Exactly one month from my departure date, I find myself already over the skies, en route to Los Angeles to spend some much needed time with one of my best friends. I’ve been anticipating the next ten days for quite some time, as having been best friends with Jess for half our lives now, there’s no better therapy for me than to spend time with her. To say the past two months have been a whirlwind would be an understatement. I studied, failed, then thankfully passed, my PMP exam. I completed an online marketing course to help with my site development and presence. And most dauntingly, I quit my job of the past four years, saying goodbye to the people I have grown so close to and spent the most of those four years with. This flight is the first time I have had to actually detach from the things/loose ends I need to close prior to my RTW trip and just turn my brain off. It turns out I don’t do nothing well.

I’ve been researching goals people often make for their sabbaticals and have been giving a lot of thought as to what I want to accomplish. Stefan Sagmeister, a huge influence of mine, really drove it home that without a plan, or at least the semblance of the plan, one won’t accomplish much. Given that, I’ve come up with the below goals, two focusing on my mental growth and two on my physical growth:

– learn a new language: given the amount of time I’ll be spending in each South America and Asia, either Portuguese or Mandarin seem plausible. Even if not fluent, having conversational skills in either language seems like both a smart and attainable goal
– expand my cultural knowledge: I feel like this is a given provided everything I will be doing, but I don’t want to fall into the tourist traps of each country the entire time I’m there and not experience the real local cultures of each place. I really want to share my cultural experiences with others so that even if you, reading this, are unable to go to a particular place, I’ll have provided you with the basis of an understanding of the people, what makes them beautiful, what are the real challenges faced in that region are, and why we, those living on the other side of the world, should care
– develop healthier eating habits: I think removing myself from the North American food culture makes this an inevitability, but I’m very much looking forward to broadening my currently somewhat limited palette and to continue with this habit when I return
– develop healthier exercise habits: this goes hand in hand with the above, yes, but my logic here differs. People make so many excuses as to why they can’t dedicate time to fitness, be it family, work, any kind of commitment they can think of. But for me, with no work and essentially zero commitments attached to my time, I will have no excuse. Do or die time when it comes to my fitness!

I have no doubt there will be innumerable other life lessons and experiences that come my way during the course of this RTW trip that I just can’t foresee, but I feel with the above I have a solid foundation to get started!