My friend wanted to do a big traveling around the world and asked me if I wanted to join. So of course I said yes and spent about 6 months planning the trip with her and quit my 7-year job. It was a scary and nerve-wrecking move, but I don’t regret it. We did 3 months around-the-world traveling together, mainly in the Asia region, and then my friend continued on later to do 3 more months.
WHERE WE WENT
Here’s the locations we decided on for the 3-month period: New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. The locations were chosen based on friends who we wanted to visit and on how we can move through the globe on a one-way flow, and also of course places we’ve always wanted to visit as a kid. We looked at the weather for each location and eventually decided on starting from New Zealand and working our way west into the other countries.
PLANNING THE TRIP
In general, here’s how we went about planning the trip: we came up with a list of the top locations we wanted to visit, which were New Zealand, Singapore, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan and South Korea. Some were where our friends were located and some were destinations we really wanted to visit. Looking at where those countries were located, we then researched into the nearby countries for anything famous or interesting to us. At the same time, on a calendar we marked the amount of time we estimated we would want to stay for each location. We used Google doc to document everything, and google calendar to mark our locations. It’s nice because you can share the calendar and doc with your friends and family.
Here was our global itinerary:
#1. New Zealand – A location well known for amazing scenery. There was a flight deal from Los Angeles to Zealand through Hawaii, so we did that. I actually liked the 1 night stopover at Hawaii as it broke up the flight time.
#2. Sydney, Australia – Since Australia is on the way towards the west that we were heading, and it wasn’t expensive to go from New Zealand to Australia, we decided to stop for 2 days at Sydney.
#3. Indonesia – I wanted to visit Bali so we made this a stop. We stayed a few days here and then a few days in Yogyakarta, which is where the biggest buddha temple in the world is located – Borobudur temple.
#4. Singapore – I have a relative living here so we took this opportunity to visit.
#5. Siem Reap, Cambodia – We wanted to see the famous Angkor Wat, so we spent about a week here.
#6. Luang Prabang, Laos – Laos was close by and found this UNESCO town that seemed interesting. We also went on a 2-Day slow boat cruise on the Mekong River that was super nice.
#7. Thailand – There was a friend we wanted to visit, some cool temples to see, and tried a meditation retreat here. There’s really so many things to do and see in Thailand.
#8. Chongqing, China – There was a friend in Chongqing so we visited here.
#9. Taiwan – Taiwan is one of the islands on the east coast of China. Since we decided to go to Korea and Japan, we might as well also visit Taiwan lol.
#10. Japan – A place I’ve always wanted to visit as a kid 🙂
#11. South Korea – I’m a big fan of Korean dramas so South Korea was a must visit! Also visiting a friend here.
#12. Shanghai & Beijing, China – We came back into China and ended at Beijing. This is a big air hub so flight prices usually are cheaper than others for international flights back home. I ended up resting for about a month in China and went on a mini trip to Yunan, China which was really nice.
WHAT I LEARNED AFTER TRAVELING
The best thing to have when traveling internationally is know someone who’s a local there and can show you around the area, that’s why visiting international friends is such a good idea lol. Lessons that I’ve learned regarding long term traveling is #1 to slow down. We were on a time limit and had so many places that we wanted to visit that for a lot of the locations we only stayed a few days. It’s really hard on the body when you have to move all your stuff so often, even if you don’t have that much stuff to carry around. What would be good is to at least put in 1 extra day to each location where you can just relax, or put in some resting locations in between those busily scheduled ones.
Overall it was a great trip, and I’ve learned many things from traveling. One phenomenon that you’ll experience once you’re back home and made more apparent is the feeling like you’re not living in the normal routines of the general society. The 9-5pm workday and same week-by-week routines seems a bit foreign. After a while though, it becomes normal again.
Check out what essential items I packed with me for the long term around the world trip, or visit the Resources page to see what tools and resources I used for traveling.