RTW Post #3: Get Out The Map

7/17/13: Prosser, WA, USA

People have been wondering where we’ll be going on our round-the-world adventure (more commonly known as RTW on the interwebs). It hasn’t been easy to decide. Infinite possibilities are difficult to rein in. It’s impossible to go everywhere, and if we tried to travel every place that tickled our fancy we’d go broke and insane. As it happens, my sanity is very dear to me and I’m not anxious to sleep under a bridge (though a friend of ours has given us pointers).

Many people who choose to do a trip this size struggle with setting a course. Where to go? Where to stay? When to go? What to do? What to see? For how long? Questions can quickly overwhelm you. The easiest way to gain perspective on such big decisions is to hit the internet running. BootsnAll has been a life saver, and incredible travel blogs such as Legal Nomads have been inspirational. Once I started researching and opinion polling it wasn’t long before I heard about “The Pillars.”

Choices, choices, choices...

“The Pillars” are exactly that – the foundations that hold up your trip. They embody all your hopes and dreams, your MUST-DOs that made you want to travel in the first place. Unique to everyone, they solely depend on what’s most important to you.

Upon discovering this concept I immediately contemplated what mattered most to me. What was it that I longed to experience more than anything else as I traveled around the world? As every potential flipped through my mind I quickly settled upon one thing that I wanted our trip to be defined by: Nature.

Katie and I both love the outdoors, and when discussing the must-dos we knew we wanted to climb mountains, explore rivers, swim beaches, and hike across amazing landscapes. It was through that lens that we determined some of our pillars right away:

-       Visit the Amazon

-       Hike to Machu Picchu

-       Trek the W in Torres del Paine

-       Dive into the Great Barrier Reef

-       Hike Routeburn Track

-       Explore Ankor Wat

We also knew we wanted to experience different cultures, see bustling cities, visit renowned museums, volunteer and WWOOF… Yes, we basically wanted to do everything again, but thanks to our pillars our vision has stayed focused. Nature is our focal point, and whenever we erect a pillar we wrap the rest of our trip around it.

Katie making the final clicks to purchase our plane tickets. Did we make the right decision?

As you may have noticed, our list isn’t very long. It’s a work in progress. Katie and I are, by nature, planners. We like to know where we’re going, where we’re staying, and what we’ll be doing. Trouble is, it’s impossible to plan an entire year. Knowing us, this is probably a good thing. One of the points of the trip is to break out of our comfort zone. Take some risks. Enjoy the moment. Besides, nearly every article I’ve read regarding “to plan or not to plan” says you should leave lots of room for spontaneity. You never know what opportunities may arise while on the road, so you shouldn’t build too much structure. So that’s what we’ve done! We’re going with the flow. Well, kind of. Mostly. It’s somewhat spontaneous. Yeah, it’s a work in progress…

Everyone knows that plane tickets are expensive. That’s a fact. It pays to book ahead. And when I’m offered a chance to plan ahead AND save money? Well, it’s hard for me to pass that opportunity up! Katie and I chose a compromise. We decided to book multi-leg plane tickets through Air Treks for the first half of our trip and play it by ear for the second half. As you’ll see below, we’re working our way toward our “that’s cool, man, let’s ride the wave of life” philosophical epiphany. Don’t worry, it’s on our itinerary.

Now, let’s get down to the details and answer the question posed way back at the start of this entry: Where are we going?  Without further ado, here is our trip outline from solid start to vague finish:

Departure date: Sept 11th, 2013 (Yes, it just worked out that way. No, we didn’t plan it. That would be weird.)

Flights Have Been Purchased for:

Boston -> Ecuador

Ecuador -> Peru

Peru -> Patagonia, spanning Argentina and Chile

Patagonia -> Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires -> Australia

Australia -> New Zealand

We’ll be spending an average of 3 weeks in each area aside from New Zealand, where we plan on staying for two months, or indefinitely if they’ll finally relent and allow me to be their official spokesperson. From New Zealand we’re aiming to hit a couple archipelago nations, such as the Philippines and Indonesia. From there we fly to South East Asia where we hope to travel through Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Then it’s onward to India and finally Europe. As to specific countries, it’s all up in the air (or train or bus). We’ll book as we go or take it day-to-day, whatever feels right at the time.

Now that you know the particulars (or lack thereof) what do you think? Where would you like us to travel? What city should we visit? Which natural wonder should we conquer? Let us know your thoughts!