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A friend made an astute observation about me the other week. After I’d told him of my plans, he said; “Only you, Liam, could decide to chuck it all in to go around the world and the first thing you do is design the website.”

Well, I can’t help it. I am what I am; a travel-loving tech-geek – and it isn’t quite as half-baked as it might sound at first. The website/blog, Facebook group and Twitter are all ways to connect with a community of travellers out there, most of whom are happy to share their experiences. Putting a blog up is also one of the few concrete things we can do towards planning the trip right now; it’s too early to be laying down an itinerary in anything but the vaguest outline, but getting to know people who are already doing what we want to do is a way to prepare ourselves and our expectations – and who knows what we’ll learn through writing down our thoughts as we plan!

So that’s it; this is the first step in our Round The World planning.

Mount Kilimanjaro

The planning will take a while though; we can’t put a starting date on the RTW firmer than saying, “next year”. I am committed to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania this September, which is occupying a fair amount of my time (and money!) at the moment. That’s a lot of what this blog will focus on for the next few months, but it will also cover our first steps preparing for the longer trip. For the rest of this year, those steps will be decluttering our flat, to hopefully raise a bit of money towards the trip, but also so that we can become CouchSurfing hosts ahead of our own departure.

CouchSurfing is something I had heard of before but only understood by reading other travel blogs (Aha! Validation, already!) If you haven’t heard of it, CouchSurfing is a kind of accommodation exchange deal. Basically, you get to stay for free on people’s couches and spare beds in exchange for letting others take advantage of your own. I know a number of my friends will look in horror at the idea, but it’s a great way of finding your feet and a bit if security when you arrive somewhere new; the CouchSurfing website has a mechanism for you to build up a level of trust in the community, so you’re not in the hands of total strangers. Being able to stay with a local, even with few amenities, means you get access to invaluable local knowledge from the get-go and, if you’re lucky, you get good accommodation for free and a tour guide too.

CouchSurfing is another way for me to push my boundaries too. It’s a way of meeting interesting people I probably wouldn’t talk to otherwise – and who may well not talk to me either! My social circles have become a bit static in the last few years. This is a way to shake them up a little.

So… That’s the plan for the time being; Climb Kilimanjaro, declutter/sell stuff, host couchsurfers and plan a round-the-world trip. Simples!

Any advice from readers on how to do this would of course be welcomed in the comments below and through the usual (FB/Twitter) media…