Category Archives: Singapore

One of my favorite shots

Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bali

Aug 19, 2016

It’s nighttime when I arrive in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’m rested enough from my previous time laying out on the beach of Ko Phi Phi so I decide to check out what Kuala Lumpur has to offer at night.

My hotel is in the Bukit Bintang section of Kuala Lumpur. It’s a good location for restaurants and seeing the sights. I decide to stroll out to the Petronas Towers. They are an iconic pair of buildings.

They look incredible up close. Especially at night. The have great lighting and a great presence. They are at home in the night. Walking under and around them provides for some beautiful angles to view them. They make me think of the Twin Towers. Growing up in New Jersey, I miss those buildings dearly. I guess their spirit lives on in buildings such as the Petronas Towers, but their absence from the New York skyline is always sad. It’s weird that some day younger people won’t really understand what the Twin Towers meant to a lot of people. Eventually they will be lost completely to time, like any of the great engineering marvels that have come and gone.

Towers
Towers

After seeing the towers I stroll back to the area by the hotel. There are lots of options for food. I end up sampling several varieties of street food. In Malaysia, like many parts of Southeast Asia, you have access to some amazing food that you do not have access to back home. Dinner comes from three different places, or four really. Some chicken and beef on a stick to start things off. Four pieces for the equivalent of one US dollar.

I then end up finding two guys making noodles in an alley. It’s a busy spot. I hold up one finger and ask for one. He says there are a lot of different things I can get, which to me is amazing. The space is small. A wok, a fryer, and an assortment of a couple bowls and buckets. I see some thicker noodles coming off of the wok and say one of those.

Eventually after about twenty to thirty minutes of waiting I get my noodles to go. It ends up being like the best shrimp lo mein ever. While waiting for it I saw the guys making bowls of soup, cream based dishes, all sorts of crispy and different sized noodles. It’s a magical little stand that is pumping out plate after plate and bowl after bowl of food. The chef is honestly brilliant. He carefully portions everything out. He tastes every dish. He cares only to make delicious food and his passion is appreciated. One of the locals makes a joke (although I’m pretty sure he’s serious) about not posting pictures or the location to facebook. He doesn’t want there to be a long line for when he gets noodles. I don’t blame him. My plate of goodness ends up costing about $1.70 US dollar.

As I’m leaving I realize I don’t have any way of eating these noodles. I guess they assume if you’re asking to go that you have your own utensils. I decide to stop in a convenient store but they don’t have any forks or chop sticks. I end up buying a stout here. It’s one of the few drinks I’ve had during this trip. Maybe it’s the pace of the trip, maybe it’s me growing up, maybe it’s me finding a complete peace and happiness in my life, but I don’t care to drink. Sure craft beers will always hold a place in my heart, but I haven’t really been to a single club or bar while I’ve been out here. I’ve been too busy seeing the sights, enjoying the time to myself, and being content with the fact that I am doing the number one thing that I want to be doing with my life at the moment. I feel like when you are doing with your life the thing that you most want to do more than anything, then you will be at peace.

That’s great and all, but I still need a way to eat these noodles. I stop back at the hotel and ask for a fork or chop sticks. He tells me to try the Indian place next door. In doing so I order a fried cake and a fried pastry with filling for about a dollar. The guy puts them in a bag and I ask him for a fork which he gives to me.

I end up bringing this all back to my hotel room and have myself a beautiful little dinner and a reasonable stout. It’s Friday night. I’m completely alone. And I couldn’t be happier.

Eventually I end up sliding off to sleep.

Aug 20, 2016

The day brings a new sense of adventure. Having seen some of the sites and enjoyed some of the tastes at night, I’m off for something a bit more enriching.

But first I need to fuel back up. One thing I love about traveling out here is the different choices that are available for you to eat and drink at the convenient stores. 7-11, and it’s many knockoffs, are ultra popular. These stores have some options you won’t find back home. It’s nice to enjoy these little differences. Sure it’s not the biggest deal in the world, but finding joy in these little things always makes the trip better. I present to you Kickapoo Joy Juice and some sort of drink made by Umbro. Yes, these are real things, and they’re pretty delicious.

This is real life
This is real life

The plan for today is to see some art. I’ve been craving a trip to a museum and I have a bit of time today. There’s an Islamic Art Museum that I figure is fitting for the area. As I progress along my trip the religion swings from mostly Buddhist to include some Muslim. I know Islamic art features a lot of geometric patterns so hopefully there will be some cool stuff to discover here. Stuff like this ceiling is what I anticipate seeing here.

Beautiful
Beautiful

There are a couple pieces that I think are beautiful. Here’s a pen case that features some incredibly fine detail. It’s just a bird and flowers. I’m not certain I would be able to tell the origin of this piece if you put it in front of me and asked me to identify it.

Detail
Detail

There is also some beautiful mother of pearl pieces here. I love this scroll holder. It’s beautiful how the mother of pearl has been cut to make a cylindrical and smooth piece.

Nice mother or pearl
Nice mother or pearl

I don’t really know why I was hoping for over the top pieces of contemporary or modern art, but there’s none of that here. It’s a lot of Qurans and some more historical pieces.

I eventually leave the museum and head back towards the hotel looking for some food. I end up finding a busy Indian buffet. Although the restaurant promises you can find Pakistani, Malaysian, and foods of several other countries here. I end up with a delicious piece of naan, some chicken tikka, and about four different rices and curries. It’s a beautiful plate of food that bests even the stuff coming out of Edison, New Jersey.

Indian deliciousness
Indian deliciousness

I slowly continue making my way back to the hotel. First I want to grab a massage. My body has been pretty beat from the constant travel and carrying all of this weight for so long. I find a Thai massage place and end up choosing a full body oil massage for an hour. The cost is about $17 US. The time passes quickly. I think I might end up falling asleep for a bit. At the end of it I’m left feeling relaxed and ready to get back on the road.

The time comes to swing out to the airport. I’m departing Kuala Lumpur at 8:50 PM to get to Singapore 9:50 PM.

The flight goes well and I think about trying to swing out to see Singapore at night like I did with Kuala Lumpur the night before. I decide to pass on the late night stroll and end up getting some extra sleep so that I can head out to check out the city the following day.

Aug 21, 2016

The plan for Singapore is to stroll about the city. I’m still craving some art so I decide to check out Singapore Art Museum of contemporary art. It features pieces of artists local to the region. It’s a museum that you can comfortably get through in a short period of time, but it has some stuff that I’ve been looking for.

This massive lit up dress almost looks like snowflakes or raindrops are falling onto it. It reminds me of the movie Frozen a bit. It’s a cool piece that has a magical feel to it.

Like Frozen
Like Frozen

The museum also has canvases on the walls that would probably infuriate most people. “That’s not art. I could do that.” I’m a big fan of colors and textures and these two pieces have both of that. I’m actually a big fan of these two pieces. The colors are reasonable to great and the texture from using a textile instead of paint on canvas is excellent.

I like this
I like this

This next piece is one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever seen before. It’s a bunch of flowers that open and close. The movement of the opening and closing is very natural and beautiful. It definitely has a feel like something that you would be able to find in nature. It makes sense because the artist was inspired by barnacles. He thought the movement and life of barnacles was interesting that each individual barnacle is its own thing, but they take cues from surrounding barnacles as to how to operate. These flowers I think are not programmed directly to open and close. Rather they take cues based on the movement and light of the other individual flowers around them as to when to open and close. The piece is a perfect combination of technology and art. It is so natural and magical. I probably could have watched this piece for a long time.

Amazing
Amazing

And a different angle showing the flowers in various stages of being open. This piece makes me want to strive to create beautiful combinations of hardware and software should my path lead me in that direction. Hopefully to make things that people view as natural, magical, and realistic.

