A few years ago, I decided I would leave everything behind and take off on a trip around the world. This idea was born in a cubicle at the fashion house I worked for at the time in New York City. Bored of my life there and eager to find true freedom and happiness, I needed to make this idea a reality.
It was around this time I met boyfriend, Kyle who coincidentally shared this goal. I remember the days sitting on the west side highway in Manhattan on a bench with Kyle fantasizing about this trip that seemed like a lifetime away. Now I can't believe it's real.
The borderline unrealistic, crazy idea of taking off to explore the world became less scary and more attainable when I met Kyle. But it doesn't mean I couldn't have done it alone. It just made it a lot easier and a lot more fun. It didn't take long for us to do the math and lock our plans in though after meeting.
After two and half years of saving and planning, we pooled our funds and started mapping out the trip like mad men. Luckily for me, I scored finding a credit card and miles collecting pro - formerly Mr Free Miles - who enabled us to book all our flights on miles (while boosting my nonexistent credit score might I add).
With no specific end date in mind, we picked our top must-sees and booked our first one-way ticket to Buenos Aires (a city I told him I was dying to see on our first date) marking the start of our trip. From there, we would follow the sun and move west keeping our bags lightly packed with summer clothes.
I write to you from Hong Kong, our 9th country and second continent deep. I am living my dream life searching for the healthiest foods while exploring the world with my best friend. I want to share my journey with the world because if I can do it, anyone can. It can be done as a couple, with friends, or solo. This is our itinerary as we have planned so far.
The reality is the planning does not stop at any point! Even now I am realizing certain hotels we forgot to book and visas we forgot to get. So many logistics need to be considered from visas, to vaccinations, to safety guidelines. Believe it or not though, an ATW trip like this is so much more attainable than you think.
Our strategy for the trip involved seeing as much as possible without spending most of our time in transit - a huge challenge because you will want to go everywhere. There are simply not enough hours in a day. We chose a few big hubs where we would spend a lot of time (3+ weeks). This would give us a break from traveling while allowing us to better understand the culture we were in.
A few days here and there is really not enough for traveling I think. Having said that, it is still really fun to see as much as possible which is why we have many 3-4 day trips in between - especially in particularly expensive cities like Sydney.
Other factors we considered were weather and jet lag. Our time in southeast Asia was a little bit more limited than we wanted because we needed to move upwards to avoid the April heat. We also spent a little less time in South America so that we could get to Australia and New Zealand while it was still nice.
We follow the sun which gives us an endless summer and minimal jet lag. After getting over the big international dateline crossing, we just keep gaining hours back which is awesome for waking up early and seizing the day.
As I will explain more in depth about planning I will also explain how to strategize when planning and factors to consider. For now check out our itinerary below. The circle around the world will complete in Los Angeles but the traveling will continue on!
*Seoul and Guangzhou were not part of the original itinerary. My parents came to visit those countries throwing us a curve ball. We booked round trip flights from Thailand to meet them.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Montevideo - Punta Del Este, Uruguay
- Santiago - Valparaiso, Chile
- Sydney, Australia
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- *Seoul, South Korea
- *Guangzhou, China
- Koh Samui, Thailand
- Koh Phangan, Thailand
- Koh Lanta, Krabi, Thailand
- Hong Kong (I'm here!)
- Hanoi - Halong Bay - Sapa, Vietnam
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka, Japan
- Bali, Indonesia
- Beijing, China
- Cape Town, Winelands, Kruger - South Africa
- Vilanculos, Maputo - Mozambique
- Munich, Germany
- Petra, Jordan
- Telaviv, Israel
- Vienna - Halstatt, Austria
- Istanbul - Cappadocia, Turkey
- Mostar, Bosnia
- Kotor, Montenegro
- Moscow, Russia
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Rotterdam - Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Stockholm - Gothenburg, Sweden
- Bergen, Norway
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Brugges - Brussels, Belgium
- London, UK
- Los Angeles, CA
- ??? :)