It’s probably optimistic, to say the least, that we will be able to make an accurate plan this far ahead. In fact it is highly likely that the first 3 years will change in one way or another from what we have initially laid down. We feel that without some sort of plan we might end up wandering a little too much and maybe miss some places we really want to see.
There is of course the counter argument, that by not wandering aimlessly we may miss some things we haven’t even heard of yet or we may have disregarded some great places for the wrong reasons. So we have made a rough plan for the last 2 years but we are keeping an open mind.
Initially (if we didn’t do it at the start of year 3) we will take some sort of time out to reflect on what we have done so far and where we want to go from here. Considering it will probably be winter in the UK we will more than likely head ‘down under’. We have made numerous visits to Australia and feel this will be a good place to stay active and make a plan. It will also give us the chance to see Tasmania, one part of the country we have not yet visited.
We will no doubt still have places in Europe we are yet to discover. So we can see another one or maybe even two trips there being a possibility.
We had an absolutely fabulous trip to the Canadian Rockies back in 2004, we also visited Ontario on the same trip but unfortunately never got as far as Quebec. This, along with The New England States across the border in the US is an area we would like to see, especially in ‘The Fall’
This would probably leave us with a couple of trips left to do. One will no doubt see us back in South East Asia, again filling in some of the gaps such as Myanmar and Laos and parts of Malaysia we have not explored yet.
Where then for the final trip? …….. Who knows this far away but at the back of Steve’s mind is a trip back to Central America, one last go at the Hawai’i Ironman and then on to Bora Bora where we will sit down on a beach spend some time reading back this blog and then finally call it a day.
Still mostly firm but definitely some fluidity at the edges and wobbly bits are appearing!
TRIP 1 ???
At this point we are going to sit down and take stock of where we are physically and see if we need some stability for a few months. We have built a gap into the plan for this situation. If we need time out then it will probably be off to OZ, pick 3 places and pitch up in each one for a month. We both fancy Tasmania for sure.
Right now, if we were pushed, we would both say we don’t think we will need it and we will continue travelling and reassess in 12 months time. If that’s the case it will be off to ……
INDIA, SRI LANKA & NEPAL for Everest Base Camp.
January to April 2021.
17 years ago we almost got married in Sri Lanka but for various reasons this didn’t happen, so it’s about time we ticked it off the list. From there we will travel back to India. This is such a vast country and we have only scratched the surface. India will be a place we will also visit after the 5 years are over. High on the list this time will be Agra for the Taj Mahal, Shimla and Varanasi..yes Sarah Varanasi you can’t avoid it !!
The last month in this trip will be spent in Nepal. This is a country Steve visited over 25 years ago. A lot has happened in the country since then and a return visit is well overdue. We will spend some time in Kathmandu before heading out on a trek to Everest Base Camp. This will probably be our longest trek. It should take around 2 weeks to make it to EBC which is at an altitude 17600 feet. We absolutely do not under estimate this challenge.
TRIP 2. Back on the bike (At last). Athens to the UK.
May to July 2021.
Although we will have been spending time here and there cycling, by now we will both be ready for another long one. We will take or bikes and camping equipment by rail to Athens, taking in a few countries along the way. A possible route we have looked at would take us through south eastern Europe calling at among other countries Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova.
After leaving Athens there are several possible routes back to the UK. A popular one passes into Albania and then after a ferry across The Adriatic the route goes north through Italy to Venice. Although we both love Italy and have explored it extensively we like the idea of following the east side of the Adriatic through Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. This way we can avoid the largest passes of the Alps, something which Sarah is over the moon about and Steve has 3 years to convince her otherwise!!
Once into Germany we will pick up what is known as Euro Velo 5. A cycle route which follows the Rhine all the way to the North Sea at Rotterdam, where conveniently there is ferry back to the UK.
TRIP 3. South America Revisited- Back on the bus!
September to December 2021.
Our final trip of year 3 takes us back to South America. Once again we will return to and start the trip in Santiago de Chile. This time we are heading North into Argentina and the vineyards around Mendoza before returning into Chile and the Atacama desert where some more free camping will hopefully be on the cards. From there we hope to travel into Boliva and tick off another of our bucket list places, Salar de Uyuni. This is an area of salt flats which look incredible and also give an opportunity for some unusual photos to be taken. Next we will travel through the Altiplano, a huge plateau high up in the Andes, second only to the plateau in the Himalayan nation of Tibet. After a stop in La Paz which is the highest capital city in the world, we will visit Lake Titicaca before making our way into Peru and of course no trip to this part of the world would be complete without a visit to Cusco and then to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu.
Before leaving Peru we will spend a few days in the Amazon Rainforest. This is another area we are both excited about visiting while also being slightly apprehensive. Steve is not great with insects which are bigger than his thumb and Sarah can’t wait to restablish her love affair with the mosquito!
