If I had not allowed myself to travel to Costa Rica in May 2005, I may have abandoned my goal of backpacking around the world.
Initially, I didn't intend to travel abroad for a week or two each year because I wanted to stay on track for a more grandiose adventure.
It was my mom who suggested, after I broke the news about my dream trip, that I take a vacation.
After some thought, I realized she was right, and I shouldn't deny myself some time off (from work).
Excited by the decision to travel abroad again, I wanted to head to Switzerland as it was a country I had passed by during my European jaunt in 1998, though would hear great things about soon after (especially Interlaken).
My mom chimed in again, reminding me that perhaps I should leave a trip to one of the most expensive countries on the planet for a period in my life when I could better afford to enjoy it.
She mentioned Costa Rica, and I planned my first international backpacking trip (in 7 years) after finding airfare for $300 round trip (about 60% less than airfare to Switzerland at the time).
To make a long travelogue short, I had a blast during my first visit to Central America.
It reawakened my passion for the freedom one experiences during independent travel, bolstered my self-confidence, and reminded me of why I wanted to take a trip around the world.
As I had a steady job, I even let my budget bloat to fit what I could comfortably afford (ie. splurges like a spa treatment, 2 massages, costlier meals on a few occasions).
In May 2006, I set my sights on Belize, with a side trip at the end to Tikal in Guatemala.
Again, while the cost of the trip affected my RTW savings in the short term, I gained much more in terms of excitement for my long term plans.
As we wrap up May 2007, my RTW date of departure is less than 6 months away, so I decided to forego a 2.5-week trip this Spring and stick to a few weekends in New York City instead.
There are many ways to approach saving and planning for a trip around the world.
Hopefully, this blog has exposed you to my slow and steady approach. If I were an animal, I'd be a turtle.
I might not cross the finish line first, however, I will definitely get there, and enjoy the scenery along the way!
Dave is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Go Backpacking and Feastio. He's been to 66 countries and lived in Colombia and Peru. Read the full story of how he became a travel blogger.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.