Visa Stamps in Passports

Changing Direction – Travel Plans for 2015

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, isn’t it a little bit early to be deciding where we’ll be this time next year? Not for me. I know that some people enjoy going with the flow and making spur-of-the-moment decisions but I’m not one of those people. Andrew and I have been making travel plans for 2015 ever since we moved into our apartment here in Hanoi and we’ve come to some surprising decisions about where we want to go next.
Koh Phangan, Thailand

Fear and New Directions

Uncertainty keeps me awake at night. I like to know where I’m going and what I’m going to be doing the next day, but conversely, I also like to dream. I like to grow new ambitions, set difficult challenges for myself and pluck new goals from the air – even though this terrifies me. One of the ways I deal with my fear of the unknown and find the courage to set out in new directions is to plan and research like crazy.

I remember the build-up to our big departure from the UK in 2013 as one of the most stressful and emotional periods of my life, but it was also one of the most exciting. There were times when I literally couldn’t sleep at night because my mind swirled with too many dreams of faraway places. I felt like Andrew and I talked of nothing but travel, stacking our dreams and ambitions higher and higher, as if in a giant Jenga game. I examined maps, researched flight prices and plotted itineraries. I read endless travel blogs, made lists and mapped our savings targets on Excel spreadsheets. What’s more, I loved it.

St Joseph's Cathedral, Hanoi Vietnam

St Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi Vietnam

Similarly, leaving the comforts of home again to live in Vietnam, where we have definitely struggled to find our feet, has been a huge but exciting challenge. I arrived here with no teaching experience and was thrown into a classroom; I was totally out of my depth. Fortunately, I think the toughest of times are now behind us. We’re becoming used to the routines of daily life and unbelievably, I’m beginning to actually enjoy teaching, which is something I never would have thought possible after the first disastrous lesson I delivered.

I’m proud that Andrew and I have persevered through the rocky beginnings and have begun enjoying this new adventure. Through teaching and living in Vietnam I’m learning so much about my capabilities, children and life in Asia and I can already see how this chapter of our lives will lead us on to more exciting things. Speaking of which, where will our path lead when we finish our teaching contract in May? Now that we’re anchored in one place we’ve had plenty of time to plan new adventures for next year.

Visa Stamps in Passports

We’ll be travelling to a new continent in 2015

Our Travel Plans for 2015

When we first came back to Vietnam I had grand plans of visiting Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal once we’d completed our teaching contracts but I’ve changed my mind about this now. After an incredible summer in the UK, adjusting back into Asian life has been tough for us. Don’t get me wrong, we love this continent and living in Vietnam is proving to be pretty amazing, but by the time May rolls around we will have spent almost two straight years in Asia and to be honest, we are craving a change of culture.

Travel Sign in Thailand

What’s more, when we began researching flight prices to all those countries we realised that just getting from one to the other was going to wipe out a huge chunk of the money we’re working so hard to earn. Now, we’ve spent almost all of our cash over the last couple of years on travelling, mostly in Asia, but it’s always been worthwhile to us because we’ve been passionate about exploring this continent. The fact that we’re now hesitating over spending money to see more of Asia has made us realise: we do not have a burning desire to go to these countries RIGHT NOW. One day, we’d love to, but for now, the passion just isn’t there.

Instead, we’ve decided we need a complete change of direction.

Europe, America and Beyond

So if not Asia, then where? Where do we have a burning desire to visit? When I close my eyes and ask myself that question the answer comes almost immediately: America. Specifically New England. I’ve been obsessed with this little corner of the world since I started reading Stephen King books when I was a kid and the thought of road-tripping down the coast, hopping from one sea-side town to the next and exploring the national parks and cities makes my heart beat a little faster.

Our Rental Car in New Zealand

We want to do more road-trips!

What’s more, I dream of taking this trip during Autumn, which is my favourite season and one I’ve missed for the past two years while we’ve been in Asia. The thought of crisp, frosty mornings, toasted orange-brown leaves and cosy jumpers is about the most appealing thing I can imagine right now. If all goes well, next October and November we’ll be driving through a spectacular Autumn in New England.

But what about the summer? Well, after we finish our teaching contracts in Vietnam we want to revisit Thailand, one of our favourite countries, before we leave Asia. We plan to spend a couple of weeks relaxing and clearing out the Hanoi smog from our lungs in Koh Chang before we board a plane back to England at the end of June. We had such a great time in the UK last summer that we hope to head back every year to catch up with family and friends, get our London fix and do some more house sitting.

