May 30, 2008

Where I Think About Traveling in 2008, 2009
Miami Beach, United States

I think about travel a lot… When I'm traveling, I think about traveling. When I'm stationary, I think about traveling. I think about the cost and hassle of visas, flights, ground transport, accommodations, food, Internet, and weather. I think about how much money I've got left, and where it can take me. I think about the company I keep, and where I can get acclimated to traveling full-time with an infant.

I think about these things, and start brainstorming. If and when I plan a travel route, it's generally to give me an exit strategy or direction out of a country or continent. Answers produced from research turn into more questions, or spark an idea—a destination—once hidden in the vague nothingness of politically colored maps.

One country desired leads to another, which leads to another… and before you know it, you're lusting for a path that sounds marvelous on paper, but can be quite the opposite in practice.

Perhaps that's exactly what I've done here—only time and travel will tell.

Depending on our travel speed, impressions, and financial situation, the path laid out here could easily stretch on until the onset of 2010. Teaching English in South Korea is part of our financial endgame, as we'll both be running on fumes by the time we return to SE Asia, if not before. There's a big part of me that truly enjoys not knowing where we'll be or where our sustainable income will come from in the years to come.

The cost of travel in eastern Europe—well, Europe in general—scares the crap out of me. I spot-check the prices of a hotel bed or private room in various cities and cringe. The shared 90-day travel limit within the Schengen zone feels like I'm already getting pushed out of the region with a boot on my ass.

I hate to travel quickly though so many places, but I also don't know how long we can realistically afford to move about in some of these regions until we get there. My guess is a shared (split) average of a $50/day budget is encroaching on unrealistic. Bearing all that in mind, cold weather can likewise motivate us to move out of a region just as fast as €40/night/person room prices.

Some Arab Middle Eastern countries hate Israel enough to deny you entry if you've been there

…And yes, I'm aware with the problem of having an Israeli stamp in my passport (or even an entry/exit stamp from another country that might indicate entry) will present when trying to enter other countries in the Middle East, should I ever want to do such things without replacing my current passport.

The good news is that Aidric doesn't have to pay full fare for flights until the beginning of 2010 (it'll be very costly for us to purchase a third ticket for intercontinental flights), and we can always hit the abort button at anytime and push on to the next leg of the journey east.

We've decided to slightly augment our original thoughts on departure date from Miami. Trust me when I say few things would please me more than getting out of the U.S. as soon as possible, but we've deiced to make some compromises to save ourselves some grief later.

We're thinking specifically about the final round of big immunizations for Aidric, when he hits the six-month mark in mid-July. We know exactly where to go here in Miami for his shots, they're free, and we don't have to think about him receiving an incompatible dosing or hunting down a clinic in the middle of Poland or the Czech Republic.

I've got a bunch of family coming into town from the June 15-25, Tatiana says she'd love to see a Fourth of July fireworks show, and Aidric needs to get his vaccinations on the 14th of July—so, what's another week or two in town? Who knows the next chance we'll get some quality beach time.

Comments:

The United States

TravelAddict

June 1st, 2008

I have been to quite a few of those countries and I can say that the most expensive will be Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. The others are much better.

I would also go to Ukraine but skip Kiev (Pricey–think London). I found Lviv to be very cheap and heard the same about Odessa. I call Lviv the new (undiscovered) Prague. Any Russian you can learn will be INFINITELY helpful, though.

Moldova is relatively untraveled and somewhat bland but a good place to stop, rest, regroup. Its quite cheap. The central market in Chisnau (Kish-new) is your friend for food.

Romania, particularly Brasov, is nice. I spent some time there. Bucharest is boring and big for the most part. Only good for the palace of parliment and a few buildings (in other words, 1 day). Also good for flying out of if need be.

I got all my pics on my site too if you haven't had a chance to glance over them.

Argentina

Jeff

June 1st, 2008

Sounds like a very interesting plan. Traveling with a very young child in tow should give you plenty of blogging material. Many of us are curious what that's like. Good luck!

The United States

Jack Goes Foth

June 2nd, 2008

You're inspirational. With all of the excess baggage and encroaching monatary issues you still manage to push on and live the dream. Congrats and the best of luck.

South Africa

david

June 2nd, 2008

Yip - i agree with the inspirational bit. To quit or not to quit my meaningless officejob… That's not even the question any more…

The United States

TTC

June 4th, 2008

Iran is NOT Arab

The United States

Erik

June 5th, 2008

No. But how about Muslim? That will certainly cover Iran.

The United States

TTC

June 6th, 2008

There is a immeasurable difference between Persian & Arabs. Muslims have more in common with Christians, Jews, & Catholics than Persians have in common with Arabs

Canada

Jen/YVR

June 6th, 2008

Sidepoint - once Aidric passes from 'infant' to 'child' in the airlines' eyes (turns 3), on most major carriers he still won't have to pay full price - it's usually 75% of the adult fare until he's 11/12. Still not as affordable as the infant fares (anywhere from free to 10% as a general rule), but still not quite full chotch.

Have fun! Can't wait for new posts from somewhere other than Miami…

The United States

Craig | travelvice.com

June 7th, 2008

Huh — seems like ages 2-12 are considered "child prices"… still a lot of $ on an intercontinental flight :(
RE: Miami… tell me about it… (sigh)

The United States

Chris

March 3rd, 2009

Nothing against the S Koreans, a very nice, if not hard to get to know people, but save your time and significant amounts of money and skip S Korea. The breakdown: Seoul and its suburbs - A sprawling megapolis of faceless buildings. The only interesting temple in the city burnt to ashes 1-2 years ago. The rural areas: 3rd world towns and villages. Uninteresting landscape, unless some foothills are interesting to you. What you will be missing, if you feel the need, go, if not, skip: Karaoke rooms, excessive red pepper in 85% of the food choices, a drinking culture, great korean barbecue restaurants, cheap but rustic 'spa' facilities (less of an experience than you expect), freezing winters, hot summers, very difficult language, a currency about even with the dollar…Again, people are extremely friendly and gracious once you know them, but hard to break the ice, especially as a traveller..go read about andys' korea experience..he didnt last long either..If intent on experiencing North Asia, spend a little more money and hit Japan, especially outside of Tokyo..cool cultural experience, spas, great temples, pop culture etc.. although none of N Asia is a 'blow your mind' experience in my opinion..

Note: Comments are open to everyone. To reduce spam and reward regular contributors, only submissions from first-time commenters and/or those containing hyperlinks are moderated, and will appear after approval. Hateful or off-topic remarks are subject to pruning. Your e-mail address will never be publicly disclosed or abused.