Setting Personal Goals for RTW Travel

Travel Goals

People who are planning RTW travel often have travel related goals (30 countries before 30, see every county in Europe etc).

I have some of these types of travel-related goals – although mine tend to be super quirky. For example, I love theater and my favorite TV show is the West Wing. I love to see people from the West Wing in plays and am always looking for opportunities to do this when I’m traveling.

Non-Travel Related Goals for Big Trips

However, the goals I’m most interested in tend to be personal, non-travel related goals.

I get the feeling I’m not the only one who sets these kinds of personal goals for their travels.

Goal setting for my open-ended trip that starts next week.

I’m super lucky in that I love my work.

However I don’t have enough balance in my life. I’m scared that if I keep overworking it’s going to have costs later. For example, it’s easy to throw myself into work and not put enough thought into the decision about whether to have children. I don’t want the clock to run down on my fertility and realize I didn’t take the time to really think the decision through.

Overall I want to spend more time thinking about things that aren’t work. Currently my work-life balance typically consists of working 9am till 11pm during the week, and then collapsing on the weekend.

Since my first stop on this trip is 5 weeks in Hawaii, where better to attempt to practice chilling out a bit. My specific goal is to be able to sit at the beach for 30 minutes without multitasking anything (e.g., without writing a blog post in my head). Honestly at the moment I’m not sure I could even do 3 minutes. My brain is so conditioned that any time I have down time, I use it for thinking and problem solving time.

Kathryn’s goals.

Kathryn has two goals (1) to lose the 8lbs she’s put on in the last couple of months from comfort eating her way through the stress of leaving her job and packing up the house!

(2) Her other goal is to become less avoidant of stuff. For example, through packing up the house we’ve realized all the things we should’ve done sooner. For example, various repairs and maintenance we tend to let slide. Also, we’ve ended up with an untidy house because of how much stuff we tend to keep e.g., both of us tend to keep the packaging off things appliances, we’ve kept tons of old towels and linens etc. Now that the house is bare and ready to be moved out of, we’re realizing what a tidy house we could’ve lived in if we hadn’t held on to some much stuff.

What are the goals you’ve made for yourself for past trips? What are the goals you plan on making for your next big trip?

I’d love to hear via the comments. You can also leave your comment on the Facebook thread about this post and it will get auto imported into the comments section on this page.


  1. // Reply

    I make much smaller goals, as my biggest life goals were to move abroad after college and become fluent in Spanish. Since then, my travel-related goals have changed: participate in a sporting event in a country other than Spain (did the Tough Mudder in May 2012), attend a regional festival in Spain (the Rocío in May 2012) and get to Asia. This year, my biggest feat – since I hit 30 by 30 at age 27 – will be to walk two weeks on the Camino de Santiago and raise $500 for pediatric cancer research while I do it! I think goals push us in many ways, particularly when it comes to travel and testing our limits!

  2. // Reply

    On our RTW we had a few “must-see” places on our list, a combination of cities, sights and countries/continents. Other than that we figured out we’d make it up as we went along, and that worked well for us. Our other goal was to “slow down”: this was the first time we were traveling with an open ended itinerary, and it was a challenge to not race through everything. (Sounds like you could use a similar strategy 😉 )

    Since we are now permanent vagabonds, our goal now is less about “seeing” a place and more about “being there”. The “less is more” philosophy really comes into play here. Whether we’re in a place for a day, a week or a month, we try to scale back on what we do so we really have an opportunity to absorb the atmosphere and culture. We find that’s what provides the best inspiration for our writing.

  3. // Reply

    I’ll be honest. We don’t set any goals.

    We both feel that if you set your sights on something and make it a goalpost to reach you run the risk of being disappointed when they aren’t met.

    Our travel is all about the unexpected, that way we’re never disappointed, but there was a time when we did have them. We set ourselves the goal of doing the Trans-Siberian when we started travelling last year but it didn’t quite work out for us, hence a week of huge disappointment as we scrambled to choose what to do next.

  4. // Reply

    Ah, this gives me a lot of food for thought. We’ve been traveling at a breakneck pace for the last couple of months (with another month and a half to come), and I’m looking forward to having some time to set some longer term goals. Great suggestions.

  5. // Reply

    Love the idea of working on simply enjoying the moment and not making lists, writing blogs posts etc in your head.

  6. // Reply

    i love seeing how you tackle this goal-setting thing. it’s crazy how different we all are. just reading the comments above show that so nicely. nice work.

  7. // Reply

    It’s so important to set goals! And I think publicly defining them also makes it easier to achieve them

  8. // Reply

    Our trip coming up in 2 weeks is aimed at relaxation. Goal: have an afternoon nap at least every second day. We tend to get carried away doing so many activities that we exhaust ourselves all the time!

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