Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Are we lost?

Life has been a whirlwind since coming back home. Our travels already feel so long ago. Since coming home, it has been Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in Ottawa followed by a sister’s wedding in Canmore. We have good intentions to write about all of it. Our wanderings have not ended yet! We still have loads to still write about, including our time in Canada plus reviews and reflections on our world travels.

We’ve been asked a lot about what our plans are now that we’re home. The plan is to stay in the rocky mountains for a few more weeks. We’re housesitting and dogsitting while Mark’s sis is on her honeymoon. Not a bad place to be. The Canadian Rockies are absolutely stunning. With more certainty than ever, I can now say that Canmore is one of the most beautiful towns in the World. Mid-November we’ll be heading back to Ottawa for a dose of reality. We’ll be living at my parent’s house and working — trying to get ourselves back onto financially stable ground. Ottawa certainly ain’t so bad either. After traveling far and wide, there is no place like home. This is our turf, it’s where our lives are and, most importantly, where our friends are. We hope to have things sorted out by the summertime. We’ll have either (1) found our dreamjobs and relocate to wherever in the world they may be, (2) have decided that Ottawa is where we want to call home, or (3) we’ll set off traveling again. So you see, we’re still wandering.

The blog will continue so we hope you’ll keep checking in.

More money stats

In the spirit of helping other travelers in planning their own adventures, we’ve updated our money graphics on our About page, and added some new info. If you think you’d find it helpful, or if you’re just curious what this type of traveling costs, then check it out.

On the road
in a yellow van

Meg, Toon, and the yellow van

After our wonderful week in Dahab, we crossed over the Red Sea by ferry from Nuweiba to Aqaba in Jordan. Africa is behind us, and we are looking forward to new adventures in the Middle East. It turns out that even the traveling part of our next leg will be an adventure — while we were traveling through the Sudan, we met two Belgians, Toon and Ragna, that were driving up from Tanzania and headed in the same direction as us. Our paths crossed several times while we were still on the Oasis truck — we ended up on the same ferry to Egypt, and at the same camp site in Luxor. While we were in Cairo, we got an e-mail from Toon (or Tony, to us English speakers, since we have a tendency to butcher foreign names) saying that Ragna had decided to head back to Tanzania, and that he had two spare seats — would we be interested in joining him in his yellow van? We didn’t hesitate. It was one of those spontaneous travel moments that you hope for, and we jumped at the opportunity. After a few emails, we met in Dahab to compare schedules and see if it would work out for all of us. Although Toon left Dahab before us, we reconnected only a day later in Aqaba, and we were off together, sitting three across the front seat. Our plan is to travel together through Jordan, Syria and Turkey, as far as Istanbul if things go well. We’re excited! The van is great, and Toon has a spare tent and mattresses, so we can camp as we go. We’re looking forward to an excellent road trip together — so it gives me great pleasure to introduce Toon and his yellow van, our new travel partners!

We’re in Wadi Halfa right now, on the border of the Sudan and Egypt. We’ve spent the last week driving through the Nubian Desert from Khartoum, with people dropping like flies from heat stroke. Since we’ve arrived in this small, dry town, we’ve spent three days sitting in the heat waiting for our ferry to depart. The temperature yesterday peaked at a cool 47 degrees Celsius, in the shade. We’ve never had to drink this much water in our lives. Someone told us that it hasn’t rained here since 1991, and then only for half an hour. It’s another world.

Today we get on a 30 hour ferry that will take us to Aswan in Egypt. Our budget ferry tickets get us luxurious placement on the ship: we will spend all 30 hours laying on the top deck, on the floor, competing for space under the lifeboats for some hint of shade. We will be in Egypt with the Oasis truck for another two weeks, and after that we’ll be back on our own, just two wanderers with a lot of distance left to cover. We’ve decided to take 6 weeks or so to travel up through the Middle East and through Eastern Europe on our way to the UK, where we’ll be catching another ship across the Atlantic. This time we’ll be stopping in Norway, the Faroe Islands, the Shetland Islands, and Iceland, before disembarking in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

We’ll be treated to some A/C and some internet in Aswan, so we’ll share more details then. Also watch for some new posts about our time in Sudan, as long as we don’t melt before we get out of here!

