. In both cases, your life is, for the most part, the same as it is at home, except that the scenery, culture, money, language/accent, food, and maybe a few other things, is different.   You likely will have more freedom during the extended-travel period than you would at a job, but, eventually, the travel will have to come to an end (unless you are truly independently wealthy)--just like any other vacation.

Good luck in whatever you choose to do. 

EUmustache

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #34 on: September 25, 2014, 01:05:44 PM »
What is it like? Well, that depends on you. It could either be an amazing life changing experience, an uncomfortable undertaking or something in between. I guess it depends what you want out of it.

Do you want to see how other cultures live? Do you want to explore history? Do you want to see beautiful nature and landscapes? Do you want to do it because your peers are doing it?

I agree with some of the other posts that say you should know what you want to gain from the experience before you set out to do it. I also agree with those who say you should travel sooner rather than later. Definitely travel before kids because if travel doesn't end up being your "thing," it is better to discover that on your own rather than discovering that with a kid or 2 in tow.

Personally, my husband and I travel at every opportunity because we love it. We are currently US expats living in Europe, so admittedly we have a lot of opportunities to do so. We also know that we won't be expats forever so we want to take advantage. In our experience there are lots of trips we are glad we did while relatively young because they would be harder at a more advanced age. We have running lists of places we want to go ASAP, places we will plan to visit when we have kids, and places we will go when we are older.

We do it because we love it. It is a shared passion of ours. And something I hope to share with our children some day. We love it because we try new foods, push our comfort zones, see new places and iconic locations. BUT that may not be how you'll feel about travel. The only way to know what it is like for YOU is to get out there.

You don't have to give up your life or your job. You have vacation days, yes? Use them. You'll be amazed how much you can see in 10 days - 2 weeks. Obviously longer if you can swing it, but also for your first trip I wouldn't recommend longer than a couple weeks, because who knows, you may hate it. I love to travel, and by the end of 2-3 weeks I crave my bed. I think a great first trip for you is SE Asia (as many others have suggested) because it is close and interesting or a West Coast road trip from LA to Vancouver BC. I know you can fly direct from Auckland to LA. Traveling the west coast will let you see diverse cities (la, San francisco, Seattle, Vancouver) and beautiful scenery. And since it is an English speaking country it will be fairly easy for you as a first big trip.

Would love to hear what you decide to do, but clearly I am on team travel. Good luck!

arebelspy

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2014, 01:15:53 PM »
While I agree with those that say you shouldn't put off your life, delaying certain things for FIRE may be worth it, depending on how soon your FIRE goal is.

If you're not going to FIRE for 15-20 years, yes, travel now.

But for myself, my wife and I are going to FIRE at age 30 in about two years, right as we have our first kid, and then start full time travel around the world.

Delaying travel now to get there is well worth it, to us.  (Though we have done plenty of previous travel, including a 2+ month backpacking trip through Europe.)  The travel in FIRE (slow travel, moving to a place for a few months before moving on) will be totally different than what we can do now, and well worth waiting for.

Look at where you're at and what your goals are, and decide if pushing them off is worth it, or not.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

TreeTired

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2014, 01:22:37 PM »
When I was growing up my father found jobs all over the country and all over the world.   I was very fortunate to find a job that took me (and my family) to Hong Kong for 3 years and then to Tokyo for 3 years. We were able to travel a bit while we lived in Asia, but not quite as much as we would have liked.  Working and living overseas is a wonderful unique experience.  Being a tourist can get a little old.

Kaspian

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2014, 02:39:32 PM »
If I were you I'd take a small portion of my savings to do one affordable international trip every couple of years or so. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

^^ This!!  I've travelled to a lot of countries (40?), and trust me--don't "travel the world".  Do a little bit and see how much you like it.  Then try a different spot.  The majority of people get travel-fatigue after 2 weeks abroad.  To the point where they eventually stop taking photos.  The ACBs (Another Bloody Church, Another Bloody Castle) get to them.  The first incredible monument you see on a trip blows your mind.  The 29th?  Not so much.  My ideal journey is about 10 days in a few different cities.  I like to relax, see a place, visit markets, get to know the neighbourhood (and some people) where I'm staying.  Doing those insane bus journeys to 15 countries in a week, where you see the countryside through a window 5 hours a day, hop on and off the bus to take a photo of something, and stay/eat in a bunch of pre-arranged venues makes most people completely miserable.

swick

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #38 on: September 25, 2014, 02:55:52 PM »
Things are pretty exciting at first.  Every new place is a wonder. But, after a few years, you realize people everywhere are about the same.  The whole tourist thing gets a bit repetitive.

I sometimes feel like Karl. See his visit to the Pyramids at Giza at about 5:05....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7gL9ofxl0g

Have you ever tried living somewhere else for several months at a time? Not to be a quick stop tourist but actually become one of the local people instead?

I struggle to conceive the idea that travelling to new places would become repetitive or boring.

Sol pretty much summed it up in the first response post, but I figured I would chime in since I have lived in several different Turkish cities for months at a time and have done some slow travel through the Middle East. In the smaller cities, once you got use to the different culture and language, it is very much like living your normal daily life, you fall into a predictable routine and it takes a conscious effort to notice the wonders all around you (just like at home) Living in a city like Istanbul, you could be a tourist in your own hometown every single weekend for many years and never see it all. The really cool thing when living like a local is you get those sights and experiences that can only be found when you fully immerse yourself in a place.

It depends on why you want to travel. For me, I traveled solo before settling down and it was the best thing I could have ever done. I learned  whole new skill sets I never would have developed back home. Resourcefulness, listening to my gut, how to barter...

Also, the experiences fundamentally shaped who I am and how I view the world. Travel will change you, I have seen couples come out stronger and couples split up because they have changed through their experiences.

I have traveled to places that through war and human destruction no longer exist. I see world events through a unique lens because I have been to these places and met these people.  But like others have said, it all depends on why you want to travel and what you want to get out of it.

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2014, 03:05:21 PM »
If I were you I'd take a small portion of my savings to do one affordable international trip every couple of years or so. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.
^^ This!!  I've travelled to a lot of countries (40?), and trust me--don't "travel the world".  Do a little bit and see how much you like it.  Then try a different spot. 
Yes - I admit the "travel the world" title reminded me of a conversation I had in a caravan park a few weeks ago. Many people in Australia want to do "the big lap" - driving around the Australian coast (it misses bits, like the tip of Cape York, and often the Eyre Peninsula) - basically a circle around Australia.

This guy had just done it in 6 weeks (people normally allow anything from 6 months to five years) and he was retired. We asked him whether he liked looking at the white line in the middle of the road.

Spartana

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2014, 03:07:14 PM »
If I were you I'd take a small portion of my savings to do one affordable international trip every couple of years or so. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

^^ This!!  I've travelled to a lot of countries (40?), and trust me--don't "travel the world".  Do a little bit and see how much you like it.  Then try a different spot.  The majority of people get travel-fatigue after 2 weeks abroad.  To the point where they eventually stop taking photos.   
Funny because I always took it as a great sign when I stopped taking photos and just...lived...in the moment of my travel experience instead of looking at it all as a set of tourist experiences seen thru camera lens. I was just in the beautiful Cali Redwoods and all I saw around me were people experiencing it all behind a camera. No one just walked thru and really looked and marveled and relished the awesomeness of the place. It was just another tourist stop and photo op. To me long term travel is like living everyday - you don't spend your time taking photos of your everyday life, the things you see, the people you meet, you just...live it.

ETA: It takes me about 2 weeks to a month for a trip (i.e. travel) to not feel like a trip/vacation and feel more like I'm part of the community or area I'm visiting. The longer I travel, the more relaxed and enjoyable the experience is for me.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 03:09:34 PM by Spartana »

deborah

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2014, 03:10:10 PM »
If I were you I'd take a small portion of my savings to do one affordable international trip every couple of years or so. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

^^ This!!  I've travelled to a lot of countries (40?), and trust me--don't "travel the world".  Do a little bit and see how much you like it.  Then try a different spot.  The majority of people get travel-fatigue after 2 weeks abroad.  To the point where they eventually stop taking photos.   
Funny because I always took it as a great sign when I stopped taking photos and just...lived...in the moment of my travel experience instead of looking at it all as a set of tourist experiences seen thru camera lens. I was just in the beautiful Cali Redwoods and all I saw around me were people experiencing it all behind a camera. No one just walked thru and really looked and marveled and relished the awesomeness of the place. It was just another tourist stop and photo op. To me long term travel is like living everyday - you don't spend your time taking photos of your everyday life, the things you see, the people you meet, you just...live it.

