A very dear friend of mine has not long returned from a wonderful overseas trip. Her family gave her the money for an around-the-world air ticket for her 50th birthday, so Jenny was away for four months. We were on the phone for an hour while she told me all about it.
She planned the whole thing herself over the internet, no travel agents involved. The ticket can be bought either on a kilometres travelled basis or continent to continent basis (I think that's what it was). Anyway, Jenny chose the latter which allowed for four internal flights between arriving and leaving Europe and six internal flights in North America. Some of the places she visited included Hong Kong and China, Helsinki and St Petersburg as well as the UK.
In the US, she was looking forward to seeing the Grand Canyon, which she thought was great, but she absolutely loved Las Vegas. I was surprised, but Jenny says it's such a lot of fun and a city of contrasts. In one hotel, the foyer had originals of Impressionist paintings (I think that's what they were), which gives the impression of culture, then, she said, you go on inside and of course, there are all the poker machines, gambling tables, etc. Nothing closes and the lit up buildings at night are amazing, apparently.
I asked her if she went to the Hermitage while she was in St Petersburg...oh yes, she certainly did and said that books, movies and TV just don't do it justice. Apparently it's the most amazing place. She said that the centre of St Petersburg is beautiful but further out, in the suburbs, it's not so pleasant.
So than I asked her if she went to any shows whilst she was in New York...that was also a definite yes. She had a wonderful time, on her own, travelling lightly and taking two memory sticks of photos.
Anyway, she gave me some really good tips and it's given me the idea of doing the same thing next year when I "officially" retire. I'm a bit of a whimp though, I would really like to go with someone else...this doing it alone doesn't really excite me. Apart from the company, it's nice to have someone to plan things with. Anyway, I'll see who I can bulldoze into coming with me.
There are a few places I really want to go to, the main one being Ireland, so I can (hopefully) do some research into my family tree. Then there's Provence, Tuscany, Greece to name some in Europe. In the US...well, the South for a start, and that's as far as I've got.
My cousin has been in South America these past few weeks and has been climbing mountains and all that stuff. She started at Terra del Fuego and worked her way north, visiting Machu Pichu on the way. But I'm not into anything that requires lots of climbing, so if I go to South America, it will be to experience Carnivale or something like that.
So, those are some of my future plans...I figure by writing them down, it just gives them a bit more reality and gives me the motivation to start planning properly. I think four months would be a bit long...I'd do it in two or three shorter stages...say, one trip a year. Jenny went in the northern winter, I'd definitely be going in the northern summer! You know I'm a total wuss when it comes to the cold.
Who knows, you may get an email from me cadging a bed for the night...heheh!