Me with Boo in Crystal Palace

Who wouldn’t want to house sit for Boo!?

Towards the end of August we’ll fly to New York, but before we begin our New England road trip we plan to head up to Canada for a month to explore the south-eastern side of the country, from Toronto to Montreal. Our plans end with a flight back to the UK in December 2015 so we can enjoy our first cold Christmas in two years back in our homeland surrounded by family.

As to 2016, who knows? As always, I have plenty of dreams and travel plans swirling away in the back of my head; house sitting and volunteering in Europe, teaching in Spain, a backpacking trip through South America – the list is endless.

Do you love to plan your travels as much as I do? What do you think of our plans for 2015?

  • Dayna
    Posted at 12:28h, 09 October Reply

    Plans are GOOD! We also plan way into the future – even though part of me wishes I can just wing it, I just feel so lost without some sort of plan/direction to head towards. We currently don’t have much of one for 2015 and it’s starting to drive me a little crazy.

    We were in Toronto/New York for our honeymoon at the end of August and it’s a great time to go! You’ll love it.

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:15h, 09 October Reply

      Hi Dayna, thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad to hear from another pro-planner! I do kinda admire those people who just wing it but the idea of doing that myself is horrifying! I agree, plans are definitely good 🙂

  • Kerri
    Posted at 12:42h, 09 October Reply

    Very exciting plans! Once we find a home, you guys are always welcome to come visit us 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:13h, 09 October Reply

      Thanks for the offer Kerri – we might just take you up on that one day 🙂 We’re super-excited about next year!

  • Alyson
    Posted at 13:13h, 09 October Reply

    Hey, do you know there is a brand new cruise ship heading to NY about the time you’ll be flying? Will be around the same price. Me? we have rough plans, from February, Sri Lanka and north to the Himalayas. Then we’ll be out of money and have to head to London or Australia. Last year, not planning at all, having to work out everything as we went was a lot of work, I’m not doing it that way again. We loved our east coast road trip, have fun!

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:12h, 09 October Reply

      Interesting, which cruise ship is that Alyson? We’ll have to check it out. I agree that planning on the go is hard work; things got hectic earlier this year and we ended up doing no planning for Taiwan which didn’t turn out so well. We’re so excited about our US road trip! I might come back to your road trip posts for inspiration as we plan 🙂 Your plans sound awesome, I’m excited to hear how it goes, it’ll be an amazing experience for your boys.

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    Posted at 16:36h, 09 October Reply

    Well, it certainly looks like 2015 will prove exciting for you and herald plenty of new adventures! I also find comfort and reassurance in planning, but I guess our two years traveling really did change me because these days I only focus on where I am now and maybe the next step beyond that and that is generally all I can manage. 🙂

    It’s interesting to read that you have found readjusting to life in Asia so difficult after your little hiatus in the UK this summer. I wonder if we might feel the same whenever we make it back there? What exactly has been the hardest for you?

    Also, I really don’t think that we’ll be in Toronto when you do make it over here as I can’t imagine still being here in a year, but you never know!

    • Amy
      Posted at 02:10h, 10 October Reply

      Hi Steph, we did wonder whether you guys would still be in Toronto next autumn. It would have been nice to see you but it’s great to hear that you’ll be back on the road by then. I think adjusting to being in Asia again has been so hard because of all the work-related problems we’ve had (more about this to come). As you can probably imagine, the way companies and schools work over here is very different and the scheduling has been all over the place but things are settling down now. Oh, the work permit and visa processes aren’t much fun either! It’s just very different being here now compared to when we were travelling in Asia but we’re getting used to everything and enjoying being in one place for a while.

  • Patti
    Posted at 06:03h, 10 October Reply

    Oh Amy, I can totally relate. I am constantly forgetting to live in the moment and I’m always two steps ahead of myself, thinking about what’s next. Now that we’ve started this new chapter and we are free of time constraints, I’m really hoping I’ll get better at just living and appreciating each day as it comes. I’m so excited you’ve decided to visit the U.S. in 2015. Washington, D.C. is an amazing city and if you decide to visit D.C., I would love for the 4 of us to meet in person as I feel as if we are such friends! It would be so fun to connect. In the meantime, let’s both work at living in the moment! 😉

    • Amy
      Posted at 13:44h, 10 October Reply

      I feel that way too Patti! We’d love to meet up with you guys and Washington D.C is definitely one of the places we want to visit next Autumn. It will be great to finally meet in person! Yes, I need to remember to live in the moment more and not go too crazy with the planning 🙂

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 07:39h, 10 October Reply

    Hi Amy, I have been enjoying your blogs for a while now and I think your change of direction will be great. I love road trips and a road trip in the USA is on my list. I will be excited to follow you on your next adventure.

