No matter how much time you have to travel, it will never be long enough to see it all.
After years of making travel plans around three-day weekends and the occasional one-week vacation, the idea of having an entire year and a half to explore the world at leisure kind of blew our minds.
We were certain we’d have plenty of time to go anywhere and do anything we could imagine.
Until we started to map out our itinerary.
The more we researched the route, the more we realized how much we wanted to see. Suddenly, I just had to take a three-day train ride into the heart of the Australian outback. And see an orangutan in the wild in Borneo. And explore the tea plantations of the Malaysian highlands. And my life could not possibly be complete without falling asleep to the sound of the waves on Palawan.
But with our list of potential destinations (and budget!) growing quickly out of control, we had to do something to rein it in and better manage the process.
So we set a return date. And stuck to it. Eventually. At first, our journey was supposed to last a year. Then a little longer. Then a little bit longer than that. (Rinse. Repeat. Etc.) Until we finally agreed to an 18-month timeframe, which gave us the much-needed structure to start building our travel plans.
Then we split the calendar into manageable segments, by geographic region. Five months in Oceania and Asia, six months in Europe and Africa, and up to five months in Central and South America, with two one-month return trips to the U.S. built in for business.
Focusing first on Oceania and Asia, we established the pillars of our itinerary: New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. These countries were at the forefront of our travel dreams, and everything else would evolve from there.
Next came a series of tough questions. How fast are we willing to go? Do we travel deep or travel wide? Could we easily come back at a later date, on a “normal” one or two-week vacation schedule? Is this a place we would feel comfortable visiting at an older age? Or with a family? Most importantly, does it really resonate with our travel style and interests?
From there, we prioritized, painstakingly creating an itinerary filled with destinations that excite and inspire and move us. And minus a few minor adjustments along the way, our current itinerary is still a pretty accurate reflection of those decisions.
DATES: December 1 to 22, 2014
DESTINATIONS: Auckland, Taupo, Napier, Wellington, Renwick, Nelson, Greymouth, Franz Josef, Queenstown, Te Anau, Dunedin and Christchurch
DATES: December 22, 2014 to January 9, 2015
DESTINATIONS: Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide
DATES: January 9 to 10, 2015
*Thanks to a delayed flight out of Adelaide, we missed our connection in Bali and received a complimentary one-night stop in Indonesia on behalf of Jetstar airways.
DATES: January 10 to 13, 2015
DATES: January 13 to 18, 2015
DESTINATIONS: Kuala Lumpur and Penang
DATES: January 18 to February 8, 2015
DESTINATIONS: Koh Lipe, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Koh Lanta
DATES: February 8 to 13, 2015
DESTINATIONS: Siem Reap and Phnom Penh
DATES: February 13 to March 11, 2015
DESTINATIONS: Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Sa Pa
DATES: March 11 to 16, 2015
DATES: March 16 to 22, 2015
DESTINATIONS: Hong Kong
DATES: March 22 to April 6, 2015
DESTINATIONS: Chengdu, Xi’an, Beijing and Shanghai
DATES: April 6 to 12, 2015
DATES: April 12 to May 3, 2015
DESTINATIONS: Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Takayama and Tokyo
DATES: May 3 to June 1, 2015
DESTINATIONS: Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tampa and Jacksonville
The next leg of our trip will take us to Europe and Africa from June through November. We’re still working out the details of our itinerary, but it looks like we’ll kick off the summer season by heading to Iceland in June, followed by six weeks in the United Kingdom and two weeks exploring the capital cities of Scandinavia and the Baltics.
Info accurate as of March 3, 2015.
Interested in meeting up with us on the road? Contact us here or comment below.