It is more than a year and a half since I left my home to travel around the world. Most people I meet are curious about the planning stage – how I planned to go where, when and how. If you are as curious, I’m going to disappoint you big time.
All I planned before leaving for my epic Round the World trip was how I will manage to travel in USA and Canada, which continents I will visit and how many visas I will need to leave my house with (downsides of traveling with a not so travel-friendly passport). Rest everything happened on the go.
This RTW trip was my biggest bet on experiencing what it is to be totally and unconditionally free. I desired to revel in the uncertainties that road brings, to live by own rules and witness how it is to be alive every moment. And so, I changed a lot of plans on the go. In fact, I had to start with SE Asia but a discounted fare to Paris prompted me to change the entire plan just two weeks before I had to leave. Still everything fell into place – including my travel map. Look at it, doesn’t it look like work of a master planner?
Here is my RTW itinerary for you. For the sake of simplicity, I am dividing my trip into three phases- each phase representing my travels in one particular continent.
Phase 1 – Europe
I started this RTW trip with Europe. I did a round circle starting and ending in Paris covering Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Vatican City (not in the same order).
And where did I go exactly? Well where my heart desired to or where my finger pointed to, well really! I got a complimentary Eurail map along with my Eurail Pass. And whenever I had to decide my next destination, I would simply close my eyes and move my finger on the map. And the city where my finger stopped got the chance to host me.
And that is perhaps how far I have traveled (literally and figuratively) in this journey. Before this, whenever I had to travel even if to the next city, I would spend days researching and making itineraries. And here I was, miles away from home selecting the next country by just putting my finger on it.
Major cities covered in Europe: Paris, Brussels, Bruges, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Postojna, Bled, Zagreb, Split, Verona, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Vatican, Barcelona, Madrid
Phase 2 – North America & Mexico
This was the only well-researched part of my entire Round the world itinerary. From Paris, I flew to New York covering USA, Canada, and Mexico. I ditch the classic New York to Los Angeles route because I had already traveled to the USA before and so had no desire or money to repeat the destinations.
This segment was not only difficult but extremely expensive. The distances are long and so I had to fly twice within the continent. For rest, I used the services of Amtrak, Via Rail, Greyhound, and Megabus.
Major places visited in North America: New York, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Mexico City, San Juan Teotihuacan, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Tulum, Aguascalientes, Yucatan, Chicago
Phase 3 – South East Asia & Nepal
This was my favorite segment. Everything is so affordable and easy in Asia. I spent a month (or more) in each country I visited except Cambodia which I left after 10 days due to excessive heat.
I started my voyage with Thailand. From there I flew to Yangon (Myanmar) to avail E- Visa and later I traveled overland to other countries – Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. From Hanoi, I flew to Bali (Indonesia) and later to Nepal. The modes of transport I used in Asia – well almost everything available – slow boats, ferries, tuk-tuks, motos, chicken trucks, trucks, trams, shared vans, taxis, buses, flights.
Major places visited in Asia: Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi, Hua Hin, Amphawa, Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, Yangon, Inle, Bagan, Mandalay, Amarapura, Inn Wa, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Bokeo, Luang Prabang, Phonsavan, Vang Vieng, Vientiane, Pakse, Don Det, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Halong, Hanoi, Sapa, Bali, Ubud, Kuta, Gili, Pokhara, Begnas Tal, Panchase, Bandipur, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu