Category Archives: How to travel

When you’re considering taking some time off and go traveling the world for longer periods, months or even years, here are 10 advices we’d like to give you.

1. Have everything taken care of at home

Have everything taken care of before you leave, your home, car, pets, bills….Don’t drag your everyday stuff and concerns with you on your trip.

2. Leave home at home

Having things taken care of at home makes it easier to let go of all that and be present in your journey. So you can just immerse yourself with all the new along the way. You’re supposed to be here now, not there!

Since you've got the time now, make sure all the travelers in your group can have their needs met. Maybe playing in the sand for a couple of days (weeks?) is important for some...

Since you've got the time now, make sure all the travelers in your group can have their needs met. Maybe playing in the sand for a couple of days (weeks?) is important for some...

3. Take your time

Chances are you are living a pretty hectic life normally, at home. Don’t bring that stressful pace on the trip! It may take a while before you can get rid of it (usually a few weeks) but when you start to relax, stay in that state and experience the world from there.

4. Plan according to the traveler’s ages

Are you traveling with babies, teenagers or both? Take your time to figure out how you can make your journey so that every body’s needs are met, and don’t forget your own!

5. Don’t cram too much “doing” into your trip

There’s this belief that you always have to “do” things for things to happen. Rest assure, when you’re traveling for months, or more, things will undoubtedly turn up and give you opportunities to experience interesting things and adventure. So, try to give the “being” a bit focus too.

6. Be open to changing plans along the way

Even if you have your plans, maybe you actually didn’t know what you really wanted to do or where you wanted to go when you were at home. Or maybe something totally unexpected turned up along the way, a different situation or a new idea. Don’t be afraid to change your plans and follow new roads. That’s what traveling is all about.

7. Stay in the present

Experience what’s here and now. Look around. Listen. See. Try to be HERE and not there, at your next destination, tomorrow, next week, or back home again. Remember, the more you’re here, the more you’ll experience (and it doesn’t have to be “big” things).

8. Respect and try to have a true interest in the people and the customs of the places you are passing along your journey

Also remember, most people are usually more interested in being genuinely listened to than to listen to you (although sharing about your country and your customs of course is part of it).

9. Forget the “my country is the best in the world” mentality.

Even if that’s what you’re thinking, at least before you set of on your long trip, strive for seeing positive and interesting things with every place you’re visiting. What can you learn from people and places that you can bring home and make your own place even better? And what can you share with them that can make their place even better as well?

10. Embrace challenges and see them as part of your trip (or maybe even as the purpose of it).

When you’re traveling long term, challenges turn up. You can choose not to see them as difficulties though, but as opportunities to grow. And surely, these situations will be some of the things you and your family/co-travelers will remember the best and that will help create that strong bond between you. So embrace your learning opportunities!

Happy Travels!

During the last week or so, we have, once again, been shown that nature’s the one who’s in charge. The volcano eruption on Iceland has made us here in Sweden, in northern Europe, as well as other parts of the world, realize how dependent we are on the flight industry. Sure, if you want to travel around the world it’s obvious that you need to do some extra thinking if the possibility of flying isn’t there. But not only if you want to travel far away for that matter. Our daughter Aurora was supposed to fly to the UK today to visit her sister who’s spending some time there. To their great disappointment, they both had to adjust to the reality that there are no planes neither leaving Sweden nor landing in the UK at the moment.

amtrack

One of our trips by train. Not around the world though, but across the US.


But the traveling is of course just a small part of it. We were talking about what would happen if this ash cloud (or some other reason for that matter) would be of a more permanent nature. What if there wouldn’t be any jet flights available in northern Europe for the whole of next year? Just asked around in our local shop yesterday if they were affected in any way and of course, already there were fruits and vegetables they didn’t have because of this. Interesting! Not that I think it’s essential, or even recommendable, to fly all kinds of food around the world (besides our Swedish strawberries are by far the tastiest and best ones! They’re of course only available during the summer, and the local ones are of course the very best whereas those from the Canary Island or Israel I could certainly do without).

