Maria and Derek's Travels

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Southeast Asia - 2016/2017 Trip Itinerary

Where are you going???  Why are you going there?  How long are you staying?

These are all common questions from friends and family when they heard about our trip, so we wanted to give you our best guess.

We have our ticket leaving Atlanta to Singapore on November 9 (coincidentally falling the day after the presidential election), and we have our return ticket to come back from Sri Lanka to Atlanta in early April.  That much is confirmed.  As for the rest, this is all subject to change.

When "planning" a 5 month trip, there's a lot of guesswork, a lot of variables, and a whole lot of unknowns.  We have both traveled extensively in the past, so we're not too worried about trying to plan every bit of the trip.  The problem is that if you plan out a huge trip, deadlines and key points will be missed.  Flight delays happen, buses break down, small cities amaze you, other sites disappoint you, and a number of other changes happen along the way.

If everything were planned and mapped out, to me, this would just lead to disappointment and undue stress.  The idea is to explore these countries, stay longer in places we like, keep moving in places we don't like and truly try to experience the cultures along the way.

For us, Southeast Asia has long been full of dream destinations, but the timing was never quite right.  I have spent months in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines, and Maria has done shorter trips to Indonesia and Thailand.  The idea of this trip to have a much longer time to live in the countries and become a part of them.  Also, the timing is great in terms of the monsoon season ending, and the "cool" season setting in from around November-February/March.  Of course, "cool season" is all relative, but we'll take any help we can get from the heat and the humidity that we're going to experience.

We're excited to see the ancient temples, historic cities, idyllic beaches, lush rainforests and the recent history of the place.  SE Asia, of course, is not just one culture or one identity, and that will be part of the fascination.  Many cultures, languages, ethnic groups and traditions all fighting for their own spot in this beautiful corner of the globe.  And on the topic of reasons to visit SE Asia, let's not forget the food.  We have big, big plans to eat our way around the region.

We went through many, many iterations in trying to figure out the best way to try to cover the region.  As any good actuary or financial consultant would do, I decided to throw together a customizable spreadsheet to lay out our options and to visualize the choices and potential timing of the trip (doing our best to avoid huge crowds, rain, extreme heat, etc).  So below is our best guess at when and where we might be.  Don't be fooled by the exact dates - those are just estimates and will definitely not be correct.  This CAN and WILL change:

Any other recommendations?


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Taking advantage of our laptop lifestyle and wandering this world together. Maria Renee is an online health and fitness coach, and Derek is an actuarial seminar instructor. Traveling together since 2015. Also see

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