“So where are you going?”
It’s one of the first questions people ask when I tell them I’m leaving to travel.
If only it were that easy! It’s such a simple question but I often find myself struggling to answer. If I’m being honest, I haven’t actually decided. I said from the beginning that I wanted to travel without a fixed plan, and I still stand by that, but I should probably form a vague plan! At the moment, I’m researching different countries, trying to narrow down my options and come up with a definitive list of where I’ll definitely be going, along with a list of places that interest me.
As of March 2011, this is my plan (which is so much different than my first itinerary I shared!):
Start in Eastern Europe
I’m going to avoid Western Europe because it’s expensive and I’ve visited many of these countries already. I’d originally planned to spend four months in Europe, but I’ve now reduced it to six weeks. As well as wanting to save money, I also didn’t want to travel through Russia in winter which would have been unbearable.
I decided to pick the countries that most interested me. I’ll be flying into Croatia, and then traveling by train to Slovenia, Hungary and Ukraine. While in Ukraine I am going to take a tour of Chernobyl.
A Trans-Siberian Adventure
I’d always planned on flying to Asia next, but one night, as I was falling asleep, the idea of the Trans-Siberian Railway popped into my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I got out of bed, powered up my laptop and spent the evening researching. It’s funny how these things just jump up to you from out of nowhere. I’d never even considered it before, and now I can’t wait!
I haven’t decided on the specific stops yet, but I know I want to spend a few days at Lake Baikal.
Instead of taking the whole route across Russia, I have decided to visit Mongolia instead.
I spent ages agonising over whether to go to China or Japan and after much deliberation, I finally decided on Japan.
A week later, I changed my mind again and settled on China. I plan on taking the train to Beijing and slowly making my way down through China and ending up in Hong Kong to finish.
From Hong Kong, I will fly to Malaysia and spend a month exploring some of their amazing islands. I chose Malaysia based on a Google Image search of “Malaysian beaches.” I love using Google Images to decide where to go.
I’ve decided to get a Working Holiday Visa for both countries, and as these can be valid for up to two years, I’m not going to plan too much past this point.
I’d like to settle in Australia for a while, find a job and get to live in one place for some time — as opposed to travelling around like crazy. There’s so much of both countries that I want to see, so I need to make sure I don’t spend my whole time working and not exploring.
This could be in a few years time, depending on how long I decide to stay in Australia and New Zealand, but I know there are quite a few South Pacific islands I’d like to see, like Fiji and the Cook Islands.
I’d also like to visit Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore.
Last on my list is Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. I hope that my money will be able to last to this point.
I’d love to go to South America, but I’m trying not to plan too far into the future in case it doesn’t all work out. I know, it’s insane to think of a plan that’s five years in the future.
Have any suggestions or advice on my current route? Leave a comment and let me know!