We made it at last. We have an itinerary.
After months of thinking we had one, then realising that we were doing too much, couldn't do enough, or that a few weeks in certain countries would be pointless and screw the budget, we’re there at last. Wow, that feels good to write out loud.
We started off with a naive little notion that a round the world ticket was a simple purchase. Ahahahaha. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Those things are a minefield of hidden rules. You can only travel in one direction. There are limits to the number of stops. Number of continents. But, for the purposes of this, and this alone, Central America has suddenly become a continent. Number of countries per continent. Mileage limits. Airline alliance limits. And just as you think you have it all worked out, you find out your chosen alliance ‘doesn’t really do Asia’ and you have to start over again.
Thank God Lori has a bit of experience of airlines and travelling. But mostly thank God we ended up with Julia. Julia is our guardian angel, a Round the World expert of FlightCentre. Julia knows. Julia saved us. We once held a mildly demented family conference call with her that consisted of us sitting in the Aldi carpark, while torrential rain lashed the windscreen and the baby threatened to wake up. But we got there eventually.
The fully flexible ticket was - funnily enough - horribly expensive, so we came to a conclusion that we had to be more organised and precise than we have ever been in our lives. After weeks of going back and forth, we had every country and every flight and every date and every time. A combination of round the world stops and separate flights. So that was it. We were happy. For three whole weeks.
But the world is unpredictable. There are conflicts and outbreaks and things we haven’t even heard of yet. So when we heard that in Darjeeling - one of the most important parts of our Indian itinerary - people were being shot dead on the streets because of a political conflict, we thought it might not be the most family-friendly of places. And we drastically cut India, allocating more time elsewhere.
We bought the tickets. And here’s the plan. There’s no backing out now.
On the 10th of September 2017, the Di Francesco family will fly from London Heathrow to Kathmandu. We’ll spend one month in Nepal, ending with a few days of animal-spotting in the Chitwan National Park.
From there, a fast week across India to Delhi, and a flight straight to Sri Lanka.
Then Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali, Sydney, Chile, Mexico and a dance and a daiquiri through Cuba before heading home.
We want to do homestays as well as apartments. We want to meet local families and see how they live. We will obviously be taking a tourist shot in front of the Taj Mahal but aside from that, we’d love to see the less obvious places. We will mostly be eating our way through twelve countries for an unforgettable nine month adventure.
We still don’t know exactly where we will go or what we will do. We are travelling with very open minds. So if anyone has ideas for the best things to eat or the coolest stuff for kids to do, the weirdest festivals to find or the friendliest people to meet, then do please shout.
10th of September 2017, we’re coming!
Round the World Experts
159 Oxford Street, London, W1D 2JL
Tel: 0203 056 1134