The world travel bug has bitten me. Again. From being totally relaxed to being utterly excited, the question I most answer these days is: “So how do you prepare for three months on the road?!” I then hear myself say, smiling: “But I have already been on a round the world trip you see … for six months that is.” And it all has a story to it, of course. I remember being 18, studying the world map together with my mum ahead of deciding to move to London for a year – both of us giggling in girly excitement. As part of my tourism degree programme here at the IMC University of Krems, I lived in Madrid & Paris for half a year each. After that, one and a half years of travel & work life in Aotearoa New Zealand, and such has been the inspiration for creative travel that my Dad & I then founded Creative Tourism Austria back home while I decided, once more inspired by the international backpacking movement … to go on a backpacking round the world trip myself. That was in 2011. Ever since … I have started my own company. Established myself as an international travel writer & tourism consultant. Passed on the inspiration. Moved people. Touched hearts. Lived & living the happiness.
Today, I will tell you what drives me for this particular, unique round the world trip. How to plan, prepare & organise such a thing as a round the world trip. Mum meanwhile is cool, saying: “The world belongs to the ambitious ones!” And I may add: “We always have a choice, in each moment of our lives. Dedication & commitment are certainly values to have being the travel bloggers, consultants, entrepreneurs, speakers, networkers and creative minds that we are … Life dreams eventually give us wings, they inspire us to live and be who we are. So let us use them: For our own wellbeing and to inspire those around us!”
#CreativElenaRTW: Planning & Preparing. Because I love my focus & anticipation!
I join the travel trade show ITB Berlin knowing that I will be meeting potential “creative travel partners” & destinations for my upcoming round the world trip. I have a goal in life: One day, I want to write a book. So now that my career has focused on experiencing and writing about interactive culture trips based on culinary creative travel all over the world, my happiness of being that close to realizing this one dream knows no boundaries. I am sooo excited. And deeply moved, this being “the thing” for me! My mum, once more, stays cool mentioning in the light of my 500+ published travel articles here on my blog: “But Elena, you already are an author!” Back to planning therefore. Round the world trip it is!?
I am a person who does not ask herself: “Why?!” but rather chooses to smile and respond: “Why not?” Such is the principle my entire South America trip some two years ago has been built on: Travelling to see a dear friend of mine for a hike in Torres del Paine national park in Chile, who herself is on a round the world trip at that time? Why not?!
The round the world trip I am currently looking at builds on the same principle. I want to write a book about international creative travel and plan to do a proper round the world research trip for that, visiting top creative destinations around the world. To that end, I have teamed up with the international “Creative Tourism Network” whose representative Caroline Couret and I have already been travelling to and speaking at an international creative tourism conference in Bangkok. Where I will be headed this time is the focus of another article I have already published here. Based on my good previous experience of planning & issuing a round the world ticket with the STA travel agency team in Vienna, I once again trust their expertise. They help me getting first details such as routing, travel insurance, visa information for countries such as the US or Australia settled. I have summariesd more details on planning & organising a round the world trip here for you:
- If possible, start planning & preparing early enough, as it means less expensive flight connections will still be available. In my opinion, three to six months ahead of starting your trip is ideal. It is then that most international flight connections will have been issued, meaning less potential changes in flight times later.
- I can recommend the professional care of a travel agency used to deal with round the world trip connections. Already during my first round the world trip, I was faced with a change of plans & flight cancellations that would have been difficult to organise or even know about from on the road. Besides, it is simply reassuring knowing someone there, especially for all those little questions coming up before and while travelling. Thank you at this point, dear Rita of STA Travel in Vienna, for your patience and help !!
- Ask yourself right from the start: What is your personal travel goal? Not only where do you want to go, but also HOW do you actually want to travel? In my case, and focusing on my international research trip, I plan to travel in an active, creative way getting to know the locals and diving into the local cultural fabric through hands-on, creative workshops. To that end, I am already in touch with responsible stakeholders in each country, writing emails, doing Skype phone calls, organising support as an international travel writer, reaching out to contacts being recommend to me, etc. It really is all about planning, and it means increasing your reassurance and anticipation ahead of the big trip.
#CreativElenaRTW: Practical stuff. Details from a girl on the road!
“This is all very well, dear Elena. But how do you actually get down to getting things done?”
I write a long email emphasizing my professional background as an international travel writer, contacting people from all over the world for support during my research trip. Based on the feedback I receive, I design my trip plan, booking in July 2014 for an entire travel period of November 2014 until February 2015, paying some € 5.000,- for the ticket including the insurance – 16 flights altogether. From London to Iceland, to the US and into Brazil, continuing via Argentina & Chile to the Easter Island, to New Zealand, the Philippines, Nepal & Sharjah.
