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How I Unplugged to Reconnect

Travel is the best way to discover your true self.

My husband and I have always dreamed of seeing the world, and we fell in love talking about travels and worldly experiences. We promised ourselves that before having kids, we would quit our everyday life to travel for a while.

My husband is a good planner, so we started from the basics: finances. People tend to think that to see the world you have to be rich, and this is WRONG—you just have to be a good saver. These are the steps we followed to plan our round the world trip:

1. Travel savings

We dedicated a savings account to travel. Every month we moved parts of our salaries there. It’s up to you to decide the monthly amount, but I can tell you that without much shopping and going out to eat once a week for a couple of years you can reach your goal. What you need per couple to travel the world for six months is around $30K (with this amount you can afford decent lodging).

2. Decide the itinerary

We chose to start from Japan and make our way down to South East Asia, then Australia and New Zealand, ending the trip in Patagonia (Chile & Argentina) and Colombia. We mixed rich countries like Japan, Australia, NZ with countries where our currency is more powerful like Indonesia and Thailand. We started in August 2016 from Japan to make sure we would hit all the countries during the hot and sunny season. During the years of preparation, we spent one day every weekend browsing on the internet to choose the landmarks we wanted to see in every place and put them in a shared document.

As you get closer to departure (around six months before):

3. Visas

Check the Visa requirements for every country. Do due diligence to avoid last minute surprises and make sure you have enough pages in your passport for all the stamps you will need.

4. Become a minimalist

This is the part where you carefully consider what to keep and what to get rid of when you leave your house. The best rule is: if you haven’t used that thing in the last year, it’s time to let go. Donate as much as you can or sell. You will feel free, I guarantee—and it will be a lesson for the future when you decide to settle down.

5. Buy a good quality backpack and keep it light

Make sure you buy a good backpack, and when you choose the clothes to bring with you, the ideal is no more than three pair of pants and three shirts. If you need something more, you can buy along the way. Remember that the backpack will be on your shoulders, and if you are not comfortable walking around, you will get tired easily. 

Unplugging for six months, I was able to reconnect with my true self, that person hidden behind the everyday hustles and responsibilities. I don’t travel to escape but to get to know myself and the world around me. While I travel I challenge myself, and I try new things—I get stronger and wiser. You have a lifetime to work hard, achieve, and pay your bills—six months of travel are nothing in the arch of time, but they are essential to become a better human being.

For more travel tips, please visit my website: https://www.chiarabtownley.com/

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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