about We are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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rtw planning in retrospect community project

Composite of pictures

A little over a year and a half ago, I was overwhelmed, scared, and nervous about taking the plunge into our round-the-world trip. BootsnAll could have put out a restraining order against me because I stalked their round-the-world travel forum, checking incessantly to see if people had answered my questions about gear, itinerary, budgets, and everything else.  Thankfully, my travel blogging buddies helped talk me off the ledge.  Bloggers like Shannon at A Little Adrift , Jeremy and Eva at Forks and Jets , Manali and Terry at Manali + Terry , Gillian and Jason at One Giant Step , and Keith and Amy at Green Around the Globe (and many others) left on their RTW trips around the same time we did and, as we all moved across the world, I watched their journeys, experiences, and stories evolve just as ours had.  Now, most of us are back home or embarking on a new trip.

When I look back to pre-trip me, the word I would use to describe myself is confused .  No many how many blogs I read, how many forums I visited, I felt constantly buffeted by clouds of confusion.  How do we budget?  How to plan an itinerary?  What is the best gear?  What should we avoid taking?  How much money should we set aside for our return?  I found myself confused because everyone seemed to give different advice and I couldn't find a consensus . . . or even a single place where I could find all of this information . . . on the real practical stuff we needed to know.

The problem is that all of us write on our individual travel blogs about the planning stages but, when we return home, we forget about our confused pre-trip selves and tend not to follow up on how the planning panned out.  I want that to change.  I want to share the knowledge we have accumulated with you and, more importantly, so do other travel bloggers.

Beginning tomorrow, we are launching the RTW Planning in Retrospect Project .  Every Thursday for the foreseeable future, I will write about a particular topic, how we planned, and what we learned when we were actually abroad.  This series will be about mistakes made, good and stupid decisions taken, and the many lessons we learned about how we planned for our extended travels.  On Tuesdays , travel bloggers who have returned from their round-the-world trips and current travelers will chime in a segment titled Travelers Talk Back, sharing their experience and views on the same topic.

What excites me is that this will be a community project , a composite of ideas and tips from many travel bloggers, to help the next generation of round-the-world travelers. But, I need you! Yes, you, sitting out there in the audience, I need your help.

  • If you are a recently returned or currently traveling RTWer (whether or not you are a travel blogger) and would be willing to share your advice, please let me know either in the comments, via e-mail at theroadforks [at] gmail [dot] com, or via Twitter at @theroadforks.  I will need you to write a paragraph on how you planned for that particular topic and how your plans worked out (for example, on Communication methods; we bought an international SIM card before we left but never used it because it was too expensive and cumbersome).
  • If you are a soon-to-be RTW traveler and want questions answered (no matter how messy, mundane, or intrusive you think they might be), please get in touch via comments, e-mail, or Twitter.

In return for your brilliant advice and/or questions, I offer you much link love and free puppy kisses from one very cute cocker spaniel .  {Disclaimer: Puppy kisses available only to those in Chewy's immediate vicinity and only if Chewy feels like giving kisses, which means that you are 99.9% guaranteed to get kisses if your face is near his.}

The currently planned topics are:

This series doesn't mean that I am going to stop writing about travel, food, and photography.  In the next few months, I will be writing about our South African trip, our current Southeastern United States roadtrip, Southern food recipes, weekly photos, and a whole bunch of fun giveaways.  But, we hope that you enjoy this new series and will join in.