Monday, March 14, 2005

FAQ

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions that I get when I bring up the subject of my vacation. This is pretty long, so grab a drink and enjoy! If by any chance there's a question that I've missed, please let me know and I will address it.

What's this World Tour that you talk about?
OK, I'll admit, it's not a "World Tour" for say. I'm not going on a round-the-world trip, but a Asian-Aussie tour. I just liked the way the World Tour sounded! I'm weird like that sometimes. The truth is that I've always dreamed of traveling to far away and exotic lands and being fascinated with everything Asian for many years now, I've decided to focus my travels to that region. Leaving home here in Vancouver on July 28, 2005, I'll travel through 9 or 10 different countries over the course of several months. I will experience beaches and temples, new languages and foods, and priceless amounts of cultural shock and bliss. Here's an rough idea of my travel itinerary:
- Japan, August 2005
- China, first half of September 2005
- Laos, remainder or September 2005
- Vietnam, October 2005
- Cambodia, November 2005
- Thailand, December 2005
- Peninsular Malaysia, January 2006
- Singapore, late January 2006
- Maybe one or two Indonesian islands reached from Singapore by ferry, late January 2006
- Australia, February 2006 and perhaps half of March 2006 as well

How long will you be away for?
I will be on the road for 8 or 8 ½ months, spending about a month in each country that I will be visiting. I will be back home early or mid-March 2006.

Why don't you have a fix itinerary?
I have decided roughly where I will go with regards of countries, main cities and general travel directions. Unlike all of my other trips I have taken, I don't want to plan too many things in advance. I want to be able to go where I please once I get there.

Who are you going with?
No one! This seems to be a very popular question every time that I mention my vacation plans. I am not traveling alone by choice, although in a certain way, you could say that I am. I would have loved to travel with a friend or my boyfriend but not everyone wants to or has the possibility to travel for that long, and not everyone can afford such an adventure. I decided not to wait until my travel dreams agreed with everyone else's life and to go ahead with my plan, even if that meant traveling alone. This makes me nervous but I know that I will meet many fellow travelers on the road and won't often be "alone".

Are you having problems with your relationship?
Now this has to be the one question that I get asked the most. Somehow, I find it really odd that people would think that you'd have to be in a troublesome relationship to travel without your partner. As I have stated above, I have decided to travel without David because he could not take the time off. Maybe this vacation will put our relationship in perspective and cause trouble, or cause good. We may grow apart or closer and more trusting. In the end, I will not live with the regret of having relinquished my dreams for him, and he will not be able to regret preventing me from leaving. I am really grateful that David trusts me enough to not object to this dream of mine.

Aren't you scared?
I'm terrified! I'm scared of just about everything regarding this trip, and maybe that's not so bad…

Are you running away from anything?
A lot of people seem to think that and I really don't think that I'm running from anything. Or perhaps I am, unconsciously. I like to think that I'm running towards self-discovery.

What do you plan to accomplish? Why are you doing this?
I guess that I do have goals for this journey. I've depended on other all of my life for food, money, shelter and self-worth. I believe that on this journey I will learn that I can take care of myself, regardless of the situation. I will discover that it is ok to be alone. I will have the opportunity to challenge myself and discover strengths that I did not even know that I have. I will learn to trust myself and become a better, more complete person. I strongly believe that this journey will be an empowering one that will bring me greater self-esteem.

I would also like to get an haircut in every country I visit if possible. To me, getting my hair cut is in the likes of going to the dentist. I hate it! Hopefully getting numerous haircuts I have no control on might just help me get over this!

What are some of the cool things that you plan to do out there?
I am really excited about all of the temples I will get to visit mainly in Japan, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. I will be going to some of the oldest places in the world, as well as some of the most populated. I will visit beaches, island, inlands, deserts and mountains. I will climb Mt Fiji, walk part of the Great Wall, take a ride on the Mekong River, do a temple retreat and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. I will travel thousands of kilometres by bus, train, tuk-tuk, ferry and plane. As for everything else, we'll see when I get there!

How much money do you have to save? What will this cost?
Obviously, this trip doesn't come cheap. On the upside, most of Asia is dirt cheap compared to the West. In order to be safe in case anything happen, or in case one country ends up costing more than expected (i.e., Japan, Australia), I have the ideal goal of having a $1000 budget per month. This includes all of the travel, food, accommodation and so forth. Many of you reading this may think that this is way too much money for some of the countries that I will be visiting, which is true. I do not plan to spend that much, but I'd like to have the extra money just in case.

On top of the money that I will need on the trip, I need to purchase plane tickets, visas, vaccination, equipment and so forth. This could very much end up costing me over $2500.

Frankly I will not be able to save all of the money that I will need for this trip before I leave. So, I will be relying on my credit line for part of my trip.

Where will you be staying? How will you be traveling?
I will try to stay in guesthouses and anything relatively quite cheap when possible and when safe. I will do most of my travels around and to other countries by bus, train or ferry. Basically, if it's cheap, I'm there!

How are you getting ready for this?
I have been reading a few guide books that have been very helpful in giving me an idea of what I'm getting myself into. First-Time Asia and First-Time Around The World by Rough Guides are pretty good books. And since I'm a visual person, I have purchased a few DK guidebooks (Japan, Thailand, Australia) to give me a better idea of where I want to go. I've also been reading a lot of the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree posts and doing bunch of research. I want to plan, but not too much!

As for the physical aspect of all of this, I will practice walking for a long time with a heavy pack by hiking around beautiful Vancouver and by walking the 10 km seawall loop once a week.

Where have you traveled to before?
My travels have brought me to the USA on numerous occasions, as well as Mexico (2 times), Panama, Bermuda, San Juan, St-Kitts, St-Lucia, Barbados, Dominican Republic and Aruba.

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