So I was talking to a travel agent – actually, I was going to talk to a travel agent – when I realized that, in order to do so, I would have to chose dates. As in real, final, actual dates relating to when I intended to travel. (With a three day window to either side, of course.) So I did. (And I talked to the travel agent and she’s going to get back to me and I should probably talk to a second one to get a comparison and – long story short – no I do not actually have tickets yet. But I will soon.)
I decided to keep going and ended up with a rough (vague! evasive! incomplete!) plan. The sort of thing that one could email to potential travel-buddies on Thorntree or, as the case may have been, to one’s grandmother. (I’m reaching all directions for frequent flier miles and local contacts; seriously, please let me know if you have either.) And then I looked at it and panicked because I realized that I had an itinerary. (I think it would be best if I continue to refer to it simply as the “plan” – avoid unnecessary distress.)
Leave LA for Nepal right after New Years, fly into Nepal and spend three weeks working with the Umbrella Foundation in Kathmandu. (They run orphanages and are associated with the Next Generation Nepal which helps get kids who had been trafficked reunited with their families.)
Then fly to Bangkok, spend a couple of nights in Khao San for kicks and supplies and head up to Chiang Mai to see the Flower Festival the first weekend in February. I’d like to take a week (or so) worth of language lessons in Chiang Mai and then spend a couple of weeks taking lessons (cooking, painting, yoga) in the countryside in northern Thailand (at these two commune-like placces: You Sabai and the Panya Project). I might volunteer at some sort of refugee center for the people flooding across the Myanmar border, but I’m not going to try and set that up ahead of time.
I’ll spend a few months wandering around Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos, climbing ruins, riding elephants, inner-tubing down rivers, drinking too much, and otherwise living it up. I’ve been assembling a list of cities and places I absolutely have to get to, but otherwise I’d like to wing it as I go and wander around. I’m going to apply/register with SERVAS to do at least a few home-stays.
I’ll end up in Cambodia by late April and spend a week volunteering in Phnom Penh with street kids (still looking for an NGO since the one I was going to go with just closed due to lack of funds…) and then a month volunteer teaching in Kampot, a mid-sized village. Then back to Bangkok to meet Kristin the last week of May and we’ll see the ruins and beaches in Southern Thailand and I’ll take some scuba diving lessons.
I’ll take a train from Thailand, through Singapore, and into Malaysia. I’ve got a month to see Malaysia and Indonesia (need to plan this bit out more since I want to go to as many of the Natural Parks as I can, probably camping with a guide, to see orangs).
Fly out of Jakarta (Indonesia) to Sri Lanka and come home a week later. I’d be home by mid-July.