Tourists don’t know where they’ve been; Travellers don’t know where they are going – Paul Theroux
I have spent endless hours researching destinations; from on-line resources to printed travel guides to reading through many of my favourite travel blogs — Gordon, not so much. When I tried to narrow the upcoming year to a somewhat defined itinerary, our different planning approaches collided.
“Why? It’s a waste of time, it’s going to change anyways!” was Gordon’s reply.
“True, we often plan our travel as we go and I find it rewarding, but stressful too, especially when we’re scouting for a place to stay after dark,” I told him.
Finding a balance between Gordon’s live-for-the-moment attitude and my wish for stability & practicality, here are six principles we finally agree upon:
- We don’t want to be ruled by a tight schedule;
- Getting off the beaten path appeals to us;
- Decisions will be made to stretch our Canadian dollar;
- Our 50ish-year young bodies & minds are seeking challenges;
- We’ll be staying away from the nouveau-trendy spots, and lastly (to appease me);
- There will be some pre-planning along the way, especially when it comes to finding accommodations.
And keeping in mind our preferences for…:
- Exploring high mountain landscapes and outdoor wonders;
- Partaking of the varied wines of varied regions and sundry brew pubs;
- Engaging in different cultures, beyond the museum, monuments, and historic sites;
…we’ll aim to remain ethical travellers keeping green principles in mind. Seeking experiences rather than sights while finding a balance between adventure and chillaxing the days away. All the while using local resources, transportation, accommodation and cuisine. Add to our wish list the desire to maintain a balance between time spent in urban and rural areas.
This might be naive, but that’s our goal.
Our dream list is long, not just for this upcoming year, but for years to come — we want to see it all. Some destinations will be added or dropped as we go. Our route is adaptable and flexible as needed.
We’ve narrowed it down to this loosey-goosey plan:
South America – 3 months
The journey starts here; we’ll land in Quito, Ecuador and spend a few weeks exploring and hiking the Andes. We’ll move south to Peru, discovering the Incan ruins and Machu-Pichu. Bolivia’s salt flats and Argentina’s wine regions of Malbec and Mendoza. Chile is also serenading us, but will we get to Easter Island or Puerto Montt? We could easily spend a month South in the Patagonia region alone. If time allows, we’ll visit Buenos Aires to discover the city à la Eva Péron. Uruguay, if only to see Casapueblo, an artistic-eclectic home, and now a club hotel on the cliffs of Punta Ballena before we leave the continent for Southern Europe.
Southern Europe – 1 month
Africa – 3 months
South Africa (Cape Town) and South African wine — possibly making our way overland. Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Kenya, Uganda (Kampala, where Maxine studied Vervet monkeys while attending McGill. Ethiopia’s ancient treasures and the Simien Mountains.
We’ll only have touched a small portion of the continent that Africa has to offer before we depart for the Middle East.
The Middle East – 1 month
Egypt (Cairo), Israel (Jerusalem), Jordan (The Dead Sea and Petra)
Southern Asia – 2 months
Continuing, we’ll visit the Himalayan Mountains and monasteries of Northern India, Nepal and Bhutan. Sri Lanka or Maldives are also possible stops in the region.
And from here? We just don’t know.
Southeast Asia – 2 months
Planning this far just gets, well, too bewildering. Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia are all on the list.
Indonesia, Bali, Borneo, the wish list goes on.
Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan is another possible leg of the journey.
It’s likely we won’t get to all these places, the importance is not in the number of countries that we’ll visit, stamps in our passports, or getting to all the “must-see” world famous sites along the way, but in the experiences lived.
Before returning home, via Hawaii, California, Yukon, who knows?
So, when that thought, “Where in the world are the Whites?” comes up — join along as we figure it out: en-route.