Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Plan, I mean Pl...

...I mean the part where I try desperately to resist my Virgoan need to list every transfer to be taken, hostel to be slept in and restaurant eaten (yep) for the entire six month period.  I have managed to reach a compromise with myself - I have booked flights for the entire trip and have a rough itinerary for the first leg, but I'm forcing myself to do the rest on the road.  And believe me, forcing is the right word.

So how did I get from 'I have six months and a world to see' to 'I'm going to A, B and X'?  Not alone is the answer! I called the lovely Paul at roundtheworldexperts and essentially listed all the places I have friends with couches, then let him connect the dots in the cheapest way possible.  I cannot over-state how helpful he was in taking my vague plans and putting names, dates and places on them in a number of conversations that loosely went:

"Uh, I have a friend living in New York and, er, another one in Vancouver..."
"Ok, so how long would you like to spend in the U.S.?"
"Erm, how long do you think?"
"Well, how about we say 2 weeks in N.Y.C, two weeks travel time overground to Vancouver? I'm emailing you a list of different travel options, Amtrak, Greyhound, etc, for cross-country.  Take a look at them and I'll call you at 4pm tomorrow to discuss the next part. Ok?"

Repeat for the next three days, plus a small tangent where I realised just how far away Alaska is from EVERYTHING, and I now have a list of dates and flights that is fairly flexible, but won't leave me in a constant panic about what I'm supposed to be doing or where I'm supposed to be going next.  I do admire those people who can book a one way ticket to their first stop and deal with everything else on the ground, but I absolutely know I'm not one of them, so this works for me.

The loose itinerary looks like:

London > New York > Amtrak across U.S to Seattle > Vancouver > San Francisco > Melbourne > overground to Sydney > Auckland (meet my lovely boy) > Bali  > entirely unplanned S.E Asia bit > Kathmandu > Mumbai > Home

Personal challenge: To only look at the guidebook for the next part of the trip.  So I will have to content my over-planning self with going no further than America for now.  Which has almost worked, but all that listing energy has got to go somewhere and dun, dun, duhhnnnnn, I have to pack.  In the words of the lemmings, 'Oh no!'

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