So this is a big catastrophe, not only for the flight industry but for people in many different areas that are affected. Maybe not that bad for buses, boats and trains though:lol:. As always, with the bad comes also something good. And one of the good things is that we now get a chance to see how vulnerable we really are and how important it is to look into flight alternatives as well as alternatives to how we live our lives in general.

Regarding traveling, we ourselves have traveled a lot without flying throughout the years. The reasons were many and my fear of flying was one of them. We’ve traveled many times through Europe with car, campervan and car with a trailer. We’ve used boats and ferries to take us to different places and we’ve traveled by train. Especially in the US we love going with their (slow:grin:) trains which take days and where you meet all kinds of interesting people.

You can read more about different ways to take yourself around the world, as well as a bit about our personal experiences here.

So the situation being as it is at the moment, I thought I’d share a few links where you can find more information about how to travel around the world without flying. The first one is www.lowcarbontravel.com a blog crated by Ed who traveled around the world a whole year 2007-2008, using all kinds of transportations, except flying. A while ago we did an interview with Ed that we will put up here soon for you to listen to.

Then there’s “The man in seat 61”: www.seat61.comprobably the no 1 site for people interested in traveling around the world without using a plane. As they say themselves “The man in seat 61 will tell you how to travel comfortably & affordably overland where you think air was now the only option”.

I also found this short informative and interesting article from www.worldinslowmotion.com who traveled the world for 10 months without flying. Here they share some great ideas you can have use for if you consider traveling in this way.

And finally, I just have to share this imagination stimulating article by Alain de Botton philosopher and author of many books, “The Art of Travel” being one of them (which I really can recommend). I just can’t resist quoting from this article because this part so very much resonates with what we often talk about here at Extended World Travel:

“If one of our key motives for traveling is to try to put the past behind us, then we often need something very large and time-consuming, like the experience of a month long journey across an ocean or a hike over a mountain range, to establish a sufficient sense of distance”.

Couldn’t have said it better myself :lol:

So, you see, if you want to travel around the world without flying, either by your own free choice or if forced by Mother Nature, there’s always a way to go!

Happy Slow Travels!

Last week, we wrote about Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman, who chose to travel around the world on their motorbikes. We’ve watched the DVDs from their trip several times and it seems like an amazing adventure with some amazing challenges as well:lol:

Rosie Swale running around the world

Rosie Swale's way to travel around the world


Well, now our friend Gabi (who by the way is an avid traveler herself as well as a fantastic photographer: www.5reicherts.com ) just told me about this book she’s reading. It’s about Rosie Swan-Pope who made the same trip as Ewan and Charlie, but not on a motorbike though. Rosies way to take herself around the world was by running!

I had to check this out and got really fascinated by this woman, who, on her 57th Birthday 2003, started off on a 20 000 miles / over 30 000 km long trip. After Rosies husband had died in cancer she wanted to do something to raise awareness of a couple of very small charities; a prostate cancer charity, a charity for orphan children in Russia and the Nepal Trust, and the way she chose to do this was by running around the world.

The initial plan was to use two years to run the whole way from Wales, UK, through Holland, Germany, Poland and Moscow, and the Trans Siberian Railway route. Then go on to the Bering Straits, Alaska, America, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland and England, before returning to the start and finishing line at Tenby, Wales. As we all can imagine, a trip like this can provide many different surprises along the way, as did Rosies.

With no back-up team and little funding, she ran through some of the planet’s most remote and rugged areas, pulling a cart containing provisions and camping gear. On most nights, she camped at the side of the road, sometimes in the snow, using up to 4 sleeping bags at the same time!

She had to overcome things like frostbite and broken ribs, pneumonia as well as being hit by a bus and knocked unconscious as she tried to cross a river. And when she got back home, 45 pairs of shoes later, the trip had actually taken her almost 5 years.