Out of Amazon and into Ecuador for a visit to the adrenalin fuelled town of Banos and the capital city of Quito. This is where we will leave the group and press on North into Colombia making stops in Medelin, Cartegena and hopefully some beach time on the Caribbean coast. The final stop of this trip will be Bogata where a flight back to the UK awaits. Year 3 finished!
Still pretty firm but the edges are a little fluid!
TRIP 1: Oz to UK Overland (and over sea)!
January to April 2020.
The start of the second year will see us take on more of a logistical challenge than a physical one. We plan to fly to Australia and then travel back without using air transport. This plan developed from a throw away comment by Sarah, whilst sat on the sofa one evening. “Let’s see how easy it is to travel from Oz to the UK without getting in a plane”. Steve thought it would be easy. Make your way across Australia to Darwin, jump on a ferry to Indonesia and off you go! It wasn’t long before we found out the number of ferries to Indonesia is just about zero. What about crewing a yacht? Possible but we might have to wait several weeks for an opportunity to pop up. The next option was a cruise ship relocation. They turned out to be few and far between and at the wrong time of year for our plan. We were starting to lose hope when on one of our walks along the sea front close to where we live we saw a huge container ship passing by. We knew that a small percentage of these ships take a couple of passengers. After a little bit of research we found a company that facilitates this mode of travel, we have been in touch and it looks like it’s all systems go. We have the option of sailing from one of four Australian ports with a destination of Singapore after a short stop in Jakarta.
Having made several previous trips to South East Asia we know it is relatively easy to travel from Singapore to the north of Vietnam by train, bus, ferry and tuk tuk. There is even the option to cycle part in Vietnam. From there we will take a bit of a tourist route by train through China visiting Guilin, Shanghai, Xian and Beijing. Our route will then take us on the trans Mongolian railway into Siberia and onto Moscow. We have a few option for the final leg of the journey. At the moment our favoured ones are either to take the train from Mosow to London or up to travel up to St Petersburg and then catch a ferry down the Baltic Sea to Rotterdam. Then back to the UK from there.
TRIP 2 Camping and other things in Northern Europe.
Mid May to Mid July 2020.
Back to Europe, back in the tent ! We are packing up the car and heading off to Scandinavia. This is an area we have never visited. Apparently camping is part of Scandanavian life so we thought it sounds good to us. We do not have a definite route for this one other than we will visit Denmark, Norway and Sweden before ending up in Helsinki, Finland after about 6 weeks. From there we will catch a ferry to Tallin, Estonia and spend 2 or 3 weeks driving back through the Baltic nations before heading back to the UK.
TRIP 3 Overlanding as a group – Africa.
September to November 2020.
For the final trip of the year we are back to overlanding in a group. This time in Africa. Our preferred route will take us through Kenya and Tanzania taking in the Masai Mara and a side trip to Zanzibar. Then it will be down through Malawi, spending a few days by the lake before moving on to Mozambique and Zimbabwe where part of the journey is made by train into Victoria Falls. At this point we intend to include a short trip to Zambia and then onto the Okavango Delta in Botswana where we will hopefully see among other wildlife …HIPPO’s! From Botswana we continue west into Namibia, across the Namibian desert where we will get the chance to do some wild camping. Once we hit the Atlantic Coast we will turn south towards South Africa and the final stop in Cape Town where our journey and travelling for year 2 will end.
At the end of December we are flying to Santiago de Chile. We are staying here for 10 days, seeing what the city has to offer, taking a trip to the port of Valparaiso and Steve might do a bit of cycling in the towering Andes mountains which are on the doorstep of the city. Steve loves his cycling and will hire a bike anywhere to get his fix! We will also do some relaxing, taking time out to absorb what we have done. This is not a holiday, this is our new life!
At the end of our spell in Santiago we are joining up with a group. At this stage we dont know how big the group will be, but it will be somewhere between 15 and 24. We have a strong feeling that whatever the size we are very likely to be among the oldest.
We will then travel on a converted truck, using campsites and hostels around South America for 8 weeks. We are both very excited and also a little apprehensive about travelling with others. In the past we have always travelled independently so it’s going to be a new to us .
The route takes us South through Chile, to Pucon where we hope to climb an active volcano, before crossing into Argentina. Here we will get the chance to explore the area around San Carlos de Bariloche (which is known as the Argentinian lake district) on foot, cycle and horse. We continue South making a few more stops, one of which is as Perito Moreno Glacier, a 250 ft high, 5 Kilometre wide wall of ice. The trip takes us back into Chile for a visit it to one of our bucket list places, Torres Del Paine National Park.
Next we travel to Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire). By now we are getting very South on the continent and our next stop will be in Ushuaia which is the most Southerly city in the world. From here we head back North along the Atlantic side of Argentina heading towards Buenos Aires. There are stops along the way where the focus will move away from scenery towards wildlife (however from what we have researched the scenery still looks pretty amazing). Once in Buenos Aires we have a few days to explore the city. Steve will eat steak and Sarah will dance the Tango! There is also the possibility of a trip by ferry across The River Plate to Uruguay.
