Vagabonding Case Study: Adam Groffman

Adam Groffman

Adam Groffman

Age: 25

Home: Boston, MA

Quote: “Taking this trip is as much about seeing and doing things as it is proving to myself that I can do it.”

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful? Back in September 2009 I decided I wanted to take a RTW trip. So, naturally, my first stop was the bookstore to see what others had written about it and what kind of travel guides were out there. (I’m a little old-fashioned in that sense – paper books are still important!) I sat there on the floor and flipped through several books, then bought a guidebook and went home and started my search on the Internet.

That quickly became overwhelming (there are a LOT of RTW travel resources on the web). Some sites seemed professional and useful, others seemed like they were ready to take my money for a bunch of random reasons. After a few months of reading travel blogs and web forums, I decided to backtrack a bit and find some good, published books of travel essays. That’s when I came across Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding. I pretty much devoured the book in a day.

What is your job or source of travel funding for this journey? Well, right now I’m still gainfully employed. I started working as soon as I graduated (actually, I started a few weeks before I even received my diploma or attended a graduation ceremony) and pretty much have been saving money ever since. My parents taught me basic fiscal responsibility as well as the need to spend money on travel, so I guess my whole life has been in preparation for this.  (Quick caveat: Though, I would wholeheartedly say that it doesn’t have to be like this—anyone can pick up and travel with just a few simple bits of planning.)

Okay, so I’d been saving money since graduation but I was never planning a RTW trip. That basically happened in the past 6 months (Sept 2009). I kept to a budget for most of 2008 with the goal of saving up enough money to move to NYC. When I realized how difficult it’d be to move to NYC, I decided to instead just travel. Much better decision in my mind considering I’ll probably just move to New York when I come back.

Do you plan to work on the road? Hopefully! I want to stop and stay put for a few months relatively early in the trip. That should give me some time to rest, get somewhat settled & find some freelance work while living in a foreign country. Also, by the end of my trip, I intend on getting to Australia and trying to find a serious, permanent job. Something with a retirement fund.

What was the reaction of your friends/family/colleagues as you planned your trip? This has been interesting, to say the least. My friends had mixed reactions. Several thought it was amazing—most were jealous that I even could afford to take the trip (Listen, friends – I didn’t go to grad school and I didn’t buy a car, so yeah.) A few friends were surprisingly unsupportive. Their arguments: that now isn’t a good time to quit your job, that I should be saving not spending, blah blah blah.

My family’s reaction was a bit like a mixed blessing. Both my Mom & Dad were initially skeptical yet excited for me. Weird, I know, but they’ve become more and more supportive while I’ve been planning. This surprised me because we were always a big travel family. Hell, my Dad took a 2-year RTW trip in the 70s. They’re obviously worried about communication while I’m away, but at the same time concede that there are more options than ever of communicating abroad. Not to mention how easy (albeit expensive) it is to just hop on a plane and get “home.”

My older sister (a long-time travel inspiration of mine) has also been extremely supportive. She took an extended trip through Europe back in 2001 so she’s been a big proponent of taking a “big trip” as well. In fact, she tried to convince me to leave sooner! (Money was an issue otherwise I’d be on the next plane out of here)

Any tips or lessons learned from the travel-preparation process? Talk to other long-term travelers! The travel blogging/tweeting community has been an incredible asset. Seriously. Wouldn’t be able to be where I am today without them. Also: trust people.

How long do you hope to spend on the road? For now I’m just telling people 1 year. Though I’m secretly planning a year-and-a-half and then that could possibly turn into 2 years. I really want to try and make it for as long as possible in Australia (with a real job if I can manage it!) which right now would mean making the most of a 1-year work/travel visa there. That added onto my first 8 or 9 months of travel before arriving in Australia would give me a decent amount of time abroad.

Which destinations do you hope to visit? This changes just about every day. Seriously. I’ve decided to simply my itinerary by basically picking regions and general months. I first wrote about my itinerary here.

Now, I’ve decided to focus pretty seriously first on North Africa, then the Middle East, then Turkey, then India/Nepal and then Southeast Asia. Must-sees would be Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Croatia (my #1 destination though it might be too expensive to get to on my current itinerary), India, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia. Then Australia for as long as possible (mentioned earlier).

Which experiences are you most looking forward to? Sightseeing-wise: Seeing the desert in Morocco, overland travel in parts of the Middle East, the food in Turkey, trekking in Nepal, the beaches in SE Asia and then Indonesia in general.

Life-experience-wise: I want to get out of my shell! Taking this trip is as much about seeing and doing things as it is proving to myself that I can do it.

What are you packing for the journey? ACK! Am I supposed to pack?! No, just kidding. I’ll do that. Eventually.

I’ll have a backpack for sure—which one? I’m don’t know yet. I’ll have my Canon G10 camera for as long as it lasts before falling into a body of water, being stolen in a hostel or a broken lens from my foot. I’ll have my Moleskine journal, my laptop (again until it gets destroyed by any number of probably causes), a beanie hat (not sure I could last without one) and my Converse sneakers.

Do you have any worries or concerns about the journey? Actually, I’m surprised at how few worries or concerns I’ve got about the big trip. I’m normally always worried, but this just seems to feel right. I checked my calender tonight and I’ve apparently got 77 days until departure. There’s probably something I’m supposed to be doing (like researching a backpack or getting rid of all this junk in my apartment), but I’m just trying to think instead of camping in the Saharan desert or floating in the Dead Sea. That sounds much better to me.

How can we best follow your adventures? My blog! Or, buy me an iPhone with FREE, UNLIMITED international service and I’ll happily tweet my way around the world. That’d be the bomb.

Email: Twitter: travelsofadam Website:

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Posted by | Comments (3)  | March 31, 2010
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

3 Responses to “Vagabonding Case Study: Adam Groffman”

  1. brian | No Debt World Travel Says:

    I always like to see people getting ready to take off on their adventures. 77 days can’t pass fast enough. Glad your sister and your family and friends in general have been supportive. Ignore the folks who are telling you it is not the time. There is NEVER the perfect time for something like this!

  2. Ann Says:

    You are an incredible young man and an inspiration. I spent 3months in europe and forgot the love and excitement of travel. I have to make my trip to London and Paris this year.

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