Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Getting Started

Ever since I finished travelling three years ago I have been thinking about how and when I would  go travelling again. Last time away, after a six month stint teaching in Thailand, I travelled around South East Asia, India and Nepal before heading home.

Although the teaching in Thailand had been difficult, I still enjoyed the experience and loved living abroad in another country. Therefore I wanted to get another job abroad teaching, but also be in a decent financial position afterwards so I could go travelling again. As a result I decided on South Korea. It was somewhere I hadn't been to before and a new challenge.

Some of my UK 4 students
I arrived in South Korea on a one year contract and it was pretty clear early on that I was at a great school and the decision to renew and stay for a second year was easily made within six months of my first year.

The students were, for the most part, attentive, hard working, respectful and above all, interested in taking part in class activities and learning English. This just helped to make the experience all the more enjoyable. The fact that I had an amazing group of coworkers and director just confirmed how lucky I was with my placement.

The girls from my NZ 1 class

 The lifestyle, the job and the friends made leaving South Korea difficult but I knew that at the end of two years I needed a change of pace and to get the rest of this travel bug out of my system. 

I had many places where I wanted to go in mind, so rather than just going to just a handful of places and then thinking about going on yet another trip sometime again in the future, I figured the best idea would be to try and plan my trip so that I fit everything I had always wanted to see and do into one giant trip. Therefore, I came up with the best itinerary I could think of and with a heavy heart, said farewell to my students, school and life in South Korea and 
prepared myself for the trip of a lifetime. 

Knowing where I wanted to go wasn't the problem, figuring out what order to do everything and when to go to certain places was. After a lot of planning, I came up with the following itinerary. I've also included a map highlighting the countries I'll be making tracks in, all being well! 

As you can see, I'm greedy and want to go everywhere!

Starting with Russia, I'll be flying into St. Petersburg late March, then heading to Moscow and from there starting the Trans Siberian route through Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk and Ulan Ude. Just after Ulan Ude, the route changes and I head south on the Trans Mongolian stretch of railway to Ulan Bator in Mongolia. Here, I'll hope to do some horse riding along the steppes, get to the Gobi desert (maybe) and stay in a ger camp. After here I'll be back on the train and heading to Beijing, China. The Great Wall, the Forbidden CIty and the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an among my to do list. 

Come May 4th, I'll be ditching trains for planes and taking advantage of booking well ahead of time with Air Asia flights throughout South East Asia. The first of these flgiths is from Tianjin (near Beijing) to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Last time I visited Malaysia I don't feel I did it justice, so this time I really want to explore the mainland and Borneo too. I'll also be heading to Bali, no doubt the Gili Islands and then going overland Indonesia to the island of Sumatra where I'll eventually fly from Medan to Bangkok, Thailand. 

Once there, my plans are somewhat up in the air. I have every intention of heading up to Myanmar and checking out the Bagan temples and Inle Lake, and probably some random exploring on motorbike in Northern Thailand. At some stage I'll fly over to Nepal, do the Annapurna circuit and then head into India to check out the north and north west of the country. No fixed plan as such, but I need to be in Mumbai, November 19th for my flight to Cape Town, South Africa.

From there I’ve got a couple weeks to drink wine, eat meat, go cage diving with Great White sharks and a self drive safari in Kruger, among other things I am sure. Once I leave Johannesburg for Buenos Airies in early December, everything is up in the air! However, the plan is to head north all the way up to Mexico City and then fly to New York, and then home, probably. If anyone has any suggestions for South/ Central America, let me know, I’m always happy to learn about new and exciting places to visit.

Anyway, bag's packed, ready to go,  first stop St. Petersburg.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Grat,

    Anne has just passed on your blog details to us...we're very jealous of your new travels. I just thought I would point you to our blog, we went to quite a few of the places you're going to so you may pick up some tips / advice from there. The main home page is . . .


    The main reason why I'm posting is to give you a pointer to our posts on Burma / Myanmar. It was one of the places that really sticks in the mind from our travels - an amazing country, lots of good stuff to see, brilliant people. It's hard work travelling but worth the effort. A few pages of our posts on Burma can be had on the following link . . .


    Have a great trip.

    Si & Liz