ETA: It takes me about 2 weeks to a month for a trip (i.e. travel) to not feel like a trip/vacation and feel more like I'm part of the community or area I'm visiting. The longer I travel, the more relaxed and enjoyable the experience is for me.
So very true!

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2014, 03:27:15 PM »
I'm glad you started this thread.  I really enjoyed reading the responses.  The only places I have spent much time besides the U.S. where I live are Canada and Mexico so you can see I don't know everything. 

The question you must answer is before you decide anything is:  What do you expect to get out of travel?  Once you have clearly defined your expectations everything else will fall into place.  You won't take a three week tour of Italian museums if you want to surf, for example. 

If you are interested in cultural immersion you might try a language school in the place in who's (which's?) culture you wish to immerse.  I have done that twice and found it to be incredibly rewarding and pretty mustachian.  You can do it for just a week or two which fits into a normal employed person's vacation.  Both times the school helped me arrange a homestay.  I realize that might sound a lot like couch surfing to you but it felt more like a bed and breakfast to me.  A good school will permit you to dip into cooking, crafts, literature or history as well as language.

Spartana

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2014, 03:35:25 PM »
I'm glad you started this thread.  I really enjoyed reading the responses.  The only places I have spent much time besides the U.S. where I live are Canada and Mexico so you can see I don't know everything. 

The question you must answer is before you decide anything is:  What do you expect to get out of travel?  Once you have clearly defined your expectations everything else will fall into place.  You won't take a three week tour of Italian museums if you want to surf, for example. 

If you are interested in cultural immersion you might try a language school in the place in who's (which's?) culture you wish to immerse.  I have done that twice and found it to be incredibly rewarding and pretty mustachian.  You can do it for just a week or two which fits into a normal employed person's vacation.  Both times the school helped me arrange a homestay.  I realize that might sound a lot like couch surfing to you but it felt more like a bed and breakfast to me.  A good school will permit you to dip into cooking, crafts, literature or history as well as language.
I second the language school (or any kind of school). I have a friend who did a month long immersion language school with his GF in Mexico. They got a wonderful apt (very inexpensive) close to the school so they could walk there. They dined both in home and at many of the lovely outdoor fresh sea food restaurants, they had time off school everyday to surf, kayak, dive or just lie on the beach with a drink in hand. On weekends off school they would "travel" to locale towns and visit the sites, etc...

kaetana

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #44 on: September 25, 2014, 05:28:25 PM »
"Travelling the world" has been taken by a lot of friends of mine to mean "rack up as many passport stamps as possible". They go on fast-paced tours through ten countries in ten days, just so they can say they've done it all. Don't fall into that trap. Those same people can't remember whether the cafe in their photos was in Italy or Spain, and end up seeing all of the tourist attractions but none of the local scene.

I agree with others here who have said that the best way to see a country is to live in it, even for a while. Go there with the mindset of fitting in and being a local, and not with that of a tourist - I think you'll see more and experience more that way. It doesn't have to be a long time - last year I went to Spain for a two-week language immersion (I got a scholarship through the local Spanish school I go to and only had to pay for accommodations and living expenses) and didn't speak a work of English while I was there. It was difficult to say the least, but speaking Spanish in Spain and being able to talk to the locals on their level gave me a much richer and more authentic experience than spending all my time by the beach at a five-star resort with English-speaking staff ever would. Look for homestays. I stayed with a family who cooked all my meals for me - a cheap and convenient way to sample local food without having to eat out all the time.

Another way is to move to another country. I haven't lived in the country I was born since I turned 18. Look at working holiday schemes and other handy visa arrangements that will let you work somewhere else while exploring a new country. I've done this, and while I do think my career has grown at a slower pace than it could have because of moving, I find I'm not that interested in climbing up the ladder anyway. I don't intend to work for the rest of my life, after all.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 11:16:52 PM by kaetana »

Weedy Acres

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #45 on: September 25, 2014, 07:39:57 PM »
I agree with others that said you need to decide what "travel the world" means to you.  Different people have different desires and tolerance levels, so there's no "one size fit all" answer.

