My World Trip 2017 - Preparation and Planning - ๐ŸŒ MWT 2017


All entries will be posted 2 weeks after they happened.

✅  Day 0 - Night Before Departure - August 27th, 2017
✅  Day 1 - San Francisco, USA - August 28th, 2017
✅  Day 2 - Flight to China - August 29th, 2017
✅  Day 3 - Wake up in Wuhan - August 30th, 2017
✅  Day 4 - Welcome to Thailand - Land of Smiles - August 31st, 2017
✅  Day 5 - Ayutthaya - September 1st, 2017
✅  Day 6 - Phi Phi by way of Phuket - September 2nd, 2017
✅  Day 7 - Done with Phi phi - September 3rd, 2017
✅  Day 8 - Criminal Abroad - September 4th, 2017
✅  Day 9 - Muslim Experience - September 5th, 2017
✅  Day 10 - Korea Day - September 6th, 2017
✅  Day 11 - Hong Kong - September 7th, 2017
✅  Day 12 - London - September 8th, 2017
✅  Day 13 - Irish History Day - September 9th, 2017
✅  Day 14 - Pub and Ale Day - September 10th, 2017
✅  Day 15 - Thinking of Home - September 11th, 2017
✅  Day 16 - The cold passage o'r the North Pole - September 12th, 2017
✅  Day 17 - Post Thoughts and Memories - September 13th, 2017

August 26th, 2017 

4:27 pm

So... two weeks ago I ordered a world trip online at Kiwi.com.

It started out as simply a trip to Thailand.  I became curious about this exotic place after I had discussed it in great detail during my July trip to Hawaii to my roommate Terry. He was an American with 15 years experience living and working in Thailand.

Terry was an older gentleman who was passing through Waikiki at the same time to spend his holiday returning from the mainland on business. We shared a few days checking out the tourist route of Honolulu. He told me endless stories of Thailand and the people there, their customs, legal, and religious aspects of the culture.  I pictured something that I knew I must see. I must fill in the blanks in my my mind.

I learned it is best to write about things as you do them so instead of spending hours trying to recount all the events, I am keeping a journal.  I will of course fill in some blanks while I can remember them as I won't always have a keyboard in my hand.

This trip I have very few and specific goals. There are things in my American perception that I need to know are worth it. I feel I might be spoiled in ways as an American. I need to see people doing things, speaking, eating, working, praying, everything we normally do everyday, and I want to see them in their home, doing it their way. I want to listen and look them in the eyes.  I want to feel their fears, doubts, cares, values, and in their atmosphere - to really understand the similarities. For this I need to go alone.  Nobody can be invited.  I need to remain as a fly on the wall and take it all in. I am going to listen to how they talk to others and how they respond to me as a foreigner.

My attitude is to be as respectful as possible in each culture, smile, and attempt to talk to anyone I can. When I can't understand I will watch their body language, and that will teach me more than words. I figure smiling is a pretty universal way to show you are not a threat. Even a smile, though, can also be a seen as a weakness, naivety, foolishness, or even contempt and disrespect.

Activities

  • Read and watch local TV and newspapers
  • Take pictures along tourist route when appropriate and respectful
  • Find specific items (gets you looking at things) like shower shoes
  • Pay attention to kitchen, service attitudes, cleanliness, and stock rotation.
  • Eat where many people of all ages are eating
  • Avoid local yogurts, milk, or unpeeled fruits
  • Watch locals interaction with tourist
  • Try to blend in
  • Show more respect than the average tourist
  • Attempt to use Google translate to get around
  • Keep a travel journal
  • Eat small quantities and often
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Collect currency for family gifts
  • Observe everything
  • Document my activities in a journal
  • Track my walking adventures with GPS.

Long trip medium pace

This is a 15 day trip so I plan long layovers in places that I can not easily and quickly get a visa. (You can have up to a 24 hour transit visa.) I made reservations for hotels and hostels sporadically throughout my trip. Like most backpackers, I figure I will spend a few nights going with the flow, but I also want to be assured I have a few reservations to rely on.  Most of my sleep I am allocating toward flight time.  I am not worried because I only plan to use public transportation, so being too tired to drive is not a concern.

