The Inspiration for a Trip Around the World
We have both traveled quite a bit – before we met and as a couple. A few years after getting married we started talking about how cool it would be to go on a trip around the world. After doing some research, we realized it would be possible and decided to make it a reality one day when the time was right. That time came after our dogs passed away. We wanted to make a new start and find a new home where we could plant roots, have dogs again, and live a fulfilling life. In February 2013, our journey began in Seoul, South Korea and concluded 8 1/2 months later in Cusco, Peru.
Learn more about our world trip travel planning >
The Trip: 8 1/2 Months
World Trip Itinerary
As we planned our world trip, the goal was to experience as much as possible while being true to our travel style. We don’t like to be on the move constantly and prefer to stay a week or so at a destination so we can unpack, kick back, and get to know a place. Lori went on a whirlwind 30-day bus tour of Europe in the early ’90s and did not like the pace. Although guided group tours do have some advantages, they can be frustrating. For example, it is hard to appreciate cities like Venice and Florence when the bus dumps you in the city center and the guide says, ‘be back by 5:00 PM or we leave without you’.
After a lot of thought and several adjustments, we created an itinerary that included a mix of places we’ve been dreaming to see, a return to some favorites, and the flexibility to check out unexpected destinations. The intent was to balance exploration with relaxation! We planned the first two legs (continents) before we left and then figured out the rest as we traveled.
Asia – 4 Countries
Destinations: South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore
Africa – 3 Countries
Destinations: Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa
Europe – 4 Countries
Pre Trip Plan: We were going to wing it and get a Eurail pass. We planned to visit Croatia, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and possibly Romania.
Final Itinerary: We planned the Europe leg while we were in Africa and had a lot of trouble deciding how to spend the summer (see post European Indecision). After several months of travel and Michael’s illness in Cambodia, we decided to slow things down. Here’s how it ended up: Germany, Turkey, Spain, Portugal.
South America – 4 Countries
Pre Trip Plan: The itinerary was still in the works when we departed. But we knew we would visit Argentina, Brazil, and Peru. We also considered Uruguay and/or Chile.
Final Itinerary: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru
Travel Planning – Health and Tech
Staying healthy and fit on a long-term trip
Before the trip, we did a ton of research to learn about vaccines, what to pack in a first aid kit, etc. See how we prepared to stay healthy while traveling. And then – see how we did on our goals to be active and minimize weight gain over the 8 1/2 months in the world trip fitness report.
Travel tech and gadgets
World Trip Highlights
Here are some of the things we were most excited to see and experience. We made it to all except the Nazca Lines.
- Angkor Wat – Cambodia
- Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – Thailand
- Elephant Refuge in Chiang Saen – Thailand
- Europe – architecture and museums
- Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan – Thailand
- Gorilla trekking – Uganda
- Ibiza – Spain
- Machu Picchu – Peru
- Nazca Lines – Peru
- Scuba diving in Zanzibar and Thailand (Michael)
- Great white shark diving – South Africa
- Wine tasting (everywhere we can)
Despite lots of planning, we did face some challenges along the way … see travel mishaps from our trip around the world.