When I finally decided that I would take a year off to travel, I stared thinking where I would like to go. I had one year, I could go to all the places I ever dreamt of, and more!
Instantly, a lot of names started to pop up in my head. I could see the world globe in front of me, a lot of destinations raising their hand and calling me all at the same time ‘here! here, come here!’. Kerala, Amazonia, Australia, Angkor temples, Santiago de Chile, The pyramids, Lima, New Zealand, Iceland, Easter Island, The Andes, Persepolis, Patagonia…
Ok, ok, stop please! A bit of order! I told the imaginary world globe. There were too many places, one year would not be enough!
How to select my destinations?
I paused a few minutes to wonder: what exactly would I like to do during this year? I had some ideas:
- visit friends
- learn about other cultures and lifestyles
- develop my creative side (photography, writing, photo editing…)
- meet local people and other travelers
That was a good start. Visit friends… Two names pop up higher than the others: India and Chile, two places where I have good friends I’d like to meet. Two places that are completely oppositte in the globe, which lead me to imagine a round the world trip.
Round the world tickets, to take or not to take?
Good question. The main advantage of round the world tickets is the cost, especially to go to remote areas as the islands in the Pacific Ocean. I’m a lover of sea, sunsets and historical monuments, how could I resist going to idyllic Polynesia and fascinating Easter Island?
On the other hand, the main disadvantage is the lack of flexibility. I would have to freeze my itinerary from the beginning. No place for modifications, last minute decisions, changes of plans. How could I possibly decide today were would I like to be in a year? It sounded difficult.
A friend helped me solve the dilemma: if you want to learn and not only visit places, then the place is not the most important.
She was right. Any destination would be nice and interesting. Everywhere it is possible to meet new people, learn new things, have amazing experiences. So I discarded the RTW ticket, I will buy the flight tickets one by one. In any case, I do have a first idea of the regions I would like to visit (even if it might change later on).
My itinerary (version 1.0)
- South East Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia…?
- Australia and/ or New Zealand
- South America: Chile, of course! and then… Argentina, Bolivia, Peru…?
How to plan my trip?
Once I had decided the general itinerary, it was the moment to start looking for detailed information. Nowadays, with internet, this is easy and at the same time difficult: there is too many. Where to start? How to save the useful information in an organized way?
My solution: google maps.
I have created a map where I pin the places where I want to go with links to the information I find (from blogs, wikitravel, touristic sites, etc). It is very practical: it allows seeing if the places I want to visit are close to each other or very far, on in the same direction or not. At the same time, I have all the information classified by destination. Very useful!
Next step: to estimate the budget!