01.08.2010 - 11.08.2010 40 °C
And so it begins.
My first goal was to figure out a rough, high-level (I'll hopefully lose this jargon once I shed my work attire) route. I want to see South East Asia and South America and I have a enough time, some money and a sense of adventure. Should be easy enough to figure out a decent route, rigth? Wrong. So wrong.
Making the decision to quit my job was easier than figuring out a feasible route. I eventually realised that I had to drop South America (just for now) as I have to obtain visas for most countries and the visas can't be applied for more than 90 days before intended travel. Do these government authorities don't get that I am in the middle of planning an epic round-the- world life-changing and life-enhancing trip and they're bureacratic entry requirements are not helping things? I guess not.
Anyway, so I agonized over destinations, routes, airlines, what to see, what not to see and stared at this map (that is posted on my notice board at work -- so much for chargeable hours!) for hours.
I have to say that while I completely appreciate enjoy reading the information that is available on the net and the numerous websites, blogs and photographs of the places I would like to visit, I have to admit at being completely overwhelmed. One thing that is now clear is that you can always find the opinion that you have and want someone else to also have on the net. There are always people who will agree and an equal number who will disagree.
However, I am pleased to announce that after overcoming the indecisiveness and information-overload notwithstanding, I have a route. A route that I am (finally) happy with and one that will also allow me some flexibility along the way. Route - check.
Ok, so once you have the route figured out, tickets would be the next logical step. Tickets booked online or through a travel agent? Tickets booked for certain sectors or the whole route? Tickets booked through an airline alliance or through each airline? Tickets booked now or en route? Research. Research. Research. I have realized that to make this fun and to have some semblance of sanity at the end, I have to let go -- I have to learn not to want to control every little minute detail and take the journey (and maybe life?) as it comes...
Ha! A Scorpio not controlling every little detail? Which world are you living in?
Sanity is overrated anyway.
The need for control however leads to the need to have a plan and so after several conversations and a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with Leah (and becoming eligible for the frequent website visitor loyalty program on a whole host of cool websites (no, these websites don't have loyalty programs but they really should!)), I now have confirmed tickets that will enable me to venture in and out of 9 countries in Asia. Tickets - check.
Sites that I used frequently for this initial part of planning and would highly recommend:
http://www.frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com: because a frugal traveler lives in all of us;
http://www.travelfish.org : for in-depth advice on SE Asia; and
http://www.intrepidtravel.com for fun adventure trip ideas all around the world.
ps: Who is Leah? Leah is my travel consultant - the frequency of our calls makes me think that she could be in the running to be my next of kin.