It took a long time to get the guts to go traveling (almost a decade), but once the decision was made, I drafted a rough route and with the help of a couple of friends managed to organise a fairly solid plan. I stuck to my plan reasonably well at the start but I purposely left it open ended to allow for improvisation…
Be sure to check out the route map as well.
My route in detail
I’ve broken it into “stages” – these reflect the flights I had booked when I left the UK rather than any sort of ordering.
Stage 1, May to August
- Arrived in Cusco for two weeks and hiked the Inca Trail and visited Sacsayhuamán
- Moved on to Puno and took a boat to Bolivia
- Spent a few days on Isla Del Sol
- Stayed a few days in La Paz mountain biking before moving on Uyini for the Southern Circuit
- Stayed in Tupiza taking in a horse trek
- Moved to Sucre hiking to dinosaur footprints, a random market in Tarabuco and learning Spanish
- Back to La Paz and onto Rurrenabaque, visiting Tiwanaku for Winter Solstice
- Took a flight into Lima and saw the Water park
- Travelled north via Huaraz mountain biking and continued through Northern Peru to Ecuador
- Arrived in Guayaquil and onto the Galapagos for 12 days having a terrible and brilliant time.
- Moved on to Cuenca seeing local life and then Baños taking in hot baths and hikes.
- Latacunga for Quiltoa Volcano and then Mindo to end my time in South America.
Stage 2, August to late September
- Flew from Quito to Panama City (via Bogota) and had to deal with lost luggage. In Panama City visited the various districts and the lock gates
- Took the buses to Bocas Del Toro staying overnight in The Purple House, David enroute.
- Travelled through Costa Rica staying in San Jose for a night to San Juan Del Sur in Nicaragua
- Took local chicken buses and ferries to Isla De Omtepe and stayed in Little Morgans. Hiked a volcano and saw the “natural” swimming pool.
- Took local transport to Granada and visted a local artisan market in Masaya
- Continued to Leon and tried my hand at Volcano boarding.
- Stayed in Estelli for a night and went canyoning in Somoto
- Travelled through Honduras to Utila and learned how to Scuba Dive
- Moved on to Rio Dulce in Guatemala and then to Copan in Honduras
- Moved to Antigua and then out to Lago Atilan to hike Volcán San Pedro at 3am and paddled a kayak across the lake.
- Back to Antigua, hiked Pacaya Volcano
- Went caving and swimming in Lanquin and Summuc Champey
- Moved on to Flores and Tikal
- Travelled out to Caye Caulker, celebrated Belize Independence day and dived the Blue Hole.
- Moved on to Cancun and ended my time in Central America by partying in Coco Bongo’s with many of the people I’d met on my travels.
- Travel overland to Mexico City
Stage 3, Late September, Early November
- Flew from Mexico to Los Angeles staying with friends I’d met Scuba Diving. Visited UCLA, Venice Beach, Hollywood, a Frat Apartment party
- Travelled North up Highway 1 stopping at Julia Phiefer Burns, Big Sur and Point Lobos to San Francisco.
- Stayed for 5 days taking in great music at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, walked many of the districts seeing Castro Street Fair, Fisherman’s Warf, Mission District, Downtown. Had cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory in Macy’s.
- Drove out to Yosemite via the Golden Gate Bridge and Muir Woods
- Got wet hiking to the waterfalls and then snowed on in the sequoia’s.
- Drove back down to Los Angeles and went to a Frat Foam party, Six Flags and Santa Monica.
- Drove out to Las Vegas, had problems with the hire car had to return to Los Angeles and back. Won $14 playing Blackjack, went clubbing and saw Real Steel in a drive in movie.
- Headed East via Hoover Dam and Route 66 to Flagstaff seeing Sunset Crater and Wutapaxi ruins.
- Drove through and hiked part of the Grand Canyon to Kanab.
- Hiked the Angel Landing trail in Zion National Park and stayed in Saint George.
- Drove via Zion National Park and Highway’s 12 & 24 to Moab.
- Rented a mountain bike and rode the Moab Branded Trails and Slick Rock. Hiked in Canyon Lands and Arches National Park.
- Drove to Page via National Bridges Park and Monument Valley.
- Hiked Wirepass and Bucks Canyon
- Drove back down to Flagstaff and on to Sedona.
- Celebrated Halloween in Phoenix.
- Visited San Diego, went on a pub crawl and visited the Zoo.
Stage 4, November and beyond
- Flew from Los Angels to Singapore. Stayed in Singapore for two weeks visiting Sentosa, Asian and National Museums, Little India and Chinatown. Ate in many different hawker centres and tried food of pretty much every nationality.
- Popped into Phuket for Nick and Lynnes wedding
- Travelled into Malaysia visiting Batu Pahat, Melaka and Kuala Lumpur
- Moved back to Singapore for 2 more weeks for a job interview
- Hanoi in Vietnam for Christmas and Halong Bay
- Moved on to Ninh Binh and Tam Coc
- Visited Phong Nha National Park and celebrated New Years
- Stayed a night in Hue
- Enjoyed Cakes and coffee in Hoi An
- Partied it up in Nha Trang Booze cruise and the mud baths
- Tried to relax in Mui Ne
- Walked around Ho Chi Minh City and visited the Cu Chi Tunnels.
- Visited the Vietnamese tourist town of Vung Tau.
- Left for Cambodia arriving in Phnom Penh for an evening before hitting Sihanoukville
- Stayed a few days in Phnom Penh visiting S21 and the Killing Fields
- Took the minibus to Siem Reap and chilled for a few days visiting Angkor
- Popped to Battambang for the bamboo train and circus
- Took the bus back to Siem Reap and the onwards to Bangkok for a night.
- Flew from Bangkok to Phuket and then island hopped through Kho Phi Phi and Koh Lipe
- Flew from Hat Yai to Singapore for my medical
“Finale” – Australia
On the 29th February I flew from Singapore to Melbourne and started the search for work.