So where are we going?
In our past travels this was a simple, straightforward question with an equally simple, straightforward answer. However, this journey will see us taking on a different approach, not only due to the length of time that we will be travelling, but also the way we want to travel. When we first started our planning and research, we were presented with two distinct options. We could buy a pricey RTW plane ticket, which meant pretty much knowing our exact locations and dates of travel for an entire year. Or we could somewhat wing it, using airline miles when we could and booking as we go, thereby keeping our options open. We chose the latter.
For example, we liked the idea of being able to say on a whim, “let’s go to Greece”, even if it wasn’t in our rough plans beforehand. We want to leave ourselves open to spontaneity, so when we meet a couple of beautiful girls or a cool group of travelers somewhere, we can keep the party going as opposed to saying, “sorry we already are booked and are going this way.” What if we already have tickets booked somewhere, and everyone we meet tells us how awful of a place it is? What if we just decide to change our minds and skip an area entirely? Not being able to tweak our itinerary because we are already locked into a specific route just didn’t sound like the best option for us.
This does not mean that we don’t have a rough idea in mind, however. We will be arriving in Rome and plan on spending at least 5-6 weeks bouncing around Italy. We are planning to time it just right so we end up in Munich for Oktoberfest, an event that we both have been wanting to attend for several years now. After that, who knows? That’s the beauty of this journey. We know we can only spend 90 days in the Schengen Area of Europe. We’ve ballparked a rough itinerary that incorporates 3 months in Europe, 4 months in Southeast Asia, 2 months in Australia and New Zealand, and 3-4 months in South and Central America. By not locking ourselves in, however, we can always deviate from this rough plan and head to an entirely different place instead. Or we can change our timeline and stay in one locale a bit longer or shorter than anticipated.
In addition, plotting out our rough itinerary and timeline was not just a simple process of looking at a map and picking where we wanted to go. We needed to choose a route (even if it’s just a rough plan) that made sense from a navigation perspective, so that we weren’t backtracking. It also takes into account weather in each region so we don’t end up in an area in the middle of a monsoon. It also is a balancing act. We both wanted to include areas where budgets get blown to smithereens such as Europe, Australia and New Zealand. If we counter those more expensive areas with 7-8 months in more budget friendly regions such as Southeast Asia, South America and Central America, we should be able to keep our costs in check.
This way of travelling will be a complete 180 from what we are used to, and we are both excited and ready to embrace this new, flexible way of travel. Since we won’t be as concerned about time, there will be a lot of slower, cheaper overland travel in contrast with the quicker, pricier air travel we have utilized in the past.
So that’s the plan, or lack thereof. We have a goal of lasting at least one year, but are not limiting ourselves whatsoever. If the money lasts longer, than so will we. If opportunities arise, work or recreational, they will be considered. It will be interesting to see how the days, weeks and months ahead transpire and where we end up along the way.
Stay tuned…and just as we will, expect the unexpected.