As Alex will agree, I am a big fan of making lists/google docs/schedules. Lucky for me, the process of packing up your life for a year and travelling almost half the globe involves more lists than I care to imagine!
I'll break it down into the areas that need sorting out in the lead up to leaving over the next few posts (I don't want to bombard you with too much crap in any given post!):
1. Where on earth are we going to go?!
This, as you can guess is a big part of planning your trip. We, originally, were set on living in Thailand for a year. However; even though Alex will still be working away for his 5 week shifts over our year away, I would have had to get a job over there. Once I looked into to legal implications of that I realised it'd be a miracle if I were ever granted a working visa…the only option would have been to do a TEFL course and hope for a speedy and geographically pleasant posting afterwards. In addition to that, if I were working at a TEFL teaching job, I'd have no time to do the exploring and travelling we were keen to get under our belts. In essence, I would be stuck in a 9-5 but…in the heat.
So that plan was scrapped. We wanted to see MORE!
Once we decided staying in one place wasn't for us, we then had the mammoth task of deciding where we wanted to go and when. After a lot of deliberation, we came up with our current itinerary. (Which I've put into a *cough cough* pretty comprehensive google doc, along with dates, seasons, visa requirements, who is coming out to see us and when, points of interest etc)
After all our planning, our route is going be:
- Northern Thailand
- Southern Thailand
- New Zealand
- Los Angeles
- Travel up the east coast
- New York
This route was dictated, to an extent, by the round the world flight option I found ( http://www.roundtheworldflights.com ) but we were able to add in a few places that we'll head to under our own steam. The flight package I have bought includes London>Bangkok, Bali>Darwin, Melbourne>Auckland, Christchurch>LA, New York>London and came to a total of £1600…which we reckon is pretty good going in terms of price! …and this leads me into my second organisational point..
2. Handling the travel agent…
As I mentioned, I found a round the world ticket that suited us as it covered a majority of the places we wanted to visit (Africa and South America will have to wait until next time!). This discovery came after what felt like hours and hours of trawling the Internet and, in choosing the package I wanted, it introduced me to my travel agent…
My travel agent is a mid-twenty year old man with a geriatric's name (i won't divulge it, just in case) who appears to have an aversion to replying to emails, has the personality of an amoeba with depression and the organisation skills of a pre-schooler! Now, if you know me (and I'm assuming you do…I doubt this will be a newly discovered award winner any time soon! Haha!) you'll know that my job is to organise people, including extensive travel details. My job is to make sure all eventualities are covered so, when I was met with this personification of a brick wall, I think I might have shifted into Super-Secretary mode! (Technically, I'm a PA…but Super-PA didn't have the same ring!)
I won't go too deep into it all but, if you're planning on doing this kind of trip, I think you need to keep in mind that you are the customer! I have the mentality that, unless something has been confirmed, in writing, it's not been confirmed at all. Make sure there's an electronic trail of everything that's been agreed.
So, that's probably enough for now; these bits of prep don't make for the most fascinating read, I bet! …sit tight though, there's only a couple left!