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September 6, 2006 2:53 PM   Subscribe

What should be the purpose of my upcoming Round-the World trip?

I am leaving in two weeks on a seventeen day Round the World trip that I received through an airline promotion. Although I’m going to Osaka, Shanghai, Singapore, India, Italy, Germany, I am not looking for travel suggestions. What I am looking for is help in determining an overall purpose or focus for this journey.

I am in my mid fifties, have traveled extensively, and usually use travel as a way of broadening my perspectives and seeing a universe that is infinitely greater than the limitations of the work-a day world I inhabit daily.

I am interested in photography, running, substance abuse recovery, entrepreneurial culture, and the inter-connectedness of all beings. Sometimes I daydream about a second career as a photo-journalist (currently a corporate trainer).

What I don’t want is for this to be just another series of destinations, been there done that. I want to be alive, aware and right in the middle of this big world. Any suggestions?

Thanks, X
posted by Xurando to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
well, this guy danced around the world. I think you should top that and put it on youtube.

it would be especially great if you came up with a personal idea because you are not what people usually see on youtube - college kids.

how about making a collage of yourself? take a shot of your left hand in shanghai, your right hand in italy, your head in germany ... paste it all together and you should have a hell of a postcard. or you could do better, I am sure...
posted by krautland at 3:05 PM on September 6, 2006

Not just a food tour, but an interconnectedness-of-all-things Zen food tour. Visit a farm in one country, a slaughterhouse in another, a vegetarian monastery in still another, greenmarkets in two more, rice auctions, and get a local chef to take you to his favorite restaurants and kitchens (and home-cooked meals) in each. See if you can draw parallels about how different cultures relate food production to consumption in rural and urban areas, and explore the caste & class systems that exist between farmers, fishermen, distributors, buyers, cooks and consumers of food.
posted by luriete at 3:13 PM on September 6, 2006

Round-the-world-swap-a-thon! Find people from all these countries and -- barring any contraband -- have them swap presents. Find people ahead of your trip. Swap something with Mister A in Country I, which in turn is swapped with Mister B in Country II, which in turn is swapped for something with Mister C...

Only token things. Take pictures. Have a journal.
posted by popcassady at 3:40 PM on September 6, 2006

It sounds like you basically want to pick a particular issue to explore in each country. I vote that you do volunteer work in each country and use that experience to further develop your ideas on what is the ideal way for society to help the underprivileged.

Take photo essays and write articles with a view to publishing when you get home (and post a link here!)
posted by Lucie at 3:48 PM on September 6, 2006

It's a good question, one I've faced myself. Upon realizing that I could go around the world, I began the preparations, then tabled everything when I realized that I didn't really want to visit a lot of those places -- instead, I wanted to say that I'd gone around the world.

Hopefully this thread will give you a better reason than that.
posted by Rash at 3:52 PM on September 6, 2006

If I could go around the world, I would try and visit as many unesco world heritage sites as possible.
posted by scodger at 4:03 PM on September 6, 2006

Something that combines two or more of your interests, such as photography and entrepreneurial culture? Perhaps a photo/interview project documenting coffee/tea vendors, street food stalls, produce sellers, or some other business of your choice in each country?
posted by PY at 4:16 PM on September 6, 2006

Go to a local elementary school, make friends with some teachers, and inquire about making your trip part of some educational experience for the kids. Send postcards and presents back, and when you return, give the kids a little lecture about travel and what you saw and what you brought back.
posted by frogan at 4:30 PM on September 6, 2006

help in determining an overall purpose or focus for this journey...I want to be alive, aware and right in the middle of this big world

Based on your question, it's clear that you have already set yourself on the true path. Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is self-actualization. Be aware that the amount of jet fuel that will be burned to get you back to where you are now is not insignificant - make it count. Make this trip extraordinary.

See you in Nirvana, my child.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:41 PM on September 6, 2006

17 days for 6 major cities? Not including travel time (and supposing all of your local bookings have been made) you are going to be pressed even doing tourist stuff. As such, avoid the tourist stuff and go for individual interaction if possible (language barrier permitting).
Asking for your purpose sounds gimmicky to me, but if you want to combine some of your stated interests, how about getting photos of people engaging in similar activites around the world as a demonstration of commonality.
posted by arruns at 5:24 PM on September 6, 2006

The relatively short time struck me too, and made me change my initial idea, which was staying or visiting at a different monastery or convent at each location. That kind of trip might appeal to someone with more time, and I think it would be interesting to mix up the type of places visited - reclusive v. interactive with the surrounding community, rural v. urban, in addition to the obvious diversity of faiths practiced by the inhabitants.
posted by PY at 6:01 PM on September 6, 2006

Don't travel with an agenda. Don't book any lodging. Arrive in each city with an open mind, determined to make your way as you go. Find hotels, motels or hostels by word of mouth. During the day, avoid anything touristy. Take your camera. Go for a walk. Be. Experience the moment in this place, think about the people who live there. Think about how their lives are like your life and the lives of the people you know, and also about how their lives are different. Be open to meeting and knowing people, but don't force it. Be, and see what happens.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:21 PM on September 6, 2006

How about an audio tour? Do interviews, keep memos to yourself on tape.

Although I personally would just make the focus "Hooray I have the time and resources for a Round the World trip--party!"
posted by clairezulkey at 7:18 AM on September 7, 2006

Response by poster: I was asking for a purpose because I haven't got one. This is a non-transferable award or I would have given it to someone else. I considered not going because I've traveled a lot, some would even say too much. In the end, I've decided to go, but as I said I want to do it purposefully. Thanks for all your suggestions.

posted by Xurando at 7:35 AM on September 7, 2006

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