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Countries We’re Considering

There are a few things that Shawna and I are not in total agreement on, when it comes to this trip. She believes we can make due with 3-4 pairs of underwear each. Me? Nope…I want 15-20…come on, nothing worse than sweaty….um, never mind. Bad visual. That was uncalled for…I’m sorry.

Anyways, although we have a few differing opinions (and that’s cool), one of the things we are very much in agreement on in slow travel. At this point, we are planning/budgeting for 15 months away. In those 15 months, we would much rather spend time in 15 countries, as opposed to whirl-winding through 37. There is nothing wrong with the latter, but we don’t believe it is exactly our style. But hey who knows…I try to tell Shawna I am ready for overland border crossings, squat toilets, and chicken buses. Reality is, I will likely be the first one looking for a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a bowl that flushes.

Now we are nowhere close to having a finalized list of these 15 (or 22 or 17) countries, and in all likelihood a lot of these decisions will be made rather spontaneously. That being said, there are a handful of very likely contenders. Places you will almost certainly find us visiting or short-term-living over the course of our journey:

Since the planning began, we have talked about Guatemala being our first major stop. We have been researching Spanish schools in both San Pedro and Quetzaltenango, in hopes of expanding our Spanish past “Donde esta el baño?” Mayan ruins, volcanos, lush jungles, and (hopefully) less crowded beaches are some of the things we are looking forward to. Additionally, Guatemala is fairly well travelled so this will be a great way to ease into things.

Our original intention was not to spend a ton of time in Europe, especially Western Europe at all…and then we heard about the Camino de Santiago. In a nutshell we would spend about a month walking 780 kms across northern Spain, finishing in Santiago de Compostela. The route is made by a few hundred thousand every year, so it is not like we are doing something which has never been attempted. That being said, it will be a helluva hike!


Shawna spent six months here in 2007-08 (see her Ghana blog here), and fell in love with the country immediately. For the past couple of years that we have known each other, I have dreamt of heading back their with her. This is one of the countries I am looking forward to spending time in the most. This might also be a country where we spend time in an African game park. Many people spend several thousand going to see “The Big 5″ while on safari in Kenya, Tanzania, or South Africa. This isn’t currently one of the things on our bucket list, so we may just settle for the walking tour of Mole National Park for about $5.


Providing I didn’t miss any of them there are seven countries which end in ‘stan’. Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Obviously Afghanistan is not real high on our must-see list at this time, but I do hope that we will be able to spend some time travelling through one of the other Stans.


Well, to be honest, some of it has to do with the fact that these countries are just fun to pronounce…try to say Uzbekistan without smiling. See? Seriously though, these countries are rarely part of any of the RTW itineraries I have seen, but those few who have spent time there, have incredible stories to share. I cannot wait until we have stories of our own!

There is no doubt we will be spending time in SE Asia, likely quite a bit of time, beautiful, safe, and cheap cheap cheap. We have heard so much wonderful stuff about Vietnam: cruising through Halong Bay, moped-ing through Ho Chi Minh City, massages on the shores of Nha Trang. Friends of ours who have spent time their rave about Vietnam, and we imagine we will too!

Honestly, our reasons for being interested in Oman are even more obscure than why we want to visit a ‘Stan’. We are fairly loyal followers of the reality TV show The Amazing Race. Last fall when we watched racers drive through the mountainsides, and search for “Ali Baba” in Muttrah Souq, we were intrigued. The final straw however was when a local man, sat with Phil at the pitstop, greeting teams with his Omanian accent “welcome to Oman”. Well, for some reason, Shawna is unable to get that line out of her head….she thinks he sounded friendly. And that is why, in all likelihood we will probably, or at least possibly, stumble into Oman somewhere on our journey.

Of course there are a few other countries which are virtual locks. Thailand, India, and of course, Madagascar would be included here…but wow, there still seems to be so much of the world left to explore. It’s funny, although we have told each other, that we recognize that there is no way we can travel to as many places as we would ideally like to, part of us still hopes that somehow there might be a way….

Any other suggestions?

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27 Responses to “Countries We’re Considering”

  1. crazy sexy fun traveler April 15, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    I have to say I am surprised by your list, not very common places :)
    You should add Mexico, I am here now for 3 months and loving it :)

    • Skott and Shawna April 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

      Yeah, in coming up with our itinerary, however vague it may be, we want to find countries and places that we likely wouldn’t go back and see, if we did a trip 30-40 years from now. We will be spending only a little time in Europe. Not because it wouldn’t be incredible, but only because this could be a trip we could take down the road, in our… golden years! Mexico, as it stands now, is definitely on the list! I have heard incredible things about Oaxaca.

  2. Michael Hodson April 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    I assume ya’ll are going to do some sort of RTW airline ticket? Cause you’ve got some places that are a damn good bit distant from each other. (As to the ‘Stans… I’ve got two friends that have lived in them for years — you might not want to budget TOO much time there).
    Michael Hodson recently posted..Writing on the Beach- My Current Plan

    • Skott and Shawna April 16, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

      At this point, we are thinking 3 flights: 1) CGY to London, 2) Somewhere in W.Africa to Madagascar (brutally expensive, but…), 3) Madagascar to Turkey….we might be fooling ourselves, but will have to see. At this point I am still hoping we can find a way to get from either SEA (or Oz if we go) to South America by boat…..any suggestions? PS. Don’t say bad things about the Stans….it is already tough enough to get Shawna to agree to them :)

  3. Jaime April 17, 2011 at 3:47 am #

    You have 2 come 2 Nicaragua. I have fallen in love with this country and know I will def come back when I have a lot more time to see a lot more of it!!! The people are amazing the food is so fucking good and its so cheap. Its a win win win all over!!!
    Jaime recently posted..Photo Round Up – Week 7

    • Skott and Shawna April 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

      Nicaragua, and the rest of Central America are most definitely on the list….but as it stands now, we will be there at the tail end of our trip….saving the best for last???