After leaving Buenos Aires, we skirt the border with Paraguay before arriving at another bucket list location… Iguazu Falls on the border with Brazil. We are both really excited about spending a few days here.
Next we travel to the Brazilian pantanal. This is an area we know very little about. It is apparently a vast wetland with opportunities to try and spot some interesting wildlife including the elusive jaguar. We will be there in the wet season so it will give Sarah plenty of opportunity to reacquaint herself with an old friend …. the mosquito !!!
The final leg of the journey takes us towards the Atlantic Coast and then North, grabbing some beach time on the way, before arriving in Rio De Janeiro for the annual carnival. Steve is already collecting glitter, sequins and feathers for his costume. Sarah is considering flying back to the UK early to avoid the embarrassment! Hopefully when it’s over we will fly back together in early March.
TRIP 2. France and Spain…and a bit of Belgium.
Late April to early July 2019.
After travelling around South America looking for Jaguar this trip, on the surface may seem a bit tame. But we really do like to be diverse in our travelling, plus we are doing this for a reason.
The plan is to load up our car. Other than our bikes this is the only possession of significant monetary value we will have left (and even that is 12 years old!). We will take bikes, camping equipment, a kayak and a Stand Up Paddle Board and in late April we will cross The Channel by ferry to France…. Brexit permitting!
Having been to France several times before this time we will visit some new areas as well as revisiting some of our favourites. We will travel through The Loire Valley, on to the Atlantic coast, across to Limousin and the Auvergne before finishing off in Toulon in Provence. Hopefully kayaking, cycling and SUP’ing as often as possible as we explore these areas of France.
Once in Toulon we will catch a ferry to the Balearic Island of Majorca. Here in lies the reason for this particular trip. Majorca is famous for many things and one of those is the fabulous cycling routes. We will not labour the point as there will be many people who read this blog who haven’t got the faintest interest in cycling. So suffice to say we have a huge trip coming up later in the year in which cycling plays a major part and we need to be fit. Majorca, to some, is a cycling paradise and that’s why we are going. We will write a separate post about the cycling whilst we are there, so please check it out if its for you.
Majorca however, is not all about the bike. It’s a beautiful island and we are looking forward to spending a month there and seeing more of this great place especially doing some walking in the Tramuntana mountains.
Once we are finished in Majorca it’s back to Toulon. This time we intend to travel up the east side of France, back through Provence and into the high Alps. From there it is up to Lake Annecy and finally through to the area around the Somme and Ypres. We have lived in the UK all our lives yet have never visited this part of Europe which has played such a large part in history. We will put that right.
We plan to return back to the UK in early July by ferry.
Trip 3: Cycle from Canada to Mexico.
August to November 2019.
In early August we will fly (with our bikes, tent and panniers) to Vancouver, Canada. Here we will start a journey of almost 2000 miles to the Mexican border. This is a well known route and takes us onto Vancouver Island before crossing via ferry and the San Juan Islands into the USA. From there we make our way across Washington State to the Pacific coast and then head South through the small coastal towns of Oregan and California, eventually cycling into San Francisco across The Golden Gate Bridge.
When we arrive in San Francisco, which will be after about 5 weeks of cycling, Sarah will need a rest, so we are going to take a break…..its not all about the bike! Our plan is to rent a car (hopefully something a little newer than 12 years old!!) and do some exploring around California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. Again, we have visited some of this area before but we are going to visit new areas as well as seeing old favourites in more detail.
The proposed route will take in Lake Tahoe in California, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks in Utah and Monument Valley in Arizona before arriving at the Grand Canyon. We visited the Canyon a couple of years ago and walked along the South Rim. It was truly vast. We said, there and then, that we would return to see more. This gives us the opportunity to tick another box on the bucket list which is to walk the ‘Rim To Rim’. This is either a 21 or 24 mile hike, depending on the route taken, starting at the North Rim, dropping down into the bottom of the Canyon, crossing the Colorado river before climbing out of the Canyon at the South Rim.
Moving on we will camp in Death Valley on the way to Yosemite National Park, another unbelievably scenic place we have been lucky enough to visit before. Then it’s back to San Francisco to resume to cycle South. Sorry Sarah…. It’s back on the bikes again!!!
The final leg of this trip will see us cycle along the Pacific Coast Highway through Monterey and Big Sur (the location for countless movies), down through Santa Barbara and Malibu (wildfires permitting), before tackling the Metropolis that is Los Angeles by bike…this should be interesting!! After L.A. it’s just a few days cycle past Huntington Beach (of Hollister fame) and San Diego before finally arriving at the Mexican Border, to a fanfare of trumpets and ticker-tape!!!
It all sounds so easy when you write it down but we are sure it won’t be when the wheels start turning!! We will spend about 75% of this whole trip camping. on this trip, so we are going to stay on at the end and treat ourselves to an airbnb for a week or so. Plus there is a relatively big triathlon in Phoenix Arizona about that time which Steve is interested in doing, he should be cycling fit at least. Sarah will eat ice-cream. Happy days!