How do you even begin to plan a yearlong journey? It was easy to build a list of dream destinations—Yangshuo, Moscow, the Lofoten Islands, Rome, Hanoi, Santorini—but deciding the order in which to visit them was a little trickier.
We googled things like, “When is the best time to visit Northern Vietnam?” and “When is the best time to trek in Nepal?” and “Is it still warm in Greece in October?”
Slowly, things began to fall into place, and we drew a penciled line across the map, beginning in Iceland. My wife and I packed our bags accordingly: warm weather clothes, breathable hiking shoes, flip flops, sun hats, sunscreen, a couple pairs of trousers, and synthetic down jackets. We set a departure date for August. Everything seemed set, until a visa issue changed everything.
We realized that, unlike every other country we planned on visiting during the year, China and Russia both required that we apply for visas while still in our home country. Not only that, but we also had to use the visas within 90 days of receiving them. This meant we would have to visit these countries at the beginning of our trip, which would force us to completely rearrange our travel itinerary. Despite these requirements, China and Russia were a must-see on our list. We didn’t think we could call it a “world trip” without visiting two of the largest countries in the world!
So we were forced back to the drawing board, and once again we began mapping out countries according to seasons. Suddenly, our entire itinerary was reversed. Now, instead of flying across the Atlantic Ocean to Iceland, our first stop would be Japan. Our departure date was moved up to May, which meant we had to pay an early cancellation fee on our apartment contract and that we couldn’t save as much money for our arrival home. But we were eager to get on the road, so this early departure date turned out to be a blessing.
Before we knew it, Britnee and I were sweating while exploring Japan in June, gearing up for China and Russia next. It stayed hot for a while after that, sometimes unbearably so.
But finally, when we were on the Lofoten Islands in Norway, Britnee and I wore the trousers and jackets that had been buried deep in our backpacks for months. It was the first time during our entire trip that the weather had been anything but hot.
After Norway, we began our migration south for the winter, hopping from country to country through Europe until we landed where we are now, on the Greek island of Santorini where the weather is warm once again. It’s October, but we’re spending our days lounging on the beach and layering on sunscreen, drinks in hand.
Just like we planned it.
For more information on how we picked our hostels and flights, visit our planning page.