The Second Half of the Big Adventure is Taking Shape

Crossing the Australian continent on the Great Southern Railway’s Indian-Pacific train.

The second half of our Big Adventure, in 2019, is setting up nicely. Although we have over a year to go, we’ve taken advantage of a couple of “early bird” specials and booked both our India tour and our rail trip across Australia, and saved a nice amount of money in the process. If nothing else, we have dates for each piece of the journey.

Most other purchases and reservations can’t be made yet, but having the dates has given a window to start our research and get an estimate of prices and costs.

Here’s how our itinerary for 2019 is shaping up:

  • 1/7: Depart Portland for New Delhi. Most flights we’ve looked at head east, through Europe, making for a very long flying time. There are some flights though heading west, including a couple of non-stops, so we’re keeping our eyes on those.
  • 1/8: Arrive in New Delhi. We’re coming into India a day early to get rested before our tour begins (and hopefully avoid any fog delays).
  • 1/9 – 1/15: India tour
  • 1/15 – 1/21: Depart New Delhi for Hong Kong on the evening of the 15th for a six-night stay at the Salisbury YMCA Hotel. We could stay an extra couple of days here, but Hong Kong prices these days are high, so we decided to keep to our original plan.

    We’ll definitely be eating dim sum in Hong Kong, probably more than once.

  • 1/21 – 1/27: Depart Hong Kong for Perth, Western Australia. We originally thought Perth would be a one-night stay before boarding the train for Sydney, but we’re now planning to stay for several days because a) the cost is less than Hong Kong, and b) we felt we needed a chance to “recharge our batteries” after India and Hong Kong. There’s plenty for us to see and do in Perth, but we’ll also have lots of down time to relax as well.
  • 1/27 – 1/30: Board the Indian-Pacific train on the morning of the 27th to begin our cross-continent trip to Sydney. The train trip includes off-train excursions to Kalgoorlie, Adelaide, the Blue Mountains and several other places before arriving in Sydney in the afternoon of the 30th. The trip includes a private compartment with en suite bathroom, all meals in the dining car and complementary Australian wines and beer, alcoholic spirits and non-alcoholic drinks.

    These iconic sights will definitely be one of the highlights of our trip.

  • 1/30 – 2/4: Spend six nights in Sydney. We’re planning to take some free walking tours, and maybe a harbor cruise among other activities while we’re here. We’re also seriously considering adding in one of the fun experiences arranged by Airbnb.
  • 2/4 – 2/16: Fly to Auckland on the 4th, pick up a car at the airport, and hit the road with stops in Rotorua, Napier, Wellington, and New Plymouth on the North Island before ending back in Auckland for a few days of sightseeing there.

    Hiroshima (including Miyajima Island) will be on the itinerary when we’re in Japan.

  • 2/16 – 5/15: The big Japan visit. We’ll be in Japan for 89 days, one less than the allowed number of days without a visa. We’ve already found a great house to stay in, in a wonderful neighborhood, so fingers are crossed we can make the final arrangements for that in a few months. Brett and I are planning to purchase 7-day Japan Rail Passes before we go, and visit Hiroshima and Kyoto for a week, most likely sometime in April.
  • 5/15 – Depart Japan for Portland

Plans for what to do at the end of our travels are starting to take shape as well, but they’re all really still ideas at this point. Meiling graduates from college in June 2019, so that’s the only definite thing going on at this point.

The front part of our trip, in 2018, can’t be arranged until we know where and when YaYu will be going to school. But, we should know that no later than the end of next March, giving us plenty of time to set everything up.

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14 thoughts on “The Second Half of the Big Adventure is Taking Shape

    • Laura says:

      We haven’t gotten around to figuring out insurance yet. Our medical insurance covers us anywhere in the world, but we need insurance for things like flight changes, lost luggage and other stuff like that. There is around the world insurance, but we’re hoping we can find something we can customize for what we need.

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks! We’re very, very excited too – I wish we could book the whole darn thing right now! But, we know where we’re going and when we want to be there. Hopefully we will hear sooner rather than later where YaYu will be going to school and when she needs to be there so we can set up the itinerary for the first half.

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  1. UnwrittenLifeBlog says:

    After flying east from the West Coast to Bali, I’d definitely recommend flying west if at all possible. That is one long haul. However, stopping in Dubai for a tour was a once in a lifetime adventure, so maybe you can arrange something like that along the way!

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    • Laura says:

      Air Canada has direct flights to Delhi from Vancouver, so that’s going to be our first choice. We will have Southwest credit too, so another option is to fly down to San Francisco and fly direct from there. We’re hoping to find something less than 18 hours, if possible. Most of the heading east flights are something like 29 hours in all – ugh.

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  2. Kay says:

    My daughter and I used to love watching The Amazing Race…..not fans of reality tv in general but this one was always fun.

    Your planning is reminding me a bit of this show…tho’ of course you and Brett won’t be racing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laura says:

      When we plan travel we always try to set up a firm foundation that we can work off of. Other than the dates for the India tour, the train journey, and a 90 day limit in Japan, everything else is flexible and can be adjusted.

      I always wondered how Brett and I would have done on The Amazing Race – we make a good team!

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    • Laura says:

      I will be blogging as we go! Maybe not as frequently as I do now, but I’m looking forward to sharing the trip – the blog will serve as my journal.

      I can’t wait to get the first half of the trip sorted.

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  3. beautea97 says:

    This is just an awesome blog to follow! Great information/thoughts/ideas for someone having an adventure such as yours. I look forward to following along, as I was hoping you’d be blogging along the way 🙂

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  4. Kelly says:

    How did you decide the length of time to spend in each country? After paying for airfare to arrive in Australia or India it seems like it would make sense to spend more than a week or 10 days and really see all that country has to offer.
    On another note, I just want to say how much I admire your and Brett’s determination to save. In this area I have learned ALOT! I am constantly asking myself “what frugal wins” I had today and striving for no spend days. We still suck, but progress is being made.

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    • Laura says:

      Our 2019 time frame was mostly shaped by the tour in India, the train journey in Australia, and our desire to spend as much time in Japan as possible before heading back to the U.S. for our oldest daughter’s graduation in June.

      This will be a first visit to India, and we really didn’t feel up to doing it on our own, and we can afford a longer tour. I think a week will be a good introduction. Our time in Australia will frame the train trip – we’ll actually be spending a little over two weeks in the country, six days at the beginning in Perth, and six days on the end in Sydney, with four days in the middle crossing the continent. Yes, we could have stayed longer and skipped Hong Kong and New Zealand, but we really want to visit both places (Hong Kong is pure nostalgia for us – we’re going there to eat!). Again, our stay in Japan, to spend time there with family, is really the anchor for this part of the journey.

      There’s no straight line for saving – you just do your best. But, the small stuff adds up, and faster than you might think! Keep at it!

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