Hitting the Road: Initial Travel Plans

Travel — Episode 1: A quick update and a photo-heavy outline of my current travel plans.

A Quick Update

I think the moment that finally made it feel like my life is a bit different now was when I handed in my apartment keys upon moving out last night. I was left with just four keys: two to each of the locks on my storage container, and the U-HAUL sitting outside. It felt really strange to have the material sum of my life packed into two boxes. Navigating the U-HAUL out of D.C., I also drove past the exits of all the places I lived, lastly going by the East Falls Church exit that I knew well from my first year living in “DC.” It was a kind of strange rewind of the past five years.

But unlike a normal move, I now don’t have a new home that I can seek refuge in. So we’ll see how that plays out, but as you’ll see I’m very excited about my upcoming travel plans:

Upcoming Travel Plans

Just over five years ago, I made my first trip overseas: a six-week trek through Europe after graduation and before starting work. In retrospect, I’ve enjoyed travel more and more since then. Tallying it all up, I’ve spent 20 weeks abroad in the last six years (~7% of my time) visiting 25 countries. I’ve seen a ton of amazing things, been exposed to a lot of different cultures, and met an even larger number of great people.

So my goal is to take the time to really explore different corners of the globe, and give myself a chance to see and do things that don’t fit into those two-week windows that I’d never get around to if I kept to doing a couple vacations each year.

So where is that going to take me? That’s purposely flexible, but here’s the plan right now:

September | US Road Trip

Utah, USA (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Just after Labor Day, I plan to depart from Central PA and make my way across the country, ending in San Francisco in early October. Along the way, I’ll stop in a mix of cities and national parks. For friends and family that fall in between, it would be great to see you along the way! More to come on the route soon.

October | Central America

Antigua, Guatemala (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

I’m really excited about Central America. If what I’ve read is any indication, I’ll need to make a trip back at some point. But for now the plan is to fly out from San Francisco and visit some subset of Guatemala, Panama, and Costa Rica. I’ve done some research on locations to go to here — more info to come in a later installment!

November | Back on the East Coast

Washington D.C., USA (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve got a few reasons to be back on the East Coast for November: a wedding in PA, a marathon, Thanksgiving. As I’ll be living in Pennsylvania at the time, I’ll also be able to vote in a contested state! I’ll probably make a few other trips around the East Coast as well to see folks. It’s a blessing and a curse to have friends to see in D.C., Baltimore, Philly, New York, and Boston, but we’ll see what I can fit in before…

December | India and Southeast Asia

Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

To really kick things off, I’ll be in India for a wedding at the start of December. From there, I’ll head off to… somewhere in Asia. I’ve heard great things about a lot of places. So this will be some subset of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and China. This is where plans get a bit fuzzy (and advice is very welcome).

January | Southeast Asia and Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Australia (courtesy of Richard Ling via Wikimedia Commons)

After continuing on the above, I’ll get over to Australia. I haven’t been there yet — and actually haven’t done much research on what to explore. But if nothing else, I’m looking forward to exploring the great beaches and avoiding all the dangerous animals!

February | Australia and New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand (Photo credit: myself)
Queenstown, New Zealand (Photo credit: Ben Mumma)

While I don’t want to make a habit of revisiting past travel spots, New Zealand is an exception. It’s phenomenal, and I’d love to explore the North Island this time, as most of my previous two weeks were in the South. Even then — I’ll likely make a trek to the South Island to do a long hike in Fiordland National Park and explore Stewart Island and the deep south.

March — May | South America

The Amazon, Brazil (courtesy of Neil Palmer via Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve been to Peru, but that leaves a lot of South America to discover! Top of the (long) list are: the Amazon, Colombia (all of it), the Bolivian Salt Flats, Torres del Paine, the Galapagos, the Andes, and Buenos Aires. This part of the trip will flesh itself out over time, so I’ll get to a more clear plan as this gets closer.

June and Beyond | Who Knows?

That’s as far as my plan goes for now! It is as much of a plan as a plan of variable length and variable locations can go, anyway. If you have any recommendations or ideas — please let me know (post below to help other travelers out as well)! With each stop, I will be posting some updates here as I go.

Also, nine months is a while to travel by one’s self. Obviously I will meet plenty of people along the way. But if anyone is looking to make a trip and wants to meet up at some point, just shoot me a note: ben@mumma.co.

After nine months, I’m not sure what I’ll do next — I have no idea how I’ll feel about travel at that point. Or where my entrepreneurial efforts will be. Intuitively, I feel like I’ll be ready to have a home again, but we’ll just have to wait and see!

Originally published at A Moment with Mumma.

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