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.