We are planning a year long backpacking trip.
I am travelling with my Japanese girlfriend, and every day we are discussing where we are going and what we need to prepare.
We have so many ideas!
Making travel plans
We are currently arranging flights to the UK because my 89 year old mother lives there and we will start the real trip after visiting her.
We don’t intend to plan the route of the trip too tightly, but it is still good to have some sense of direction.
I have travelled to lots of countries before, but there are still many places I’ve never been, so I would like to visit new countries, as well as some that we have already visited before.
When we think about our travel plans, one of the key factors is the weather. We want to avoid staying in cold regions because we will be travelling light – backpacks that weigh only 5 kgs or so.
There are cheap flights to South America from Canada
So for now, we have just have a ticket to fly to the UK on the night of 14 September. We also agreed that we both definitely want to go to Turkey and so will head there from the UK.
So where else might we go?
Mai always wanted to go to South America and because it is in the southern hemisphere it would be good to go after October weather wise.
I found flights to South America from/or via Canada at comparatively affordable prices. It might be an option to go to South America via Canada after a short stay in the UK and Turkey.
I travelled to South America a couple of times, once overland from Montreal, Canada. Mai has never been and she would like to go to there. So maybe we will go.
We would like to go to many countries in South America, including Brazil, but according to Brazilian friends it seems that Brazil is not so safe. I have never been to Brazil and I would like to go there, but we might avoid it for the moment because it doesn’t seem to be such a relaxing place to be given the current issues around personal safety.
Africa is another option
We have some friends living in Africa, so one of the ideas is to go to Africa to meet them.
Africa is, overall, quite expensive to travel to and to get around. So going when we have a lot of time could keep the cost a little bit lower. Therefore, this one year trip could be a good opportunity to travel to Africa.
Seasonally, of course, a lot of African countries are in the southern hemisphere or close to the Equateur, so climate-wise it’s quite easy.
Whether it’s Africa or South America, the journey and meeting people are some of the fun parts to a trip.
The only downside to travelling in both South America and Africa is that the food is not as delicious as in Asia. We live to eat in Asia and eat to live in some other places.
By the way, what about Japan?
Some readers may be thinking, “Well, what about Japan?”
I would love to go to Japan too, but since the pandemic the country has been effectively closed to foreigners who are not legally married to a Japanese person. Because we are not officially married a spouse visa doesn’t work for us.
At the time of writing this article, Japan does not yet issue visas for individual foreign travellers. Before the pandemic it used to be easy for me to travel to Japan, only needing a return plane ticket.
At the moment foreign travellers on tours or business travellers are allowed to enter Japan, but this is not really an option for us.
We hope that the rules will change soon allowing us to go together. It is very disappointing because I would like to travel to Japan again and the Japanese Yen has devalued against the Canadian dollar, so is even cheaper than before. So it’s good time to go to Japan now. It’s really a shame that I cannot get a visa to Japan.
Of course, we have one year to travel, so it may happen that the Japanese Government will be completely open to foreign travellers during that period. When that happens, we will go to Japan.