Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Spring 2015 Travel Itinerary

So, one of the main reasons that I took this job in Thailand was for the incredible perk of paid vacation! Coming up, I have off from mid-March to mid-May. I have two months without any work responsibilities! I will, however, still be taking graduate school classes, so I do have some responsibilities. By the way, I will graduate by the end of September if all goes according to plan, squeeeee!

I thought I would just try to keep everyone in the loop as to what they can expect to see on the blog in the future. Here's a list of where I'm planning to go and some of the things that I am looking forward to seeing in the near future:

1. South Korea, March 17-31. I know, I already lived here for a year. I know, there are plenty of other countries in Asia that I haven't seen that I should go visit. But this place is my home away from home, where I learned how to cope with culture shock and living in a place that was completely foreign and how to make new friends. And a lot of those friends are still there, so I am beyond excited to visit. My friend Libby is also flying out from Minnesota to join in a soju and galbi-fueled magical two weeks!

I'm excited for Korean bbq...

...and bright, Korean-style temples....

...and seeing lots of these beautiful mugs again!
2. Japan, March 31-April 11. I have also already been to Japan, but the trip was such a whirlwind that I feel the need to go back. Last time I stayed in Kyoto and took a day trip to Hiroshima. I discovered the Japan Rail Pass, which will allow me to travel around the country quite inexpensively. The pass will pay for itself as long as I take at least two journeys, which I plan to do. I'm super excited to be there during peak cherry blossom time, so expect tons of pictures of that! I will use the train to travel around for about a week (definitely to Kyoto, Tokyo, Nagasaki, and Fukuoka), and then I will be flying to Okinawa for several days. During World War II, my grandfather was stationed here in the Navy. While I am sure that things have changed quite a bit since he was there, I have always been fascinated by the idea of going there. I am happy to have the chance to show him pictures of what the island looks like today!

Mmm, sushi. Admittedly, this picture was taken in South Korea. But it's still sushi!

Also taken in Korea. But the chef was trained in Japan, so it's authentic, right? RIGHT?
3. Taiwan, April 11-16. I'm excited to try authentic xiaolongbao. I first sampled this in South Korea, when a friend brought me to a restaurant in Gangnam to sample these soup dumplings (thanks again, Zelri!). The restaurant was a chain that started in Taiwan, so I always associate this dish with that country. They are absolutely amazing, and I am practically drooling as I write this.

4. Hong Kong, April 16-22. Dim sum. I want it. I will eat all of it! (Have you yet recognized that food is a major part of the reason that I travel?) Even though it's pretty much the same thing as xiaolongbao, I'm still going to be excited for it. I also cannot wait to view the city lights from the high point in the city, Victoria Peak. I have been looking at thousands of pictures from this view, and am hoping to still be blown away by it in person.

5. Singapore, April 22-27. In all honesty, I can't name what I am looking forward to the most from this country. It is a place very clean and modern, and the only thing I can really say about it with certainty off the top of my head is that chewing gum is illegal. But seriously, it is...unless you are chewing for therapeutic reasons. Seems a bit like the laws pertaining to marijuana in the States, which just seems a bit outlandish. There are also a few other strange laws to watch out for.

6. Indonesia, April 27-May 3. I am wicked excited for this stop because I will get to see my friend from Wisconsin, Terceira! She is working in Cirebon, Indonesia in the Peace Corps right now. She has graciously offered to come meet me in the capital city, and I can't wait to spend time with a friend that I've known for years (since I lived in Milwaukee, actually). One of the things that I will definitely be doing here is visiting a volcano. It's on my 30 under 30 list!

7. Back to Thailand, May 3! School doesn't begin again until the 18th, but there is still so much that I have not seen in the country! I plan to go down to one of the islands, Koh Tao, and get my SCUBA diving license. The rest depends upon how well I can follow my budget. I look forward to getting a better look at my new home!

Excited to be on the road again, seeing a new country from the sky!
(I took this flying into either Spain or Italy, I can't remember.)

About the Budget: I'm hoping to keep to a budget of about $30 a day. Plane tickets will not be included in this budget, and they have already been paid for. Housing will be my greatest expense, and I'm hoping to try my hand at Couchsurfing for the for the first time. For those not in the know, this is a site where people allow complete strangers into their home--to crash on a couch, the floor, or spare bedroom--in return for a bit of conversation. I have heard fantastic things about this, and am quite excited to meet some new people in different cities.

If I can manage to bring down housing costs, I am absolutely sure I can stick to the budget. Typical expenses would include food, transportation, and entrance to attractions like temples and museums. Easy peasy. No five course meals, using public transportation (because it is always cheaper than a taxi), and a minimal amount of drinking will help me curb expenses. This means I'll be doing a huge amount of research before I go--finding walking tours, looking for what days museums may waive their entrance fees, and the best free things to see in each country. I'll keep you informed as to how the budgeting is going throughout the travels!

So wish me luck! I'm having fun planning this wild adventure, but I would also appreciate any advice about my destinations or the whole Couchsurfing project. Can't wait to share my adventures!

No comments:

Post a Comment