My initial (Phase 1) around-the-world trip is done. It took just over 5 years.
I am, now, in ‘Phase 2’ which sees me return to my favourite places discovered in Phase 1.
In Phase 2, I will stay in each of these favourite locations for at least 1 month so that I can discover more about them.
WHAT ROUTE DID I TAKE?
I planned my Phase 1 route so that I was in each country at the right time to:
- Avoid rainy, monsoon, typhoon, and hurricane seasons;
- Avoid Peak Seasons in the more expensive countries;
- Get as much sunny weather as possible;
- Minimise travel distances (and costs).
In this way, I got the best out of each country that I could.
WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?
There are many websites that provide good detail about the climates in each country and the regions / cities within each country.
I used ClimaTemps.com to get the detailed information that I needed and copied that information into a spreadsheet.
I know it sounds a bit ‘anal’ but I was visiting so many countries in Phase 1 that it made sense (to me) to get it right.
So, I also checked with a few travel sites to find out what the best time to go was; the best time is not always the middle of summer – things like Peak Season and humidity also need to be taken into account.
SO WHAT ROUTE DID I TAKE?
By region (e.g. S.E.Asia, Central American, and Europe), the countries are so close together that they share the same rainy seasons. It was not possible to always avoid the rain. I had to plan carefully.
Here is a summary of each year from December 2014 onwards:
- Indonesia: December 2014 – January 2015; August 2015
- Malaysia: January 2015 – March 2015; July 2015
- Thailand: February 2015 – April 2015
- Cambodia: April 2015 – June 2015
- Vietnam: October 2015 – January 2016
- Philippines: January 2016 – June 2016
- Mexico (Central & Yucatan): July 2016 – November 2016
- Belize: November 2016 – December 2016
- Guatemala: January 2017 – May 2017
- Mexico (South): March 2017 – May 2017
- Honduras: June 2017 – August 2017
- El Salvador: September 2017 – October 2017
- Nicaragua: November 2017 – February 2018
- Costa Rica: March 2018
- Panama: March 2018 – May 2018
- Colombia: May 2018 – July 2018
- Ecuador: July 2018 – September 2018
- Peru: September 2018 – December 2018
- Bolivia: January 2019 – February 2019
- Revisit my favourite 3 places in Latin America:
- Turkey: May 2019
- Bulgaria: June 2019
- Serbia: July 2019
- Romania: August 2019
- Armenia: September 2019
- Georgia: October 2019
- Nepal: October 2019 – November 2019
After Nepal, I will revisit some of my favourite places in S.E.Asia … starting in Vietnam.
In February 2020 I left Vietnam and landed in Thailand … only for COVID-19 to hit … I was in lock-down on Phucket Island for 4.5 months. The Thai government provided ‘visa amnesties’ for 4 months but, then, I was forced to leave.
The only place that I could afford (and would accept me) at that time was Egypt. I lived on the Red Sea for 3 months until my visa expired and I was forced to leave.
The only place that I could afford (and would accept me) at that time was Turkey. I toured Turkey for 3 months until my visa expired and I was forced to leave. I attempted to get to Central America but was turned around in Zurich. I had to return to Turkey.
Finally, in February 2021, I was able to get to Guatemala where I stayed for 5 months.
As soon as Honduras opened its borders I fled to Roatan Island. I was vaccinated in Roatan Island. I stayed in Roatan Island until August 2022. By then, the World was starting to open up to ‘vaccinated’ travelers.
I had to return to the UK in September 2022 to renew my passport.
By October 2022, I was able to resume my GRANDPAcking travels.
I spend 2 months re-touring the Gili Islands in Indonesia. Followed by 2 months re-touring Boracay Island in The Philippines. Followed by 1.5 months re-touring the Andaman Sea in Thailand. Followed by 3 months re-touring Langkawi Island in Malaysis.
I am currently re-touring Vietnam for 3 months.
In September 2023, I head back to Central America where I will (again) re-tour all of the best places to find out how they have changed and where GRANDPAckers currently stand.
I HAD MY ROUTE … NOW I NEEDED TO GET READY …