The Plan, In Sum

Travel the world. The end.

Okay, a slightly more detailed summary: Take my paltry savings and two years, and travel around much of the globe, on my own and ready to make friends.

Still not enough? All right. The summer after I graduated high school, I took my money from working in a second-run movie theater and the cafe of a local bookshop, and went to Europe for six weeks. This mini-Grand Tour was a solo affair and a revelation in self-sufficiency and finding happiness in independence. The summer after my freshman year of college, my friend P and I borrowed P’s mom’s minivan and drove around the Western part of the U.S. for five weeks, figuring out how to travel together and still be good friends at the end of it. (That worked out just fine, by the way.)

So I’ve long been a fan of taking extended, multi-stop trips, and by the time I graduated college, I’d decided to travel the world. Several people have suggested various ways of accomplishing this goal, including doing it in many mini-trips, working with a volunteer organization, and going on a group tour. Thing is, I want to be moving, not vacationing, so I need a long period of time, and the thought of paying for a package tour running around the big tourist stops with my drunken peers is not appealing. I’d like to volunteer with various organizations, and there are some good ones out there, but most of them require you pay a fee, so that won’t work for the whole trip.

It comes back to me, a backpack, and the very necessary spirit of adventure. I’ll happily meet up with friends along the way, so if you have any place in particular that you’ve always wanted to visit, or if you’re fluent in any of the languages of the countries I’ll be visiting (please!), let me know.

For now, the idea is to go to New Zealand/Australia in January of 2013, then work my way up Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Transiberian Railway to Moscow, Eastern Europe, Western Africa, South Africa, and India. Back to the States to make a bit of money, then down to Central and South America, and possibly Antarctica.

All of it’s changeable, except the date of departure. I turn 30 in 2013, and I’ve said since I was 18 that I’d start this trip before I was 30, before I started to settle down, move up in a career, or feel tied to a particular place. Life isn’t over when you’re 30, but if you’re not careful, the urge to try new things and become a different and better person is. So winter of 2012/2013 it is!

19 thoughts on “The Plan, In Sum

  1. The backpack and spirit of adventure are all you need! The rest just happens. The ‘professionals’ even manage to find little ways to make money along the way (to possibly write out those breaks to earn money back in the states). My only suggestion:
    Don’t buy expensive plane tickets in advance or you will end up like I did, planning on spending one month in Guatemala with an expensive ticket to south america and refusing to leave. I could have traveled longer on that money (never will regret not taking the flight though).
    The best part about solo travel is that you get to make plans with only yourself, which makes changing and breaking them all the easier! I could never have planned spending months volunteering with Firefighters in small town central america, but you can’t turn opportunities like that down for a plane ticket!

    • It’s so very true–I love the total freedom of solo travel. I’m looking at getting around-the-world tickets, which would give me more room to change plans, but those are usually only good for a year, so I’m not sure if it’s the most cost-effective idea.

      I love that you went to Guatemala and stayed as long as you did. Now, the glories of solo travel aside, can I come with next time?

  2. You are such an awesome person Lisa and I wish I had as much confidence in myself as you do. You are going to have so much fun. I myself want to see the world too but I think it will be more like week long vacations throughout my life. I don’t understand how anyone can live without wanting to see the world much less the town next to them. I grew up in that atmosphere and thankfully escaped!

    Can’t wait to hear about your travels. Hopefully you will inspire lots of people to get out and experience life!

  3. 2012/2013 is a long way away. Might as well wait until 2015 when we have flying cars.

    Yay for travel. I too am needing to save money to do things that are in my head.


  4. you are an amazing, courageous woman, lisa findley. cheers to you and your adventurous spirit! you’ve got heart and you’ve got cojones, and that’s all i’ve got to say.

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  6. you do know that you’re going to have to stop by and see me wherever i happen to be when that trip around the world of yours starts, right?

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  8. Hey Lisa! Esther passed along your website. Just wanted to let you know that I lived in New Zealand for two years, am currently 10 months into living in Australia, and am writing this from a trip to Southeast Asia (I’m in the Hyatt in KL right now!). If you have any questions, do let me know — I loooooove talking travel.

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  10. Lisa, Have a friend looking for someone to share a car to do one leg of her journey along the western part of the silk road in mid-late May. If interested please send me your email address, so that I can send you hers in private.

    • Hi Kate! Thanks for getting in touch. Right now, it looks like I’ll be in Korea in mid-May, and I will definitely be in England by the third week of May, so it seems unlikely I’ll be able to drive along the Silk Road. But who is this brave friend of yours? I’d love to meet them and who knows where I might be in a few months, if they’re still out and about!

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