Around The World In 180 Days

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The first time the idea was brought up, it was still early summer. Vaguely inspired by a combination of frustration in stalled plans (moving to London) and our friends (Chris and Steph’s one-year round-the-world trip), we began contemplating whether this was even a possibility for us. We discussed it at length, deliberating whether this was a responsible thing to do, whether the timing was right, whether we could afford to take such a big leap. And then, and neither of us knows why or what happened (work? summer holidays? life in general?), it stopped coming up in conversation and we promptly forgot about it altogether.

About a month and a half ago, we went to Manchester to visit Marc’s family. Over some roast beef (Marc) and a giant bacon chop (obviously, me) at Mr Sam’s Chop House, the idea of a round the world trip —or RTW for the hip and initiated— was reintroduced, the seeds replanted, the plan rehatched. And this time, aided by a recent shift in circumstances and perfect timing, what started as a flight of fancy transformed itself into a real, feasible project that would serve as a rather luxurious transition in our move from Paris to London. Not to mention as the scratching of the metaphorical itch before we settled down to more serious ventures involving jobs and mortgages.

And so, after much consultation with friends, family and each other, we made the decision. Notices given, furniture sold, friends informed, tickets bought…we are now officially flying away on 8 February 2010!

It’s both terrifying and exciting at the same time, and although we are both fully committed to the plan, there are still moments of debilitating fear and uncertainty. For me, there are multiple fears, ranging from the mundane (what if I can’t make it to Macchu Pichu because I’m too out of shape?), the realistic (what if we get all our luggage stolen and we have to wear the same underwear for a week?) to irrational (What if this causes eternal bankruptcy and nobody wants to hire me in London because travelling the world for 6 months is completely irresponsible?). When The Fear comes I sometimes break out in a cold sweat, and if it comes in the middle of the night it invariably gives me insomnia. Lately it comes less.

Our itinerary, which we have picked apart, scratched and fiddled with a million times, now resembles this:

London
Madrid
Rio de Janeiro — for Carnaval
Ilha Grande
São Paulo
Lima
Cuzco, Macchu Pichu
Lake Titicaca
Parque Nacional Madidi (rainforest!)
Uyuni
Atacama
Sucre?
Potosi?
La Paz
Santiago
Punta Arenas
Puerto Natales
El Calafate
Buenos Aires (Felix and Agustina wedding!)
Iguazu
Northern Argentina
Buenos Aires
Sydney
Cairns, Great Barrier Reef
Hong Kong
Hanoi
all the way down to Ho Chin Minh
into Cambodia
then into Laos
followed by Thailand
Bangkok
Singapore
A week on a beach somewhere, preferably in a luxury hotel
London
THE END

We would appreciate any tips you could give us regarding any of our destinations, or backpacking tips in general. Or any comments you may have regarding our genius/totally stupid plan.

This blog will be where we document our (mis)adventures. Stay tuned for more updates.

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5 Responses to “Around The World In 180 Days”

  1. jane Says:

    Good luck – sounds like a great thing to do – don’t worry about jobs. Do it while you can and enjoy it! My tip is to make sure you have a good bag with lots of pockets so you can keep your stuff organised…..and to have fun! so exciting……

  2. Tatiana Perez Says:

    I think it is a great idea!!! So inspired by your decision, it is the best way to spend your money.
    If you are going to Australia, you should really go to the Whitsunday Islands, Cairns is nice but just for a couple of days.
    Te deseo todo lo mejor guapa!
    Un abrazo
    t.

  3. miriam Says:

    i think there are way too many “warm” “beautiful” “tropical” “sunny” “idyllic” places on this itinerary and you should stop by moscow for some balance.

  4. Priya Says:

    Hey great plan! It’s a pity that Malaysia is not part of your plan but it is a stone throw away from Singapore or Bangkok and you can have your luxury hotel at one of the best beaches for peanuts. Otherwise accomodation is made for back packers anyway.

    Places to consider:
    1) Closest from Thailand: Redang/ Perhentian (this is better and diving is often a steal deal and visibility should be about 15-25m up to August), Langkawi (more relaxed and few more luxury hotels), it’s got great seafood and is tax free – so alcohol is cheap.

    2) Closest from Singapore: Tioman (there used to be a package to stay in a resort with Berjaya Airways directly from Singapore)

    Flights: Air Asia (is actually having a sale now), Firelfy, Tiger Airways but once you are there, rent a small C70 Honda bike to get around – we called it the ‘kapcai’.

    Hong Kong: Dont forget to stop by the Red Bar (in the evening) at the International Financial Centre (you can check in your back no matter how early in the city to final destination, hence dont need to lug things around and there is a baggage deposit area for hand carry which is super safe) for your panoramic shot. You can cross over to Macau (portuguese colony), from Hong Kong. HK govt has a decent tourist website:http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/index.html

    Bangkok: The red light district, Patpong and Soi Cowboy is a must see at least to see the freak shows of what a Thai woman’s genital can do. Bed Supperclub is a must visit, but I guess you need reservation. Floating market is fun and Chatuchak Market is a must visit, you can get art stuff to raw meat in this place. If you are adventurous, do try the grilled beef with coriander dipped in chili sauce from one of the hawkers- awesome! For a spectacular view (forget about the polution for the moment), go to Sirocco’s Sky Bar at the Dome.

    Singapore is more of partying, if you need any tips let me know. My friends have not yet retired from the scene. Otherwise, China Town, Little India, Geylang ( is more of the Malay), Beach Road has some refurbished old Peranakan buldings. Cjimes, the fullerton hotel, the raffles hotel are the architecturial remains form the british colony, you’ll need to see the classic merlion at the esplanade, and some ww2 sites which includes Fort Siloso in Sentosa Island. Do not aim to swim in Sentosa Island, if someone lights a cigarette, very likely you’ll get burned, well Ia m exagerating but you will smell like petrol. Food is available everywehere – Newton Circus and Lau Pa Sat are open till late night – hawkers. Seafood Village in the east coast (the water can be better in this part as well, yo can even go with your beach towel, no one would bother you), is awesome for crab indulgence. Most of the rest are international. Orchard road is a strecth for shopping. Attica2 is where everyone goes for after party!

    Sydney: Dont miss blue montains and the steep steps! Bondi can be overrated but good to see, Manly is better. Darling Harbour of course but reto costs a bomb normally. Paddington is cool as well. Kings Cross is the red light district and don’t be shocked if someone asks you how much do you cost when you are walking on the street, as bold as they can get. Sydney is quite artsy so, you can find some cool cocktail bars, sometimes hidden with an art twist to it. And all the aboriginal stuff (places, museusms etc) are amazing. Be careful at the bars, you have to watch what you give as they sometimes assume that you are wasted and keep the change. Or they give you the equivalent of your claim in beers instead of money, no matte how much you fight for it. Had experienced it a few times in Australia but it is fine in general.

    Anyway, Enjoy your trip.

  5. cynthia cutler Says:

    Wow Marc and Manna. What an Itinery. I have been to Ho Chin Min City. I have seen the floating market and a trip on the river in Bankok. Looking forward to seeing you both,

    lots of love Mum

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