An RTW Journey Starts with Planning

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

That saying has never felt so true to me as it does now, one week after committing to traveling the world for a year, after a year of planning.

This morning, as I was making my coffee, I was loudly singitraveltheworldng Joni Mitchell’s song “Both Sides Now” when one of the phrases struck me to my core: “But now they only block the sun. They rain and snow on everyone. So many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way.”

I sing this song a lot, but today I heard these words as though for the first time. I understood them as a metaphor for how we can be blocked from what we truly desire in this one life we live, blocked by CLOUDS! Soft, wispy CLOUDS! Most often, we create the clouds ourselves by the choices we make. We choose jobs, family, community, and those are all GREAT choices. By virtue of any choice we make, though, we step off the path of another choice. It is the nature of choice.

I have created a life where nothing is blocking my way to a RTW journey. (That’s “round the world” speak!) I can take my work as a freelance editor on the road. I can rent my home in Oregon, sell my non-essential belongings, and put the rest in storage. I can enlist the help of family and friends to maintain a support system on the ground. I have removed all blocks to this incredible, exciting, and completely possible adventure. The clouds are no longer in my way.

I have lived a very colorful life. I have always been adventurous, and I have incredible memories of some times I’ve had. But in the the last decade or so, my life has become smaller and smaller, feeling more and more like I’m looking through shades of grey. But now I have awakened, the clouds have parted, and I can see in vivid color once again. It is never too late to live in color.

I have always had a deep desire to travel; I took my first solo trip when I was 19, traveling to England, Holland, Germany, and France. I didn’t know a soul, yet I remember feeling so free, so excited to be traveling! I had no fear. I met people everywhere I went. I felt alive in every cell of my being. I have since been back to western Europe four more times. I’ve been other places as well, so over the last several decades I have made do with short trips, as most of us do who want to travel.

And now, in this first week of planning my year of traveling the world, people from all over are connecting me to others in far-flung places. I will not be alone! I look forward to being welcomed in people’s homes all over the world, connecting with friends I simply haven’t yet met. And the travel hacks! The secrets of my fellow travelers! These kindred souls open themselves wide to receive yet another adventurer on a path around the world and share all that they have learned on this pale blue dot.

Since the day I decided to travel for a year, a whole new world has opened up: the world of solo travelers, men and women who are living their dreams on their terms. I am joining their ranks and once again living in color.