RTW is an abbreviation that travelers know very well and you’ve seen it in many of my posts. In case I haven’t said so already, it stands for Round The World.
Typically, it’s descriptive of those who are just starting their journey, but it could also stand for something else for those vagabonds whose trips are coming to an end. Round the world is the quest people set out on when they first decide to travel and return to work is the decision for those who are coming down from their long-term travel high to avoid burnout.
Round the World
Perhaps you’re in similar shoes as mine where you’re preparing for your first international round-the-world trip. Excitement beats in your heart and butterflies inhabit your stomach. You’ve detailed out your itinerary as much as possible, and the world is literally your oyster, at this point. The world awaits your arrival and discovery of all the beauty you never knew existed outside the media. You have the freedom to live and learn at your own accord, and if you’re new to traveling and backpacking to begin with, you’re feeling highly impressionable, when it comes to the various cultures you’ll encounter. All of those “some day” and “one day” wishes are now your every day reality.
To maintain excitement, perhaps you’re studying a new language, taking a self-defense class to keep you prepared for anything on the road, shopping for supplies, burying your nose in guide books, and unable to stop talking about your big trip that’s on the horizon. The beginning of a RTW trip is always the most exciting because it’s new, and there’s all this anticipation for everything you’re about to experience. Heck, you’re about to embark on an incredible journey so we won’t hold it to you if you want to shout it from the rooftops.
Return to Work
Should there ever come a day where you feel like your gap year or long term travels are coming to an end, perhaps your RTW stands for return to work. Maybe you’ll settle down somewhere, find a job, and sink back into a routine again so you can save up money for a another trip in a couple of years. You might also still be considering traveling frequently but putting your work first instead of digging into the local culture of your next destination. Living life as an expat can be an enriching experience in itself, and you’ll learn to adapt very quickly if you choose to live in different places for 4-6 months. Either way, returning to work is your way of giving yourself a break, planting your roots somewhere, and developing a different routine, relationships, and commitments once more.
So which type of traveler are you? Is your new journey just beginning or are you taking a break to settle down again?