Really great
Really great

Another piece I thought was cool was this set of four screens that showed these four interconnected scenes. The second scene is a girl listening to a music box. I think the fourth scene is the girl grown up and married. She’s sitting in a bathtub relaxing while her husband does something on the computer. The first scene is her and her husband. She’s boringly washing dishes and he’s absent-mindedly turning something over in his hands. The third scene is her hunched over sewing a dress. Her husband is fat and loudly munching on chips. All throughout this piece all of the sounds of the scenes are mixed together. To me the music box and the potato chip crunching stick out. When the girl closes the box, the music stops. Everyone looks up unaware of what has happened. The little girl then reopens the box and everything resumes as normal. It’s a weird piece. I’m not too certain what the meaning is, but the takeaway I got is the little girl wishes for prince charming and happy ever after and she got it.

Pretty cool piece
Pretty cool piece

Ok, enough art for the moment. I may get back to it at some point on the trip. But for the moment I’m in need of some food. I skipped breakfast so that I could grab some food from one of the popular hawker markets. This one was near Chinatown so it featured a lot of Chinese food. The stalls look a lot like this.

Stands for days
Stands for days

I grabbed some fried wontons, which were delicious, but my main goal for today was chili crab. It’s a crab cooked with some gorgeous ingredients. If you’re in Singapore then you have to get chili crab. You have to do it. If you’ve never had it before but want to try it I will fly out with you for the meal and return home afterwards. A good bowl of chili crab is heavenly delicious. I think this will end up being my favorite meal of the trip. It is phenomenal.

Extraordinary
Extraordinary

After lunch it’s time to head out to check out some of the touristy sights. I stop by the gardens. There’s some pretty cool stuff here.

Gardens
Gardens

As I stroll about Marina Bay I make sure to grab a selfie.

Yup yup
Yup yup

Here’s a pano of the bay.

Do it for the bay
Do it for the bay

And a black and white of the boat building thing. It actually doesn’t look all that bad in real life. For some reason is gets unflattering angles in pictures that I’ve seen.

Not too bad

As I stroll back to the hotel I walk past the buildings that look like durians. If you’ve never heard of a durian they smell so bad that they are banned from many hotels. They are a fruit that apparently taste like a mix of gasoline and cantaloupe. I’ve haven’t had one and I don’t plan too. But they are everywhere in Southeast Asia. For the moment I’m team “No Durians” as the signs say in every hotel I’ve been in and out of.

No durians
No durians

The hotel lets me shower up before I hit the road which is clutch. A decent amount of hotels I’ve been to let you shower after you check out and see the city. It’s a big help that really helps make your flights a ton more comfortable.

The flight departs Singapore 9:05 PM and arrives in Bali 11:45 PM. I clear customs and taxi out to the hotel for a night of sleep. The beach will wait until tomorrow.

Aug 22, 2016

I wake up and get to planning. I had originally planned to see Komodo but pass on that to book a flight into Melbourne, Australia. Cars seem like they’ll be expensive with gas and parking so the plan at the moment is to continue checking out Australia like I’ve been checking Southeast Asia.

But before I switch continents I have a lot of relaxing to do. I leave the hotel and head to the beach. I’m not aware of it yet, but it’s a magical beach. On first appearance Bali looks great. I’m in Seminyak because it’s a popular area and has a mix of things to see and do. There’s a nice beach, which is mostly why I came here. I wanted to get lost in what I heard was the allure of the island and just completely relax. First another cup of coffee with a nice beach backdrop.

Another one
Another one

Over time I do get lost in Bali’s allure. I stroll the beach for a long while.

Bali
Bali

The crowd here is pretty chill. There are a lot of younger tourists. Some couples. Some groups. A couple families. This is definitely vacationland for a lot of people that are visiting. You lay out on the beach. Head into the water. Do some surfing. Grab food and drink on the beach at a restaurant or resort.

Relaxing
Relaxing

Apparently the sunsets here are beautiful. I mean they usually are everywhere but I’m happy to check one out. I’ve been laying out on a bench that some local set out. He kind of swindles me telling me he saw me sleeping on it for a half hour and demands I pay him about $4 US dollar. He’ll let me watch the sunset from here for another $4. I tell him I’m in for the full $8. “Nothing’s free in Bali any more bro,” the half-surfer, half-swindler says. “No worries,” I think. I pay about the same back in Asbury. And that doesn’t come with this really comfortable bed you’re providing me.

