How has the way I travel changed over time? Here are seven ways I’ve changed my traveling style after starting this 2-year trip around the world.
I started my trip around the world on May 15th, 2016. Back then the United Kingdom had not voted about Brexit, Barack Obama was still the President of the United States and nobody knew about fidget spinners or Pokémon Go.
Yes, it’s been a while!
To be more precise, it’s been 18 months since I started this RTW trip. Many things have changed since then – myself and my travel style included. Below is a list of changes I’ve made in my way of travel.
1. Slowing Down
When I started my trip, I would often stay just two or three nights in one place. I could keep up this pace for a while, but I quickly grew tired of it. Now my normal short stay is four or five nights.
To be honest, I’m occasionally a bit tired of active traveling from place to place. I want to stay still for longer periods. The plan doens’t always work out, but I’ve managed to take longer breaks a few times. Now I’ve stayed in Mexico City for a month, which has been the longest stop I’ve had so far.
2. More Social Accommodations
I started staying in hotels while I was in India last year. Getting your own room was cheap and it gave me a chance to have my personal space for work. I kept the same habit going in Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar – and it made me feel miserable.
It was hard to meet other people in hotels, and I struggled a lot with loneliness. I realized I needed more social environments. I soon started booking hostels again, enjoying the lively atmosphere of shared dorms. I’ve also returned to Couchsurfing this year after doing it very little in Asia.
Backpacker small talk at 9 pm:— Arimo Travels (@arimotravels) June 3, 2017
"When are you leaving?"
"Same. Where are you going?"
"I don't know."
3. Less Planning
During the first year of my trip around the world, I would often draw routes on the map to plan which paths I would take. The idea may have been good, but it caused me a lot of stress. I thought way too much about my future destinations when I should have enjoyed my present surroundings.
When you have an exact plan, you easily become too attached to it. If it seemed like my plans weren’t going to work out, I got frustrated. I desperately tried to fit my old ideas into new realities when I should have just let them go.
I still have a rough idea about my future route, but I don’t want to make it too precise anymore.
4. Thinking More About Money
I’m thinking more about money than I did before.
I’ve started to realize the limitations of my budget, and it affects my plans. Instead of expensive experiences, I’m trying to find cheaper activities. I spent over 18,000 euros on the first 12 months of my trip around the world, and I simply can’t afford to travel like that anymore.
Well, I never claimed these changes are all good, did I? Luckily saving money has lead to great experiences like…
I'm in California, packing food aid for 3rd world countries. If I had known volunteering was this much fun, I would have started it sooner! pic.twitter.com/glmUjT5ieu— Arimo Travels (@arimotravels) August 3, 2017
5. Workaway Volunteering
Free food and free accommodation in exchange for work? Count me in!
I’ve recently started doing volunteering via Workaway, and I’ve absolutely loved it! Besides saving money, Workaway has allowed me to slow down my pace, make new friends and to just have all-around great time.
I really like CouchSurfing, but it’s hard to find CouchSurfing hosts for very long stays. I don’t want to overstay my welcome, so I usually look for hosts for just a few nights. Workaway makes me useful, and I don’t feel bad if I extend my stay.
6. Irregular Eating
When I started this trip around the world, I tried to keep my eating somewhat regular. I tried to eat healthy and I tried to eat enough every day. As more time has passed, I’ve become less strict about those guidelines.
Before this trip, I rarely went to sleep on an empty stomach. Now there might be a few days when I don’t have any warm meals, and I’m mostly fine with it. I’m saving more money on food than I did before, but it’s not all bad – I’m now preparing a lot more meals for myself, and I’ve enjoyed it more than I had expected.
7. Getting Out of My Comfort Zone
This one is less about me changing the way I travel, but more about the way travel has changed me. Day by day, my comfort zone expands and I manage to break free from my old limitations.
At times, these steps can seem laughably trifle. For example, it took me six months before I made myself by a local SIM card in a foreign country. Before that, I just felt too uneasy about doing it.
I can be very slow and anxious when it comes to trying new things, but I’m making progress!
What Is a Good Way to Travel?
As I think I about the way I’ve changed my traveling style, I don’t think that all the changes are necessarily improvements. They are just what they are – changes.
As time goes by, I search for variety and new experiences. This makes me change the way I travel. Sometimes the changes even go back and forth! A long trip like this one goes in phases, and different routines come and go.
And even now the way I travel keeps changing. I still prefer hostels and budget travel, but who knows what lies in the future? A few more years, and I might be content with lazy holidays at beach resorts.
But until that happens, I’m still quite happy to explore the world with my backpack in tow.