In my last post (I don’t blame you if you don’t remember it… it was a loooooong time ago!) when I was lamenting about my awful reading dry spell, Softdrink over at Fizzy Thoughts reminded me that along with my dissertation, I also have that huge impending Round The World (RTW) trip I’ve been planning so why not talk about that some if material for bookish posts was somewhat lacking at the moment. And of course, as soon as I read that comment, I thought it was brilliant! It has always been Tony’s and my intention to continue blogging when we embark on our grand tour—it’s a lot easier than trying to fit you all in our backpacks!—so it makes sense to start the process a bit earlier. I know that whenever fellow bloggers have shared holiday pictures in the past, I’ve always really loved the vicarious thrill of seeing a place I’ve never been through someone else’s eyes, so I hope others will feel the same. Also, planning a regular 1 – 2 week holiday is an endeavor in itself, but planning a RTW trip is a whole different ballgame… like the Olympics of trip planning. So some of the behind-the-scenes details showing just what goes into this kind of endeavor might actually be interesting (fingers crossed!). For those of you not at all interested in travel (! is that even possible?!?), I apologize for my terrible book blogging of late. Thus far into 2012, I’ve read 4 books, three of them for BookPage, so while I do have one book to write about (and hope to do so soon), things on the literary front might be a little dry for the next while.
When you first tell people that you’re going on a RTW trip, you get a variety of reactions: some people get really excited and think it’s super awesome but others find the concept completely confusing, unable to fathom the idea of giving up the security of a job and a traditional career path to go vagabonding. Trust me, for ever squeal of excitement we’ve enjoyed, we’ve also gotten plenty of blank stares. Still, some things are universal; regardless of reaction, pretty much the first thing anyone asks after we inform them of our plans is “Where are you going to go?” Generally this wouldn’t be a tough answer, but when you’re planning a trip with a projected length of 18 months and the world is your oyster, things get a bit tougher. Unfortunately, while 18 months seems like an eternity for most people, if you spend some time snooping around blogs of fellow RTW travelers, you realize that even with a year and a half at your disposal, some hard choices have to be made. Planning a RTW trip is a bit different from your average holiday, not simply because of its length and scope, but because the goals are slightly different too. A RTW trip is not a vacation, it is traveling for the sake of travel. With so much time at your disposal, you could certainly go out with the intention of hitting as many countries as you possibly can, but doing so will likely burn through your money much faster than if you are willing to go slow. It’s counter-intuitive, I know, but really, by willing to go slow and spend more time in certain places, you can save a lot of money rather than doing a whirlwind grand tour. Plus, setting aside a year or more to travel offers you the unique opportunity to really get to know the places you visit rather than solely seeing them through the eyes of tourist. Often there just isn’t enough time on a regular vacation (where generally the best case scenario is that you get two-weeks somewhere) to really get the feel for a country in anything more than a superficial way, but with a RTW trip, time need not be an issue!
Anyway, all of this preamble is just a way of preparing y’all for the fact that when Tony & I say we’re going to travel around the world, we don’t actually mean that we are going to see every place on earth. Right now our travel plans may actually allow for us to circumnavigate the globe, but we certainly won’t be hitting every country, or even every continent! One of the first things you come to terms with when trying to sketch out an itinerary for a trip of this size is that you just can’t see everything and some places will have to wait for another trip.
Without further ado, here’s where Tony & I plan to set our feet (in approximate order) at some point during 2012 – 2013:
- South Korea
- China (and Hong Kong)
- Malaysia (and Singapore)
- Sri Lanka
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
Now of course, with a trip that is so extensive, it’s impossible to plan everything and we certainly want to leave ourselves the flexibility to change our plans as we go. We may choose to skip certain countries if money gets tight or we may wind up detouring and adding in a place that we discover along the way that just seems too good to miss. So this list is by no means set in stone, but more of our dream itinerary of all the places we’d really like to hit on this trip (and currently believe we have saved enough cashola to do so). If you can believe it, this is actually our list after having cut places out! Some destinations in South East Asia were lost and pretty early on we realized that Australia would likely need to be its own trip due to cost issues. Due to strict visa policies for Russia, it too will have to wait to have its day (much to our friend Trisha’s chagrin). And while I have dreams of traveling through Africa (lions! tigers! bears! ok, maybe not so much that last one…), we’re barely touching it (Egypt may get chopped depending on safety/funds when that portion of the trip arrives, but I refuse to compromise on Morocco!) and we both agreed that Central and South America will likely benefit from their own extended trip some day (perhaps as a reward should Tony and/or I ever learn proper Spanish). So for now, our world tour will largely consist of destinations in Europe and Asia, and that’s ok by us.
I’m hoping that as life gets a little bit less crazy (for those on Dissertation Watch, I’ve thus far written 1.5 out of a projected 5 chapters…), I’ll be able to give y’all a more in-depth rundown of the various countries on our list to give you some idea of what we hope to see and do while we’re there! But for now I’d love to know whether we have any readers located at any of our projected stops… I’m hoping that Tony & I can meet some of you while we’re abroad! I’d also love to hear about any of your travel experiences in any of these destinations; if you’ve been to any of these places, please let us know what you consider the must-see, must-do, must-eat things! I know that right now I’ve just listed countries and some of them (ahem, China) are really big, but wherever you’ve been, we want to know about it! Right now our projected departure date is somewhere around late August/early September, so while the clock is ticking, we still have plenty of time to keep planning (and that’s a good thing, because we still have tons to do!).