Sunset
Sunset

And here’s a shot of me looking at it. Just in case you people were wondering if I was watching the sunset. This is a good picture for overproducing and putting a quote over it. Like “For every sun that sets, there will be a new day in the morning,” or something else equally brutal.

Yup
Yup

I love this next picture. For me it’s one of my favorite I’ve ever taken I think. I need time away from this picture actually and then I need to spend a lot of time with the photoshop to perfect. But pictures like this are beautiful to me. I love lots of silhouetted human forms. For some reason I was blessed with an angel in the center of it all. Bonus points for the dog on the left as well.

One of my favorite shots
One of my favorite shots

And another sunset shot. I don’t know why us humans love these things so much, but they are pretty. Maybe it has to do with the relaxing and the fact that all you have to do is just sit and wait and enjoy. Grab some beautiful person’s hand and have a make out session if you’re lucky enough. Can’t really beat sunsets I suppose.

Little pools
Little pools

After sunset, turn around and listen to some acoustic music while grabbing a beach cocktail and maybe a bite to eat. Do this until it gets dark. Then if you’re feeling up to it head out to a club, drink, dance, find someone to make love to. Wake up tomorrow and repeat.

Bali at night
Bali at night

Bali certainly is an enchanting place and I see why people rate it so high. It’s I think the place I most felt a bit sad leaving. You can definitely spend some time here, maybe only a couple more days of this, maybe a year or a lifetime, and be sad when you leave it behind.

So that’s about it. I’m about to hop on an airport to leave Southeast Asia behind for the time being. It has been an amazing trip and I couldn’t have been happier with how it’s went. I’m know heading into the southern hemisphere for the first time in my life. Into Australia for a couple days. It will be my second new continent visited this trip. It will be my sixth country visited in as many days. The travel grind has been real. I’ve been killing it out here and having a blast. After Australia it’s likely into New Zealand and then back around the globe to home.

I hope everyone’s been enjoying those last summer days for me back in Jersey and around the world. Cheers.

Backpacking: Southeast Asia Itinerary

The time has come to travel again. I was aiming for a trip towards the end of the summer but for some reason wasn’t feeling motivated to figure out where to head to or to make travel plans. Thankfully that has changed. Travel is and has been one of the best things in my life for a few years now. It’s opened up my view of the world. It’s allowed me to connect to and understand different people from both my country and from the world. It’s allowed me to see some of the most amazing things that both nature and humanity have been able to create. I need travel. I need to see the world. It’s something that I have to have in my life. So if there’s ever a time I don’t want to be making travel plans, it is worrisome for me. It’s an indication that some part of me is broken. I’m glad that the desire is back, and I can’t wait to get back on the road.

I have a somewhat rare chance to be able to do whatever I want to do with my life. For months now there have been no restrictions on what I’ve been able to do. I haven’t enforced any rules for myself and I’ve stepped into areas that I was not able to explore previously. I’ve been able to live exactly as I have wanted and have been able to openly feel and explore the world. It’s been great. Time like this is somewhat rare, but an effort should be made to obtain it if you can find a way to do so. With having so much time to myself I knew that I wanted to go through with some big travel plans.

My top five lists of travel destinations in no particular order are:

  • Southeast Asia
  • Eastern Europe
  • Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand
  • India
  • Southern Africa

When I travel I like to visit a lot of places in a short period of time. I like to road trip around and bounce from place to place. There are few better places in the world for me than being on the road, or the water, or in the air traveling to some new destination that I have always wanted to go to but have never been to before. These five destinations provide plenty of earth, water, and sky for me to explore. They are all places I have never been to but want to go to at some point in my life. I’m not really sure where the desires come to for some of them. I definitely want to see the entire world, but these five are preferences that I want to see first.

Initially when looking at this list, there was no place where I wanted to go to more than any other. So I needed to work through some sort of process to figure out where my adventure would be. One thing that I usually do when I travel is check up on current events. The first place I usually start is the U.S. Department of State’s International Travel’s list of alerts and warnings. The U.S. will “issue a Travel Alert for short-term events they think you should know about when planning travel to a country… and a Travel Warning when they want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all.” I wouldn’t use this list exclusively to determine if a location is safe or not safe to travel to, but it’s a pretty good start.