    • Amy
      Posted at 13:46h, 10 October Reply

      Hi Gilda, thanks for reading and commenting. We love road trips too and are super-excited for this one, I hope we can help inspire you with our tales from the US 🙂

  • Tracy & Della
    Posted at 12:11h, 10 October Reply

    We love to plan and agree it is half the fun. Your plans sound awesome and we hope it all works out well for you both. We did a road trip across the US last Spring and would love to spend time in New England…. we are in the process of planning our trip to Asia (it will be our first visit), we have wanted to go there for some time so reading your blog and others has really helped. Happy planning!

    • Amy
      Posted at 13:47h, 10 October Reply

      Hi Tracy and Della, thanks for your support. Your first trip to Asia sounds just as exciting, if you need any advice or help with planning just let us know .

  • Catherine
    Posted at 22:23h, 10 October Reply

    Sounds like you’ve got some exciting times ahead of you! It is so good to have plans, and I know I for one can’t stop making them, even if I then end up changing them a dozen times!

    • Amy
      Posted at 04:16h, 11 October Reply

      That’s so true Catherine; we end up changing our plans so much as well and it took us a long time to settle on this one for 2015. I’ve got my eye on some cheap flights already 🙂

  • Miriam of Adventurous Miriam
    Posted at 10:53h, 11 October Reply

    That sounds like such great plans! I’ve always wanted to do a road trip in the US so I’m excited to hear all about it!

    • Amy
      Posted at 13:47h, 11 October Reply

      We’re excited too Miriam 🙂

  • Carmel
    Posted at 16:26h, 11 October Reply

    I’m like you – I love to plan! And the best part is when I start to dream up a new scheme and see that tickets are really cheap to a place that I was thinking of, then bam, another opportunity lines up and suddenly it all just falls into place.

    I’ve never been to New England in the fall, but I understand it’s really gorgeous. Shawn and I are big fans of road trips, so we highly endorse this plan!

    • Amy
      Posted at 07:26h, 12 October Reply

      Thanks Carmel! I love the excitement of a new plan – finding cheap flights definitely fuels our wanderlust too 🙂

  • Victoria@ The British Berliner
    Posted at 19:44h, 13 October Reply

    Well done you guys, you wrote such an interesting post about the nitty-gritty, of which there is many. I think what you’re doing is great, and your right, if you’re not feeling the love then change the plan!

    I really like Vietnam so of course, you’re going to have a fine time there. Teaching isn’t easy if you don’t have any training, but it seems that you’re finally getting it together so that you can have fun, whilst making money at the same time.

    So to answer your question: Do I love to plan my travels as much as you do? Well, I guess it’s two-fold. I like to do research and organise flights, and the destination-location. If it’s peak period, then I’ll throw in the lodgings too. I usually have a few things that I want to do but the rest of the plan is open ended and can be added, taken away or changed. When we went to Wales, our bunkhouse was pretty dodgy so we moved to the pub next door! In Italy, we decided to stay longer on a farm and shorter on a beach, and everyone was fine with it!

    What do I think of your plans for 2015 in New England? Very nice indeed. I like roadtrips. In fact, I think that is what America does best. 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 08:30h, 15 October Reply

      Hi Victoria, it’s definitely good to keep some flexibility in your plans in-case things change; there have been a few times when we’ve liked a place so much we wanted to stay longer and others when we’ve left early because we didn’t like a place.

  • Emma Bail
    Posted at 09:28h, 07 November Reply

    I think this is the best post ever i read about travel in 2015.Love all the points and information.I think every one who wants to travel or who have some travel plans in 2015 must read this post.It is worth read.I am planning my trip to Honolulu soon and this is really a good treat for me that i read this post before i start my travel.

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:26h, 07 November Reply

      Thanks Emma 🙂

  • Anna @ Amani Afrika
    Posted at 15:49h, 08 December Reply

    How about East Africa? May is a good time to travel because it’s low season. Prices at some safari lodges are half off compared with high season rates. The scenery is green and you’d get to see wildlife up-close with few others around. Something to think about hey?

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