Defining the Journey

As Francesca and I have been researching all of the elements that make up an around the world trip we have realized that an endeavor like this is a heck of a lot more common than either of us would have imagined.  I mean, probably not among my New York corporate cronies or those in Francesca’s medical community, but certainly a lot more people than you’d think, particularly those who live outside of the US and believe in a healthy work-life balance.

I stumbled across a really cool article today featuring 12 world travelers with very different stories; some humorous, some inspirational.  Check it out.   It’s pretty fascinating.  “12 Personal Travel Websites that Will Make You Quit Your Day Job.

Quit Your Job!

Quit Your Job!

But there is also a darker, petty side to this international community of world travelers.  It appears that there are some who feel that certain travelers are mere dilettantes at this Round the World business if they don’t travel for a certain length of time and cover a certain geographic area.    I was curious to see if Francesca and I could legitimately call our little four-monther an Around the World trip.  Here’s what I found.

First of all there appears to be a debate raging over calling it an “Around the World” trip or a “Round the World” trip. Both are used with seemingly equal frequency and so just to be safe I have been using them interchangeably so as not to offend one camp or the other.  Note: The cool kids just use the acronym “RTW” or “ATW”.

According to certain helpful travel websites, the technical definition of an RTW trip varies, however, most agree that it includes stopping in at least three regions (such as North America, Europe, Pacific Islands, Indian Subcontinent etc.) and travel in one East or West direction, without backtracking.

As for length of time, that gets a bit murky.  From what I can gather most RTW trips last six months to a year and anything less is considered JV. Well unfortunately four months is all the cashola we’d saved up will allow for, but I guess I’d rather ride the proverbial pine on the Amalfi Coast than not be on the team at all.



I just hope that other RTW travelers don’t pick on us and call us names when they find out we’re only spending two weeks in Italy or worse, treat us like lepers on the overnight train to Vienna.  Somehow we’ll try to soldier on.

In Retrospect (August 11, 2010)

We met a TON of travelers on our journey, many of whom we have stayed in touch with and in some cases visited in their home countries since returning to The States.

No one ever treated us like lepers for only traveling for four months, but many of them showered us with sympathy at the brevity of our journey as they were two or three months into their twelve or longer RTW trips.

Of course there were others whom we met who were on the standard 10 day/2 week vacations from the drudgery of their day jobs and, of course, we showered them with sympathy. 🙂

Was four months the right amount of time for us?  Well, I think I can speak for both of us when I say we could definitely have continued to travel if we had the financial resources.  A couple of times we did consider extending our trip – once in Queenstown, New Zealand where we considered working out the tourist season through the end of the year and again at the end of our trip when we considered heading down to Buenos Aries, Argentina to look for jobs and soak up the Latin-Euro flair.

But in the end I think it’s a good thing that we ended it when we did as a trip like that also takes a toll on a relationship (there is a future posting on the negative aspects of RTW travel).  In fact, only now, six months later, do we finally feel that we are back at our pre trip level of bickering. That said, we grew closer in many ways as well and shared so many experiences it was a small price to pay.


7 Responses to “Defining the Journey”

  1. Lisa and Sam Says:

    Dan and Fran,

    We just checked out your exciting adventures with the kids. Sam and I are so jealous!! We wish we were with you in Italy. It brings back memories of our favorite place as well.

    Keep us posted. We are glad you are having so much fun.

    Eat, drink and enjoy!!!!

    Love, Lisa

  2. Terry Pelino Says:

    Dan, your itinerary is unbelievable! Have fun and travel safe.

    Let’s connect when you get back to the States.


    • aroljahns Says:

      Thanks Terry. Great to hear from you! Let’s definitely touch base when I get back to the States. And maybe we can see each other before we head to LA in late Feb/early March. My best to Jackie (although I keep up with her on Facebook). 🙂

  3. Arol,
    It was wonderful to hear about your adventures. I loved collaborating on the Swept project with you. It sounds like you have moved on to bigger and better things! Best of luck to you and Francesca!

  4. This is a terrific travelogue. I want to hear more about the train trip. Sounds like the adventure of a lifetime.

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