No, for me, the most difficult part has been deciding where to go. I want to go everywhere. Literally. I don't think you could name a place in the world that I would not visit. No, I do not want to go to Iraq NOW, but I would in the future if things become safe.
Priorities and Compromises: I am not alone on this trip, so that can be both helpful and add to the difficulty of making decisions. We are two different people with different ideas and, at times, different priorities. Nonetheless, after we both wrote up our "top ten" lists (that quite interestingly turned into "top 14" lists for each of us) we were able to match many of our priorities and come to compromises on some destinations. Also, having another person to plan with helps because sometimes one or the other of us will get stuck and we can work together with unique perspectives to evaluate things and come to decisions.
Our "top 14" lists are the reasons why, despite the cost, we are starting our adventure in the Galapagos. It is not your typical RTW destination due to costs and could easily be a two to three week trip all by itself. However, it was the number one destination on my list, and in the top three of my husband's list. Why should we put off till tomorrow what we can do now when it is clearly a priority for both of us?
Connections and Cuts: From there, since we will be in Ecuador, we decided to also go to Peru. Another place on each of our "top 14"s is Machu Picchu, so it would be silly to be in the bordering country and not go! (Of course, this logic is what can easily derail me because Bolivia is also so close... And if we're in South America we might as well go to Brazil and Argentina since I HAVE to see Iguazu Falls!) So you see, the list of "must sees" can quickly snowball. We could easily spend our entire four months in South America. Easily. But, that wouldn't satisfy my husband because he is not as interested in this region as some others, and it wouldn't satisfy me because I want to visit at least two continents on my RTW adventure, regardless of the length of time we have.
Which leads us to Europe. Croatia is extremely high on my list (Probably second after Galapagos). A couple Balkan countries are intriguing to my husband. So, we knew that Eastern Europe would be a destination for us and we could easily travel around these countries relatively affordably, and without a plan devised months before. Of course, if we are going to Croatia, we need to go to Italy because, despite it being more expensive, it's somewhere we both had on our "top 14" lists and it's a bigger hub to fly to. Again, the snowball effect!
Info Gathering and "Why Not"s? Speaking of flights, I recently began working with airtreks.com on our flight plans. I discovered that to fly from Lima, Peru to Rome, Italy requires a stopover in Madrid, Spain. I've always been very intrigued by Spain! If we have to fly through there and we can stay for some time for no additional fee - no brainer! I am extremely interested in Gaudi architecture - which is in Barcelona - not so far from Madrid. Did you know that you can take a ferry from Barcelona to Morocco?! How cool is that?! We can see the Sahara, experience the colorful country of Morocco AND on top of it all - we'll be in Africa! A whole new continent!
What's not to love?
So, as you can see, if you're like us, it's extremely easy to get overwhelmed with destinations and choices because it's very easy to say "why not?"
The only real answers to that question for us: time and money.
In my next post I'll share my tips for coming up with a tentative itinerary.