There are currently some interesting alerts and warnings on this list. For example there is a Travel Alert for the entire continent of Europe. That’s something that to me seems insane. Specifically France is listed for the European Soccer Championship and the Tour de France cycling race. Poland is listed for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day event, which is expected to draw up to 2.5 million visitors to Krakow. There’s no other specific countries European countries listed under this travel alert but the U.S. had decided to group the rest of Europe in as a general alert.

The Philippines Travel Warning was another thing that I was not familiar with. It applies mostly to the Sulu Sea area and is there due to the high threat of attacks and kidnapping of international travelers.

The list of alerts and warnings and the state of the world is constantly changing, so this information will be out of date within a few days, but the point is that it would be somewhat irresponsible to head out to a location without knowing a bit of the risks associated with the journey. I wouldn’t let most of these alerts or warnings keep you from traveling but you should be smart about the environment to limit your risks.

I laid down the 42 alerts and warnings listed at this time on to a map. I used the online tool from Maploco if you have an interest in generating a similar map. It’s pretty remarkable what is listed here as either an alert or a warning. Again this map is not definitive. It includes areas that I don’t feel should be on here and it does not include other areas that it probably should. For example you are probably fine touring around the vineyards of Bordeaux or the Alps of Switzerland although there technically is an alert for these areas. You also might want to consider Rio if you will be in the area during the Olympics. Research the area you are going to for current events and be smart and keep an eye out when you head to new locations. Don’t be paranoid, but be safe.

Travel alerts and warnings
Travel alerts and warnings

Most of my top 5 came up as places that were safe to travel to. Eastern Europe I guess is technically under alert. Sure the eastern areas of Ukraine around Donetsk and Luhansk are certainly pretty dangerous. Violent clashes there have led to over 9,000 deaths. A portion of the Philippines is under warning. While eastern Ukraine and the southern part of the Philippines are likely to be off limits for me personally, most of my top 5 is still feasible.

Now that safety is confirmed, I need to look at some other aspect to cut down my list to an individual destination. One place I can remove from that list is Eastern Europe. I recently saw a large portion of Western Europe two years ago. Eastern Europe, while extremely different, is too similar of a destination for me. It’s not challenging enough to me at this point in my life. I want something more difficult. I want something that will change my worldview and push me as a person.

For the same reason I can get rid of the Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand trip. That also would be a tremendous trip. But the difficulty level associated with this trip is not much. It seems too easy and not rewarding enough. How challenging can it be for me to be relaxing on the beaches of Waikiki, spending time in Sydney, or bouncing about the Milford Sound? That’s all stuff I’d love to do someday, but it won’t be my first choice for this trip.

That leaves me three locations that I might want to travel to at this time. Southeast Asia, India, and Southern Africa. All three of these locations are going to shatter my worldview. They are going to challenge me. I am going to grow from the experience of traveling around these places.

At this point I’m going to read about other people’s trips to these areas. I’m going to try to assemble a list of things I want to see or do in each location. If this sounds like a lot of work to you, it’s probably because it is. It’s just the way I like to travel. I don’t mind the work and research because in doing so I am learning about the world and learning about myself. Any time spent on travel in any way, even these planning stages, has always paid dividends in my life.

The plan is to spend about a month and a half or two months traveling. I’m not sure why that number but it just feels right based on past travel, the time I have available, and the things that I want to see on this trip. Anything less probably wouldn’t gain me the experience I am looking for and anything more would probably conflict with things that I want to do after this travel is over.

After some time looking into my remaining locations I decide on Southeast Asia. I chose it mostly because it’s a popular traveler location. The path is fairly worn. The areas have been tested and tried. I’m not pioneering anything by going on this trip, but it allows me the right mix of seeing a totally new part of the world while still doing it in a safe and comfortable way. Sure every travel blogger and instagrammer has been here and taken all of the cliche shots way before me. But for me this trip is pretty much exactly what I want. It seems like a natural progression from my Western Europe trip.

