Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My RTW Itinerary... and a Game-Changing Video

I'm finding that whenever I write about struggling with a particular decision, it frees my mind and helps me realize what I really want to do.

The day after I wrote about my itinerary indecision, I was doing something mundane — putting away dishes, maybe, or blow-drying my hair — when I thought, "I want to start my trip with a month in New Zealand. Yup, I'll do that."


I look forward to visiting Thailand a few months into my trip, but I couldn't get super-excited about starting there.

I've wanted to explore New Zealand for quite a while — I'm a huge, nerdy fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, which were filmed there — and I want to make sure I have plenty of time and money to enjoy it properly. Plus, February is one of the country's warmest months!

Here's my new rough itinerary (very rough from July on), which is completely subject to change at any time:

  • New Zealand

  • Australia

  • Thailand (and particularly Chiang Mai for Songkran)

  • Laos
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Possibly back to Thailand


  • I had planned on South America... but Iceland has changed everything

I wrote a bit about my post-World Domination Summit plans and then immediately deleted it all when I saw this video of Iceland — particularly the :59 mark.

From the photographer, who shot this video in June 2011:

"Iceland is a landscape photographer's paradise and playground, and should be number one on every photographer's must-visit list. Iceland during the Midnight Sun is in sort of a permanent state of sunset. The sun never fully sets and travels horizontally across the horizon throughout the night, as can be seen in the opening shot and at the :51 second mark in the video.

"During the Arctic summer, sunset was at midnight and sunrise was at 3 a.m. The Arctic summer sun provided 24 hours a day of light, with as much as 6 hours daily of "golden light." Once the sun had set it wouldn't even get dark enough for the stars to come out, and they don't start to reappear until August.

"My advice to everyone out there, photographer or not, is simple... You MUST visit Iceland sometime during your lifetime. You will never regret it."


Where to go from Iceland? Norway, Sweden and Denmark? Ireland, Scotland and England? Down to South America?

I have no idea. I'll figure it out eventually.

My heart is bursting with joy and excitement after watching that video. It brought tears to my eyes. I can't even begin to imagine all the mind-blowingly beautiful landscapes I'll find myself surrounded by in the next year.

I'm feeling very, very lucky right now, and incredibly happy to be alive.


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  1. Yes! That is so exciting. New Zealand is at the top of my list.

  2. Holy cow. Our itineraries are almost identical. You're just one month behind us! I had no idea about the WDS. So many good similar conventions we're missing next year. Hopefully we'll be able to make it to those in 2013.

  3. Gosh I love New Zealand in the summer time. I couldn't recommend grabbing a hire car and driving from Queenstown to Christchurch (don't forget the Fiordlands, of course!), then Wellington and Gissy and Waikato region - Whangarei and the Bay of Isles are more than breathtaking!! It's such a beautiful place.

    If you happen to make it to Brisbane in Australia, you must come to a Broncos game (granted I am effectively a random blog reader, but I'll get you tickets!), but I guess if I were travelling I'd be heading directly for Melbourne, getting on the great ocean road, trying to a few days on the WA coast, going jungle surfing in the Daintree and chilling in Byron.

  4. Devon,

    Watch this 6-min video:

    You may need to make it to Afghanistan too...


  5. Go to Norway! :D I might be biased since I'm *from* Norway, but I would bring a pair of hiking boots and fly up to Lofoten for some spectacular nature:

    When we back went home this year we had a layover in Iceland and spent the entire day soaking in the Blue Lagoon...heaven!

  6. @Rachel: Yes, had to start somewhere SUPER exciting!

    @Gerard: I'll be following your blog for some good NZ/Australia tips! Hope to meet up with you and Q in Chiang Mai : )

    @Katie: I'm looking into the Magic Bus for transportation around NZ, but I'll get into that in another post. Might have to take you up on that Broncos game!

    @Joey: What a gorgeous video. Don't think I'll be heading there anytime soon, but would love to at some point.

    @Ingunn: Ohhhh, that looks stunning!! I didn't picture myself doing a lot of hiking on this trip but I just might. You're doing a great job of convincing me to go to Norway!

  7. Nice! Do let us know how you plans work out for NZ. I'm definitely interested to see your experience as I plan to head there for a few weeks next year.

    I would recommend Scotland just because I loved it when I was there especially the highlands. Took a road off the main road by accident once and it was incredible! As for England in terms of views, I liked Cornwall a lot.

  8. Devon
    Whilst in Australia do you plan on coming to Melbourne? If so lemme know - if time permits i may be able to take you on a tour!

  9. @ponderer [jc]: Ohhhh yes, Scotland! I may just have to go. I used to do competitive Scottish highland dancing when I was little! I'm part Scottish and had my own tartan and everything : )

    @Bud: I'll be there for a whole month, so I'm sure I can make it to Melbourne. That would be great!

  10. as long as you do NZ by land than by air, it will be as good as it can be!

  11. Hey Devon - I'll def be in Melbourne in March, so if you head that way in Oz you'll have a place to stay and someone to show you around! :)


  12. @Liz: I'm sure I'll hit Melbourne, and it would definitely be fun to meet up down there! Merry Christmas to you, too!

  13. Just stumbled across your blog! This itinerary looks great - are you coming to Melbourne in March? We might be around so be sure to give us a shout and we can hopefully show you around. :)

    So glad you decided to visit Iceland. We were there in October and it was EASILY the best country we visited on our RTW. The scenery is magnificent, the adventure is right up there and the people are so damn friendly. If you need any more inspiration, check out all of our Iceland posts at



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