Almost all of us dream at some point to leave everything behind and travel the world. We have made this dream come true and are now open-end on the road. Many people tell us how great they would like to start a world trip and why it is not possible for them right now. Therefore here a practical list of the correct times to start something so large.
Basically there are three possibilities:
- Before the first job
- During working life
- After pension start
Before the first job
Advantages: We are young, our state of health is usually very good, we are full of energy and curious about the world. We cope with the strains of the journey quickly and are not very susceptible to illness. Mostly there is no real estate, pets or other liabilities yet, family planning is still in progress and alone or in pairs we are quite independent. Maybe we will even have health insurance with our parents at the end of our education, so that this part of the fixed travel costs is omitted.
Disadvantages: the financial situation is tense, we probably do not have many reserves and have to economize on the way.
During working life
Advantages: There are several ways to take time out during your working life. The most common are sabbaticals or unpaid time off. The advantages clearly lie in the available life experience and in the more relaxed financial situation.
Disadvantages: With an existing employment contract a lot of organization is necessary to organize a longer time out. The employer must agree, operational tasks and processes must be adapted or handed over to others. Of course, it is also possible to give notice, but it is possible that one is mentally very busy with the question of how to proceed afterwards, so that one cannot even enjoy the trip. In addition one will be busy a part of the travel time with job search. In the middle age it can be also that already the first health problems come: One becomes more immovable, has already some kilos too much on the ribs, mountain migrations or city routes kinds in work out. Also more breaks are necessary for regeneration. That doesn’t have to stop you from travelling, but sufficient time should be planned in the rough planning. Probably the family situation is already more complex than directly after the education: children, parents becoming frail, pets, this list can be extended as much as you like. All in all, most of them have already made many more commitments in life than when they were young, if only that a successor has to be found for the position of paymaster in the sports club.
After pension start
Advantages: For most people, the topic of long-term travel is closely linked to retirement. The finances are clarified, there is a regular receipt of money through pension payments. Most liabilities are in dry cloths. The children are out of the house. A gap in the life course is no longer an issue.
Disadvantages: The great advantages for this generation are offset by some disadvantages: Is their health sufficient for the plans? – or do the plans have to be adjusted accordingly. The dream of a motorcycle world tour with a large off-road component may have to be abandoned in favor of a campervan. But the question remains: At seventy or eighty, does one still have enough energy for long-term trips? Or would you wish you had lived out your dream earlier.
All three options have advantages and disadvantages, but the good news is: a life-changing decision is always possible.
There is always a solution!
One thing is clear: if we really want it, there is a solution for everything. A few examples:
- Little money: One can be low-budget on the way, tent instead of hotel use, much cook instead of eating go etc., that preserves the travel budget enormously and it can be also traveled with little money. In addition one can work on the way, if necessary for food and Logis (https://www.workaway.info/).
- House: I know travelers who started their journey with the 18th birthday of their youngest son. He stays in the house and takes care of everything while the parents travel. Other travelers rent out a house or apartment for the planned travel period.
- School-age children: II know travelers who simply take children, pets, etc. with them. In agreement with the school, this is even possible with school-age children. This is not easy, especially in Germany, but there are examples that this has worked (https://www.kidsaway.de).
- Pets: I know travelers who have packed their pets and set off. This is easy to do by car or van, but other solutions are also possible. Martin Klauka took his cat on a motorcycle trip and wrote a book about it (Once Around the World with the Cat, available at amazon and everywhere where there are books).
- Diseases: I know of travelers who have taken their essential medicines with them everywhere or have obtained them in close cooperation with their doctors abroad. Here, too, the Internet and social media offer opportunities to get in touch with like-minded people, ask questions and benefit from each other’s ideas and solutions.
This list can be extended at will. One thing is certain: whoever wants to, will find a way to realize their dream. It is certainly not always easy, often creative solutions have to be found, but it is always worth trying, because the experience of a world trip outweighs the problems in advance by far.
The best time: Now!
An old Chinese proverb says: the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time today is. The best answer to the question about the perfect time of the journey is therefore: NOW. Of course, this does not mean to start now. But deciding NOW will start the process of the journey and the preparation. When the first serious step has been taken, the most important things are done. Even if it only means setting up the savings plan for the motorhome for the start of retirement.
Why a time-out at all?
Many people think about whether time out would do them good? It doesn’t always have to be the trip around the world or the termination. But at the latest when children are there, the question of a long-term trip is quickly put aside again. It’s not possible right now, maybe later.
But the later once becomes unfortunately so often a never. Something always comes in between. And at some point we sit in a rocking chair, old and frail, and look back on our lives. What do we see?
- The nights we slept through?
- The days when we were particularly busy in the office?
- The great car that our neighbors envy us for, but for which we often had to work on weekends?
Wouldn’t you rather remember the nights under the starry sky? Of the exciting discoveries in foreign cities and countries? Of the people you met? Of the moments when you felt really alive? Because in the end, these very memories will be your most precious possession.
But we really have to go for it!
And how was that with us?
After the training, we did not even think about the possibility of a long journey.
But after a wonderful motorcycle tour through Thailand and Laos a thought has not let us go: should the rest of our lives really look like this? To work for eleven months, only to find peace, relaxation and adventure in an expensive vacation, only to work for another eleven months afterwards? We wouldn’t be able to keep this up until retirement in good health. And neither of us wanted that. But at the end of our forties, it seemed too risky for us to quit. So we applied for sabbaticals with our employers and (three years later) set off on our motorcycles. Today we are open-end in the world and have not regretted the decision.
Dare you. You don’t have to be the young and cool adventurer to get going. The desire to travel is enough. And it’s OK to be shy or not always wanting to approach everyone. YOU decide how your journey looks like. Not the great reports in the social media. And if you need a break, you take one. If you love a place, you just stay there and enjoy it. A happy and self-determined life can be so easy.