Six months ago I was heartbroken to be leaving Southeast Asia.
The prospect of spending my summer in Europe was more appealing than staying for the rainy season in Asia but I still had plenty of concerns.
Could I really afford to spend six months in Europe? Would my itinerary of 16 countries prove to be far too ambitious?
Fortunately, I found that I could afford six months in Europe. I spent the majority of my time in Eastern Europe and found the area to be especially affordable – in some places it was even as cheap as Southeast Asia!
And yes, my itinerary was definitely far too ambitious for both work and travel. I have spent several months feeling burnt out, extremely stressed, lacking in motivation and unable to write as much as I would have liked.
But I’m glad I went. Despite moving around like a madman, I had an incredible time exploring Europe and Morocco and I definitely have no regrets.
Which now leads me to the question of how can I possibly improve on the previous 6 months?!
Here’s what I have planned!
I am SO excited to be heading back to my beloved Southeast Asia! It’s the one area of the world that truly feels like home for me, and I’ll be kicking off my return on the 9th October with a week in Bali!
I’ll be spending part of the week in gorgeous Ubud and the rest of the time with friends in Nusa Dua. As well as lots of relaxing, I’m hoping I’ll be able to squeeze in another surf lesson while I’m there.
I loved my time in Cambodia earlier this year, but I left feeling frustrated at how little time I had spent in the country – just four days, all of which were spent in Siem Reap.
This time, I’ll be flying into Phnom Penh and then spending three weeks exploring the beaches of Southern Cambodia – Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kep and hopefully a few of the islands too.
Remember my epic scooter road trip around Nothern Thailand earlier this year?
Well, Stuart, Dave and I are planning on doing a similar style trip again this year, but this time in Vietnam!
I didn’t manage to get to Vietnam when I was in Southeast Asia earlier this year so I’m extremely excited to be visiting this time around – especially as I’ll be visiting places far off the tourist trail! The plan is to start in Saigon and either spend two weeks scootering around the Mekong Delta or take an inland route to Hoi An.
It’ll be back to my former home in mid-November – I’ll be heading to Chiang Mai for the Yi Peng floating lantern festival!
After two weeks of visiting my favourite restaurants in Chiang Mai, I plan on heading down to the islands for another couple of weeks.
Will I finally work up the courage to try diving?
It’s looking likely I’ll spend the two weeks relaxing on my favourite Thai island Koh Yao Noi.
We’re now up to mid-December, when it’ll be time to head to a brand new continent as I’ll finally be flying to Australia! If you remember my original travel plans, you’ll know that I should have reached Australia a year ago and that I was planning on living there for two years on a Working Holiday Visa.
Fortunately, I’m not yet at the stage where I need to force myself into a soul-destroying job to fund my travels, so I’ll only be staying for a month this time.
Dave and I will be flying into the Gold Coast to hang out with a friend for a few days before making our way down the coast towards Melbourne, where we’ll be spending Christmas and New Years. After that, I’ll have another couple of weeks that I’m not sure what to do with – at this stage it looks like these might be spent exploring Tasmania.
After Australia I’ll be heading to New Zealand for a huge road trip with Dave and Dustin! I’m planning on spending two months there, with a month in the North Island and a month in the South Island.
We’ll start by flying into Auckland and working our way up to the very tip of the North Island before travelling south towards Wellington. During this time, we’ll be visiting 90 Mile Beach, Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Taupo, Tongariro National Park, Waitomo and dozens of other places!
After some North Island fun it’ll be time to head over to the South Island.
Starting from the top of the island we’ll start by enjoying the sun in Marlborough Sounds and the Nelson/Golden Bay area before heading down the coast to Kaikoura and Christchurch. We’ll then be driving inland to Hanmer Springs before exploring Mount Cook, Wanaka and Queenstown, followed by central Otago and Milford Sound. We also plan to get to the very bottom of New Zealand as well, spending a couple of days in Stewart Island (I really hope I’ll be able to see the Southern Lights while I’m here!).
After spending three months in Australia and New Zealand I’m sure my bank account will be recoiling in horror, so it’ll be time to head back to good old Southeast Asia.
With around two months to spend in the area, I’m hoping to spend a month of this in Burma – the country that is currently right at the top of my travel wishlist. I’d love to spend the second month in Borneo but I have a feeling I’ll be needing to get a lot of work done by this point, so it’s probably more likely that I will stop moving and spend all day everyday chained to my laptop.
And that just about sums up my next six months of travel! What do you think of my travel plans? Do you have any suggestions or tips for anywhere I’m going? Will you be in any of the same places at the same time? Drop me a message and let me know!
[Images via: thejollynomad/Flickr, padmanaba01/Flickr, fredalix/Flickr, chanc/Flickr, stuckincustoms/Flickr, msojka/Flickr]