I also really really want to eat the food that I’ve seen so much of on television from this area. Soups and noodles and mystery meat street food. And the sights. Epic historic buildings and locations that I haven’t even heard about yet. Cultures that I have no experience in. Beautiful beaches. Nature that I can’t find anywhere else. I suppose this would have been the same for the Southern African region or the entire country of India, but I just am a bit more interested in Southeast Asia at the moment. It’s been a thought on the backdrop of my subconscious for a long time.

So where am I even going? How do I get around from place to place? How long am I going for? Do I have time to squeeze in a bit of Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia since it’s on the way? Will I be able to swing further up the coast into China, South Korea, and Japan? Time to plan out this itinerary.

The way I went about building an itinerary is to start with googling “best places to visit in Southeast Asia”. From there I took the first two pages and parsed through the results, assigning a ranking to each location and country based on how many times it showed up on a list and how high it scored on the list. This is a process I think I want to automate when I get back as it is very valuable. I basically have no clue about where to go in Southeast Asia outside of some general ideas. But by parsing through Google results I am able to assemble the knowledge of many professionals which gives me a good idea to start with. By using the average knowledge of various experts you quickly have access to very useful information even though you are clueless on a topic.

For example the countries that showed up the most are shown below. Note that results like China and Japan and India show up. Sure they are not part of Southeast Asia, but within the first two pages of Google results there were articles for “Best Destinations in Asia” and “10 Best Places to Visit in Asia” etc. Personally I don’t mind these results showing up. The ranking algorithm I used keeps them towards the bottom of the list. I think there is an advantage to keeping these false positives in the list of results. It gives me ideas for where the trip can extend to. The 11th and 12th results for best places to visit in Southeast Asia return China and Japan. Even without knowing the geographical location of these two countries, this list suggests I may want to look into them to see if they fit into my trip itinerary. These false positives provide suggestions to better my trip in ways I may not have initially considered. I am pretty happy with this list. It is hard to argue against Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia as three of the best countries to visit in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia country rankings
Southeast Asia country rankings

Likewise I went through and parsed out and ranked the specific locations. In order to do this I had to make some decisions as to how to cluster the data. I mostly tried to keep these location results at a city level although sometime it dips down into the individual attraction level. I am kind of more interested in the general city or province level of granularity because from there another Google search can easily return the top things to do in that location. I am pretty happy with these results using rough algorithms and clustering. But eventually I would want to improve on them if I do ever automate this process. Again these results are just ideas and suggestions for someone who is clueless on the area. I think they ended up being rather useful. It’s hard to argue against the beaches of Bali, the ruins of Angkor, and the city of Singapore as being some of the best things to see in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia location rankings
Southeast Asia location rankings

I previously used a similar process to this to come up with a list of books to read, without having any knowledge of these books. Obviously the power of being able to assemble such information automatically without having to have any knowledge of the subject is extremely powerful. It certainly is the way that search results are heading. Eventually you will be able to tell Google “give me an itinerary for a month and a half to Southeast Asia” and it will give it to you. Until then we have to struggle through with a lot of manual data collection, parsing, and interpreting.

After laying out these Southeast Asian locations on a map, I made an initial route and timeline. From there I saw that I might have some more time available in my travel. I decided to look into Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii. I ended up googling “best places to visit in Australia” and parsed through results and made a potential route for this area. Same with New Zealand and Hawaii. At the moment I am leaving these destinations as audibles for the trip. The ease of these locations may provide a nice contrast to some of the more difficult travel that I will be on.

This entire itinerary is open to how I am feeling at that time. I booked a one-way ticket to Myanmar. I have nothing else booked. I looked into travel and it look like I’ll be taking a lot of flights. I hear the flights are the best option but there are overnight buses and buses that you can sleep on that I may try out as they provide a great look at the country scenery. My trip is definitely extremely aggressive, so I may remove some of these destinations. I may spend more or less time in certain areas. I will book flights, buses, hotels, and attractions as I go. And I will take a one-way flight back home when I am ready.

