Although the main reason we came back to the U.S. was not under the happiest of circumstances, we have both had a really lovely time with our families and friends over the holidays. We both got to spend quality time in Sacramento for a couple weeks before the holidays, and then I flew to Wisconsin to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with my family and friends.
But now it’s time to finish up this RTW trip!
Again, to catch you up to date on our current situation, we originally planned to continue our travels throughout Africa in December and January, but unexpectedly had to return to the US in early December due to a sudden illness and then subsequent death in the family. After much consideration and discussion between James and I and our families, we decided to continue our travels in January since our RTW flight tickets are still valid through February 26, 2014.
Below is our updated travel itinerary for January and February.
**Side note** because the Africa portion of our trip will be a lot of camping and modest accommodations, we most likely won’t have internet for long periods of time, and may not be updating our map or blog regularly. However, I DO love writing when we’re on the go, so I hope to have a bunch of blog posts prepared on the road for the occasional bouts of wifi access. Oh yea… and in addition, James and I both left our laptops behind for this portion of the trip, and opted instead to bring my dinky little netbook; so my apologies in advance for the lack of detailed maps and photos on the upcoming blogs since I don’t have my photoshop graphics program with me (I feel lost without it!!) I’m sure you won’t even notice this difference, but I know my graphics friends might 🙂
JANUARY 6th, 2014 (Yesterday, Monday) I flew from Wisconsin to California and met up with James. Due to the crazy winter weather in the north and eastern parts of the country, I was PARANOID my flight would be cancelled… especially since the temperature in Milwaukee was NEGATIVE FIFTEEN DEGREES WHEN I LEFT! (with a wind chill of NEGATIVE FORTY DEGREES—FAHRENHEIT!!). But fortunately the flight was “only” delayed 3 1/2 hours and I made it to Cali just fine!
JANUARY 7th, 2014 (confirmed) FLY TO SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA. We are flying to Seoul in order to pick up our RTW flight ticket, so we will have a one-day stop over through the city. Fun! Although it’s winter there at the moment, and we’ll be sight-seeing in 30-to-40-something degree weather! Brrrr!
JANUARY 9th, 2014 (confirmed): ARRIVE IN NAIROBI, KENYA
JANUARY 9th-ish to 19th-ish, 2014 (approximate): NAIROBI, KENYA VOLUNTEER PROJECT. We are planning to volunteer for 7-10 days in a Masai tribal village a few hours outside of Nairobi, working with children. We’ll spend a few days in Nairobi city itself either at the beginning or end of the volunteer project. We also gathered some school supplies and toys this past week in the U.S. (thanks to the friends who donated) and stuffed our suitcases—and brought an extra bag—full of items to donate to a Nairobi organization that supplies schools with MUCH needed items. A few months ago, I read about this great organization/website that helps connect travelers with charities around the world that are in great need of supplies: http://www.packforapurpose.org, and I thought this was SUCH a great idea and I really wanted to help. I will write an entire blog about this topic in the future, but basically if you are planning to travel abroad, pack lighter and save room in your suitcase for donations to bring to the country you are traveling to.
JANUARY 20th-FEBRUARY 8th, 2014 (confirmed): TOUR. Twenty-day group tour (camping… yikes!) from Kenya down through Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia to Victoria Falls, including safari game drives in the Serengeti. We are doing this tour through “G Adventures” (formerly known as Gap Adventures) and we both look forward to NOT HAVING TO PLAN ANYTHING for this portion… although I’m a bit unenthusiastic about having to CAMP for 20 days, but I’m excited for the new experience! We’ll just have to make sure to keep the mosquitoes away, as this whole area is Malaria-ridden and full of a few other diseases as well. [If you want to check out the tour we are taking and the cities and places we are visiting, click here.
FEBRUARY 8th to 10th (confirmed): VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE. Our tour will includes exploration of Victoria falls from the Zambia side, but after the tour ends on the 8th, we figured why not check out the other side of the falls in Zimbabwe? It’s supposed to be pretty spectacular, so we’ll cross the border and spend a couple of days in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
FEBRUARY 10th (confirmed): FLY TO JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA. Back to South Africa, hurray! We will hopefully spend some time this night with my friend Nicole and her husband in Johannesburg, then head out the next day to Kruger National park.
FEBRUARY 11th to 16th (approximate): KRUGER NATIONAL PARK: Spend time in Kruger National Park, which is known as one of the top safari destinations in the world. We are actually renting a car in Johannesburg and driving out to Kruger and spending about 5 days driving around and spotting animals! Might come back to Johannesburg a day earlier to spend time with Nicole & husband, but not sure yet about the specifics.
FEBRUARY 16th (confirmed) FLY TO OSLO, NORWAY: We wanted to visit Iceland, but one of the only ways to get there with the limitations of our RTW ticket is to stop over in Norway. We’ll probably visit with my college friend, Gro, when we pass through Oslo, or might see her a week later when we pass through again.
FEBRUARY 18th (confirmed) FLY TO REYKJAVIK, ICELAND: This time of year—and the 2013-2014 winter season is actually supposed to be one of the BEST times to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, so we figured with the unlimited mileage on our RTW ticket, why not fly allllll the way up north to the arctic circle? We will spend about 5-7 days around the country visiting waterfalls, glaciers, and staring up in the sky at night.
FEBRUARY 24th-ish, 2014 (approximate): FLY BACK TO OSLO, NORWAY: We have to fly back to Oslo to catch our RTW flight back to the states, so we might fly back on the 24th to spend a couple days around this lovely Norwegian city. Again, we hope to meet up with my friend, Gro, and her family.
FEBRUARY 26, 2014: RETURNING TO THE US!! Our RTW flight tickets expire 12 months from when we began this crazy adventure, so we need to return to the U.S. by February 26th, 2014. So of course we are flying back ON THE LAST DAY POSSIBLE! 🙂 We will fly into Milwaukee, WI, and then will figure out whatever from there… hopefully spend a couple weeks in Wisconsin and Sacramento, CA, but we will both eventually return to Los Angeles maybe sometime in March or so. This, of course, all depends on job opportunities, finding a new apartment, and other future plans and such.
SO… there you have it! As you can see, this next portion of the trip is REALLY planned out… but mostly because we had to book all the legs of our RTW flight within a 7-week time period, so it took very careful planning and thinking.
If anybody has suggestions or contacts in Iceland, please let us know! We would appreciate any advice and help you may have 🙂
Again, we will try to keep the blog updated as much as possible throughout the next seven weeks, but it might be spotty… just keep checking your email and this blog as often as possible to see any new posts!
… And thank you all for reading!