We had grand plans for the beginning of our round the world trip. We would travel across Central Asia overland from Istanbul to Xinjiang in the footsteps of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great. We had dreams of visiting the ancient cities and mosques of the Silk Road and trekking in the land of the snow leopards in the high Pamirs.
This wasn’t our first trip to Central Asia. In the summer of 2013, we attended our friends’ wedding in Kazakhstan and did two treks in Kyrgyzstan. But our Central Asia overland trip threw up a few more challenges than we anticipated. In the end, we didn’t make it all the way to China, and it wasn’t quite all overland. We saw some amazing sights, met a lot of interesting people, and went to a lot of remote locations that most people will never visit. We also experienced a lot of bumps on the road. For several reasons, we cut our trip short and bailed out to Bangkok.
Travel in Central Asia has more pitfalls than in many parts of the world – and some pleasant surprises. Here are some of the things we wish we had known when we … Read more
This is Part 2 of this post, detailing the Imagine and Prototype stages of our trip planning. Read Part 1 here.
This is the time to start thinking of the places you want to visit, the languages you might want to learn, the activities you want to do, and, of course, the places you want to visit.
You might think this is easy and straightforward. But, as my first big trip highlights, it is not always that simple. I fully expected my first big trip to be to Asia. I had even put my foot in Asian waters with short trips to Myanmar and Sri Lanka. However, circumstances meant I went to the Americas.
The key to imagining how your trip might pan out is to brainstorm and affinity map. There is an art to successful brainstorming and it is worth developing a few mindsets to get this right.
- Defer judgment. Put your ideas out there without judging them.
- Build on the ideas of your travel partners using the “yes, and” protocol (For example, “I want to see orangutans in Borneo”. “Yes, and while we are there we can see proboscis monkeys and climb Mt. Kinabalu”)
- Go for quantity
… Read more
Paul here, posting from the courtyard of our guesthouse in Shiraz, Iran. This post was written during our two-day train and ferry journey from Ankara to Iran. We’ll post about our travels in Turkey and Iran soon. Facebook is blocked in Iran, so the earliest you’ll see us back on Facebook is when we cross into Turkmenistan on June 11.
On telling friends that Laura and I were “going traveling”, there was a persistent theme to responses: “How did you plan such a long trip?” “How did you save the money?” “What are you going to do about work?” “Have you reserved everything in advance?”
A number of friends seemed inspired to travel too but seemed to be stuck at the planning stage. So, in this blog I would like to propose an approach to planning which will hopefully help them on their way.
Answers regarding money and work were simple. Travel and hiking is what we spend our money on and this is what we primarily save for. Since we did not want to work while traveling, we quit our jobs.
Planning can be more complex to explain.
You need not plan at all which was the case on … Read more