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Setting goals for a RTW Trip: What’s important to you?

Posted by on September 16, 2011
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Whenever I told anyone that I would be quitting my job to travel around the world for a year, more often than not, the response was, “I wish I could do that, but I just can’t” before rattling off a number of things holding them back, including kids, finances and fear of the unknown. I completely respect those reasons, but the one that continues to confound me is that some wouldn’t go unless there was a purpose, which I assume meant a volunteer program or structured job move.

{Looking out over Lake Nasser in Abu Simbel, Egypt, 2010}

A purpose? True, I’m not going into the Peace Corps or starting an NGO in a developing country or taking a new job opportunity, but I’m also not going on this trip to work the hostel party circuit, drink beer on the beach and have one day blur into the next (even though those are all certainly small components of the trip).

Every trip I’ve taken has taught me a lot about my beliefs, strengths, limits and passions in life. This trip is no different. It’s about focusing on myself, recharging after a grueling four years in Manhattan and, of course, having fun. That’s my purpose. Is that so wrong?

{Taking a break from a canoe ride in Spreewald Biosphere Reserve near Berlin, 2009}

I know those naysayers don’t mean to be judgmental, but I just don’t think they are the people who consider traveling a transformative experience. Since I, on the other hand, do, I’ve thought about all the personal tasks I want to accomplish, both big and small, on this trip. I’m curious to see where I stand 365 days from now:

Let loose. I’ve always been a bit Type A, but New York spawns a variant known as Type A+++, people who live each day thinking about the next without truly living life—or breathing calmly for that matter. I inevitably got infected with it myself, but I’m hoping to shed that mentality.

Build an iron gut. (OK, maybe a copper-plated gut.) I’m infamous for my incredibly weak stomach, and it’s already doing flip-turns just thinking about all the irregularity in foods and eating schedules coming its way. I think half of it is psychological, so I really just need to get over myself.

{Nutella and banana crepes in Nice, however, are like sweet medicine for my weak traveler’s stomach, 2010}

Challenge myself socially. Though I’m pretty very chatty, I worry that people will consider Eaman and I less approachable because we’re a couple. I want to eliminate any notion of that by being open and incredibly gregarious with hostel-goers and locals alike.

Stretch my boundaries. I went bungee jumping and skydiving in New Zealand in 2005, but ask me to do it now, and I’d probably run in the other direction. (What’s the deal with getting older and losing that fearlessness?) I need to reclaim that death-defying adventurous side.

Volunteer. True, this trip is about me, but it’s also about figuring out who I am and how that can help others. Things near and dear to my heart? Arts education and women’s issues. [Would love to know some great programs in the places we're going if anyone has some recs!]

Not look like a complete hobo. I’m all for shedding material pleasures, but I like fashion, too. I’m going to work that T-shirt-skirt-jewelry combo like it’s nobody’s business.

Get in touch with my spiritual side. I’m not the most religious person, but I do believe in Hinduism. He/she/it and I are just a little disconnected right now. I want to take some time each day (or at least once a week) to really think about my beliefs and what role they play in my life.

Think about my career—but not too much. I know I want to write and/or do onscreen TV work, but in what capacity, I have no clue. Or maybe I want to open a cafe. I have some thinking to do. But I’m not going on this trip to find a job. My experiences will just shed some light on my next step.

Speak Spanish. We all know how that’s going.

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6 Responses to Setting goals for a RTW Trip: What’s important to you?

  1. ashish

    haha good luck on staying fashionable. i’m looking forward to tracking that via the pics on this blog. also, what about learning/developing a skill that you’ve always wanted to but never had the time?… something that you can bring back with you to the “real world” after the trip.

    • Eaman & Archana

      You’re totally right about learning a new skill. Forgot about that one!

  2. Jini

    Well, you know I totally identify with the top portion of this post.

    Also, that Abu Simbel picture looks familiar! Holla.

    All I have to say is, you guys are so inspirational and have made a huge impact on me as I think about my life. Safe travels this week, and I can’t WAIT to hear all about it. Bon voyage!

    • Eaman & Archana

      That’s incredibly sweet of you! I’m glad our decision has an influence on someone beyond ourselves! And though it’s not easy to make a big life change, we’re all capable of it… we both know that :)

      And yes, holla Abu Simbel!

      –Archana

  3. The Ottis Family

    So excited for you guys!! I am so glad that you are doing a blog so we can follow all of your wonderful adventures! Have fun, be safe, and we will see you next time you are in Oklahoma.

  4. fareesa

    I hope you accomplish everything Arch!! And if you ever learn how to build and iron gut…LET ME KNOW! Keep updating so i can live vicariously through you. And screw needing a purpose to travel!

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