Every day — sometimes every few hours — I sketch out my route for my trip around the world, which I am aiming to begin a few years from now. When planning out ideas today, all of a sudden it seemed to fall into place — so I’m going to post it here before I forget!!

FLIGHT: Boston to Auckland

New Zealand: Start in Auckland, do the North Island (hopefully including some Maori areas like Whangarei), then down to Rotorua, then extreme sports in Queenstown, then Wellington.

FLIGHT: Wellington to Sydney

Australia: Start in Sydney, then I’m really not sure. Probably go up the coast to Brisbane, Surfer’s Paradise, all that great stuff. I would LOVE to see Perth, but it seems too far from everything, and so does Uluru.

FLIGHT: Brisbane (?) to Denpassar

Indonesia: Bali!! Spend time in that island paradise, then head across Java, visiting Yogyakarta and volcanoes, then stay outside of Jakarta, then fly out of there. (I want to visit Komodo Island, to see the dragons in their natural habitat, but it’s on Sumatra and seems too far out of the way.)

FLIGHT: Jakarta to Singapore

Singapore (briefly)

Malaysia: Head up to Kuala Lumpur, then the west coast, Georgetown, then into Thailand.

Thailand: The beaches and the south, trying to catch the Full Moon Party on Koh Pha Ngan. Then Bangkok, then up to Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle, which I hear is lovely as well as cheap. Chiang Mai has a great cooking school. Hopefully some isolated areas, too.

Laos: Vientiane, Luang Prabang, which is supposed to be awesome. The Mekong Delta. NOT Vang Vieng, because I hear there are a lot of drugs there. Worse than the Golden Triangle — drugs are EVERYTHING.

Vietnam: Hanoi, then Hue, and down the coast to Phu Quoc, then Ho Chi Minh City.

Cambodia: Phnom Penh

FLIGHT: Phnom Penh to Siem Riep

Cambodia: Angkor Wat, then the isolated villages of the northeast.

FLIGHT: Siem Riep to Phnom Penh

Then back to Bangkok.

FLIGHT: Bangkok to Yangon

Myanmar: Yangon, the stunning ruins of Bagan, and hopefully some extremely isolated areas — I do admit that I want to have one of those “I was in a village where they’d never seen a white person before” moments. And probably Inle Lake or Mandalay as well.

FLIGHT: Yangon to Kathmandu (I have no idea if this can be done. Can it?!?!)

Nepal: Kathmandu for a bit, then spending time in Pokhara and hopefully doing some trekking in the Himalayas, if the season permits.

India: Get to Varanasi from Kathmandu, watch funeral burnings on the river. Then over to Delhi: Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal in Agra, Jodhpur, etc. Then down to Mumbai and possibly Goa (AND I have a connection there). Try to get into the Bollywood scene.

FLIGHT: Mumbai to Beijing

China: Beijing, Great Wall.

TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY: There is a package that stops in Ulan Baatar, Mongolia, and then Lake Baikal in Siberia. I hear it’s amazing. The package costs 675 Euro, which includes getting the difficult visa invitation/documentation, since it’s especially difficult to do so for Mongolia and Russia. It also does the paperwork for the stopovers, which is a difficult thing to do as well.

Russia: Moscow, see Lenin’s body, Kremlin, get lost on the Metro, then St. Petersburg and the Hermitage.

Estonia: Talinn, a major up and coming city, and then the gorgeous Estonian Islands.

Latvia: RIGA!! My family comes from that city!!

Lithuania: Vilnius, although briefly.

Poland: POSSIBLY Warsaw, if time permits. Then on to Krakow, which is an awesome city, and also taking time to visit Auschwitz and possibly Birkenau as well.

Czech Republic: Stopping in on my beloved Prague again! And maybe Cesky Krumlov as well, and the city (can’t remember the name, is it Plzen?) where Pilsner Urquell, my favorite beer in the world, is brewed.

Austria: Vienna and Salzburg, but only if money and budget permits.

Hungary: Back to my beloved Budapest, and the baths at Gellert! Maybe I could get another boob massage — though I’ll know what I’m getting into this time around!

Slovenia: Ljubliana, Skopje caves (which are supposed to be gargantuan), and possibly the coast.

Croatia: (Hopefully it won’t be too touristy by this time!) Split, beaches, Dubrovnik.

FERRY: to Italy.

Italy: This time, it’s all about the south. Apulia, Basilicata, and hopefully discovering more of my roots in Castanea delle Furie, Sicily, near Messina. I’ve got a great story about one of my relatives from way back.

FERRY: to Corfu.

Greece: Corfu, over to Athens, then a bunch of the islands: hopefully Santorini, Mykonos and Ios, at the very least.

FERRY: to Turkey.

Turkey: Istanbul, then overlanding as far as I can go! Possibly Butterfly Canyon.

Syria: Palmyra and Damascus, which should be really exciting.

Jordan: Amman and Petra, the red city!

Israel: Tel Aviv, and possibly part of Jerusalem, depending on how the situation is then. I’d like to see a lot of the holy sites as well.

Egypt: Dahab, and much of Sinai. Hopefully seeing more Biblical sites, then over to Cairo and doing the pyramids nearby (but not all the way down to Luxor or Aswan).

FLIGHT: Cairo to Madrid.

Spain: I hope I time this well, but arriving in Pamplona in time for San Fermin!! My favorite book, The Sun Also Rises, takes place there, as does an amazing book I’m almost done with, James A. Michener’s The Drifters. I must go to San Fermin. It’s vital. After that, I’ll be heading through Basque country (via San Sebastien) over the border to France, and then beginning the Camino de Santiago, the pilgramage across the top of Spain that has been done since Medieval times. I’ll be a pilgrim with a pilgrim’s passport, and I will literally walk across the entire top of Spain to Santiago de Compostela, which is north of Portugal! I would lose sooooo much weight, too! Hehehe. But what an experience — and what a way to end the trip.

FLIGHT: Santiago de Compostela to London. (RyanAir flies that route; it’s cheap.)

UK: London, baby. Yet again.

FLIGHT: London to Boston.

And that’s it.

Okay, I know I’m timing the seasons all wrong, and there’s no way that I’ll be able to do that perfectly. And yes, it will be expensive — but except for Italy, Greece and Spain, and Austria, I’ll be spending my time in universally cheap countries. And nobody’s around the world route ends up the way they planned it.

But at the moment, I am really, really loving this route.

Any thoughts?

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