After a lot of research, I have come up with the countries we intend to visit during our around-the-world trip. After looking at the list, you may notice some obvious omissions to our list. Some places we have previously visited, such as China and Egypt, aren’t included in this trip, some are war zones or politically unstable, such as Pakistan and Mali, and a few, such as Japan and Antarctica, are just too expensive for us to include this time.
5 Continents, 61 Countries, 15 Months
We have included 62 countries we plan to visit. This list may change and will most likely get smaller as we whittle down the number due to lengthy travel times. I figure that, in the end, we’ll actually end up truly visiting about 4o countries and passing through about a dozen others. They will be visited somewhat in this order, but that too may change. The countries include: New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, China, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, UAE, Madagascar, Seychelles, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.
We seem to be defying convention by traveling from west to east, but I find that I adjust better to jet lag traveling in this direction. It’s just easier for me to stay up later in a new time zone than to try and go to bed earlier. On the other hand, the flight times will be longer since we’re going against the prevailing winds.
So Much to See, So Little Time (and money)
I’m still in the process of researching how long we plan to spend in each place and our routing by air and surface. That in itself will be a huge post, but for now, let’s just say that airline RTW fares aren’t all that useful. Our plans have us going to some major tourist sites including several UNESCO World Heritage sites. These include, New Zealand Fiordlands, Great Barrier Reef, Blue Mountains, Prambanan, Borobudur, Angkor Wat, Sagarmatha National Park, Potala Palace, Taj Mahal, Burj Khalifa, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Kilimanjaro, Cappadocia, Meteora, Transylvania, Cinque Terre, Marrakesh, Christ the Redeemer, Iguaçu Falls, Machu Picchu, and Cartagena…because I like to say, Cartagena.
What will limit our time abroad most is how long our finances with hold out. The original plan was for a year, but with the number of destinations and the travel times being longer than I anticipated, I have already pushed our return date to 15 months. The other aspect, which I hope doesn’t happen too soon, is that we may just get tired of being on the road. I loved my last extended sabbatical, but I know that it felt so good to be back home. We’ll see how that goes.
Update 17 September 2015
Plans change and ours have mostly because of transportation issues. We have removed South Africa, Seychelles, Botswana, Burundi, Rwanda and Belarus from our itinerary and added Maldives, China, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Many of the African countries were removed because there just isn’t any easy way to reach those places aside from air travel. The Seychelles was especially challenging so we’re going to the Maldives instead. Belarus was removed because they charge a small fortune just to transit through their country. China was added because it was cheaper to travel to Tibet via China, and the Central American countries were added just to round out the trip at the end. That brings the number of countries down to an even 60.
Update 7 October 2015
Africa is proving to be one of our most difficult challenges in terms of planning. We had to remove all of Southern Africa from our itinerary because of time and cost constraints. I’m especially disappointed to remove Namibia, but there are no inexpensive nor reliable ways to travel from Namibia to Tanzania. We are now limiting the countries on this continent to Eastern Africa, specifically, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Uganda is still a maybe since our only reason to go there is to see gorillas and that costs a lot. There’s also the question of time. We decided to climb Kilimanjaro and therefore need to commit at least 9 days to this undertaking, leaving less time for other activities. We’ve added Seychelles back into the itinerary because of sheer coincidence that our connecting flight passes through the island. Extending the layover from several hours to 3 days didn’t cost any more, so we decided it was worth the lodging costs to visit. Since we removed Belarus because of the cost of a transit visa, we added Lithuania and Latvia. That makes the number of countries 61.