After pricing trips to Thailand for $700 for a week, I wondered about making another stop in Korea.  That was only $1,100.  Then I wondered what it would be like to go all the way around the world.  I picked Ireland as my direction of flight because I had traced my genealogy to that point, and got stuck.  I figured I would spend some time their trying to find my ancestors. The entire flight package was about $1,600.  Then I decided I could use that 24 hr transit visa to visit places that I might otherwise not have enough time to apply for a visa to enter.

I planned 4 days in Thailand, 2 days in Seoul, South Korea, and 4 days in Dublin, Ireland.

By the time I got lots of layovers, as long as possible, I ended up having 10 flights. It cost me more to get so many transfers, but still only came out to $1,700.

So I will spend

  • 24 hrs in San Francisco
  • 14 hrs in the air with China Southern Airlines - big plane
  • 4 hrs in Wuhan China
  • 3 hrs in the air with China Southern Airlines - domestic plane
  • Land in Bangkok
  • Plan as I go to Phuket in 4 days to fly out
  • 1.5 hr in the air with Nok Air
  • 2 hrs in Bangkok
  • 5hr 25 min in the air with Thai AirAsia X
  • 1.5 days in Seoul, South Korea.
  • 3 hrs 40 min in the air with Hong Kong Express Airways
  • 4.5 hrs in Hong Kong
  • 10 hrs in the air with Aeroflot Russian Airlines
  • 3 hrs in Moscow, Russia
  • 4 hrs in the Air with Aeroflot Russian Airlines
  • 9 hrs in London, England
  • 1.5 hour in the air with Aer Lingus
  • 4 nights in Dublin, Ireland
  • 3 hrs in the air with WOW air
  • 5 hrs in Reykjavik, Iceland
  • 9 hrs in the air with WOW air
  • Returning to San Fransisco

Packing Light.. very light.

I am traveling very light.  So light that everything I carry will fit nicely into the very small personal item space they allow you.  This sometimes varies, generally it needs to be under 20 lbs and the size of a purse or school backpack.  Anything bigger and they might get you with a hefty checked cabin baggage fee up to $40 US.

I packed 4 wearable outfits of layers.  My clothing filled 50% of my pack,  health and hygiene 20%,  15% survival, and 10% tech.

50% Clothes

  • 4 pair underwear
  • 4 socks
  • lightweight swim /sleep shorts
  • 1 sleep shirt
  • 2 shorts
  • 1 light twill pants
  • 2 button up silk shirts
  • 1 heavy sweater
  • cotton hat for sun
  • neck wrap (works for light too, sleeping on the go)


20% Health and Hygiene

  • 1 bar soap
  • toothbrush
  • small toothpaste tub
  • body scrub cloth
  • medium microfiber camp towel
  • safety razor (for shaving)
  • sunscreen
  • hand sanitizer
  • salt and pepper

15% survival

  • military poncho (waterproof and can be used as makeshift tent)
  • nice hip belt for backpack (if you plan to walk a lot, I planned 5 miles a day)
  • bandages
  • neosporin
  • meletonin
  • ecxedrin
  • vitamins
  • latex gloves
  • gauze
  • gorilla tape
  • medical tape
  • clothing glue
  • 550 cord
  • pocket knife (very small)
  • padlock (for hostel lockers)
  • 2 needles
  • polyester thread
  • pen (customs forms)

10% tech

  • iClever blutooth android keyboard
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 with wallet case and AT&T international wireless plan.
  • long charger cord
  • universal international outlet adapter with 6000 mah battery pack
  • bluetooth wireless headphones
  • classic corded apple headphones
  • pair of shoes, sandals that were good for walking.
  • passport
  • sunglasses
  • shine 2 (fitness and sleep monitor)
Below are many of the items I purchased for this trip.  Everyone was well worth it and worked well.  Except for the neck pillow.  It worked as good as any, but I prefer a rolled up sweater.