Act One: Great American Road Trip
Our adventure starts with a two month road trip! We will be living out of a minivan we are converting into a poor man’s RV. We will head up to Grand Tetons National Park for some stellar backpacking and then pop into Yellowstone for a few days. From there we will backpack through parts of Glacier National Park and on to the Vancouver Islands in Canada for some sea kayaking. Next stop is Olympic National Park where we plan to hike the High Divide Traverse to the Hoh River and into the Hoh National Rainforest. Being in Olympic we will naturally have to make a pit stop at Beach #4 where we got engaged. Then it is back on the road and off to Mount St. Helen’s outside of Seattle, down through Oregon past the sea stacks, and into Redwoods National Park for a few days. After Redwoods we will head to the Lost Coast trail where we will (you guessed it!) backpack along the California coast. We plan to spend a day or two in San Francisco visiting some good friends and then finish up the 225 mile John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park that we were not able to complete last September. On our way back to Wisco for some much needed family relaxation time we plan to make a stop through Zion National Park and hike the Narrows. Then it is on to Wisconsin and out of the U.S. for a little bit. Our van is in for a workout! Check out the route by clicking here: http://g.co/maps/zb5em
Act Two: Round the World In Who Knows How Many Days
After saying our goodbyes to the states for a few months, we will land in Brazil only to take off to Africa. In Africa we will head on over to Tanzania to hike Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in the African continent. Post Kili, we are going to hop on a safari to admire some of the country’s incredible wildlife. Lions, and tigers, and zebras…oh my! We plan to pop over to Zanzibar to spend a few days soaking up the sun on its beautiful beaches and living amongst its historical landmarks. Then it’s on to South Africa to explore another region of the African continent for a few weeks. While in South Africa we really hope to hike the Whale’s Trail where apparently whale sightings become as commonplace as seeing squirrels here in the U.S. Lots to do and see before we head off to Southeast Asia!
With such an incredible variety of rich cultures in Southeast Asia, we have a lot of must-do’s on our itinerary! This is a diverse part of the world full both of gorgeous natural landscapes and meaningful, historical artifacts. First we will spend a week or two in Singpore and then off to Indonesia for a combination of urban and outdoor adventures. Hopefully we will be able to spend some time on Komodo Island with the famous Komodo Dragons as well as hike to the top of Kelimutu Volcano at sunrise to witness the startling colors of the three summit craters. Once we reach Thailand, we hope to find a local family willing to teach us traditional Thai cooking. While in Thailand we are also going to make the trek to Phang Nga Bay to paddle into the “hongs”, otherwise known as roofless caves. Perhaps the highlight (no pun intended) is that we will be in Thailand during the annual Lantern Festival. This promises to be absolutely magical! From there we will venture into Cambodia and head to Angor Wat to soak up some of the country’s history and heritage. Following Cambodia is Vietnam. In Vietnam we are going to travel around the country via motorcycle seeing both the tourist destinations as well as the local gems found off the beaten path. Our last stop in Southeast Asia is the Philippines. We will arrive there just in time for the Ati-Atihan Festival as well as some primo scuba diving and a visit to the Chocolate Hills. During our time in Southeast Asia we really want to find some opportunities to volunteer. Whether it is an an orphanage, a school, or a random project we stumble upon, we want to immerse ourselves with the local culture and give back to the people who we are sure will make this leg of the trip unforgettable. Next stop…Australia and New Zealand!
In Australia and New Zealand we really want to strive to balance the urban and the rural atmospheres, both of which are so important to the culture down under. While we will certainly spend some time getting to know the famous landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, we also want to emerge ourselves in the natural beauty both of these counties have to offer. With the majestic mountains, the rolling plains, and the pristine lakes, we plan to explore as much as possible. As a must see in Australia, we are going to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef where we are sure to see mind-boggling coral formations and colorful displays of fish and other dazzling sea life making this an experience of a lifetime. Thanks to some fantastic websites out there connecting people from around the globe, we have discovered phenomenal work opportunities allowing us to really delve into the culture. One opportunity we absolutely cannot pass up is to spend some time working on a sheep farm in New Zealand. Hard to predict what kind of stories will come out of an experience like this!
For the final leg of our once in a lifetime trip we will be in South America. We will start in Chile and hope to make it down to Patagonia to gawk at the impossibly impressive peaks. We will then venture to the Atacama Desert before heading to Peru. In Peru we are going to hike the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu to revel in the ancient ruins before making a stop at Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon to see the condors. From Peru we head into Argentina for some serious salsa dancing as well as some time well spent at Iguazu Falls. Hard to believe, but after all of this traveling it will be time to head home. We already know that we will be so excited to see our family again. (Although we hope they will be able to join us for some time along the way.) We know that the end of this adventure only means the beginning of the next!