“To travel hopefully is better than to arrive” – Robert Louis Stevenson
The day has arrived – after months and even years of discussing, planning, and executing, our Round the World trip starts now! We’ve packed and moved the last couple of weeks, and my last day of work was last Friday. I can’t believe we’re actually doing this.
In all, we hope to hit around 20 countries within four continents in our nine months of travel. To maximize our independence on the road, we’ve decided against trying to “pitch” our project to get it sponsored; although we’ve learned it’s really hard to do anyway. We didn’t even buy a round the world plane ticket because we want the flexibility to stay longer in places we really like.
One of the hardest parts for us will be to watch our money go one way – out. We don’t have any planned income for the next nine months, but we definitely have a lot of planned expenditures! I’ll wrote a post soon to discuss how much we plan to spend and we’ll track against that amount as we go.
Here’s our general plan:
Countries: Belize, New Zealand
We start with a six day trip to Belize that we were supposed to take last year but was cancelled when I ruptured my Achilles. After Belize, we head back to the US for two days before starting our RTW adventure.
Our RTW trip starts mid-March when we head out to French Polynesia. We’ll spend ten days exploring the islands of Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora. We’re incredibly excited to see these beautiful islands, but we’re not looking forward to the higher daily expenses which will come with them.
After French Polynesia, we head to New Zealand for three weeks where we’ll look for hobbits.
Countries: New Zealand, Australia
Hobbits are hard to find, so we’ll rent a camper van and traverse the countryside of New Zealand and find little campgrounds and roadsides to stay. We’re still debating if we’ll buy a camper van with a shower or just rough it and shower as little as possible. Things could start getting real smelly by this time! We head to Australia around mid-April
We’ll start in Melbourne before moving our way up the East Coast. As you’ll see throughout our adventure, social media has already had a significant influence on our trip because of the additional connections it’s given us. When I initially posted our trip announcement on Facebook, we had a friend email and tell us he was moving to Melbourne and that we could come stay with him! That’ll make that part of the trip much cheaper!
Countries: Australia, Indonesia
After Melbourne, we’ll continue up through Sydney and then to Brisbane. We’re not really sure how we’ll get around Australia yet, but as we start the first few months of trip we’ll try to research all of that out. The Great Barrier Reef will probably be our last stop before we move on to Indonesia.
Countries: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand
The rest of the trip from here on our gets a little fuzzy in the details because it’s hard to plan this far out. However, we do have a number of places we want to hit up in Southeast Asia. We’re great things about most of the countries, and we also hope to get our spending down to around $25-$50 per day. Yes, it sounds crazy you can spend that little while traveling, but that’s the beauty of Southeast Asia!
Countries: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam
We’d like to spend around a month in Thailand as we try to catch our breath and rest for a while. However, it will be a whirlwind adventure after we leave and explore Cambodia and Laos. These are supposed to be the harder countries to get into and not nearly as easy on travelers as Thailand. We really want to explore the various ancient kingdoms in Cambodia – especially Angkor Wat.
Countries: China, Nepal, India
As we continue to head up through Southeast Asia, we’ll next head up to China and visit Hong Kong, Macau, and Beijing. This whole part of the trip is in flux right now because India only gave us a six month Visa which expires in August. Originally, we wanted to visit India in September, but now we’ll have to adjust to their new plans.
Countries: India, Israel, Jordan, Turkey
As previously mentioned, India might move up earlier in the trip because of our Visa. After we head out from India/China, we’ll head further west to Israel and Jordan and then on to Eastern Europe. This part of the trip is really far out so I’m sure it’ll change quite a bit as it gets closer, but that’ll be part of the fun!
Countries: Turkey, Croatia, Morocco
If my wife and I have survived this much time traveling together, we’ll continue through Eastern Europe and then across the Mediterranean to Morocco. This will probably be our only visit to Africa even though we wanted to do a lot more in middle and Southern Africa; the main reason we won’t visit more is the high of cost of things we’d want to do there such as a safari.
Countries: UK, Iceland
After Morocco, we’ll head to to the UK but our exploring will be determine based on how much money we have left to spend and how much more we want to travel. We really want to get the Iceland trip in so we’ll book our return flight to the US with Iceland Air, which allows you a 3-5 day layover in Iceland.
So, that’s the plan as of now! The best part is that we have the flexibility to come back whenever we want if we can tired of living out of our backpacks. Yes, we’re going to do all of that traveling with only one backpack each!
As I mentioned earlier, I’ll talk more about the money part later – both how much we think we’ll spend on the trip and how we are able to afford it. We wouldn’t haven’t been able to do any of this if we were still in debt and if we hadn’t taken control of our money.
By the way, if you saw the post last Friday about us losing a license plate… good news, after multiple calls to the DMV, we finally found someone willing to mail us a new one! As I mentioned it the post, it must be the travel gods preparing us for many adventures to come!