Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Where I'm going: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to La Paz, Bolivia (Jan. 1 - Feb. 18, 2008)

January 1: Arrive Rio de Janeiro - Ring in the New Year in Rio!

January 2-11: Brazil - Travel to Parati, the gateway to Ilha Grande, before heading west to Iguassu Falls.

January 12-16: Argentina, Uruguay - Cross through Argentina to the Uruguayan city of Salto. From Montevideo, travel to Colonia del Sacramento before crossing back into Argentina.

January 17-22: Argentina - Explore Buenos Aires and Bariloche.

January 23-Feb. 7: Chile - Travel through the Andes and cross into Chile at Puerto Montt. Continue north to Pucón, in Chile’s Lake District, then to Santiago. Stop in La Serena before traveling to San Pedro de Atacama.

February 8-17: Bolivia - Explore mountains, geysers and salt flats between the Atacama Desert and the Salar de Uyuni on the way to Bolivia. Travel through Potosí, Sucre and Cochabamba en route to La Paz.

February 18: Fly from La Paz to San Francisco, CA

Where I'm going: Cape Town, South Africa to Nairobi, Kenya (Feb. 22 - April 4, 2008)

February 22-March 1: Cape Town, South Africa, Namibia - Explore Cape Town, then travel north to the Namibian border via the Western Cape. Continue along the Orange River to Fish River Canyon.

March 2-9: Namibia, Botswana - Visit the Cape Cross seal colony, then pass through Damaraland on the way to Etosha National Park. Cross into Botswana via Windhoek, and head to the Okavango Delta.

March 10-14: Botswana, Zambia - Take land and river safaris through Chobe National Park, a reserve renowned for its huge number of elephants. Over the border in Zambia, travel to Livingstone - gateway to Victoria Falls.

March 15-27: Malawi, Tanzania, Zanzibar - Explore the banks of Lake Malawi. Drive through Mikumi National Park, stop by the port city of Dar es Salaam and take the ferry to the Spice Island of Zanzibar.

March 28-April 3: Tanzania, Kenya, Nairobi - Return to the mainland and head to Arusha before visiting Serengeti National Park, Olduvai Gorge and Ngorongoro Crater.

April 4: Fly from Nairobi to Cairo

Where I'm going: Cairo, Egypt to Istanbul, Turkey (April 4 - 25, 2008)

April 4-5: Cairo - See the famous pyramids!

April 6-7: Mt Sinai, Nuweiba - Climb to the historic summit of Mt Sinai and snorkel in the Red Sea.

April 8-13: Aqaba, Wadi Rum, Petra, Madaba - Cross into Jordan and visit the seaside resort of Aqaba, known for its coral reefs. Explore Petra; visit the Dead Sea; see Madaba's Byzantine mosaics.

April 14-19: Damascus, Palmyra, Krak des Chevaliers, Aleppo - Visit the Roman city of Jerash; wander the streets of ancient Damascus; explore the former Silk Road city of Palmyra.

April 20-24: Antakya, Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia - Across the border in Turkey, visit the Roman mosaics of Antakya, the underground cities of Goreme and the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia.

April 25: Arrive Istanbul

Where I'm going: Istanbul, Turkey to London, England (April 25, 2008 - July 23, 2008)

From April 25 to July 23, I will be making my way over, around and across Europe in no particular order. If you have recommendations on places to go or people to visit, please drop me an e-mail. And, of course, stay tuned for updates from the road.

Where I'm going: U.S.A. (July 23, 2008 - Oct. 1, 2008)

From July 24 through the end of September, I plan to road trip around the U.S., with some down time in California to visit friends and family. Please stay tuned for more updates.

Where I'm going: Vietnam, Cambodia, India (Oct. 1, 2008 - Dec. 24, 2008)

During the months of October, November and December, my plan is to travel through Vietnam, Cambodia and India (and perhaps other countries) and be home for Christmas with my family. Please stay tuned for updates.

Questions...and some answers

I've been asked the following questions by many people:

Q: How long will you be gone, and where are you going?
A: Please see above.

Q: What inspired you to plan this trip?
A: For as long as I can remember, I've loved to explore new places, whether in person or through books or videos. It's likely that I inherited some of my wanderlust from my parents, who are well-traveled and took me along on many adventures (or sent me off on my own). My particular desire to travel around the world originated in high school: I can still recall standing in a bookstore in Palmerston North, New Zealand and flipping through a book on how to plan a year-long trip. This worldwide whirlwind voyage not only fulfils a longtime dream, but will also likely inspire my next adventure.

Q: Are you excited?!?
A: YES! I'm excited and extremely grateful for the opportunity to travel around the world. I love to meet new people, experience different cultures and explore new places. I'm blessed to have such supportive family and friends, who have always encouraged me to follow my dreams. Thanks, everyone!

Q: Are you nervous?
A: Yes. Leaving my family, my friends, my home and my job and taking off with only a backpack is more than a little stressful. Meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and exploring new places can at times be scary, or lonely, or both. But, I have amazing memories from every trip I've taken, and I try to remember that even the not-so-fun times (hitchhiking in the middle of Mali, plane engine blowing out on the way to London, tent flying away on the Lost Coast) tend to make great stories.

Q: What has been your favorite country to visit?
A: I have a deep attachment to New Zealand, which is not only spectacularly beautiful, but also has a staggering array of candy and ice cream to satisfy the most discerning sweet tooth. Other favorites (cities, countries and/or regions) include: Thailand, Paris, Slovenia, Prague, Halstatt (Austria), Hong Kong, Sydney, Victoria (British Columbia), and New York. I'm also partial to the beautiful Northern California coast. Ask me again a year from now!

Q: What are you most excited to see?
A: It's funny, the two sights I've wanted to see for the longest time - the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall - are straight out of Sesame Street movies I saw as a child: Don't Eat the Pictures and Big Bird in China. More than 20 years later, I am following in Big Bird's footsteps.

Q: Where have you been previously?
A: This map will give you a rough idea of where I've traveled before:

Credit where credit is due

Maps and select itinerary descriptions used on this blog were taken from the following websites: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/, http://www.gapadventures.com/, http://www.world-maps.co.uk/

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