The ‘no plan’ Plan


Ok, so what are we doing when we get to Southampton? Good question. Initially Mark and I thought we’d just vagabond our way around the world. We are quickly starting to realize that might not be the best approach. There are major technicalities such as Visas, immunizations, danger-zones, etc. to mind a few. So we’ve started piecing together a rough itinerary to give us something to shoot for. It’s still ridiculously loose, but it’s a start. We’ll be starting with the ‘easier’ countries, i.e. those that speak the language and have a decent tourist infrastructure. We’re somewhat green to traveling and need to develop our skills by easing ourselves in before visiting some more ‘challenging’ parts of the globe.

We’re starting out in the UK because my older sis, Jess, is getting married to a most excellent and worthy English bloke by the name of Tim. The marriage is taking place in Hemingford Grey, which is close to Cambridge, at the end of August. We’ll be hanging around the UK for the first month, hopefully making it up to Scotland, ferry to Ireland, down Ireland, ferry to the Isle of Man, ferry to Liverpool, and then over to Cambridge for the wedding. Can’t wait to see and meet all sorts of family, some of which I’ve never met before. And I especially can’t wait to see my sister get married. Takes the pressure of Mark and I (phew!). Lucky me gets to be maid of honour and Mark will try keeping everyone entertained as MC.

Then we move on to the rest of Europe. We were super fortunate to have come across an amazing deal on Eurail passes — they were selling them at the 1959 prices. We bought two 3-country passes each. So the six countries we chose (2 x 3) are Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands & Luxembourg), France, Spain, Italy, Austria & Greece. We have four months to use our passes. We’ll add additional rail tickets for some of the countries our passes don’t cover.

After Europe, we hope to make our way down to Africa by way of either a) Spain to Morocco or b) Syria, Jordan, Egypt. I think Africa will be a bit of a challenge. Obviously, this is a gigantic continent so how to decide/decipher where to go? I’m most keen to go to Kenya and Tanzania, and/or South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland to see the wildlife and hopefully do some hiking. Oh and Madagascar too! Oh my, we have lots to figure out. Transportation could be tricky. Did I mention this was just a rough itinerary?

So then by some magical wizard power we’re going to find our way back up to South/Eastern Europe and visit some of the places we missed on the way down — Croatia, Poland, Czech Republic; then try to get to St. Petersburg to catch the Trans-Siberian train across Russia over towards China. Should we stumble upon a pot of gold, we will also visit Scandinavia before catching the train.

(FYI, we are definitely going to try and find work along the say to help finance our travels. A future blog.)

Hopefully the train will have deposited us somewhere in China and not cross the Bering Strait back over to Canada or something. Then we’ll hang out in eastern Asia for a while, do a loop and try to get over to Nepal and India. Next onto New Zealand, Australia, South America, Vancouver, which will probably become our new home.

Wow, writing all this out sounds exciting…and crazy. Quite ambitious. We’ll probably be laughing at this a year from now. We’re hoping to just take it one step at a time; don’t really want to plan ahead any more than we have to. We’re not on a mission to tick off every country on our checklist. We’d be much happier to skip half the places on our itinerary to better experience and enjoy the places we are in.


    Hey Mark and Meghan!! Wow.. this is fantastic news! You’re definitely invited to London, but not sure if you’re coming this way. I definitely recommend a ferry from the southeast of England to Holland which is super cheap and gives you overnight bed, fanastic buffet and travel to Holland! Did it this past Easter. Wow.. I’d love to know more details about your trips! Keep in touch yo!

  1. Daniel Perras

  2. I hear mid-September is a great time to visit Greece ;)

    Hi! So very very exciting. Just a thought…take the Jordan-Israel-Egypt or Tunisia-Egypt way into Africa. That way is so full of incredible history and you won’t have to cross Algeria or take many planes to avoid the even more dangerous places.

    Above all enjoy! oh and post LOTS of pictures


  3. Annaliisa

  4. Howdy!
    Mel directed me to this page and it’s quite inspiring to read about your big plans! I’ve got lots of family in Finland that would definitely let you crash so a pot of gold may not be required to visit Scandivania! It’ll be great to see ya both for the wedding next October – until then, safe travels and have an awesome time! While I’m stuck finishing up school and articling, it’ll be great to follow along vicariously on this website. All the best! :)

    Jacob, we’ll definitely look you up in London – we’ll be there sometime in August. Annaliisa, thanks for the offer! Finland is definitely on our wishlist, so we may have to take you up on that offer. I think we’ll have to start a list to keep track of what countries we know people in, or where we can meet friends or relatives of people we know.

    Hey Guys! Just wanted to say congratulations on vacationing for a while!!! We are part of this club and loving every minute of it. If you are near Poland before xmas 2009 you have to come visit and we will give you somewhere free to sleep and some serious tour guiding. Also, Geoff and I have backpacked/camped almost all of Europe and will have done 95% of it by xmas, so if you have any questions as to what is better to see/visit vs somewhere else, better campsites or hostels.. etc let us know. We would love to help out! Also, something that is worldwide that works really well is a website called “couchsurfing”. Check it out, it’s worth it. Talk to you guys soon.

    Hey guys! Wow, what fantastic non-plans! If you ever want to head up to francophone West Africa, I have a friend in Burkina Faso who would definitely play host. And if you’re in North/East India, I definitely recommend Konark (Orissa), some random hot springs in Sikkim near Yuksom, and the Goecha La trek is beautiful (but probably more so in May, and I have a feeling that the Annapurna circuit is more touristy, but also more continuously stunning). Hope to see you before you head out!

  5. Laura Batson

  6. I’m so happy for you guys!!! (okay a bit jealous too!) I hope you make it to Nepal…you dont need a visa before you go; you just buy it at the airport when you land! And I concure with Andrea on the Annapurna circuit – stunning : )

    Wow, very exciting for you guys. Sounds like you have some exciting times ahead of you. Meg, let me know if you need a place to stay in Holland. I have lots of extended family there and I am sure that I could hook you up with someone if you are in need of accomodations. Chow Wow!

  7. Lindsay Gough

  8. Oh, how I love your beautiful website! I can’t wait to see your journey materialize, and hopefully will be able to join you for a lil’ bit of it. Can’t wait to keep reading your updates! LOVEY..

  9. Julie & John

  10. Looking forward to you staying with us for J & T’s wedding. There’s a bed here for you both for as long as you need it. (The food’s not bad either). Come and go if you like between trips round the UK. We can’t wait to see all the Gough clan again. Hope you have as good a time with us as we had with you last year.
    X J n J


  12. I hear January is a great time to visit Grande Prairie…

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