When asked why she wanted to do this, she says:

“What else would I be doing? Sit around thinking about what I did in the past?”

I love that, and I also love what she says when she gets questions about getting “older” and taking it easy:

“People think like: Oh now I’m 40, I better take things easy. It’s usually taking things easy that kills you! It’s the doing things that keeps you going”

This is something I have noticed so many times with people I have around me as well as people I’ve met. The more you “sit around thinking about what you did in the past” the less you usually do and the more limited and lifeless your life gets. And also the opposite, the more you interest yourself in others and in the world, the more you “do” the more alive you feel and the more you can do and see and be…

I just thought about my own mother here in Sweden, who recently, in her seventies went on a tour to Canada with her band (the kids loved telling people that “grandma’s on a tour with her band”). Not a rock band though:lol:

Anyway, there are so many interesting angles with Rosie and the way she takes herself around the world I think. Like the contact with people you get when you do it her way. We have often talked about traveling really slow, but haven’t done it so far. Like when we have been driving around Europe. Oftentimes we have felt that driving is a too fast way to travel to have the time to really experience people and the landscape. We have some friends though, a Swedish family, who walked all the way from Sweden to England and this has always fascinated me.

I just want to finish by quoting Rosie again regarding this:

“Running can take you to places that do not exist if you travel in any other way. Maybe even more than walking, because you can get so exhausted, almost fail so every often, and are vulnerable and shaky. Sometimes when you are weakest, you can feel things the most strongly. This is when those you meet in the midst of their own difficult lives and situations, are not fearful of you. You’re treading gently through someone else’s land, part of the life going on all around you. Part of the people, places, sunrises, storms, terrors and joys; seeing, feeling, laughing, crying, in happiness or despair.”

How about that!

There is a short BBC film about her fantastic trip that you can watch here

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The other day we wrote about why travel is good for you and your brain based on scientific studies. Today though, I want to tell you about one of my favorite authors and his view on how to travel. This is rather different from the scientific approach though and much more about personal opinions.

Paulo Coelho gives advice on how to travel

Paulo Coelho gives advice on how to travel


The author is Paulo Coelho and to me he is definitive a great author. I always enjoy reading his books. They are easy to read, usually surprise me and inspire me to not always believe my first impression. He often has a nice twist on things. And the books do make me feel good. So it was nice when, earlier today, I was reminded of his advice on how to travel .

I believe Paulo Coelho to be a man who writes and talks from the heart, not too concerned by what others might think. So when he shares his point of view on traveling, it is nice to see that we seem to think alike in many ways.

First of all, he as well, is of the opinion that travel is the best way to learn. I whole heartedly agree with that and it is of course one of the reasons we have choose to travel with our kids. But not only for the kids, we parents too enjoy to learn and discover new things.

Furthermore Paulo’s basic advices for a traveler are:

• Take your time
• Stay away from tourist traps
• Don’t buy too many souvenirs
• Try and meet the locals and discover what their life is all about.

These are simple things that make a lot of sense to me.

But when you look at what the travel industry in general is all about, it very often seems to be the total opposite. The objective of travel often seems to be to see and do as much as possible of the tourist stuff in the shortest amount of time. Buy the local handicrafts that, no matter where you are, usually are made in China. And then at night party away with the other holiday makers.

No, this is not the kind of stuff that makes us passionate about traveling and why we want you to travel.

Most important, I believe, is probably to give yourself plenty of time. Slow and extended travel is the way to go. And of course do it with your kids! It will be an experience of a life time. Paulo missed that one but it’s probably because he doesn’t have any kids off his own. Otherwise I am sure it would be included in his advice.

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The other day we decided to watch “Long Way Round” with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman again. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, this is a TV documentary of Ewan’s and Charley’s journey from London to New York on motorbikes. As the title suggests, they took the long way by setting off through Europe and then heading east through Russia and Asia all the way to Bering Strait where they would fly the motorbikes to Alaska. Mounting their bikes again in Anchorage they would then ride them across the American continent to New York.

Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman from Long Way Round

Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman from Long Way Round


First of all let me say that I do enjoy watching the DVD’s although this is probably something I would never undertake myself. But that goes for a lot of things I guess :lol:. Even if it is about an extended journey both in time and distance the focus is definitely on the adventure part. It’s for big strong guys and maybe not something where you would bring your kids along.

Still, it‘s very entertaining to take part of all the ups and downs. They try to cover everything from the planning and preparation to finally arriving in New York. You definitely get the feeling that a journey like that is not just fun all the time. There are also struggles and obstacles to overcome before as well as during the trip. But despite that and all the hardship, I suppose it’s an experience they wouldn’t want to have been without.

Right now as we are watching it they are stuck in the mud in Mongolia questioning why they are there and why they are doing this at all. They probably found an answer for it or they must have forgotten about it quickly since they later took on a second challenge of riding their bikes from England to South Africa. Putting themselves through all that hardship once more must mean it was worth it somehow for them.

So let’s see if there is anything interesting that we can take away from this:

• For anyone concerned about the very common money to travel issue. Here is for sure a way of doing it that doesn’t take money out of your pocket but rather put money into it. Well, that’s just my guess but I would be very surprised if it wasn’t the case since the TV documentaries seems to be big successes as well as the books. Sure it helps that Ewan is a famous actor (Star Wars, Moulin Rouge and other films) but still it wasn’t just a walk in the park for them either. All it takes I believe is a good idea!

• I said before that this is probably something I would never do myself, the obvious reason being that I am not really a motorbike person. But more importantly than that, I wouldn’t want to exclude my family to that extent. My personal choice would rather be to come up with an adventure that could include my wife and kids as well. Why not get on a motorbike and put the kids in a sidecar and tour Europe or the US for six month instead? It wouldn’t of course be the same but it would for sure be great for the family bonding.

• My third point is time. Give yourself plenty of time! Watching Ewan and Charley in Long Way Round often being stressed because of a tight schedule and not having time to stop and enjoy the present moment, kind of takes away the point of traveling in the first place. Traveling is not a race to me. It’s not about getting somewhere quickly or visiting the greatest amount of countries or cities so you have a nice and big photo album to look back at when you get home. No, it’s about enjoying the journey when I am out there traveling.

Still I enjoy watching the DVD’s tremendously. I am very grateful to Ewan and Charley for making this journey and documenting it all so I can enjoy the adventure from the comfort of my sofa.

What I would love to see in the future though is a documentary of an extended travel adventure with a family. To see how they experience it and what their challenges and rewards would be. I am sure it would be something that would inspire other families to set off on their own adventure as well.

Maybe a film like that has already been made and I just don’t know about it? If that is so we would be very pleased if someone would tell us about it. And even if it has been done I still think there is a market for a new one if someone is looking for a sponsored long term travel adventure with their family…

Maybe something you would like to do?

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As I’m just on my way to the airport to fly to London, I started thinking about another time when we went there, the whole family. This special occasion, we were actually flying too, something then totally new to us. We had been traveling a lot as a family even before this, but always by car, train or boat and, except for Morocco, always around Europe.

If I hadn’t done something about my fear of flying I would probably never had experienced one of my favourite places, Fiji!

If I hadn’t done something about my fear of flying I would probably never had experienced one of my favourite places, Fiji!


The reason for this was me. I was totally terrified at the thought of getting myself into a plane. It hadn’t always been like this though. The first time I flew, with my parents, I was about the age of one. I then continued to fly regularly around the world and actually enjoyed it, or even loved that exciting feeling of being high up in the sky on my way somewhere. My first job dream was even to become a pilot!

