According to Wikipedia, a world tour is a journey that involves traveling completely and in a given direction around the terrestrial globe until returning to its starting point. Going around the world does not therefore mean seeing all the countries of the world, or even all the continents.
TV shows like J’Irai Dormir Chez Vous and Pékin Express have popularized an image of the traveler who leaves on a very low budget, staying with locals and hitchhiking. This is of course possible, but ultimately it only concerns a minority of travelers.
The average Tourdumondist leaves for a year and visits a dozen countries, mainly in Asia and Latin America. He travels most often by plane between continents. Once there, he takes local buses, eats in small stalls or street restaurants, sleeps in cheap accommodation and sometimes in homestays. Rather than traveling by plane, some choose to travel by bike, motorhome, sailboat, van …
Many travelers leave for a long time without necessarily going around the world itself. One can very well go six months or a year just in South America, in Asia or in Africa and live an equally extraordinary experience.
When traveling around the world, we travel in a very different way. We have time to improvise, to change plans, to linger in the places that we like. We are also quite surprised, when we start to stray from the beaten track, to realize that many other travelers that we meet have also left for a very long time. There is thus a real small community of Tourdumondistes who meet up occasionally throughout their journey.
THE FILM GENERATION AROUND THE WORLD
Florian Mosca & Laurent Lingelser painted a portrait of 10 travelers who left to experience a period of roaming.
HOW DOES THE IDEA OF TAKING A LONG TRIP COME ABOUT?
The spark that makes us say “What if I went around the world?” may arise in different ways for everyone. Some have lived abroad with their parents or have traveled a lot during their childhood. They have travel in their blood. Others, on the contrary, have not had the chance to have traveling parents and are thirsty to discover the world.
From an early age, thanks to cartoons like The Mysterious Cities of Gold, we were fascinated by distant civilizations. More recently, films such as Into the Wild or Carnets de Voyage make us dream of adventures. The programs I will go to sleep in your house or Nus et cheottés and the tales of adventurers like Mike Horn and Sylvain Tesson also feed our appetites. Finally, travel blogs are a great source of inspiration.
And then, sometimes, our first distant trips make us want to go longer. Discussions with friends or travel encounters who have themselves been on a long trip are often a trigger to embark on the adventure.
WHY GO AROUND THE WORLD?
We all have our own motivations that push us to take to the seas. Here is a quick overview of the main reasons that a trip around the world is worth living.
TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Get out of your comfort zone
When you’re in a stable job with friends and family that you see regularly, you end up settling into a certain routine.
Traveling long and far forces us to step out of our comfort zone. We inevitably find ourselves alone at times, lost in a very exotic place where we do not know the language or really the culture. We lose our bearings. Actions as simple as finding your way, taking a bus, or buying food can sometimes be quite complicated.
Achieving it is a small achievement, a successful challenge that provides a certain pleasure to which one can even become a little addicted. By leaving your comfort zone, you discover what you are capable of. We understand our limits and we often go beyond them.
TO HAVE TIME
When you ask someone how they’re doing, how often do you hear “It’s kind of racing right now!” ? We live permanently at a hundred miles an hour. We go on, transport, work, shopping, cleaning, outings, vacations, without really taking time for ourselves. When you take a long trip, the relationship to time is totally different. There are no more constraints. You can take the time to do a two-week trek if you want to, admire a sunset or simply do nothing.
TO BE FREE
When traveling, we do not have to report to anyone: no leader to ask us where our project is. We are hardly under any time constraint and nothing attaches us to a place. Every day, anything is possible. This freedom of the traveler, we feel it deeply. It’s an exhilarating sensation that usually appears after a few months, when you realize that this trip is more than just a vacation.
We are free to change plans as we wish, perhaps even to skip a country in the program. We no longer have the social pressure that prompts us to behave as people expect. We are free to be ourselves, quite simply.