SOUTHEAST ASIA:
4-Aug NYC
5-Aug Flying
6-Aug Yangon, Myanmar
7-Aug Inle Lake, Myanmar
8-Aug Bagan, Myanmar
9-Aug Mandalay, Myanmar
10-Aug Chiang Mai, Thailand
11-Aug Chiang Rai, Thailand
12-Aug Luang Prabang, Laos
13-Aug Luang Prabang, Laos
14-Aug Hanoi, Vietnam
15-Aug Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
16-Aug Hoi An, Vietnam
17-Aug Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
18-Aug Phnom Penh, Cambodia
19-Aug Angkor, Cambodia
20-Aug Bangkok, Thailand
21-Aug Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand
22-Aug Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
23-Aug Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
24-Aug Singapore, Singapore
25-Aug Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Java, Indonesia
26-Aug Bali, Indonesia
27-Aug Komodo National Park, Indonesia

AUSTRALIA:
28-Aug Sydney, Australia
29-Aug Sydney, Australia
30-Aug Melbourne, Australia
31-Aug Great Ocean Road, Australia
1-Sep Adelaide, Australia
2-Sep Uluru, Australia
3-Sep Uluru, Australia
4-Sep Uluru, Australia
5-Sep Cairns, Australia
6-Sep Cairns, Australia
7-Sep Great Barrier Reef, Australia
8-Sep Gold Coast, Australia
9-Sep Gold Coast, Australia

NEW ZEALAND:
10-Sep Christchurch, New Zealand
11-Sep Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand
12-Sep Milford Sound, New Zealand
13-Sep Queenstown, New Zealand
14-Sep Punakaiki Coast, New Zealand
15-Sep Lake Taupo, New Zealand
16-Sep Lake Taupo, New Zealand
17-Sep Rotorua, New Zealand
18-Sep Waitomo, New Zealand
19-Sep Bay of Islands, New Zealand
20-Sep Auckland, New Zealand

HAWAII:
21-Sep Hawaii, Hawaii
22-Sep Hawaii, Hawaii
23-Sep Maui, Hawaii
24-Sep Oahu, Hawaii
25-Sep Kauai, Hawaii
26-Sep NYC

Where I might be
Where I might be

Once the itinerary was planned it was time to get vaccinations and visas. I would recommend getting these done as early as is possible. If you definitely know the countries and style of traveling you are doing then definitely get these vaccinations done first. Vaccinations can take months to get done. Visas may take weeks. Obviously these things are critically important. I would recommend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for vaccinations needed for each country. Is Zika prevalent? Do I need the typhoid vaccination? Is the yellow fever vaccination required to enter the country? Etc. You’ll find the answers at that site.

Same with the visas. If you don’t take care of this stuff you may not be able to visit a country. Or worse, you may be arrested, deported, etc. during your travels. Make sure you research this from an official source as these requirements change. I would recommend the Department of State’s travel page. How many passport pages so I need? Is a visa a required? Can I get the visa in person in the country or do I have to get it before I leave the US? Are there any entry/exit requirements I should be aware or? Any events that I should be aware of when traveling there? You’ll find it all there.

As far as packing I’m going to be backpacking. I’m pretty excited about this. I’ll be using some of the gear that I picked up for hiking but also a lot of other stuff I have lying around the house. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to fit everything inside of my pack, but after watching some YouTube videos I became pretty confident that I would be able to. Some people travel for a really long amount of time with a really small pack (18L!) and only like two quick drying shirts, two underwear, and two socks and just wash them every day in a sink. I kind of want a bit more comfort than that so I’ll be going with about a dozen of each. The environment is pretty hot and casual and a complete downpour depending on the country so it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep the clothes light and compact. It’s also nice that I don’t have to pack my tent, sleeping bag, food, etc. like I would if I was hiking. There should be plenty of room in the pack for everything I need, and it should all fit as a carry-on.

So that’s about it. Can’t wait to get out there. If anyone is interested in joining up for any part of this trip feel free to reach out. I won’t be available on text or phone for the next two months but will have WhatsApp, Facebook and Messenger, Google Hangouts, email, Snapchat, Twitter, and this site during times when I grab Wi-Fi. I don’t believe I’ll be rocking a phone plan because Verizon doesn’t offer service in some of those countries and I don’t feel like grabbing a new SIM card every time I cross borders. It will be nice to unplug and go see the world.