Our proposed itinerary was a labor of love.
This is where we were able to spend countless hour upon hour reading
guidebooks and otherwise educating ourselves in an effort to figure out where
we wanted to go. Generally, we
tried to do this on a continent by continent basis.
For instance, we would read through guidebooks on Southeast Asia and,
largely on that basis, make some preliminary determinations about where we
wanted to travel and what we wanted to see.
After making general determinations about where we wanted
to go, it came time to figure out when we wanted to be there and for how long.
This was the hard part. Trying
to put together an itinerary that makes logical sense in terms of direction
(e.g. generally heading in a westerly or easterly direction), adverse seasonal
conditions, particular dates that can’t be missed, airline scheduling, high
and low tourist seasons, festivals or other significant events, and the myriad
of other facts and circumstance that struggle for attention is a mind-bending
process. But fun. It
truly calls for some outside the box thinking as various scenarios are played
out in the hope of seizing upon the perfect fit.
For instance, in our proposed itinerary, notice we go
from Northern Europe to Central Asia which, while not specified, we plan to do
by taking the Trans-Siberian (or Trans-Mongolian) Railway from Russia to
Beijing. This resulted, in large
measure, from some scheduling difficulties we were having with respect to
Southeast Asia. Specifically, we
are planning on meeting a great friend of ours, Mike Dunnahoo, in Kathmandu,
Nepal, on or about the 20th of March.
In advance of that, we would like to take advantage of the less than
sweltering climatic conditions that generally prevail in India that time of
year to travel for roughly a month through that interesting country. So,
reverse engineering, if we want to be in Kathmandu on the 20th of
March, and if we want to be in India for about a month, then we need to begin
traveling through India on or about the 20th of February.
Well, if that’s the case, we would be left with only a
month and one-half for travel through Southeast Asia. While that is, admittedly, a great deal of time, in terms of
trying to explore all that Southeast Asia has to offer, it simply is not
enough. To remedy this, we knew
that something had to give. And
after exploring all sorts of options, we decided why not come back to
Southeast Asia? Who says (other
than airlines selling around the world tickets) that no back-tracking is
allowed. By heading back toward
Southeast Asia by way of the Trans-Siberian, we get to experience one of the
world’s great train rides, while at the same time allowing our proposed
itinerary, and desired time in Eastern and Southeastern Asia, to be optimized
in a way that makes sense to us.
With that background, set forth below is a summary of
what we like to call our “extended play” itinerary.
We suspect the timetable suggested below (extending all the way through
2000 into 2001) may be a little much, both in terms of road stamina and
finances, but why not dream!
Understand, of course, that this is merely a proposed
itinerary, capable of significant alteration at any time.
Indeed, such alterations are inevitable, as stays in particular areas
lengthen and shorten in concert with our travel fortunes.
What will also facilitate greatly such spontaneity and flexibility is
the fact that we will not be buying much in the way of advance purchase
tickets. Currently, we know when
we will be flying in and out of each of South America and Central America, and
we will have a one- way ticket to Southeast Asia, but, other than that, all
travel arrangements will be made as we travel.
We spent a great deal of time considering the merits of
an around the world ticket but, ultimately, decided that the flexibility we
hope to achieve by buying tickets “as we go” is worth paying extra for. We
don’t want to be racing to get to Bangkok for an onward flight to New Delhi
if were having a great time in Vietnam and have, for instance, decided to
extend our stay. At the same time, if we’ve had all the fun we want to have
in India, we don’t want to feel limited by what our onward tickets may say.
Each approach has its proponents; we’ll let you know how our approach
Accordingly, when we specify generally the months we
intend to be in any given locale, we are not being coy by not revealing more
in the way of hard dates…we truly don’t yet know.
For this reason, we intend to publish an actual itinerary to show where
we actually end up going, and how long we actually end up staying there.
Something that also is quite possible, if not likely, is
accelerating the certain parts of the proposed timetable below and then,
perhaps, dropping Australia and/or Africa.
We would very much like to spend time in each place, but as we have
said before, you can’t see it all. But
we still would like to.
This table is organized in 4 columns.
The first column specifies the continent/region.
Skipping to the fourth column, it specifies, roughly, the month or
months we currently anticipate spending in that continent/region.
The second column specifies the countries we currently intend to visit.
The third column specifies countries that, while we would like to
visit, it is unclear whether we will or not. In
sum, your guess is as good as ours.
As a final note, what currently is not included in this itinerary are two return trips to the United States, the first of which occurs between our time in South America and Central America (November 10-16, 1999), and the second which occurs between Central America and Southeast Asia (December 22, 1999 through January 9, 2000). We are returning to the States (specifically Phoenix, Arizona) for the wedding of Lissa and Doc, two wonderfully close friends of ours who are tying the knot November 14. We are further honored by “being in” their wedding, so it is clearly an event we would never consider not making. Similarly, we will be returning to the States in late December to, among other things, participate in a millennial/family reunion celebration in Naples, Florida. If we are taking all this time off, the least we can do is make time for friends and family.
Go Global Proposed Itinerary
(Prepared in September 1999--pre-journey)
(Prepared in September 1999--pre-journey)
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©1999-2001 Kelly and Rich Willis. All rights reserved.