To-Do #1

So while that list below looks intimidating, there are a lot of things that will be pretty easy to take care of. By far the biggest and most complicated item is #1: Where to go … and when to go there. I mean, “round the world” is just a little too vague. With that in mind, I’m going to quickly outline how we are trying to figure that out.

To start with, we are in the “information gathering” process right now. This means I have my nose stuck in a guidebook to all of Southeast Asia, and Theresa is buried waist deep in an Africa guidebook. We are finding all of our “can’t miss” places, when to go there, how to get there and how long to stay there. None of these things are simple to coordinate … there are endless combinations and logistical problems. When we finish, we’ll trade (and do South America). Then we’ll combine notes and do the best we can making the things we *have* to see the loose framework to the trip.

But a lot of the uniqueness of a trip like this happens in the in between times (or so we think), when you’re not necessarily on a safari or taking in Angkor Wat. Like meeting locals or fellow travelers with secrets to share, wandering through a local market, or otherwise getting to know a culture beyond the backpacker’s hotel. The advice my parents gave me the other night was, “make sure you don’t plan too much, leave lots of time for the spontaneous things.”

Point taken. I mean, Egypt was an amazing trip at a whirlwind pace, but a lot of the magic of it came from the “non-sites” (and believe me, the sites were astounding): the day we decided that it was just too hot so we drank in the hotel pool all day, singing along with our taxi driver, being told we didn’t speak English properly, the foul smelling juice stands that somehow sold miraculously good juice. It’s not necessarily what you seek out but what you run into.

Anyway, with that in mind, we want to be careful not to plan too much. This is difficult for us; even on our honeymoon we overbooked. But we want this trip to be about more than just checking sights off our 1000 places to see, we want to delve into cultures and understand the people. Besides, there’s no way we could handle our usual traveling pace for an entire year, so this will help us come back still married.