Planning the Big Trip

To put an exact timing on the idea of the big trip popping up would be too hard, as it evolved throughout the last few years. It was a thinking process:

Do we want to leave our jobs for a while?
What about the mortgage?
Do we want to take this chance of change?
What’s next?
Yes, no, maybe? YES! 

You start reading websites, forums, blogs about travelers, people who’ve chosen a different path during their fairly young lives. They’ve probably asked the same questions before they started thinking about their future: what lies ahead?  And so did we. Imagining a travel itinerary, looking for those off the beaten paths in various places, ways of getting in touch with locals.

What do you need? A piece of paper, a world map, and lots of imagination and excitement. Our initial plan looked something like this (RTW flight ticket based): Belgium – Peru – Bolivia – Paraguay – Argentina – Chile – Easter Island (Chile) – New Zealand – Australia – China (with possible stops in SE Asia) – Belgium. We timed for approx. 5-6 months (we hugely overestimated ourselves about timing).

Crumpled waste paper spilling out of a bin onto the floor on a white background

Then, we started checking all visa requirements (more on that in our post on “Preparing for a big trip – the Visa Hassle”). Sigh…Let’s get off that cloud, take a new piece of paper, and restart. Dropping South America and the Pacific were out of the question, but we already had to choose between Australia and New Zealand. Australia, we’ll be meeting you in one of the next years. We also included more time in China and SE Asia, to prepare for the New Zealand visa application. We dropped the RTW ticket idea and were for a few months in constant conversations with one travel agency for checking a decent (i.e. budget friendly) alternative for a new schedule. So eventually, our 5-month trip will look like this:

Belgium – Peru – Bolivia – Chile – Argentina – Uruguay – Argentina – Belgium – China – Laos – Vietnam – Cambodia – Singapore – China – New Zealand – Belgium

This means one small stop in Belgium of 1,5 day, and 2 separate long distance flight tickets (one to South America, one to New Zealand with a 2 month stopover in China). We’ve chosen to start at the end of September until beginning of March 2017: Peru has no rainy season yet, Patagonia is getting warmer in spring time, Southern China and SE Asia have dry season, and we’ll be enjoying summer in New Zealand ! More details will follow soon…