In front of me is an Eyewitness Travel book, two Rough Guides and two Lonely Planet books, all covering in-depth detail of the countries I am due to visit next year, yet none of them cover the anticipation and nerves I am feeling in the build up to my first BIG trip.
I first went travelling across the US a couple of years ago, and while it had its stresses and strains in the organising of it, it feels like it will have been a walk in the park in comparison to what I now have planned. I have given myself 12 weeks to cover as much detail as seven
countries as possible, all with different currencies and cultures.
This (as much as I’m ashamed to admit it) is my first trip outside of the western hemisphere, and my first chance to grasp a feel of something outside of first world, modern-day living.
Whilst in the US I kept a daily travel blog. For 90 days I recorded what I’d done, who I’d met and the new things I’d experienced every day. However, I wrote very little in the build up to my cross-country adventure. This time I don’t have a choice but to plan the weeks in much more detail, and so am going to attempt to document them on here. I may not write quite as often when I’m away as I did in America – I don’t plan on spending more than 24 hours on a bus again if I can help it (where I did most of my writing) – but I will try to get most of the important stuff down on paper or laptop.
Even before I set off I’ve hit a problem. The first draft of this post is being scribbled down messily with pen because I seem to have killed my second laptop in as many weeks. This makes me think that a good place to start with my planning is a to-do list. Most of it may seem disconnected from travelling, but it will all become necessary and apparent over the coming months. I’m hoping that keeping a log of it all will help my organisation somewhat,
but may also offer others the help they need with their travel plans. Nothing comes in useful more when travelling than tips from others. Fact.
Here’s my first set of tasks:
1) Fix laptop(s). At least one should be in working condition to take away with me. Preferably the small one.
2) Open an online savings account. Switching my savings account to the same bank as my current account means I’ll be able to move my money around a lot easier and save more efficiently. This is something I really need to pay a lot of attention to.
3) Plan how I’m going to travel between countries (the ones without sea separating them). If I’m going to fly, I need to book the flights, if not I need to work out journey lengths on public transport and factor this in to how long I give myself in each country.
4) Look into VISAs for all countries. ‘Nuff said. No point going abroad if I won’t be let in to the countries when I arrive there. I also need to look up working restrictions in case of freelance work arising.
5) Get an additional income. Here and now. I need to either beg my current employer to extend my temporary contract or get additional work as a back-up. Or both.
I’m going to give myself a week to get these things done. And just in case you’re wondering, here’s my vague itinerary:
Thailand (with a focus on Chiang Mai)
Thailand again (flight path reasons)