With 2015 drawing to a close our plans for the New Year are finally coming into something approaching focus. Some parts of our itinerary we’ve already committed to, like spending the winter in Mexico, the spring in New York, and the summer and fall in Europe, starting with Portugal.
After our May flight to Lisbon our plans are still a bit unsettled but at least are starting to coalesce around an itinerary we can get excited about. Our current thoughts are that we’ll spend about a month each in Portugal and Northern Spain before leaving the Schengen visa area for two months to chase leprechauns and rainbows in Ireland. We figure we’ll need about a month to tour the Emerald Isle. More importantly we’ll want a month to just kick back and relax with a pint or two hundred of Guinness in Dublin.
That last bit is part of a new strategy we’re experimenting with that we affectionately call “slowing the fuck down!”
(In the future we’ll be spending far more time doing things like watching these kittens frolic from our backyard patio while sipping rakai in Montenegro)
Over the last two years of living out of backpacks we’ve come to realize that near-constant travel over long periods of time is draining at best and self-defeating at worst. In our experience, after two months or so of changing hotel rooms every couple of days, destinations start to blur together. What’s worse is that the burdens inherent to such constant movement incrementally leech the excitement away from the places we visit. Before too long the whole exercise starts to feel a bit pointless.
To combat that we’re planning to spend less time actively changing destinations and more time just hanging in cool cities around the world. We figure a month of pseudo-domestication for every two months of active travel is about the right mix for us.
After Ireland we’re thinking of renting a flat in Paris for a month because, Paris!
But as great as all that sounds it’s not necessarily the extravagant part of our upcoming plans. No, that comes from the roughly 500,000 frequent flyer points we’ve now accumulated. In 2016, we’re contemplating blowing them all flying around the world in first class.
If current thinking holds, we’ll fly from Europe to southern Africa where we’ll sand board down Namibian dunes, track wildlife through Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and raft beneath Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls.
After what we fully expect will be a rough and rugged tour through several Southern African countries, we’re hoping to snag two more first class seats for the 12-hour direct flight to Sydney, Australia. We don’t have any specific itinerary ideas for our time “down under” but figure we’ll spend most of the winter in Australia and New Zealand.
(After flying for 12 hours in Thai Airways lie-flat seats and feeling freaking great afterward we decided that this is the only way to do long-haul flights)
Oh, and let’s not forget Hawaii. It just so happens that the Hawaiian Islands are conveniently located almost exactly midway between Australasia and our beloved New York to which we’ve already committed to return by no later than March 2017. (A note to wedding planners — if you want to schedule us we really do book up early.)
We’ll have just enough frequent flyer miles to complete those nine and eleven hour flights in the front of the plane after which our miles will be exhausted.
As will we be, too, I imagine.