Our guest traveler for the next three weeks gets mad props from me for making the commitment to travel around the world without taking a single flight. Michael, from the Go See Write Travel Blog, has traveled around the world over the past year without a single plane ride. I really respect his commitment to feel every footstep of his journey and the his choice to take reduce the carbon footprint of his RTW trip. His year of land and sea travel makes him the perfect person to share key tips over the next three about how to travel without flying – a tip or two each week covering how he’s managed his sans-flying trip :-)
One of my primary reasons for taking a trip around the world without flying was because I wanted to get a full appreciation of the size of the world. After exactly one year on the road without leaving the ground, and still having not made it all around yet, I can say – it’s big. Really big. And more amazing that I ever would have imagined.
Modern plane travel is one of the miracles of modern convenience. One can get on an airplane in the heart of Middle America one afternoon and wake up the next morning in Germany or China. These days, you can get to about anywhere in the world from a major city in the States in 24 hours – give or take a few. I love the ease of it, but at least for me, there is a disconnect there that I wanted to eliminate at least once in my life. I wanted to feel the miles – feel the distance – know that I had actually traveled – and in some sense, earn my first journey around the world.
Most of the tips I could give you about an around-the-world trip without planes would be the same sort of tips you’d normally read about any long trip – websites with good hostel/hotel reviews, key phrases you should learn in a language before you arrive, safety issues, and so on – so instead I will try to make these tips and thoughts more focused on the uniqueness of a ground level circumnavigation.
Overland travel takes longer: Plan for perpetual movement
You move constantly. Assuming you are traveling on a budget, whether one of time or money, you can’t really stay anywhere for too long. I originally wanted to try to make it around inside of a year, but it is going to take me about sixteen months as it turns out. The longest I’ve been able to stay in any one location is roughly a week and I’ve only pulled that off a few times. My stay at most locations is usually about three or four days. The reason for this is quite simple: ground travel takes a hell of a lot more time than hopping on a plane.
As a recent example, I recently had to get from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Hong Kong to catch my freighter to Australia – it took me seven days and I was moving for at least eight hours on each and every one of those seven days. The same mileage could have been taken care of by about a six-hour plane ride. A trip similar to mine is going to be primarily about traveling; that is it’s very nature.
Michael Hodson is, or was, a lawyer in Northwest Arkansas who decided to take a year off and travel around the world with two rules: no reservations and no airplanes. He’s kept up the 2nd half of the promise and only slightly fallen short on the 1st half. He blogs at Go See Write.com
Previous Guest Post we love:
An Unexpected Stop in the Sudan with ThePlanetD