Saturday, 14 September 2013

The plan

I'm just a bloke from Newport who's heading off to Australia to do a working holiday for a year. But me being me, I'm travelling down there mostly overland, flying over various inconveniently placed warzones and oceans.

I'm setting off for Amsterdam on the 29th September. I'll arrive in Perth, Australia on the 7th January 2014 having probably run out of money, and needing some more to get back and carry out the rest of my mad plans.

Suitably sarcastic posts will be posted as I go, but here's the plan for getting down there:

29th Sept: fly to Amsterdam from Bristol. Genuinely the cheapest way to get there - got to love British public transport.

October: overland to Istanbul, mostly via the Balkans and Adriatic coast.

29th October: flight from Istanbul to Kathmandu, with a 45 minute connection at Sharjah. That could be fun. Chances are I'll get hungry at the airport and have to buy some Dirham at a terrible rate (definitely didn't have to Google that), then have about 10 minutes to spend it all before I head off to Nepal. Lovely.

November: The Himalayas will be my backdrop for a week or so as I see Nepal, then I'll head down to India for a month or so. I'll first arrive at Varanasi then travelling west towards Delhi and Amritsar, then heading across Rajasthan to Ahmedabad, from where I've got a flight booked to Hyderabad. £23 and a 1h40 journey rather than 2 days on the train? Score. And IndiGo give you a free baggage allowance - take that Ryanair. Then I'll train it up the east coast through Orissa to Calcutta (no, "Kolkata" is ridiculous, even if that's what I put as 'port of exit' on my visa application. But that was more so I'd actually get a visa).

4th December: flight from Calcutta to Bangkok. It arrives the next day at 2am. Wondered why it was only £40. Mind you, this is Bangkok, and so I'll probably be the first in my hostel to bed.

Then a few days to get a visa for Burma, before I fly off to Rangoon on the 10th December. Why aren't I travelling overland from India to Burma? Because you can't. Well, maybe if you were rich or well-connected. But I'm from Newport, so no chance of that. And the small issue of getting a visa.

Then I get off the beaten path and go around Burma for a couple of weeks. I quite like going to places that noone goes to. I'm a bit mental like that. And at least it's not Afghanistan or Iraq or something (which at one point I was genuinely looking at travelling through, but we'll pretend that didn't actually happen). I fly back to Bangkok on Christmas Eve. Christmas in Bangkok? Yes please.

Then heading overland towards Singapore via some Thai islands - yes, don't get so jealous that you unfriend me on Facebook - and then on to Penang in Malaysia for New Year's. I'm so well organised that I've already booked a place for the night. Then southwards through the rest of peninsular Malaysia and on to Singapore.

I've got a flight from Singapore to Perth on the 7th January. £97. Cheers Tigerair.

Then it'll be on to the working holiday for a year, probably moving around Australia a bit, but who knows, that's a bit too far in advance for me. I've only planned out this far so I don't have to swim across the Indian Ocean or something because the cheapest flight is a couple of thousand and involves stopovers at Dubai (every flight seems to stop over at Dubai!) and Atlanta. Then hopefully I'll save enough (and not buy too many £10 pints) so that I can do Indonesia, Borneo, northern Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China for starters - these are pretty much definites for the way back. And given that I'm a bit of a nutcase and want to go everywhere, I'll see how much money I've got left - the list of places I want to go isn't the shortest!

Central Asia. The 'stans have a certain allure to me, probably because nobody goes there and they're blooming impossible to get into. If I travelled up to Urumqi or Kashgar in China, it would be a natural extension to travel on into Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan and Turkmenistan. I could even wander into Afghanistan, mostly to get a visa stamp and a souvenir poppy since I'm guessing the Taliban will have taken over again by then. Could then wander down into Iran and do the North Africa trip I've got below in reverse...

The Americas. I'd like to roadtrip America at some point, and see Central America. Brazil is also somewhere that always stands out to me.

North Africa. I'd quite like to overland it across the north coast - Morocco-Algeria-Tunisia-Libya-Egypt-Jordan-(sneak into Israel so I can get into the next few)-(back to Jordan)-Syria-Turkey. That's if they stop killing each other/let me in/open their borders/a combination of these. I'm a nutter but I'd rather not get blown up by an American rocket launcher that they've somehow got hold of (I wonder how...)

But knowing me, I've planned this out meticulously and it won't actually end up like this at all. My £97 flight to Perth will actually be a small wooden boat, and I'll be told to go and live in Papua New Guinea or something.

In fact, enjoy a map: