So where are you going what’s your itinerary like?
These two questions – spit rapid-fire the same way in which I wrote them – have blasted towards me on replay ever since I announced my plans to move permanently onto the road, Often they come in tandem with the eager, saucer-like eyes of a 4 year old being handed an ice cream cone. The anticipation written all over my questioner’s face.
Never one to disappoint, I acknowledge each and every one of these queries with an eloquent um.
So where are you going what’s your itinerary like? – mom
So where are you going what’s your itinerary like? – great aunt Patsy
So where are you going what’s your itinerary like? – stranger I met at the drugstore
Truth is, um, all I really have is a one-way flight to Panama, five nights’ worth of hotel reservations, and my wits. Though the last one is fickle at best.
With the stress gene missing from my genetic makeup, I’ve never felt the pressure to plan. Couple this with my inherent laziness and no further explanation is needed as to why I never planned out an itinerary for my 12 month journey. Well, at least I didn’t until the constant line of questioning and blank stares I received after voicing my non-answer got me thinking maybe I should create one. If for no other reason than to have at least a tiny semblance of a tangible response up my arsenal.
In life, my future plans are (and always have been) drafted in a series of pencilled outlines. Blank space surrounds each line, leaving room to wing the moments in-between.
I approached the creation of this itinerary in much the same way.
Plotting out the places I most want to visit (and of course taking into account my slow travel style, routes that made sense, my daily budget, and weather patterns), I devised my ideal itinerary in a manner that keeps it open to spontaneity and revision. Just like in life, I fully expect the completed blueprint at journey’s end to bear little resemblance to the initial sketch.
Pssst: For those just tuning in, this year’s Travel Dispatch journey kicks-off November 15 and is a 12 month, full circle trip around the globe with a budget of $25,000. For more background info check out the About the Dispatch page.
From Central to South America, the US to Europe, the Mideast to Asia and back to the US, below is the initial draft and loose route of where I’ll be dispatching from over the next 12 months. As mentioned above, the only thing written in the stars is my flight from the US to my first destination, Panama, along with accommodation for my first five nights in the country.
After that? Well, its all Kristen. Seat of pants. Fly.
Countries: Panama; possibly Costa Rica or Nicaragua
Activity Wish List: Sail the San Blas Islands in the Caribbean. Eat ceviche everyday. Read The Path Between the Seas while next to the path between the seas.
Countries: Panama and Colombia; possibly Argentina, Costa Rica, or Nicaragua
Activity Wish List: Sail to Colombia. Take an intensive multi-week Spanish class. Hike the full Lost City trek in northern Colombia. Celebrate Christmas and the New Year in Medellin.
Countries: Colombia and Peru; possibly Ecuador or Argentina
Activity Wish List: Go sandboarding in Huacachina, Peru. See the Nazca Lines. Eat ceviche everyday.
Countries: Peru and Chile; possibly Ecuador or Bolivia
Activity Wish List: Bus my way around the small towns on the coast of southern Peru and northern Chile. Stargaze in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Paraglide in Iquique, Chile.
Countries: Chile; possibly Argentina
Activity Wish List: Visit the Aymara village of Putre. Explore the Chilean Winelands. Settle down for a couple weeks in Santiago.
Countries: USA (Florida, Tennessee, and Louisiana); Montenegro
Activity Wish List: Be a bridesmaid in a close friend’s wedding. Attend another close friend’s bachelorette party. Pay a visit to my bestie in Memphis. Go on a multi-day white-water rafting trip in Montenegro.
Countries: Montenegro, Albania; possibly Greece, Croatia, or Bosnia
Activity Wish List: Chill out at the Bay of Kotor. Show up in Albania (a country I know little about) and explore everything on a whim and write extensively about it.
Countries: Ukraine, Poland; possibly Austria, Hungary, or Bulgaria
Activity Wish List: Pay my respects to history and to the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Explore the Polish countryside. Indulge in the Ukrainian bath culture. Get fat off a steady diet of pierogies.
Countries: Lithuania, Latvia
Activity Wish List: Go blokart sailing in Nida, Lithuania. Spook myself out in the Hill of Witches – a sculpture trail of wooden folkart in Lithuania. Play outdoors in the Curonian Spit. Sample all the cuisine the Latvian capital of Riga has to offer.
Activity Wish List: Get to know Estonian culture. What do I currently know about Estonia? Pretty much nothing so why not take a full month to try and learn about it.
Countries: Israel, Hong Kong; possibly Japan
Activity Wish List: Visit a sorority sister living in Tel Aviv. Float in the Dead Sea. Pay homage to religious history at the various Holy Sites. Eat dim sum for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Hong Kong.
Countries: Cambodia, Laos; possibly Vietnam
Activity Wish List: See Angkor Wat in the off-season with fewer crowds. Waterfall spot at Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos. Refuse to tube with 18 year olds down the Nam Song River but eventually get talked into it by the only other 30 year old backpacker at my hostel who’s trying to recapture his youth.
Countries: USA (California and Florida)
Activity Wish List: End my journey in the City of Angels before returning to Florida to plan the next Travel Dispatch Journey which starts Jan 2019!
If you wanna see how closely (or non-closely) I stick to this itinerary, you can follow along live here.
Have you been to any of the above places? If so, shoot me some recommendations! I’m playing most of it by ear so have plenty of room for flexibility.
Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?
The current Travel Dispatch journey kicked off in Panama on Nov 15 and is showcasing a classic “round the world” loop as I weave my way from Latin America to The Balkans, Eastern Europe to the Middle East, and Southeast Asia back to the US over a period of 12 months and with a budget of $25,000. Finally along live by subscribing below!