I recently bought Lonely Planet’s “South East Asia on a Shoestring” so that I can begin to make some waves with researching a rough itinerary for our trip. It struck me that the actual planning section of the book is really quite light in detail:
12 months before you go it says for you to calculate a trip budget and start saving and then 6 months out pick which countries to visit, where and for how long…simple right?
But aside from cash and where to go, there are some killer questions that you should answer before embarking on a multi-month trip:
Why are you going travelling?
What do you actually want to do / what do you want your day-to-day to be like?
What do you want to get out of it?
What are your priorities?
It’s a big deal for me to take a career break and it’s also a lot of effort saving the cash so a while back Chris and I sat down to write and order a list of the things we wanted to accomplish. Funnily it turned out that lots of what we want to do doesn’t even really relate to travelling in the classic sense of the word, but simply having the freedom of time to invest in other things that we are interested in.
Relaxation and fitness
Our plan is to enjoy working out together outside doing resistance work and calisthenics along with yoga/pilates. I’d also like to work on my gymnastics, primarily my back tuck – I am pretty sure if I work on it every day I’ll eventually be able to do it by myself so if I rejoin cheer in a couple of years I will have that to offer and in the same vein Chris wants to work on his partner stunting.
Back to nature
We both love being in the countryside so enjoying the stunning scenery and wildlife that SEA has to offer is top of the list. In practice this means we’ll spend less time in the big cities, opting for more rural locations and activities like hiking, trekking, swimming, canoeing, climbing, sailing etc… anything with an outdoor slant.
With a particular focus on things that you can’t do in the UK, so hot air ballooning over Bagan is one, and climbing an active volcano another. I love eating so I am going to try push myself a little out of my comfort zone and try new dishes.
I have an awful memory, Chris will often turn to me and say remember when XYZ? and in return I give him a blank look until he elaborates. Visual ques are by far my strongest memory so we have invested in a GoPro Hero5 so we can film in 4K and take super high-def photos. It’s also why I am writing this blog as sometimes I can barely remember what happened on the weekend on a Monday, let alone any serious detail from 5 – 10 years ago. And I know this trip will be full of things I want to remember when I am 90 and tell my great grandkids about. It’s also a chance for me to learn video editing basics which brings me nicely onto…
Learning something new
Portuguese is high on my list; I want to learn Portuguese because that was Chris’ first language, and I’d love to be teach it to our kids, but I think it’ll need to be a joint effort. I am constantly interested in learning new skills, at the moment I am thinking about statistics or maths, or something more difficult like coding. There’s a huge looming IT skills gap which basically means there’s cash to be made for people with the right skills, but I also think it would fit quite well with my current skills set in communications.
Not forgetting the amazing cultural aspects that SEA will have to offer; ways of life, monuments, museums, temples, historic sites etc.