Traveling around the world – or just traveling – does not always go according to plan. However, it is a life-changing experience. Even the most organized person cannot avoid the fact that every trip has its unforeseen events. For example, when Mary Lou Mahaney, a 72-year old American, took off on her round the world trip she didn’t know she would ride a quad in Namibia or stroke lions in Botswana.
Neither did German traveler Gunther Holtorf, who embarked on an 18-month trip to Africa with his wife after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, know that he wouldn’t be home until October 2014. That’s what happens when Wanderlust grips you…
Budget is often crucial
This said, two students, Milan and Muammer, recently took up the challenge of traveling around the world without a bean in their pockets! This wasn’t exactly an easy travel theme to keep to. So they gave themselves 80 days to meet their objective and “prove that there are people who will help you all over the world.”
Three young Norwegians decided on an equally difficult, but perhaps more original round-the-world travel theme: “The Topless Tour”, which created quite a buzz! Their photos — always taken from behind — notched up more than 20 000 likes on Facebook and 45 000 followers on Instagram.
With their message, “uniting people across the globe to feel the freedom and share their beauty with the world”, they have started a real trend and received lots of photos of topless travelers. Themes must be in fashion.
Traveling for the sake of traveling
How about a round the world trip, simply for the sake of travelling around the world? No, you might find you’re going round in circles. You would be better off going around the world in 80 beds, or taking a gastronomical world tour or traveling around the world by bike like the Argentine Pablo Garcia.
Or on foot like Jean Béliveau, the fifty-something Canadian who took 11 years to complete his trip, walking a total of 75 000 km across 64 countries: keep walking, Jean!
A trip to change the world
What all these long journeys across frontiers and continents have in common is the fact that they are enriching for those who go on them. The travelers return with a wealth of memories, experiences and new knowledge about both the world and themselves.
That’s one of the reasons why families undertake this kind of long haul journey: so that their children can learn through practice about the diversity of cultures, lifestyles and landscapes.
Miles Maurer, a 15-year old American who went on a 10-month tour of the world with his family won’t contradict you: “It’s much more effective to learn about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia than in class!”.
This enrichment gleaned as each kilometer is covered has prompted other projects. For example, the “Microcrédit en 4L” project of two French friends, Matthieu and Nicolas, who travelled around the world in a Renault 4 or “4L” to meet microfinance institutions all over the globe.
Their objective was to promote the impact of microcredit – the granting of very small loans to entrepreneurs outside the traditional banking system – in developing countries.
Indian engineer, Naveen Rabelli, wants to prove that is possible to travel with a low carbon footprint. That’s why he set himself the crazy challenge of driving from India to the United Kingdom in a solar tuk-tuk!
Traveling initiatives plenty
There are many initiatives of this kind all over the world thanks to round-the-world travelers who want the spirit of travel to serve innovation, solidarity and other causes. For example, Jonas Guyot and Matthieu Dardaillon have traveled from Senegal to India, via the Philippines, looking for social entrepreneurs who use their skills to serve the general interest, so that they can promote their actions.
The project of these two 24 year-olds, “Destination ChangeMakers”, has turned into an initiatory journey that will definitely change their professional lives. In fact, it will change their lives altogether.
(By Accor Hotels. drafted by the Accor Group’s communication department, final editing and headlines by Issa Sikiti)
Picture credit: The Norwich Radical