Hi family, friends, and new followers!
I have a big announcement. After years of dreaming about long-term travel, I am finally ready to make the jump.
In a few weeks I will leave my job at The Young and the Restless to travel for the rest of the year.
Whew! It feels really good to write that. Telling the internet makes it real!
On March 24th I’ll take a red-eye from LAX to…
The Cook Islands
It was free to add a layover in Fiji or the Cook Islands on my itinerary from LAX-New Zealand. So it was an easy decision to spend a few days in the South Pacific!
After logging in some serious beach time, I’ll fly to Auckland on March 28th (thanks to the international date line I’ll never see March 29th — let me know how that day goes, will you?).
I’ll spend the next six weeks traveling around the north and south islands of…
Highlights include Milford Sound, Fraz Josef Glacier, and locations where Lord of the Rings was shot (although I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never seen the trilogy… I could probably watch all nine hours plus The Hobbit on my flight overseas).
I’ll move around the country on a hop on/hop off bus tour with Stray Travel.
After that I will spend most of May and June in…
My plan is to spend the first month in one city to experience what it’d be like to actually live there (plus it’ll be nice to stay in one place for awhile after so much running around in New Zealand). Right now I’m torn between spending that month in Melbourne or Sydney. I’ll either rent a room for a month on a site like airbnb or stay in a hostel.
After that, my plans are rather flexible. I have a tentative outline for the rest of the year, which I’ll briefly detail here — but I reserve the right to change this at any time! Flexibility is really important in long-term travel, so I don’t want to lock myself into specific plans. I anticipate meeting other travelers on the road and I want to easily adjust my itinerary when opportunities arise.
That said, I’d love to experience the following places on my trip.
While this is hardly an Eat Pray Love trip, I don’t mind inviting comparisons during my time in Bali. I have long yearned to see this place with my own eyes!
I hear Singapore is upscale, expensive, and impeccably clean. The scope of its skyscrapers is intimidating! I’m looking forward to fun night photography with all those colorful buildings.
Philippines & Palau:
My primary draw to the Philippines is Jellyfish Lake on Eil Malk island in Palau. The lake is full of jellyfish that do NOT sting… it would be thrilling to take underwater photos here.
Two of my closest friends will be visiting China in late August for a two-week tour of the country. I’m hoping I can join them! Highlights include Beijing and its structures from the 2008 Summer Olympics, the world’s largest city Shanghai, the rolling mountains of Yangshua, and Hong Kong. And of course the Great Wall.
While this country was devastated by a tsunami in 2011, there is still so much to see. Hiroshima, Kyoto, Mt. Fuji, and Kanazawa are at the top of my list. I’m bummed to miss cherry blossom season, which is in late March / early April.
Climbing to Everest Bast Camp is high on my bucket list, ever since fellow blogger Liz wrote about her experience two years ago. But I’m torn between doing this hike and the equally impressive Annapurna Circuit. If my muscles hold up, perhaps I’ll get to do both?
Nepal isn’t the only country to offer breathtaking views of the Himalayas. I’m told that Bhutan offers the same views with way less tourists. I plan to visit these counties around October during prime climbing season.
Unless other plans pop up, I expect to have about six weeks in late fall before I return to the U.S. for Christmas. I hope to spend that chunk of time visiting three places in the Middle East…
I’ve been intrigued by Jordan ever since my grandparents visited several decades ago. My grandpa Henry was especially enchanted with Petra.
I’m exhausted just reading over this post!
That’s an ambitious number of countries given my 9-month time frame, so consider this my 2013 travel wish list. If I make it to half these places, I’ll be thrilled. The point of this trip is to really experience each location and the last thing I want to do is jump from city to city just to say I’ve been there. After New Zealand and Australia, this list allows for roughly two weeks in each area (with the exception of Singapore, which I’d probably only visit for a few days since it’s more expensive). Two weeks doesn’t allow for a lot of down time — and I am committed to blogging almost daily, so I’ll see how it goes and when I need to lay low for a few days to catch my breath.
So you want to follow along?
I can’t wait to share photos and stories from my time on the road! In addition to blogging here, I will share more images on Facebook, Twitter (@AsHerWorldTurns), Instagram (username = AsHerWorldTurns), Pinterest, and YouTube.
And I have a tiny favor: it would be so helpful if you’d ‘like’ my page on Facebook. I hope to partner with travel companies during my trip and a strong following on Facebook helps make that possible!
A few final notes…
Truth be told, I am anxious about my upcoming travels. It’s a daunting trip! But my excitement and eagerness cut through any lingering doubt. It won’t be a carefree and easy few months — travel is often complicated and frustrating, and I expect to endure homesickness and other bumps in the road. I certainly hope I’m not robbed, raped, or killed. (Calm down Mom.) But if I allow the fear of potential bad things to take over, I’d never leave Los Angeles. And ironically, I’m probably safer in some of these countries than in my own home city. Plus if I take basic precautions and make smart decisions (like not stumbling intoxicated down a dark alley by myself in the middle of the night), the risk of something bad happening is drastically reduced.
If I’ve learned anything from past international travel experience, it’s this: people are generally good. Yes, a healthy dose of caution is important. I don’t blindly trust everyone. But I’ve encountered an overwhelming number of kind people on my travels compared to the occasional sketchy vendor or patron or passerby. I take some comfort in this.
The other piece of the puzzle that gives me anxiety is money. I’m about to leave a job I’ve had for seven years. Unfortunately, when you stop working, they stop giving you paychecks! Gulp. I’ve saved over the years in preparation for this trip, but it will still be a sobering moment when my income is officially cut off. And given the number of countries I hope to see and the length of my trip, I have to pace my budget accordingly. With a few exceptions (like my first stop in the Cook Islands, which are inherently pricier) I will stay in low-budget accommodation. Mostly hostels. I’ll save where I can with food and transportation: opting for meals at street vendors, skipping pricy cocktails, and getting around via bus and train, for the most part.
And while I don’t anticipate any actual income from this blog, I hope to barter my blogging and photography skills in exchange for sponsored trips or partnerships with travel companies. I work hard to supply solid content for this site and I look forward to bringing you regular updates from my travels!
This trip has been years in the making and I am thrilled it’s finally here.
“Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.”— Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s answer to the question, “Any advice to a young person who wants to get into this field?”