Brisbane, Australia The Round-the-World Plan

I had my last day at work on Friday. Everyone was really great, and by the end of the day I was very sad.

Folks chipped in and got me a bunch of great presents, which was a big surprise. The Game Boy Advance SR was a shocker. You guys really know how to make a nerd swoon.

I heard about what people were originally planning to get me, though, and I’m still not sure which I would’ve preferred.

As one would expect, I’m really excited about my trip, but I’m also having a tough time with the leaving part. And I’ve got two more weeks of goodbyes ahead of me.

Leaving is tough, and there’s virtue and making it quick. But I’ve also got time to soak up as much as I can of Brisbane before I go. I’ve got a great view up here while I type and I’m gonna enjoy it as much as I can.

I think I just saw the loch ness monster.

I’m gonna do some more diving next weekend up in Moreton Bay. I might have a look at the Queensland Museum to find out what Ozzie dinosaurs looked like. Australia Zoo is a possibility if I can find anyone interested enough to come with me.

I’ve got an itinerary for my trip finally. Up until now it’s been an amorphous mish-mash of countries and dates, but now with people starting to make their plans to meet up with me, it’s coming together:

March 4 – Head off to Christchurch, New Zealand. I’m going to spend a week or more tooling around the south island before I head by ferry to Wellington and make my way to Auckland for the return flight.

March 21 – Rather than going back to Brisbane, the return flight is going to take me to Cairns, where I’m going to continue on to Guam. A couple days in Guam…

March 23 – Then Yap, Palau, back to Guam, over to Chuuk, Pohnpei, back to Guam, and then to Cairns again. From Cairns I’ll connect back to Brisbane. I’m not sure how long that whole sequence will take. I’ll probably want to spend a long time on those islands, but it’s going to be expensive, so I’ll need to cut it short. I’m thinking I’ll head back to Australia around…

April 9 – A couple days of goofing around in Brisbane, laying low at Andy’s place playing videogames.

April 13 – Then I’m off for the big part of the trip – the round-the-world ticket. First stop, Singapore. Maybe 2 days there.

April 15 – Then it starts getting sketchy. I’ve basically got a little over three weeks to make my way from Singapore, through Malaysia, to Bangkok in Thailand by train, boat, and bus. I’m told this is both possible, and quite beautiful. I’ll arrange it so I spend as little time as possible in Bangkok, then head straight over to…

May 7 – Hong Kong, where I meet up with my sister, Kristin. A couple days in Hong Kong, and then we make our way into mainland China. We might spend time in Macau, might fly to Beijing or Shanghai. I’m not really sure what we’ll do, but I don’t want to spend much time in Hong Kong, cause it’s expensive.

May 17ish – I leave China and fly down to Hanoi, Vietnam, where I meet up with my friend, Brad from Pandemic. A couple other people from Pandemic are currently toying with the notion of coming along too. We’ll spend two weeks in Hanoi, Ha Long bay, Hue, Hoi Ann, and some of the remote northern villages. This should be great fun, and should last until a few days into June. Then, around the 10th…

June 10 – I hopefully meet up with my cousin, Thomas, in some major city. Not sure where yet. Maybe Hanoi, maybe Bangkok, maybe Phnom Penh (sic). I haven’t discussed it much with him, but what I’m thinking is we’ll check out Cambodia, Laos, maybe Thailand, then when we’ve had enough we’ll head over to Nepal. A week or two in Nepal, then India. This is the area where I’m most likely to be smoking crack. I’ve got about 6 weeks to spend here, and that’s not enough time to visit all those countries. So some of them will have to get cut. That’s not a big deal, though. I’ll be happy to just see one or two of those and really have enough time to check them out. We’ll see how it goes.

July 24 – Around this point I’ve got to head out to Beijing if I want to have enough time to take the Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow. This is a fairly insane thing that I’m probably more excited about than I should be and going way too far out of my way for (India to Beijing? Coockoo!). It’s one of the longest train routes in the world, and it goes through the most desolate wasteland on Earth. That’s got me written all over it. It’s about a 5 day train ride, and if possible I’d like to get off in Mongolia for a day or two. I’m a slave to the train schedule here, though, and I’ve got to look it up to see if what I’m thinking is even remotely realistic. If it is, I can hopefully get to Moscow around…

August 2 – As much as I’d like to see Moscow, the idea of being there alone terrifies me, so I might just head straight on to Prague in the Czech Republic. A day or two there (with the slim possibility of meeting up with my friend Sophie), then I continue on to New York.

August 6 – Home! If I can get into NY around this time, I’ll be in good shape for my friend Courtney’s wedding on the 9th, which is pretty much what I’m planning my entire trip around. Sophie will definitely be here, whether she meets me in Prague or not. I’ll spend 10 days or so showing New York to her, which will be really fun as she’s never been to America before. Then…

August 16 – Sophie and I rent a car and head off on the great American road trip. 2 weeks to drive through D.C., Memphis, New Orleans, New Mexico, Arizona, Vegas, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, then finally ending up in Seattle (I should really be looking at a map while I write this). That’s a rough list. We’ll discuss it some more and I imagine we’ll change the route a lot as we go.

August 30 – Seattle is the last stop. Soph will spend a couple more days checking out Seattle, then she’s heading back to Australia and leaving me to find a job, a place to live, new friends, and basically reboot my life.

Is anyone still reading? I hope not. I’m just getting this all down so I have it somewhere. I’ll probably look back at this in a couple months and feel like an idiot for how ambitious this plan is. I’ll probably run out of money long before hitting the states, and that last part is going to be a financial doozy.

Ah, well. It’s better than staring at a computer all day.