ABC Travel

I love travelling, obviously, or I wouldn’t be in the industry that I am in.  I love travelling by sea, waking up in a new place every day.  But sometimes, you wake up in a place where you’d like to stay for a few more days.  And there are so many places that aren’t even accessible by sea.  The more places I visit, the more places I realize I want to visit.     [I think this must be some corollary to Socrates’ “The more I know, the more I realize I don’t know” theory.]

When I was younger, I wanted to be a travel agent for a while (of course, I also wanted to be a lawyer and a pop star).  As I got older, and with the advent of the internet and bargain travel sites like Expedia and Travelocity, I thought travel agents were becoming obsolete.  But I suppose there is always a niche somewhere for these things; you just have to find it.

I’ve considered all of the places I want to go, and the best ways to incorporate them into cohesive trips.  There has to be a common thread tying them together.  So I thought of some itineraries (packing can wait!)

 

Disneylands

The easiest (and cheesiest) itinerary would be to visit every Disneyland theme park in the world.  I know many people have done this gradually (I, myself, am slowly checking them off as well), but wouldn't it be neat to visit them all in one trip?  It could probably be done in about two weeks if one didn't make any side trips along the way.

Itinerary for visiting every Disneyland!

Itinerary for visiting every Disneyland!

Most travel companies make itineraries for a specific region.  Here are two itineraries that can actually be driven and could be done well in anywhere from two weeks to two months!

Eastern Europe

I have a lot of friends in this region that I would love to visit and have show me around some of the lesser known areas of Europe.  The entire trip can be driven in less than 2 days, so it really would depend on how much time you want to spend in each place.

Eastern European Road Trip!

Eastern European Road Trip!

Southern Africa

I also have a lot of friends in South Africa.  It is quite an up and coming tourist destination, and I think paired with a stereo-typical Africa safari and a trip to the iconic Victoria Falls, this would actually make quite a popular itinerary for those looking for some adventure.  Highlights could include the Safari, the Falls, surfing, and maybe a winery tour.

South African Road Trip!

South African Road Trip!

Northern Africa/ Southern Mediterranean

Another regional based itinerary, and probably one of the most unstable, would be a trip across Northern Africa.  I don’t recommend driving straight across though, as many of the areas are quite dangerous.  Stick to major tourist towns.  Maybe even take a cruise for some of it. The trip could also begin or end in Europe (like Portugal, Spain, or Gibraltar.)  Highlights here would include Moroccan markets, the Great Pyramids and Sphinx, Petra, and of course a camel ride or two.

Northern Africa Itinerary

Northern Africa Itinerary

My real thought though, was how to combine multiple destinations in varied climates/regions into one trip without making a plain old “around the world” trip?  Simple, travel by alphabet!  I originally thought of the idea when I realized that most of the places I most wanted to visit started with the letter “I”.  For anyone who has ever read Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert also visits 3 countries that start with “I”, as I guess most of the good countries do 😉

Travel by Alphabet!

 

I went to Traveler’s Century’s List of countries and territories to see how many start with “I”.  Luckily, there are not many.  I then ruled out Iraq and Iran as they are probably not safe for a young American woman.  I also took out the Ivory Coast as it was out of the way from any of the other places (and, technically, it would be a “C” for Cote d’Ivoire!)  This gave me the following itinerary…

 

The “I”s Have It!

I_Countries

“I” Countries Itinerary – my dream trip!

Iceland (to visit the Blue Lagoons), Ireland (to visit the Guinness Brewery and the Blarney Stone), Isle of Man (because it’s close enough), Italy (Tuscany is the prettiest region),  Istanbul (while not technically it’s own country, this iconic city is considered a completely different region), Israel (Wailing Wall and floating in the Dead Sea – and probably a night out in Tel Aviv for sure!), India (Taj Mahal), and finally, Indonesia.  I reckon this trip could be done in three legs (Northern Europe, Mediterranean, and the Inds).  One could probably do each segment in about two weeks, depending on what you wanted to see. 

So 6-8 weeks would be the perfect time for this trip (and preferably in early or late summer for ideal weather in all countries!)  This means I could actually do this on one of my breaks between contracts (it would just take me a few contracts to pay it off!)  This is really my dream trip.

I then also thought about some of the other countries I want to visit, and came up with what I like to call the “A-List”.  Another trip that could be done in 6-8 weeks visits countries which start with the letter “A”. 

The “A”-List

This would include Argentina, Antarctica, and then Australia (with NZ thrown in since I’m there).

"A" Countries Itinerary!

“A” Countries Itinerary!

 

So there you have it.  Maybe I could even create an itinerary that systematically visits one country starting with each letter of the alphabet! [*] Check back for that one.  If anyone wants to travel any of these with me, call ABC Travel (i.e. – me!)  

