31 Oct Update: Our Future Travel Plans
At the beginning of this journey I imagined that travelling would transform me into a nonchalant, laid back, take-life-as-it comes kind of person but although I have learnt to be a lot more flexible over the last seven months, it turns out that old habits die hard. I just can’t seem to shake my obsessive compulsive travel planning tendencies – what can I say, I just love planning!
Our New Travel Plans
Over the last couple of months Andrew and I have been reflecting on our first hectic six months of travel, taking stock of our finances and discussing our future travel plans. One of the best, but also the most difficult things about living this nomadic lifestyle is that we’re confronted with endless opportunities. We could house-sit our way around Europe for example, road trip through America, work on a farm in New Zealand, teach in Asia or take on any number of other exciting adventures instead. The world is our oyster right now and that can sometimes be hard to swallow; deciding which fork in the road to take next is a daunting but exhilarating experience. After much discussion however, we’ve finally figured out a rough travel plan for the next ten months; although we’ve learnt by now that plans can and usually do change, here is what our itinerary looks like at the moment:
Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam
After three months in Thailand we’re excited to get moving again and explore some new countries. First up we head overland to Laos at the beginning of November; we’ll get a 30-day visa on arrival which can be extended if we like it there enough. We plan to explore some of the less-visited northern areas of the country as well as the main hot-spots. Next we plan to travel overland to Vietnam for 30 days; we’ll be spending our first hot Christmas away from the UK in Vietnam, which I’m sure will be a strange experience. In January we’ll arrive in Cambodia, where we’ll stay for a month.
Burma and Thailand
Despite recent political changes which mean Burma is now fully opening its doors to tourists, it still doesn’t seem like the easiest country to travel through. We recently discovered that it’s not possible to travel to Burma overland, so we’ve had to book flights there from Thailand at the end of February. We’ll spend three weeks in Burma and are a little apprehensive about the experience; we’ve heard that accommodation is expensive and difficult to come by and travelling around is more difficult. We are excited to take on this challenge though and experience a country in the midst of great historical change.
It looks like we’ll have a two-week gap in our schedule before we fly to Burma so we’re thinking about exploring close to Bangkok; either heading back to Kanchanaburi or chilling out on the island of Koh Chang. We arrive back in Thailand from Burma mid-March and are either planning to spend a few weeks somewhere in the North working or head back to Laos or Cambodia instead. Whatever happens we will definitely be back in Thailand early April for a bucket-list experience – Songkran. We can’t wait to take part in the giant water-fight to celebrate the New Year.
The Philippines and Taiwan
Since we first visited in July, we’ve been longing to return to the Philippines. We absolutely fell for this beautiful country and can’t wait to fly back there as soon as Songkran is over in April. Unfortunately we’ll only be staying for three weeks again but we’ll still have time to explore Boracay or El Nido before heading back to Sagada, our favourite spot up in the mountains.
Next we’ll hop over to Taiwan, a country we’ve heard a lot of good things about, especially from Steph and Tony over at 20 Years Hence. We have another motive for visiting Taiwan; our travel funds will be running low by summer 2014 so we figure we’ll need to settle down somewhere and work for a while. Andrew, who was a French and Spanish teacher for four years before we left London, is keen to try his hand at teaching in another country and from what we’ve researched so far, Taiwan seems to be the perfect place for that. Our trip there in May will help us decide whether to go ahead with this plan.
The UK and Europe
After 15 months of travel, we’ll finally head back to the UK in June for a three-month visit. We’ve missed home more than we ever imagined we would since we hit the road, so we’re really looking forward to returning. As well as catching up with everyone, Andrew is hoping to do some teaching supply work at his old school, so we may end up in London for a month, a prospect that absolutely fills me with excitement – I cannot wait to revisit my favourite city in the world, the place I really consider ‘home’.
We’re also in the process of planning some family trips for summer 2014. I’m excited to announce that we’re going to Scotland, a country I’ve been desperate to visit for a while now, with my parents in August. As well as spending a couple of days in Edinburgh I’ve found us a cute cottage in Fort William to stay in so we can explore the surrounding areas. We’ll also be heading to Spain with Andrew’s family; at the moment it looks like we’ll be renting a big house somewhere in Catalonia; Andrew and I will also take the opportunity to explore Barcelona for a few days while we’re there.
September 2014 and Beyond
As mentioned, our travel fund will likely be extremely depleted by September 2014 so we’ll be settling down somewhere in Asia – probably Taiwan – where living costs are relatively low and we can save as much money as possible. While Andrew gets a teaching job I plan to build up freelance work online and also do some long-term volunteering. We hope to save enough during a year to set off on a road-trip through Canada and America in 2015, ending up in South America – but that’s a whole new chapter!
What do you think of our travel plans; have you been to any of the countries we plan on visiting?