Round-the-world planning

Authored By Brian

When I took my European Sabbatical, the timing was great. I had just quit my job, put my stuff into storage and left my car with my dad and hit the road. It was relatively easy to get going.

Jennifer and I have been planning a 3 or 4 month around-the-world trip now for many months. When I say planning, I mostly mean we’ve been talking about it. Little in the way of real planning has been done beyond checking what shots we would need. She quit her job at Ask Jeeves in November and our goal was to leave somewhere in the April timeframe.

As it turns out, leaving isn’t always easy. Things with my company are accelerating right now and I am in the midst of negotiating some big deals. To leave now would be to abandon all of the work I have put into it for the last couple of years. At this point, it looks like we’re postponing the trip from April to November but on the upside, will be leaving for 6 months instead of 3-4.

I think Jennifer’s immediate fear is whether or not I’ll ever be able to leave. I was able to support my customers and run the business from Europe and while I’ll be busier, with a good quad-band phone in hand and regular wi-fi access, I should be good to go. The thing that ties me here right now is the hours required and the negotiating. It’s difficult do those things abroad. It won’t be ideal to be “working” while away but it’s a worthwhile trade off.

This map shows roughly our itinerary so far. We’ll be flying on Delta RTW tickets that allow us 6 stops, no more than 3 per continent and no backtracking. We’ll use the Delta ticket for long hauls and handle the intermediate ground with regional flights and overland travel.

Our SE Asia plans could be derailed depending on the bird flu and what happens there over the next 10 months and the stop in Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro is questionable. We have our SE Asia plans somewhat more nailed down than this map shows with plans to start in the North of Vietnam and curl down, through Cambodia and Angor Wat, then into Thailand, down the peninsula, and winding up in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

I get excited just writing it down! The issues to be resolved will be in how we get around once we’re on the ground. Jennifer and I travelled well together in Europe and our trip to Hawaii was fun too. She tends to have a higher level of requirements for travel and lodging than I do which will make our time in the countries with less infrastructure interesting. Bus or train trips of 10 hours aren’t all that uncommon and to me, it’s important to see the countryside rather than just fly over it all (not to mention the savings).

The train ride I took from Madrid to Monte Carlo in 2002 was, make no mistake, long as hell, but incredibly beautiful and an excellent opportunity for resting and thinking. I’m looking forward to a little bit of everything.

I’ll make a little list now of projections as to what I think I’ll enjoy the most:

  1. Hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru
  2. Practicing my spanish in South America
  3. Angor Wat in Cambodia
  4. Confronting my dislike of seafood in Southeast Asia

Been to these places? Please leave a comment about what you liked and disliked. I’m particularly interested in hearing good ways to cover Australia if we fly into Sydney. We have to make a loop if we want to go North and I’m not sure the best way to do that without just seeing the same things twice.

2 Responses to “Round-the-world planning”

  1. scientaestubique Says:

    The best way to cover Australia is to do a loop, from your landing point to departure point. Are you arriving and leaving from Sydney?

  2. Brian Says:

    Thanks for the tip! We’re flying in from NZ so we have some flexibility. We have about a month. What do you think about flying into the north, like Cairns, and then doing a straight shot down to Sydney for our departure?