For me, I've been to 40+ countries over 20+ years.  My bent was always towards 3rd world countries, because they are changing more quickly than Europe, which will be pretty much the same when I'm an old fart, so it can wait.  I've managed to fit in trips with my career: 3 month stints at the end of college and 10 years later at the end of grad school, before starting my job.  A few 6-week stints where I racked up vacation and then spent it all at once, one stint in between jobs.  All solo/backpacker budget style.

What I enjoy most is wandering.  I get bored if I just stay in one place for more than a few days.  I prefer moving from place to place (even if it's just a random city a few hours' bus ride further down the road).  I do hit the photo-op places like the Taj Mahal and Victoria Falls and Chichen Itza, but I love just wandering through the market in a random town that's not on the tourist trail and observing how people live and work.  Travel for me is the great discovery that we're all fundamentally the same but we do those same things in very different ways.

My way of travel may not be your cup of tea.  I'd encourage you to venture out and try something that sounds good to you for 2-3 weeks, using your vacation time.  Figure out what you like and don't like about it, and tailor your subsequent trip accordingly.  Use this learning together to plan what "travel the world" means to you once you're FIRE.  And that goal will be much easier to work towards. 

LonerMatt

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #46 on: September 26, 2014, 07:59:39 AM »
Lol @ in your 20s and not staying at hostels, is you insane?

Hostels are wonderful, wonderful places: one meets some of the best people there, and connects with new friends in a way that is unique, refreshing and energising.

Hotels might be nicer, but they are also cloying, lonely, repetitious, soulless and dull - hostels have a heart and vibe that is, for me, one of the best parts of traveling.

Don't knock it until you've tried it, buster.

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #47 on: September 26, 2014, 08:12:09 AM »
If I were you I'd take a small portion of my savings to do one affordable international trip every couple of years or so. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Then do the more extended trips later on, when you feel more financially comfortable.
This - we're looking to travel abroad once every 2-3 years.  If you plan for it, it doesn't have to be all that expensive.  And be flexible with your plans - deals are there to be had, but you've got to be open to them.  Ex: we're looking to go to Italy in the spring - I was originally thinking a Rome-Florence-Venice itinerary, but it is looking like we'll save close to 1K (500 each) on airfare by flying round-trip to Milan.  We'll make our decision in the next couple of months, but it is looking increasingly like the itinerary is going to change.

acroy

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #48 on: September 26, 2014, 08:28:34 AM »
The travelling part is generally sucky - long hours herded into aluminum tubes with 200 other people, quing up like cows to be milked... bleh.

The staying is the fun part. seeing the sights, the cities, etc.

People are indeed the same everywhere. They have similar wants, needs, desires, faults. It is fun to see different cultures.
After some moderate global travel, I'm burned out. There is so much to see and experience right here in US of A, and incredible cultural diversity.

You don't realize the lack  of diversity in much of the world till you travel... most of the rest of the world is much less diverse, racially, culturally. There are exceptions, such as Dubai. But I live in friggin North texas and have central American, African, Muslim, Christian, atheist, etc etc all living in the same middle-class neighborhood. Peacefully. this is incredibly rare in the world, honestly.

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Re: What is it like to Travel the World
« Reply #49 on: September 27, 2014, 12:44:35 AM »
 

Hotels might be nicer, but they are also cloying, lonely, repetitious, soulless and dull - hostels have a heart and vibe that is, for me, one of the best parts of traveling.

 
Ha Ha - I'm in one of those cloying, lonely, repetitious, soulless, dull motel right now :-)! While I do love motels and hotel stays for shortish trips with my dog (oh the luxury of your own private bathroom and cable TV - something I don't have at home) I love hostels for long trips. Not only are they much cheaper but they are so much more interesting places. I've stayed in castles and boats and huge mansions and tiny farmhouse and just wild, weird, wacky, and wonderful places - generally populated by wild, weird, wacky and wonderful people from all different parts of the world. Definitely an experience that makes travel so much more interesting and affordable.