Big yellow truck

A couple of days ago our big, yellow truck arrived in Cape Town. This will be our home for the next four months. Looks pretty sharp eh? Only two more sleeps until we climb aboard and drive away. We’re madly checking things off of our to-do list, and meeting many new people as our group starts to gather at our hostel.

With less than a month to go until we begin our African overland adventure, the big question on our minds (and on your too, faithful readers) has been this: how are we going to get to Africa? Well, we finally have the answer…but unfortunately it’s not the one we hoped for. We’d simply run out of time, and none of the options that we explored so vigorously resulted in any viable solutions. So we bit the bullet. The big, Malaysia Airlines 737 bullet. And after coming over 43,000 kilometers and 12 time zones without leaving the earth’s surface, we will be (reluctantly) flying to South Africa.


Bangkok round 4

We’re back in Bangkok for the fourth time now. I successfully picked up my new passport, and now I have 48 shiny new blank pages to fill with visas and stamps in Africa. Tomorrow we’re leaving for Khao Sok National Park in the south of Thailand, and I have to say that it’s almost strange to be on the move again after nearly three weeks of stationary relaxing on Koh Tao. We’re getting used to the feeling of shouldering our packs again :)

We realized yesterday while reminiscing over some older photos that we neglected to post our album from Cinque Terre in Italy, which we visited way back in November of 2009. It’s now up on the photos page, way down between Tuscany and Switzerland. Better late than never, right?

On deck and in the hole

Our sojourn in Koh Tao almost over. It has been a welcome change of pace for us to spend a few weeks in just one place. We’re starting to look ahead because just over a month from now, our epic African overland adventure is set to begin in Cape Town. Will we have to fly? All signs point to yes. (More on this to come.)

Tomorrow we’ll be heading back to Bangkok on an overnight bus to TCOB. Before heading south with Mike and Sarah, we had to drop off Mark’s passport at the Canadian Embassy for renewal. Although it wasn’t due to expire until 2014, he was nearly out of pages. And since we require at least 20 blank pages for our African trip, he we had no choice but to renew, pay a pile of cash and wait 3+ weeks to pick it up. At least he will have a 48-page passport this time. Fortunately we can save a little cash on me since I also have a UK Passport with oodles of blank pages I can use to travel Africa. While in Bangkok Mark will also get a last shot of Hep B and we’ll both look into getting Rabies (vaccinations that is). Fun stuff!

After Bangkok part 3, we’ll head south again with stops in Khao Sok National Park and perhaps Koh Lipe, an island on the Adaman coast just north of Malaysia. Then we’ll do some hiking in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia before making our way to Kuala Lumpur where there are direct flights leaving for Johannesburg…

Help us get to Africa

africa question mark

Hello friends. Mark and I have no idea how to get to Africa this April for our overland journey. Nothing is panning out. We’ve been in touch with several freighter ship companies, cruise companies and have even spoken to several experienced freighter and cruise ship officers to no avail.

We are trying to get from Asia (HK or Singapore) to South Africa sometime before April 14th. The most viable options we’ve found are:

1. MOL Wish, freighter, leaving Singapore April 10, arriving Durban April 27.
Too late + too expensive

2. P&O Cruises, cruiseship, leaving Singapore March 17, arriving Cape Town April 4.
Too expensive + fully booked

So dear readers, any other ideas? Ya ya, we know we could fly, but we are trying our best to avoid that option. Know any talented travel agents or people with private yachts who need a hand on board? Can you help Toto bless the rains down in Africa?

Where should
we go?

Hello loyal readers. Today is our last day on this magnificent boat. We’ll be docking in Singapore tomorrow and staying there over Christmas. We have no idea where to go next. We have a few months to kick around Southeast Asia. I was thinking about Sumatra since we’re so close and there are frequent ferries over. But there are many excellent choices. Please send us some suggestions — places you’ve been or want to be or heard should be great. We’d really appreciate some feedback. We’ll take pictures and it will be almost like YOU were there too. Thanks!

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