Big news: my boyfriend and I are planning an amazing round-the-world trip! The past few weeks were spent on sharing the news with our friends, family, and work colleagues and now I can share it with you guys. YESS! It feels amazing to finally reveal this big secret. A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I cannot wait until our big round-the-world trip starts. Continue reading to find out why we are taking this step and what our RTW itinerary is going to look like.
Read next: Round-the-world trip: our epic overland itinerary + tips
Why a round-the-world trip?
First I have to set things straight, technically speaking we are not going on a round-the-world trip. I mean: we are not literally traveling around the world. We will focus on certain parts of the world: Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. But still, the word ‘round-the-world trip’ attracts more readers, so that is why I went for it.
So, why did we made this decision? It has always been my dream to spend a couple of years abroad. To leave everything behind in the Netherlands and go explore the world. There is so much to see. Usually, our normal 2- to 3-week trips are packed with sights and must-dos and that is fine for those kinds of trips. But this time we want to do things differently. We want to take our time to get to know a destination. Not checking off a list of must-dos, but just do whatever we want to do. And if we miss that one important sight, then it is alright. And quite frankly: my boyfriend and I are in a phase where we can do this. We rent an apartment, we do not have kids and we don’t have a lot of stuff. We can easily take off.
Free as a bird!
RTW itinerary: overland from the Netherlands to Indonesia
Our round-the-world trip is essentially an overland trip from the Netherlands to Indonesia. We will start in Amsterdam and travel via Central and Eastern Europe to the South Caucasus and Iran and then via Central Asia to China and Southeast Asia. Our final destination: Bali. We leave in May and we need about one year to get to Indonesia, but nothing is fixed. If we need more time, then it is also fine.
During the trip, we will rely on trains and busses. We will also take a few cargo ships when we need to cross water, for instance when we reach the Black Sea and Caspian sea. Flying is a no-go, unless it is not safe anymore for us to continue overland. We do not want to travel by plane, because we want to see the landscape and its people gradually change while traveling. Moreover, it is better for our world if we all cut back on flying.
Talks with locals make a trip so much more fun.
A vegan & a round-the-world trip: problem?
A question I got asked quite often in the past few weeks: are you also going to eat vegan during your trip? Answer: yes. I truly believe that you can eat vegan everywhere in the world. They have vegetables, bread, rice and potatoes everywhere. Of course, I understand it is going to be a challenge, especially in the countries we are planning to visit (Central Asia, Iran). This is the reason why, and I also because we want to keep our costs low, we will be preparing our own food quite often. And if we do decide to eat out, then the app Happy Cow is a lifesaver. Also, Google Translate helps with finding the words for chicken, egg or milk. And if things still go wrong and I accidentally eat something with egg, then it is also fine. Sometimes it’s just impossible to get everything right.
What do we do with our house and jobs?
Very simple: we quit everything. We want to have total freedom to start a new life anywhere in the world after the trip. This could be in the Netherlands, but it could also be in Asia. It is a round-the-trip with an open end. Anything is possible.
Can we quit everything that easily? Yes, we can. We rent an apartment, so we can end the lease. I have a temporary employment contract that will end this spring. For my boyfriend it is different. He has a permanent contract. But we both think that jobs should not withhold us from chasing our dreams. So my boyfriend quits his job as well. Meanwhile, we have started selling our stuff. We will not rent a storage unit or store furniture with family. We rather give our stuff a second life with new owners. Things are replaceable, memories are for life.
Preparations for our round-the-world trip
We already sold the first items. A lot still has to follow, because our house has to be empty soon. We already had three rounds of vaccinations. For the trip itself, we will not book or arrange much. We will only book a bus ticket for the first stop and a hostel for the first few nights. After that, we will arrange everything on the road. We want to have the freedom to decide to stay somewhere if we like it or change course. However, a couple of stops are fixed: Belarus and Iran. For these countries, we have to apply for a visa in advance. For China, we have to apply for a visa as well, but we’ll do this on the road.
Have you taken a round-the-world trip? Tell me about your itinerary and preparations!