Anyway, some 30 years after my first flight I became a mother, and everything changed. Just the thought of flying and placing my life in the hands of someone I didn’t know, or not even could see, was totally unimaginable. It wasn’t even an option when we planned our different trips. So, we did lots of slow traveling and got to learn the geography of Europe really well. Until one day, when the rest of the family started talking about traveling farther away, like Australia and New Zealand, Canada and the US. And they didn’t want to go by boat!

I realized, the time had come for me to do something about this fear of mine. So I signed up for a weekend “fear of flying” program and went there with a rapidly beating heart. There we got to learn loads about, both the psychology around our fears, as well as how a plane is built and how it works. We even got the chance to fly ourselves (a simulator:lol:) which was great fun, like a huge computer game. That weekend really changed everything. I could actually imagine myself on a plane again!

So, shortly after this we went on this flight to London, all of us, and that was the beginning of our new traveling life. We then did this trip to Australia, as well as the one to New Zealand. We visited friends in Canada and the US and it all went very well. I have to admit, I almost enjoyed it at times! Since then there have been many more trips than these ones, both by plane and other ways of travel.

Being able to fly again has given me, and the rest of the family, so many opportunities to see fantastic places and meet wonderful people that I’m really glad I took some action and confronted my fear.

As an extra bonus it has helped me to be less frightened in other situations as well. I am generally more daring now. It has helped me realize that many of the things I have been afraid of haven’t been dangerous at all, they were just notions that had existed in my mind.

Of course, for doing some extended world travel, you don’t necessarily have to fly. There are many other forms of transportation to choose from and your journey will be something different if flying isn’t on your program. But if you do want to fly and are avoiding it because of fear, you can turn that around! And of course, whatever fears you might have that keeps you from going out in the world, there are always ways to change them around!

“Nothing is so much to be feared as fear”
Loesje

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We’re having a family here visiting at the moment, from Romania. Actually, they are Swedish but they live in here mostly during the summers and in Romania the other half of the year, in Transylvania more precisely (yes, the land of Dracula).
Friends2
We wondered how they ended up in Romania and it turned out the parents (before they were married) first went there to help out at an orphanage and also to work with helping street children to get a better life. This lead to them coming back again and again and finally they moved there with their own family. This got us talking about how to travel and how we can create our own “travel themes”. Oftentimes we don’t just go traveling, we travel for a reason, with a purpose, because we want to pursue an interest or to learn something new.

there, a dream came true! <br> Matamata New Zealand

Finally there, a dream came true! Matamata New Zealand

You have probably heard by now about how we once traveled around New Zealand in the footsteps of the Lord of the Rings. For a long time LOTR had been a big part of our family’s life. We had read the books and watched the films (and not only once, I’ll tell you). The children had sewn their own cloaks which they walked around in. They made a play on the theme and even studied elfish! What more could they do with this passion? Visit the places for the movie shootings of course! So we flew to NZ and went to places like Matamata, where “Hobbiton” is situated and Mount Ruapehu, aka “Mount Doom”. You couldn’t see the ski lifts in the movie though, maybe Sauron didn’t like skiing? To our big surprise, we found “Dunharrow” in the middle of Wellington! We even met a guy who worked at Weta workshops (who made all the props for the films) and who also acts as a body double for Aragorn. Got to hear some interesting inside stories there! Anyway, we had so much fun during this, in many ways, rather “touristy” trip.

Mount Dome in the background. The weather, as you can see, helped to create the perfect “dark” atmosphere

Mount Doom in the background. The weather, as you can see, helped to create the perfect “dark” atmosphere

As for other “theme trips” we have spent lots of time in places like Spain to learn Spanish. Although, the first time we went there, the kids actually learnt their first basic English (some parts of Spain are very international).

Another time, we made a long “pen pal visiting tour” around the USA and Canada. This whole trip originated in a letter Viktoria had received about 5 years earlier from a girl on Vancouver Island BC Canada, asking if she wanted to be her pen pal.