 

P.S.  For the Alphabetical list of countries, click here.  For the list of countries by region, click here.

 
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My Life is Your Vacation

I’m writing this about 3 weeks into my current vacation from ships.  This time, I left the ship in Jolly England, so decided to delay my flight home a week and explore some of the country.  I spent a few days staying with friends down south followed by a couple days partying and sightseeing in London- it’s what I would call a proper vacation.  Since being home though I haven’t done much besides watch TV (I had to download all the updated episodes of my favorite shows once I finally got decent internet again!)  I also have spent way too many hours editing all of my photos and videos from my last 7 months on the ship.  This just made me more stir crazy.  So stir crazy in fact, that I decided to see if they needed some help in a different position for the summer.  Turns out they did.

So now I leave again in two weeks to go back to Jolly England and the ship I just left this month!   The funny part is, the day I left (somewhat begrudgingly), I told everyone I would be back some way at some point.  I guess sometimes the universe really does take your suggestions!  Definitely a different mentality from my last “vacation”.

When I leave the ship again, I’ll have three weeks home before I leave again for the other side of the world.  I guess when my work is your vacation, why would I want to be stuck back at your work?!?!?

Homeward Bound (A Case of Schadenfreude)

First of all, I would like to admit that I am writing this about three weeks late because my entire post was deleted from my computer (silly technology, tricks are for kids!)

Have you ever gotten the feeling that the world was preventing you from doing something?  That perhaps you were not meant to do something?  Or that in doing it you would face the trials of Job?  That has been my “vacation”.

My job entails making sure all of you enjoy your vacation as you sail around the world.  It’s a fantastic and exhausting job.  Naturally, my vacation is more akin to your everyday life- sitting at home and watching TV.  But when the world seems to be keeping you from getting home, consider it an omen of what is to come.

My omen started when I had to arrive at the airport in Seattle at 10 am for a 9:40pm flight.  I figured I could check my bags and take a train downtown for the day and see some sights, but no, the air line will not let you check-in until four hours before your flight.  So I instead spend ten hours sitting in the one little sandwich shop on the outside of security.  I finally go to check in, only to learn that the entire staff is on dinner break and will not be back for two hours.  So I am forced to wait some more, and just as the time is finally approaching, I receive an email notification saying my flight is delayed until 12:03am.  Now, I have to wait longer to check in, and I will have 10 minutes to make my connecting flight in Miami.  After an anxious call to my family warning them I may need them to drive to Miami and pick me up, I receive another message of a further delay.  Now I won’t make my connecting flight at all.  I go to the counter to see what they can do, and since the plane is going to keep being delayed, they book me on another flight on another airline.

I go to check in with the new airline so I can finally dump my bags, and they inform me that I was booked on a full flight.  Feeling generous since I share her birthday, the girl cuts me a lucky break and keeps me on the flight (although she doesn’t cut me a break on the baggage fees, even with my Seaman’s book!)

I finally make it through security, get some much needed hot food, and proceed to my gate.  I find a friend from the ship and also make friends with a nice airline employee.  We board the plane and they announce that the pilots are MIA but should hopefully be there soon and we should all applaud when they board the plane.  What the?!?!?!?  Thank goodness they are only fifteen minutes late or so, and we are finally on our way.

My connection in Atlanta goes off without a hitch, but upon arriving in Tampa, I discover they have forgotten one of my bags.  At least they know where it is – still in Atlanta.  They inform me it will arrive on the next flight and they will deliver it to my house.  I take a tracking number and head out to my ride, anxious to get home and sleep off my horrible 24 hours.  No such luck, I’m locked out.  After twenty minutes of trying to break into my own house, I finally get my brother to wake his roommate up and let me in.

There is to be no rest as immediately upon getting home, I learn that my car won’t start at all.  There is no food in the house and I am starving so I resolve to walk to the store.  Unfortunately, my missing bag is the one that has all my shoes in it save for the cowboy boots I was wearing (which are not acceptable for walking half a mile in 95 degree heat and humidity!)  So alas, I simply pass out on the crappy green couch that is to be my bed for the length of my vacation.

After a week of fruitlessly trying to get my car fixed, I give up and take a train to visit my parents for a week so I can put it out of sight and out of mind.  Unfortunately there is to be no rest for the weary as other anxieties pile on instead.  The icing on the cake?  I get an email begging me to go back a month early!  This would mean missing seeing most of my friends, my cousin’s wedding, and Thanksgiving with family I haven’t seen in years.  And if that were not enough, they want to change my ship to one with a much less exciting itinerary.  They have yet to confirm said dates, and so I sit here knowing that I could POSSIBLY be leaving in less than a week and knowing that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to take care of all of the things I needed to before leaving again.  Perhaps next time I should just skip vacation all together and go straight to another ship.

My life would make an excellent “comedy of errs” type film.  Schadenfreud!

 

 

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