Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Where I'll Be, and When [Around the World Trip 2009 - 2010]

I just finished writing an e-mail explaining where I'll be, and what I'll be doing on my trip around the world. As I was writing it, I realized this is the tenth or eleventh time I've explained it. And as it changes with each telling, as I forget what month is what, I decided to finally look at all my plans and write a definitive answer. So here, listed below, you will find where I'll be travelling and when.

You Can Help Out Along the Way
I love travelling with locals, and being pointed to all their favourite spots. There's nothing better than having someone help you through an area, showing you things you'd have never seen otherwise. If you or someone you know will be in a country / area I'll be visiting at the time I'm there and could show me around or perhaps even loan me a couch to sleep on I would be most appreciated. Feel free to e.mail me if you can help.

The Master Plan
September - November: Europe, probably western where Visas aren't an issue. I'll be taking the train from city to city - in theory spending a week in big cities, and a few days in smaller ones. My plans are completely open. My countries are not set in stone, nor are when I will see them. I will let the spirit of travel guide me while here.

December: I'll be in Florida for a week (a weird place, I know, but it provides some stability, and allows for a connecting flight to my next destination). There I'll drive to the bottom of the Florida Keys (something I've wanted to do for a long time now, and the only worthwhile thing to do in Florida, I'm told.) Then it's off to Africa on a GAP Adventures tour. I'll go from South Africa to Namibia, to Botswana, to Zambia.

January: January is my month in South East Asia - A week in Bangkok (where I'll try to get Cambodian, and Vietnamese passports) and then on to Cambodia, and Vietnam. If I can't get the Visas, I'll tour around Thailand for a month. I'm sure there's a lot to see there.

February: I fly to Lima, Peru to hook up with another Gap Adventure, which will take me through Peru and then see me hiking three days through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu. After that I'll fly to Buenos Aires and spend a week there.

March: I'll hook up with Gap Adventures for a final time, and take a boat down to Antarctica, past the Arctic Circle. When I leave that tour after a few weeks, I'll be off to San Francisco (one of the few places in America I've really wanted to see.)

April: Japan will call me back, after two years away. I hope to spend a few weeks in Tokyo, and then travel to Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. There's so much more I'd like to do here, but I think it will require a third trip to get me up north, and to the southern islands.

May: I'll fly to Hong Kong, and then try to figure out the China Mainland visa. After a week in Hong Kong, if the visa works out, I'll spend a week in Shanghai, and a week in Beijing. I've also budgeted another week for spill over, and other places that I didn't know I wanted to see.

June: I'll be in Australia in June, trying to figure out how to see the giant country without blowing the last bit of money I have left. And then it's off to New Zealand.

July/August: This is the part of the trip that comes down to "am I broke yet." There are a number of places I'd like to see, but it really comes down to funds. Parts of the Ukraine, Easter Island, Boston, and a host of other places would be on the list for this time.

End: My final flight will be to Vancouver, where I will take the train across Canada, back to Toronto. I'm looking forward to seeing the prairies through the window.

In Closing
If you have any tips, tricks, or other information about any of the destinations I'll be visiting I'd love to know them. Normally I do thorough research on any destination I visit, but for this much travel all at once it becomes far more challenging. There will be no guidebooks here, or days of research per city.

Please contact me with whatever information you think would be of interest.


  1. Congrats on the trip! I too am a huge fan of Departures and went on a 6 month RTW trip a couple of years back. For what it's worth, here are a couple of potential suggestions:

    Italy: Aside from the usual places, check out Cinque Terre - 5 amazing small coastal towns in north western Italy. There is a breath taking 5 hour hike that connects all the towns that are carved out of the mountain side by the sea

    Australia - Although it will be winter there (and may be too chilly) if you ever wanted to learn how to scuba, the great barrier reef is the place to learn (Cairns is the closest city to reef and a great backpacker town)

    Thailand - Not sure if you like beach parties but the mother of all of them is the Full Moon Party in Koh Phagnan (held once a month).

    China - If you like history, check out the city of Xi'An - home of the Terracotta warriors (Short flight from Shanghai or Beijing)

    China#2 - If you want to do the Great Wall away from tourist areas, try renting a driver who will take you out to a more remote part of the wall. I did a 10k hike between two cities along the wall and the driver dropped us off at one town and picked us up at the other (ran into less than 20 other tourists the whole hike).

    Japan - Mount Koyasan, birthplace of buddism in Japan, stay and live in a temple with monks in training on the top of this very spiritual mountain

    S. Africa - One of the few places where you can go cage diving with great white sharks, amazing.

    New Zealand - Waitomo, for the adventurous, there is an 8 hour caving hike (start with 100m repel into mouth of cave, spend the next several hours swimming, climbing, dropping through sink holes, and hiking out)

    Happy travels!

  2. Take me to Japan with you. T____T

    (Who cares about missing college classes or finals or whatever the hell goes on in April anyway? ...T_T Hell, I don't think I can even go to NEW YORK for an idol concert in the fall. My mom is playing the "GROW UP AND GET A JOB AND THEN YOU CAN TRAVEL LIKE YOUR TEACHER TOO" card. Bah.)

  3. Julia: Japan can be done on 2000 for well over a week. You can probably push two weeks with that if you try hard. Still - you do have to make that in the first place.

    Jeffery: The tips of New Zealand and Australia, amongst the others, are quite helpful! Thanks very much.

  4. Sounds like you have a pretty solid itinerary! I'm super excited for you!!!!

  5. Thanks very much Jen - to be honest, I think I'm more nervous than anything right now. Mind you, once i'm two weeks into the trip, I'm sure it will all feel second nature.

  6. What an incredible itinerary! Should your travels to South East Asia in January bring you close to Taiwan, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We'd love to show you around our pretty little island.


  7. My only advice would be to seriously consider spending some time in Eastern Europe. As a brit you actually won't need a visa for most of the countries there, including: Bosnia (my favorite place ever), Croatia, Romania, Hungary and Slovenia. Those are just the ones i know off the top of my head.

    Eastern Europe is so gorgeous, yet profoundly less crowded and expensive than the west. Definitely worth it if you have time.

    Looks like an exciting trip, can't wait to read about it.

    Good luck!


  8. Michael if you need any info on Africa Colin has a list of good places to see . He has been there over 30 times on his travels. What an exciting year ahead. Enjoy every minute. I will try to keep your mom calm when you are away.
    Brenda Turnpenney{Alexmuir Staff}

  9. Wow, your trip plans really do sound amazing! And I think now you are probably to the "am I broke yet?" portion of the trip, but I have your travel plans have been exciting and safe, and I cannot wait to hear all your stories!


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