So Nike and I have just set out on what we think is going to be the trip of a life time – 10 weeks traveling across Europe and Asia. We started from home on 14th October 2012 and we will be back again on 3rd January 2013.
Nike quit his job in May and has been working virtually as an independent consultant since then. I quit my job in September to study further. However, my further study plans didn’t quite work out due to certain unexpected circumstances that came up in the last minute. That was a massive disappointment, but suddenly we found ourselves with the time and the money to do a crazy trip like this before plunging back into the corporate world.
There were some initial reservations about doing a trip like this – the time, the effort, and the money involved in a ten week trip are rather intimidating. I think what really helped us was that we were both mentally prepared to be broke, maybe even in debt, by the time I finished my course by the end of next year. Now we weren’t going to be broke or in debt because of exorbitant tuition fees – so we thought “Okay, let’s spend this tuition fee fund on travel instead. We learn more by travelling than than by sitting in a classroom”. That’s cheesy, I know, but hey, we just needed an excuse!
We don’t really have a fixed itinerary. For now, we have spent a week in Paris. We are then flying into Romania, where we will spend about five days. Its an open itinerary after that – we are thinking of doing a loop around the Balkans – Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia – and then one of the Eastern European capitals, before making our way to Italy, where we will spend another week or ten days.
I’ve been to most of Western Europe as well as to the major cities of Eastern Europe so I wanted to do something very different this time, and yet I wanted to go to Europe again. This tentative itinerary seems perfect for us. We want to keep it open: we will stay back longer if we like a place, and we will leave quicker if we don’t. We may even completely change our itinerary midway if we come across something more interesting.
Travelling independently around the Balkan region is also quite challenging for us. We don’t personally know anyone else who’s travelled around this region before, so we find this part of the trip intimidating. But I think that’s actually great because it will make us step out of our comfort zone, and rediscover the challenges of travel.
After seven weeks in Europe, we will fly from Rome to Kuala Lumpur. My cousin, who lives in Malaysia, is getting married in December so we are going there for the wedding. My family will also be joining us there. We will be spending a week in Klang, Malaysia for the wedding festivities. Everyone, including Amma, is leaving after that; but Dad, Samee, Nike and I are staying back and visiting the Borneo Islands for a week.
Once we are back in KL from Borneo, my father and sister will leave for India; Nike and I fly to Koh Samui, Thailand. We will be there for a week – we intend to snorkel, get massages and chill on the beach at the end of a long trip. We will be spending New Years Eve there, and will be joined by Nike’s brother and his wife. We will then spend about 2 days in Bangkok, and finally back home.
Phew! I know! It’s a long, long trip. For me, the biggest challenge has been packing – winter wear for Europe, wedding wear for Malaysia, beach wear for Thailand. I’m lugging around a 20kg suitcase that looks like it will explode any minute. I’m not proud. I’ve however convinced Nike to put all his stuff into a 7kg backpack. Of that, I’m proud.
I hope to blog about this trip as regularly as possible. I’d like to post here at least twice a week; but I’m not making any promises. Like with everything else, let’s see how it goes 😉