We also thought about some of our best friends who spend months and months traveling around the beaches of the world taking photos, since that’s their passion. And another friend of ours, who spent 3 months in a Buddhist center in northern India, to learn more about that specific religion and about herself.

As for another example on how to travel with a special purpose, or with a special theme, we came to think about all the people we’ve heard about who go to Argentina to learn “real” Tango and maybe also some Spanish at the same time.

So, is there a theme you would like to give your trip? This isn’t necessary of course, you can just travel and see what turns up, but for some people, or sometimes, having an overall theme for your trip can be of help as well as great fun.

• What are you or your family interested in or even passionate about?
• Are there people you’d like to visit somewhere in the world
• Is there anything you’d love to learn more about?
• Is there a cause which is close to your heart that you could contribute some of your time to?
• Maybe you’re in desperate need to do an “in search for a new business idea” trip?

Since ideas become more real when you share them and talk about them you’re very welcome to tell us about any travel themes that pops up in your head!

And remember, anything can be an excuse to travel!

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While I was considering weather it is possible to travel around the world in a safe way somebody handled me this article about a man planning to drive around the world. Heading out from New York he will be spending a year driving down South America, up through Africa, east out of Europe and onwards through Asia and then finally the homestretch, a cross country drive through the US. It definitely sounds exciting to me.
Around the world in a car
I just thought about the fact that I have read several stories about circumnavigating the world in different ways. Be it by car, motorcycle and boat. Amazing stories like that always inspire my imagination but they all seem to involve danger to a certain extent. I just remembered a fantasy I had when I was younger and had just completed my flying training and had a brand new flight certificate. I dreamt of getting my own single engine airplane and fly it around the world. I could see pictures in my imagination of me flying over Africa like Denys in “Out of Africa” with hoards of animals running below the plane (and this was even before the film was actually made). But would it have been a safe way to travel around the world? Probably not…

Well as you may imagine, nothing came of it. And nothing has, so far, come out of the stories I’ve read about driving, riding, sailing or walking around the world. When we’ve been traveling to places outside of Europe, we’ve always “only” been flying. Even though this way of traveling around the world doesn’t make the headlines it is definitely the most common one. And to be honest we have never felt in any kind of danger.

And this is something to keep in mind. The newspapers and other media are not interested in the ordinary. They don’t cover ordinary stories. They want something unique and special. Therefore, most of the stories about people traveling around the world are describing out of the ordinary journeys that are dangerous or special in some way.

This is also probably why the name of the blog about this man who’s driving around the word isn’t just “Trans World Expedition” but it also has the subtitle: “The year of living dangerously”.

Why? I don’t know how dangerous this journey may be. Maybe he is risking his life by taking off on this adventure? But then maybe it is not more dangerous than walking down certain streets in his home town New York?

The thing I am trying to get at anyway is that even though these fantastic stories can inspire us to take off on our own journey they can also have a discouraging effect. They can actually scare us from daring to do anything about our dreams. We just feel we are not adventures or courageous enough. Instead we stay in the comfort and security of our home.

But I want to tell you that it is possible to make longer journeys just as adventures or secure as you want them to be. Don’t let these stories of brave young men discourage you. You can be old and grey and still do your thing. You can bring your kids without putting them through any kind of danger greater than an ordinary day in school.

The world may seem big and dangerous from the safety of your home. And maybe some parts are. But what’s also important to remember is that the world is a big place where most people really are friendly and helpful and where you can feel safe.

Friendliness and safety aren’t things, unfortunately, that create big headlines and catches peoples attention. Therefore you don’t hear much about it in the TV news. The focus of the media is not on the safe and harmonious places in the world but rather on chaotic and unstable ones. Because of this our awareness of the world around us sometimes runs the risk of being a bit unbalanced.

If you’re considering traveling and for some reason don’t feel totally safe about it, having a look at our Crime and Terrorism page may be of some help.

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