Trip Start Feb 18, 2004
80Trip End Dec 05, 2005
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Here are some quick links by continent:
Australia & NZ
This is me (flying a plane in Luzern)
Who am I? - My name is Tom. I'm from Portland, OR (USA).
What made you do a rtw trip? - I have the travel "bug". I was saving to buy a house and had to make a decision - house or travel? I chose travel. There were all kinds of places I wanted to see so figured I'd just hit as many of them as I could, hence the round-the-world trip.
How much did this trip cost you? - A LOT! (see here)
How did you save enough money? - 7 years of working and saving. Sorry, no get rich quick scheme for you.
What was your favorite place? - I hate this question. I went to over 50 countries and many, many places in each of those countries, and you want me to pick 1 favorite!?! You'll have to settle for a list of some of my favoriteS broken down by category in this entry.
What's next? - Going back to Eastern Europe in 2006
I started this trip off in the familiar, but excessively expensive, United Kingdom. Travelled around there and Scotland before a few weeks in Ireland.
You may notice a difference in picture quality after Ireland since I broke my camera there. I was stuck with disposables for a couple weeks after that then got a cheap-o digital in Portugal when it became apparent that my original camera wasn't going to be fixed anytime soon.
On to sunnier and warmer places - Spain! I flew to the southern coast, spent some time there and on to Portugal. Saw more of Spain, cruised over to Italy then north into Switzerland and Liechenstein.
"ich sprechen kein deutsche!" Through southern Germany with a brief foray into Austria and Eastern Europe. Met up with Teeter in the Czech Republic then I ventured north back into Germany and Scandinavia. While traveling Scandinavia I was ranking the countries for beautiful women and found that it wasn't any of those countries that actually won, but Estonia.
viajo a espana! Back to Spain for La Tomatina - the tomato fight festival. Also visited the cool town of San Sebastian before going to France. Continued north to Belgium, Holland, Germany and Luxembourg. That completed my 8 or 9 months in Europe. I had meant to see Greece and Eastern Europe as well, but ran out of time (before winter).
I did a couple week tour around Egypt visiting the pyramids, Aswan, Luxor and the Red Sea. Met some nice people on that trip. I gave myself some extra time beforehand in Cairo and afterwards in Alexandria.
Next stop - Cape Town, South Africa. I rode the hop-on/hop-off bus up the coast stopping at various place along the way before flying to Nairobi to join up with an overland tour. I went on a month long tour through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa stopping at some of the best game parks along the way. Saw some incredible wildlife, the locals were the friendliest and most the others on the tour would great too. Finished in South Africa and had another trip up the coast before visiting a couple friends in Pretoria.
A long plane ride took me to Sydney, Australia, where I met up with my friend, Josh. Saw other friends there as well and met the friends of friends. Did a roadtrip along the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide. Also visited Perth on the west coast.
Spent a month traveling the north and south islands of New Zealand and it's beautiful landscape. I did the hop-on / hop-off bus thing there too.
Back to Australia to chill-out for a month. Visited Byron Bay for a few days and also had a weekend down at Jervis Bay.
I had heard lots of stories of how overwhelming India can be for a newcomer so was preparing myself for the worst. It wasn't so bad and I think starting in Mumbai (relatively western) helped. I traversed across Rajahstan taking in some cool cities before heading to the tourist mecca of Agra and the Taj Mahal. I finished in Varanasi and flew out via Mumbai.
My friend, Matt, gave me a swanky place to stay in Bangkok where I recovered from India (I got food poisoning the night before I left). On the way to Cambodia I met a trio of Brits and ended up traveling with them through Cambodia and Vietnam. I loved the fresh fruit shakes there! Back to Bangkok for eye surgery (I was punched in the eye in Jo'burg and didn't realize until SE Asia the extent of damage). I did a couple getaway trips from Bangkok to Laos and the Thai islands. I had to keep returning to Bangkok for follow-up eye appointments so that made it so I couldn't getaway for too long. In total I ended up in Bangkok nearly a month. I was so sick of that city by then. Finally got out of there and headed south to Malaysia and Singapore.
A flight from Singapore took me to Hong Kong where I stayed a few days before heading up into mainland China. Yangshuo was a cool town with some beautiful landscape. Also visited Zhangjiajie, the Three Gorges area, Xi'an, Pingyao and Beijing. Pingyao has the look of classic old China. Beijing is a cool city too (big!).
To get to South America from China I had to pass through North America, so figured I'd make a visit home. First stopped in L.A. and visited Tony then we went south of the border to visit Marcela. Surprised friends back in Portland with a visit and also saw the family there and in Seattle.
Spent a couple weeks in Costa Rica, but unfortunately it was the rainy season so it wasn't at its best. Too many Americans have setup shop there as well driving prices up.
On to South America! I arrived in Lima and travelled through Peru a bit before going to Machu Picchu. That was cool. I liked Cuzco a lot as well. Just had a few days in Bolivia before flying south to Santiago. I also visited Easter Island, another interesting spot. Patagonia wasn't originally part of the plan (due to time constraints), but I figured as long as I was there, I'd try to see it. I really enjoyed Argentina - excellent food & wine, lovely ladies and good nightlife. Jacci met up with me in Buenos Aires and we spent some time there, visited Uruguay and up to Iguazu Falls. I also checked out the falls on the Brasil side then ventured on to a few stops before finishing in Rio. Rio is a great city with nice beaches and good nightlife. It would be better if it was safer though.
My round-the-world ticket took me back to London so I visited friends there, Southampton, Manchester and Edinburgh. I liked the Christmas markets setup in each of the cities.
Final stop was home. Transitioning from traveling back to the working world would prove a challenge.
This entry has some travel-related links I found useful.