Tag Archives: Travel plans

On the home stretch (almost)

21 Jun

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on a foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”

~ G.K. Chesterton

I have a week and a half left in Honduras. As the old proverb goes, time flies when you’re having fun. And my 132 days here have certainly flown.

I’ve started thinking about what I’ll need to do and what I want to do when I get back home. Things like buying a new car, finding a place to live, and finally sorting through my boxes of belongings stored at dad’s place.

I’ll need to start back at work, start back at the gym, and start paddling again with my beloved Diamond Phoenix dragon boat club.

I’ve been daydreaming about (and drooling over) what foods I’ll eat first (lamb chops, dad’s spare ribs, and pavlova) and which favourite restaurants I’ll visit (Shanghai Dumpling Café, Sammy’s Kitchen, and The Artisan).

As I was mentally compiling ‘to do’ lists in my head I suddenly realised I’m not quite on the home stretch yet. While my time in Honduras is ending I still have seven weeks of travel ahead of me.

Seven weeks! That’s a really long holiday. It’s definitely going to be worth it though. Vic and I have planned what I’m sure will be the trip of a lifetime.

Vic’s flight from Mexico to Ecuador and my flight from Honduras both transit via El Salvador, so we’ll be meeting up in the San Salvador airport. From there the rough outline of our trip is as follows:

Ecuador: Quito, Atacames (where my World Vision sponsor child lives), Otavalo, Mindo, Galapagos Islands, and Cuenca

Peru: Lima, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco, and Machu Picchu

Argentina: Buenos Aires and Iguassu Falls

Brazil: Iguassu Falls, Rio de Janeiro (where I’ll say goodbye to Vic), Blumenau (my host-family’s town), and São Paulo

We haven’t planned everything down to the last detail (unusual for me) but have a holiday mix of pre-organised tours and choose-your-own-adventure days.

I think this will work well; provided my obsessive compulsive side can cope without always having a plan.

I have mixed feelings at the moment—I’m sad to be leaving Honduras but also really, really excited about my upcoming South American adventure.

Visa trip: A destination poll

28 Feb

When I arrived in Honduras I was granted a 90-day tourist visa. AFS participants on the semester volunteer abroad program then have two options:

apply for a special permission of permanence from the Honduran migration office
renew their 90-day tourist visa by travelling to another country for at least three days.

It probably comes as no surprise that the majority of participants are drawn to option number two. Who wouldn’t want to take a short break and explore another country?

The only complicating factor is that, due to a recent change in legislation, travelling to one of the “CA-4” countries doesn’t count. The countries that form the CA-4 group along with Honduras are El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

This means we need to travel further afield to perhaps Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico or any of the Caribbean islands. Which leaves me facing the delightful dilemma of ‘where in the world should I travel to for my visa trip?’ The suggested dates we were given to undertake the trip are from Monday 13 May to Thursday 16 May.

The last two groups of AFS volunteers went to Belize and Costa Rica respectively. Belize doesn’t interest me quite so much as it’s an English-speaking country. I’ve heard great things about Costa Rica although I also imagine that seeing the Panama Canal could be a really interesting experience.

My host mum tells me that the cheapest flights are to Miami, however I’d need to look into how an Aussie in Honduras obtains a US Visa. I’d love to go to Cuba. I think it would be an amazing trip and is definitely on my bucket list. Although the Dominican Republic is meant to be a fun place to visit too…

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

To help me make up my mind I’ve decided to run a poll.

I’d love to see your suggestions and recommendations in the comments.

Needless to say, the results of the poll won’t be binding (although that could have been a fun experiment if I were brave enough) but I am curious to see what everyone thinks.

South America or bust!

7 Nov

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
~ Dr. Seuss

Over the past few weeks Vic and I have been researching trip options with gusto. Vic being the BFF I  mentioned earlier who is joining me for the backpacking segment of my big adventure.

During one of the first (of many) times we have caught up to discuss the trip, she bought the Peru Lonely Planet guide and I bought the one for Ecuador. We then went through and highlighted the places we’d like to go in our respective books before swapping and repeating the process.

(There was some momentary confusion about what our highlighting protocol should be, but we quickly moved past that and got on with the job of planning the trip of a lifetime!)

Vic and I both have similar approaches to travel, in that we would prefer to spend a little bit longer in fewer locations, rather than rush from place to place.

As tempting as it is to keep adding and adding to our itinerary, we have settled on spending nearly two weeks in Ecuador, one week in the Galapagos Islands, a little more than two weeks in Peru, and then, following a tour of the Iguassu Falls, heading to Rio de Janeiro for a couple of days.

It’s there we will say our goodbyes and Vic will continue on to Europe. I will spend the next week visiting my Brazilian host family, and then it will be time for me to head back home to Australia.

I’ll also be spending a week in Mexico on my way to Honduras so that I can catch up with friends in Puebla. All up I’m looking at about eight weeks of independent travel before and after my AFS Volunteer Abroad program.

This is a little more than the two weeks I had originally envisioned, but I’ve never been one to do things by halves. In for a penny, in for a pound. Or in for eleventy-one million pajillion pounds as it may be in this case!

But a trip like this is worth every penny. I am incredibly excited about all the wonderful adventures I’m sure Vic and I will have together.

I think we’ll make great travel companions. We’ve worked and lived together previously and, while some may disagree, I’d say we’re both pretty easy going. If there are any differences of opinion I’m sure we’ll be able to sort them out without resorting to professional mediation.

Em and Vic

Look at those happy faces. They would never get tired and grumpy with each other. Right, Vic?  😉

The ever-expanding itinerary

14 Oct

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”

~ Susan Sontag

At first glance, you may not realise it, but I am currently sitting on a throne, a world of possibilities at my feet.

A veritable plethora of travel plans, destinations, itineraries, locations, and journeys. Every time I think about it, I feel a little giddy thrill of excitement.

I’m in that wonderful phase of having made up my mind to travel, but not yet having made any bookings.

After my 5 months in Honduras, I have about 6­­–8 weeks free before I need to return home to my job in Australia.

I initially started out with the idea of one week in Mexico to catch up with friends and two weeks in Brazil to catch up with my Brazilian host family.

But then, when thinking about how close I’d be to Ecuador, I decided that I really should try to arrange a visit to my World Vision sponsor child’s community.

And then if I’m going to be in Ecuador I can’t miss out on going to the Galapagos Islands, right?

One of my BFFs mentioned that she would like to come travelling with me too, so all of a sudden, not only do I have travel plans, I also have a travel buddy. Awesome!

And when she mentioned she’d love to go to Peru and see Machu Picchu, well, that sounds like a great idea. Add it to the list!

Before this little backpacking trip of mine becomes bigger than Ben Hur, there are a couple of hurdles to cross. I need to make sure I get approval from AFS to travel both before and after my volunteer program, and I need to make sure I can afford all these little extra journeys on which I’d like to embark.

But for now, I’m sitting on my throne, surveying my kingdom of possibilities, and they stretch as far as the eye can see.

This makes me incredibly happy, and yes, maybe a little smug, but let’s blame that on my over-excitement about the trip.   😉