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Creating the Big Trip

When Ryan and I first started dating, I had this idea of the big, post-Peace Corps trip I wanted to take. It started in Israel and Jordan, moved to India for Yoga Teacher Training, travelled through southeast Asia and ended in Australia visiting my friend J living in Brisbane. When Ryan and I got more serious and he wanted to travel with me, I realized it no longer made sense.

We shifted it around, added and dropped some things. Most of the advice out there says you have to pick your “pillars,” or places you must go, and build around that. My pillars were: Taj Mahal, Mumbai, Myanmar, Angkor Wat and Petra.

I still wanted to do the Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), so we decided I’d depart Ethiopia earlier than Ryan and attend the YTT north of New Delhi and then we’d commence the trip in New Delhi when Ryan could join me. Unfortunately, due to the fact I would need to leave the first possible COS date and I can’t know that until August, I had to drop the YTT dream, however our trip is still beginning in New Delhi—mostly because it’s easy and affordable to get there from Addis Ababa.

We brainstormed ways to fit Jordan and Israel in (and hopefully Cairo!) that would make sense, and came up with taking the Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing to Moscow. But first, we have to get to Beijing… it made sense to just go from west to east in southeast Asia: Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam. We’re hitting Vietnam right at Tet (or Lunar New Year) and will fly up to Shanghai afterwards, taking the bullet train to Beijing.
Due to the unrest and conflict currently happening between Moscow and Ukraine, we are opting to cut our train trip short and take it to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

However, we still want to complete the original circuit and make it to the Middle East, so we added Turkey in lieu of Russia followed by Jordan and Israel. Thankfully, we recently booked our flights back to the States from Israel and were able to get a long layover in Cairo, so at least we’ll get to see the Pyramids!

And that is how our Big Trip went from just an idea I had a year and a half ago to a reality starting in around 8 months.

How did you plan your last trip?

A Big Trip

Last week I mentioned the travels Ryan and I will be embarking on once we are finished with our Peace Corps service and leave Ethiopia in the next 7-8 months. Although we’ll have spent some time travelling together both within and outside of Ethiopia prior to this trip, it’ll be our first round-the-world (RTW) trip and our longest time spent travelling together.

To see 11 countries in 11 weeks is quite an undertaking but one we are excited to embrace. Part of what we love about one another is the adventurous spirit, desire to see the world and the unconventional lives we want to lead. So we are planning our post-Peace Corps travels, trying to get a little off the beaten path, to do something unique and fun for us.

The trip developed and took shape over the course of months. We’ve had to be flexible and to go with the flow. When my original plans didn’t pan out (and yes, at that time they were mine only), together we reshaped how we wanted our travels to look. We have an odd sort of roundabout pathway that makes sense to us.

As a reminder, we are visiting 11 countries in this order: India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Turkey, Jordan, Israel and Egypt before heading home. And for further proof of the intensity, here’s a screenshot of the travel path:

world

Woah.

Using Google Maps, it looks like I’ll be travelling 23,983.69 miles, which is a little more than circumventing the world in a straight line (about 23,600 miles). I should have labeled it a little better, but Ethiopia is the starting point and Texas will be the ending point. The pathway may look a little crazy, but it makes sense to us (and maybe you too once you hear our reasoning!).

It’s a BIG trip for sure and one that I can’t wait to share more details as they develop!