Akila and Patrick have been traveling around the world for the last year, and plan to continue their journey for two more. So far, the beauty of New Zealand has most amazed them and advise future RTW travelers to be as open minded as possible. They are currently in South Africa. Keep up with Akila and Patrick on their blog at The Road Forks.
What made you decide to do a RTW trip?
The round-the-world trip was Akila’s idea for a brief 3-month break between jobs that snowballed into something bigger. As we spent more time discussing where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see, we opted for a 1-year trip which has now grown into a 3+ year trip as we have realized that we can travel and make money.
How did you prepare for the trip?
We budgeted about 1 1/2 years before we left and saved for 15 months. We purchased all our gear about six months before we left so that we could test it on some short trips. We made a preliminary plan for our trip and purchased round-trip flights for the first “segment” of our journey.
How long was your trip? Where did you go?
We have been traveling for 1 year and expect to continue traveling for the next 2 years or so. We began in Australia and New Zealand then returned home to be with our dogs, then headed to India, Thailand, and Cambodia, then returned home, then went to Japan, South Korea, and China. We are currently in South Africa.
What was the most amazing or inspiring place you visited?
This is a tough question because so many places have amazed and inspired us. The sheer unimagined beauty of New Zealand amazed us beyond belief; it is simply the most stunning place we have seen.
Who was the most interesting person you met?
We met a French couple traveling with their three children (including one who had Down’s syndrome) in the middle of nowhere in Cambodia. So many parents tell us that they could never travel with their kids and we have often thought to ourselves that traveling is a pre-child activity but this family proved us wrong. They told us that traveling with their children —- and especially a special needs child —- has helped them understand and relate to locals and they make an effort to participate in activities with schools across the world.
Was there any place you went that you would never go back to?
We would never go back to Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The beaches and ocean were littered with cigarette butts, beer bottles, and trash and the bars were crowded with lecherous men seeking young Cambodian women. We left within 10 hours after arriving.
What would you say to aspiring Round the World Travelers?
Plan, but not too much. A smile and politeness will get you farther than any other foreign currency. Be as open minded as you can be because, often, you may be the only non-local in a town.
What have you learned about yourself? The world?
We have learned that the more of the world we see, the more we want to see. We have learned that the world is a really big amazing place.
Where do you plan to go next?
We will be camping for three weeks through Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia.
Photo: Hills Near Queenstown by Phil Hollman.