I’m not a RTW traveler. And that’s okay.
If you’ve read the bios for all the folks who work at BootsnAll (and I know you have), then you’ll have noticed that I’m not exactly what you might think of as the typical BootsnAll member. All my boots, as I’m fond of saying, have stiletto heels. Until last year, I’d never stayed in a hostel. And (here comes the big confession) I prefer wheelie bags to backpacks.
When I started working at BootsnAll, I wasn’t sure if my travel personality fit in with the company – but I was made to feel absolutely welcome by the staff and community, and I came to realize that our motto, “the ultimate resource for the independent traveler,” was broader than I’d originally thought. I might not stay in hostels, but I certainly research and plan all my trips myself – thereby making me (in my opinion) an independent traveler.
But now after a few years at BnA I’m starting to think there are independent travelers and then there are independent travelers. Maybe they should even get capital letters – Independent Travelers. I’m talking about the people who not only plan their own trips, but whose trips involve more than two weeks every year. I’m talking about vagabonds, nomads, round-the-world travelers – whatever you call them, these people travel in a way that makes me look like I’m standing still.
It had never occurred to me that taking a year (or more) off and traveling the world was something people did until I began working at BnA. I now interact with RTW travelers all the time and I’m still wowed by their travels, but I’ve also learned that the people who contemplate and actually do round the world travel aren’t necessarily extraordinary. I mean, they’re exceptional in that they’ve taken a RTW trip, but it’s not like there’s some recessive gene for long-term travel that you either have or you don’t. The truth is that anyone can do it – if they want to.
And therein lies the key. I’ve definitely thought about taking a RTW trip since I started at BootsnAll. In the course of researching articles I’ll regularly come across the prices on around the world tickets and think, “Hey, that’s quite a deal… And a nice itinerary, too… Hmm…” But I think I know myself well enough to know that I’m not a RTW travel girl. I’ve got a massive amount of respect for the people who do it, and not a small amount of envy besides, but I’m pretty sure it’s just not for me. And not just because I like wheelie bags, either.
There’s a part of me that wants to want to be a round-the-world traveler, but the truth is that I get far more excited about looking up the prices on simple round-trip air tickets than I do about RTW tickets. The RTW ticket itineraries usually leave me feeling exhausted, thinking about the number of times I’d have to pack and unpack again, or how many plane rides I’d have to take (I love to travel, but I really hate air travel). And although I’ve never purchased travel insurance in my life, I’d probably get freaked out enough about the prospect of being away from “home” for that long that I’d need to research that (read: go down the hall and ask Dave) as well. In short, the idea of a RTW trip sounds romantic and alluring to me – and, in the end, like too much work.
Does that mean it would actually be too much work? Absolutely not. But I think it shows that while I’ll probably always have a certain envy for RTW travelers, I’m content – at least for now – in not aspiring to be one. Because, as I’ve said before, travel of any kind is good. I’m no less of a traveler for returning over and over again to Italy (or for wanting a one-way ticket there) instead of exploring a new country every month. I’m just a different kind of traveler.
And I’m okay with that.