What is this?

I’m calling it the “EpicTrip.” It’s aptly named because this is my first international travel experience: taking two months to visit four countries. Doing things halfway isn’t in my nature!

Where am I going?

This may seem obvious, but if you’re going to take a middle-aged woman from the southeastern United States on her first international excursion, the first stop should definitely be Europe Oceania and Southeast Asia! Wait… what?

Why the drastic change?

To be honest, I’m still traveling to places where English is the predominant language, but I’m hoping for a few eye-opening differences, culturally. I can buy postcards of scenic or iconic places, so I don’t really need to go full-on-tourist (unless it’s an experience that one simply must have). As such, I’m avoiding a lot of attractions. What I’d like to do is understand what it’s like to live in each of these places (if only for a short time) and see the kinds of things we only read about in the States but may not have a realistic feel for — for instance, what poverty is like in other parts of the world, how much food or shelter costs, what transportation is like, how we treat our animals or each other, on what we place high- or low-values, what child rearing looks like, and the general state of safety or well-being for individuals (especially women traveling alone). I also figure that the best way to do this is to stay out of hotels, opting instead to beg the kindness of friends and acquaintances around the globe. So far, so good!

The big questions:

  1. You live and work in the States… how did you get two month’s worth of vacation time? Did you quit your job? I didn’t do either. This is a working holiday. Most of what I do can be done remotely, so I’m lugging two laptops across the world in order to make this trip possible. This means that I’m not necessarily tackling an adventure every day, but fortunately, I also won’t be two month’s behind when I get back to the office and I didn’t have to quit my job to do this! Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?
  2. How much money did you need to save for a trip like this? Probably not enough, but the airfare ended up being cheaper than I expected (thanks bootsnall.com!) and I’m saving a LOT of money by not staying in hotels. I’ll provide a cost breakdown once I finish the trip and share what I actually ended up spending.
  3. As a woman, are you nervous about traveling alone? Nope. That’s another great side-effect of having contacts and places to stay in each country: I’m not entirely alone. I have people who are expecting my arrival and who might notice if I disappear. There’s definitely some comfort in that. And remember, one of the things I’m interested in learning is how it feels to be a solo-female traveling in different cultures, so a little discomfort (should I run into any) is part of the deal.

Epic Trip basics (and blog entries):

Auckland, New Zealand, May 22 – June 3
Sydney, Australia, June 3 – 13
Manila, Philippines, June 14 – 24
Bangkok, Thailand, June 24 – July 15