The best thing about it: Most of my travel expenses are business-related focusing on my international research trip. And my business being myself, I am blessed with the incredible happiness of inspiring others through what I do and making myself happy in the process, built on developing and using my personal resources and sharing the inspiration – worldwide. 😀
Being the dedicated, committed and also organising person I am, this involves many more details and steps of course – especially from a business’ point of view. My apartment? Krems being the international student town it is, exchange student Tiina from Finland actually feels very much at home here while I am gone. My car? I trust it is in the best hands with dear mum! My bank? E-Banking makes it all possible from on the road, with both savings & discipline at hand. My clients? Are all informed thanks to talks, emails, conferences & a similar sense of understanding: My MacBook Air & the Internet make for my virtual travel desk from just about anywhere in the world. My technical equipment? Laptop & camera have been serviced and are ready to go. I will take an additional memory drive for the videos and photographs. My brand new travel backpack as well as the state-of-the-art (expensive) outdoor jacket wrap me up for facing “wind & weather” on the road. Packing like an onion: Layer upon layer during the winter in Iceland, tops & T-Shirts in summerly Brazil. Myself? I have got all my health checks done. Feel fit and safe. Take care of my nutrition. Go jogging regularly. Stay happy: Long hair being pulled by the wind, comfy shoes, travel notebook, sunglasses, camera & backpack with a bottle of water, fruit & some nuts and chocolate for the road. And time, taking my time, sitting in a café, walking by a beach, finding a great spot out in nature, a city stage, people, me & my sense of inspiration. I watch. I write. I draw. I listen to music. And I smile. Over and over. All around the world.
Helpfully enough, the typical Austrian in me comes through when needed: “Des passt scho’!”, meaning “It will be alright. All good. Sweet as!” Well, yes. Because in the end, it is all going to be, ALL RIGHT!
#CreativElenaRTW: The family history. All of us are somewhat “cool” with big plans & travel adventures!
My parents and I have always shared the same sense of openness, curiosity and asking questions about the world. How do other people live? What moves them? What drives them? We have been travelling a lot together – and still going strong in the family nucleus of my parents, my brother and I. Breaking the news of wanting to move to New Zealand to my parents, I remember them merely saying, “That’s perfect! We’ll come and visit.!” And even now, mum writes in my birthday wishes: “Happy birthday, dear Elli! Enjoy your next big trip!” Do it, has been the message ever since I can remember. My own parents are travelling in India when I am gone. My brother is planning on going to Cuba. And granny? Well, granny is 92! today and has always been travelling, too – from her first crossing of the Alps back in the 50s on a motorbike all the way to Portugal, Iceland and China! Granny is proud of my travel & book project. It makes me HAPPY!
#CreativElenaRTW: Reassurance on the road. Five languages & an unfaltering trust in the world!
“I can talk to everyone you see! And now even in Portuguese: Brazil, here I come”, I recently mentioned laughing to a friend. From “… mas tens alma portuguesa Elena!” (You have a Portuguese soul Elena! – thank you for your words dear Filipa!) all the way to “… you channel languages, Elena! This is your thing. This is who you are.” (thank you too, dear Gabriella for your beautiful words!), and having picked up Portuguese in only a few months, I am really tempted to believe that there is something about the magic of languages. Languages to me are like keys, they open the heart to the people you meet. I often found that travelling either speaking Spanish in South America, French in France or now over speaking Portuguese in Portugal. Understanding creates trust creates understanding … for so many things, for everything in life, actually. The overwhelming majority of people, I believe, are GOOD people. This too we learn and realize through travelling. And: What you give is what you get. At all times. A hundred times over. It is overwhelming(ly beautiful).
#CreativElenaRTW: Intuition, Happiness & the “Big Picture”. On why you should still let your practical self be guided by emotions!
We have reached the last chapter in my long list of revelations here for you. You do realise that I pour my heart & thoughts out for you. Hoping, as always, that it will help and inspire you for your very own way in life, give you wings, make you smile. I follow my intuition. Starting with New Zealand, I simply went on a good thought – even looking on from more than 18.000 kilometres apart. And recently, Portugal … the language, the poems, the music, the paintings, the people. Where would we be without our feelings – both on the road and back home?
Travelling the creative-culinary way simply is who I am. I love to be able to tell the most extraordinary stories, meet the most authentic local characters, unveil the secret (culinary) hot spots, taste new things, learn new things – each and every day, if I can. Also on this trip, I will be focusing on “the big picture”: Sharing my inspiration for what really matters in life. The connections with the people. With culture, history, with what makes a place tick. The diversity. The landscapes. The human traits. The cultural significance. As well as the everyday, contemporary life forms. Wonderful.
What a trip coming on !!!!!!