I’m not sure exactly when we came up with the idea for the trip; it must have been at least a few years ago. But while both of us have lived overseas at various points, we hadn’t done an extended session of ‘proper’ travel. Eventually this crystallised into a joint determination to take some time out, put our life together and our experiences first, and make it happen – six months travelling to new and different places. This necessitated some determined saving and a bit of careful planning, as well as each other’s support to make sure we followed through. By happy coincidence, the timing means that the trip also coincides with our 3rd anniversary, and – 2 months in – with my 30th birthday, just as we finish our Himalayas trek. Happy birthday me.
Our plans for where we could get to rapidly became a bit overambitious, and South America and Japan both had to be trimmed for reasons of both cost and time. But for the moment, the trip as planned constitutes six months, and covers 15 countries – Belgium, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Mongolia, China, Malaysia, India, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. Having read too many Paul Theroux travel books, we plan to do as much of our travel as we can over land, and be open to seeing the country somewhat away from the beaten tourist trails. Thus the trip begins with a five-week journey by train from London to Hong Kong, entirely over land and sea, and is followed by three weeks trekking the Annapurna circuit in the Himalayas before we begin our travel through India and southeast Asia.
I’m excited and nervous; it will be the longest I have not been in work or full-time education since I was 14, and it’s my first visit to all but 1 of the countries. We’ll be using this blog to let people know where we are and keep a record of the trip, but I also want to use it to write about the emotional and psychological experience of travel; how it feels to set off with few possessions and no real final destination in mind, what it’s like to pass through very unfamiliar countries where the certainties and safeties of the UK disappear. I hope to write a lot during the trip, and to practise a sense of mindfulness – and, as a side benefit, to give up my nemesis Diet Coke.
Thanks for reading along, and stay posted.