Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First draft of the BIG TRIP all laid out

Ready - steady - go!
My big trip starts December 2011 and will go on approximately for six months.

The idea is to see the world, specifically some of the most exotic & far away places I never get around to visit during a couple weeks' holiday trip. I've also picked places where I can (at least a little bit now) speak the language, have a chance to practice my dancing and - obviously - where it's mostly warm when it's cold in Finland. I want to see nature that doesn't exists in my home country, explore new cities, experience different cultures and and give myself some time to relax & enjoy life and see where that will take me. And come back home happy & healthy :)

Some more specific missions for the trip (in no particular order):
* Find secluded beaches in different corners of the world, and name the best one.
* Improve my Spanish and learn Portuguese to the level of being able to confidently use them, especially speak.
* Become a world class zouk dancer. Ok, a tad ambitious goal but training with different top dancers & teachers that you don't meet in our neighborhood will certainly be one step in that.
* See what is real Brazilian samba! Improve my rather limited salsa skills! And test all kinds of local dances I come accross along the way.
* Develop new skills! Like learn to do a cartwheel (figured that will be easier when I have access to miles of beaches with soft sand :D)
* Be a part of native & local life. And see the wildlife; observe penguins in the south Argentina/Chile, pet llamas in Peru and run from the jaguars in the jungle (just kidding).
* Test this whole "couchsurfing" thing.
* Practice some old favourite hobbies such as writing and photography.

When and Where?
The more or less preliminary plan:
December 5-7: London
Zouk zouk zouk zouk and some minimal rest & sightseeing.

December 7 - January 3: Southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala
Chillin' in Cancun, charging my batteries on a quaint Belize beach, snorkeling around some cayes, exploring the Mayan culture in Chichen Itza and Tikal and dropping by at any and all bachata & salsa clubs I can find. Random interests also include the Belize zoo and if my budget allows, the Blue Hole.

January 4 - January 15ish: Rio
3rd International Zouk and Lambada Congress in Rio de Janiero! Rio sightseeing, a visit to the Sambadromo to see schools practice for the Carnaval and testing the Brazilian beach life.

Mid January - early February: Argentina
Starting off at the south tip of the South America, "the end of the world" and working my way up through Argentina: Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, Buenos Aires (I think there's zouk there too!), Montevideo in Uruguay, Iguazu Falls... So many places to see in such a short time!

Rest of February: Brazil
Carnaval time in Brazil! Still unsure where I want to go (the extravagant Sambadromo in Rio, street carnivals in Salvador or Olinda or Ouro Preto...?) but that's the time to be in Brazil for sure! Plan is to visit a handful of places and zouk & lambada locations like São Paulo and Porto Seguro are most definitely on the list. Hoping to take a couple samba steps along the way as well ;)

Early - mid March: Peru
Cuzco and Machu Picchu are top items on the Peru list. Bolivia and Equador would be worth the visit.. in case time allows, e.g. visit to Lake Titicaca might be interesting.

Mid March - early April: Chile
Vineyards! Lake district! Easter Island! Atacama desert! Miners? There's plenty to see and do in and around Chile.

Early - late April: New Zealand
Change of scenery! A whopping 13h (thankfully and dreadfully nonstop) flight to the Oceania part of my tour. Looking forward to beautiful nature and outdoor experiences... well, it's autumn there but I won't let it stop me. If it gets too cold I hear there's also zouk; that will warm me up to encounter the Kiwi life.

Late April - Early June: Australia
Over a month of Ozzy living! Designated stops are set already for Sydney, Ayers Rock, Brisbane, Darwin and Cairns - starting from the bottom and working my way up towards to warmer climates. Everything from the sleek beach cities with amazing zouk opportunities to wide expanses with big rocks and miles of clear water with beautiful reefs. There might also be a chance to hop on a nice tropical island on the Pacific.

Early - mid June: Japan
Wear a kimono, eat (tons of) sushi and see the fast paced & extraordinary Nippon.

Mid June: London... and back to normal life!
And maybe a step or two of zouk before heading to Helsinki.

The plan is very much a "work in progress" and will continue to develop along the way. I will see what new ideas I get from other travellers, friends, books... see how the weather is where... move on if don't like a place... push the schedule forward if I want to stay longer at certain spot... Basically see where the wind takes me!

The masterplan. Red arrows = flights that are booked.
Green squiggly lines = a rough route plan (method of travel unspecified).

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