Current events have lots of RTW riders rethinking the way we travel, ride, and explore the world. But while questions of sustainable travel, slow travel, and respect for local people, cultures, and communities are important, is it possible to look at RTW travel in a different way, too?
For the longest time, RTW travel has been about certain routes and destinations. Round-the-world circumnavigation, London to Sydney, Cape to Cape, Alaska to Ushuaia; these have become iconic RTW routes, and roads like the Ruta 40 in Argentina or the Road of Bones in Siberia have become synonymous with adventure travel. In the past, trips like that required much more effort and risk, and there were a lot more unknown factors than now when access to information and developing infrastructures around the world have made it much easier to travel. RTW travel has become something that pretty much anyone can do, so pretty much everyone hit the road.
A Different Way to Travel
However, now that most of us are only able to travel locally or within the boundaries of our own countries, there’s a need to reinvent ADV travel – at least for now. With this in mind, why not try to focus on goals and experiences rather than destinations? For example, going on a training tour instead of just a weekend ride to brush up on your off-road skills, or planning a week of riding combined with hiking or a kayaking trip.
Even RTW travel can be planned by experiences rather than places. Filling the itinerary with volunteering, learning languages, living with the locals, experiencing wildlife, cultures, and communities, or simply enjoying being off the grid in the more remote places of the world can be just as – if not more – satisfying than ticking off the bucket list destinations which are becoming more and more touristy each year. If travel becomes about appreciating local ways of life and immersive experiences rather than mileage and getting from A to B, perhaps the transition to slower, more sustainable travel can come about painlessly, and the overcrowding and mass tourism issues will diminish over time.