  4. Michael April 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Interesting list of countries that don’t usually show up at the top of typical RTW lists. Here are some we are considering for our upcoming RTW: Kenya/Tanzania for a safari, Sri Lanka for the tea estates, Argentina for the nightlife, beef and strong dollar, Malta because they filmed parts of Gladiator and The Count of Monte Cristo there, Cambodia for Angkor Wat (you’ll be pretty close in Vietnam), Dubai to see the tallest building in the world and Hong Kong just because.

    I remember that Amazing Race episode about Oman and it did look pretty cool. The ‘Stans are intriguing to travel the old Silk Road.

    I encourage you to do this now before life gets in the way. We are 50 and just getting around to it.
    Michael recently posted..To e-read or not to e-read That is the question

    • Skott and Shawna April 26, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

      Hi Michael – thanks for stopping in! Yeah, we know we will hit some of the more common rtw countries too… I mean there is a reason they are common, and that is usually because they are awesome….but we did want to include a few oddballs in there as well….Argentina will absolutely be on our list as well. I suspect Shawna’s parents will be meeting us there…the new stop which I cannot seem to let go of is Bangladesh….somehow I think we may need to be gone a lot longer than 15 months to see all we wish to see!

  5. Marlene May 1, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Hi Shawna and Skott!

    I know that Europe is not big on your list (totally understand, it is somewhat expensive here) BUT you totally have to come to visit us in Liechtenstein! Who can say that they´ve been to Liechtenstein??? You can get quite cheap flights from London, Madrid or any other big city in Europe to e.g Munich or Stuttgart or sometimes even Zurich (Ryan Air, German Wings, Air Berlin) and I could pick you up from there. You can stay at our house which is just next to the Austrian and Swiss boarder. Zürich, Bern, Innsbruck, Lake Constance, Matterhorn, Eiger Nordwand, Geneva, Aletsch glaciar at Jungfraujoch, Neuschwanstein Castle and a lot more cool places are within a 2-3 hours drive from our place.

    We have a nice guestroom with a seperate bathroom and you´re free to stay as long as you want. I know from own travel experiences that it´s nice after some months of travelling to have a “clean” place where you can wash laundry, have a fast internet connection, take a bubble bath or relax on the couch and watch a movie.

    It would be really awsome to meet Skott and see you again Shawna!
    Think about it!

    btw. if you go to Argentina you definitely have to visit Peninsula Valdés. Amazing whale watching right from the beach and unspoiled nature. If possible try to avoid high season. We were there in mid-september; no people, only the southern right whales and us! it´s a bit chilly though at that time of the year! another good time to go there for watching orcas is at the end of march/beginnig of april

    • Shawna May 3, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

      Hi Marlene!

      So great to hear from you & thank you for your amazing message!! I had to look Liechtenstein up on the map, I didn’t realize this country existed! You’re totally right, this is a country that very few people can say they’ve been too. Skott was immediately sold on making this a part of our trip! We would LOVE to add this to the list and the best part would be to see you again!

      Skott did some preliminary research on flight prices and it looks like we can find some very inexpensive flights through Ryan Air. We would likely be able to get there towards the very end of June/beginning of July…would that work for you guys? We’ll make sure we firm things up a little more closer to.

      It sounds like there are lots of neat places to see and we would also look forward to having a glass of wine with you guys and hearing all about your adventures in South America.

      I’m so pumped now!! This is the great part about not having a set itinerary!

  6. Jackie Bowman May 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Hey Skott & Shawna!

    This is so exiciting and I cannot wait to live vicariously through your blog! I have a great friend who has travelled to Oman many times and LOVES, LOVES, LOVES it. I know the safari thing is not on the list (although, it is amazing and we did it for fairly cheap-ish, although that was 10 years ago)… if you want a beautiful beachy relaxing stop enroute in Africa you have to got Zanzibar. The most amazing beaches, little huts to stay in (so inexpensive) and unbelievable diving and snorkelling. And such a ethically unique place too… it’s a place I would go to over and over and over again.

    Love the list, love that guys are actually doing this and can’t wait to read all about it.
    Happy & Safe Travels!!

    • Skott and Shawna May 3, 2011 at 4:54 am #

      Thank you SOOOO much Jackie – that means a ton! Give us details of your safari experience; as it stands now, you are right it isn’t a ‘must-see’ on our list, but obviously this list is pretty fluid, so… and we have also heard great things about Zanzibar!

      There is no way we are fitting all this in, within a mere 15 months is there?? :)

  7. Greg Classen May 3, 2011 at 4:17 am #

    Hey guys,,,,cool website. I will throw out another offer from Western Europe. Again I know not on the top of your list, but you are more then welcome to stop in Cologne (Koln) Germany. I have an extra bedroom and I will be heading back there at the end of July. Would be great to have you visit. Just throwing out the offer…..Best of luck with all your planing, and maybe see you before you leave……Take care..Greg

    • Skott and Shawna May 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

      Greg – Shawna and I were just talking about this after we got your email…your offer, plus a similar invite to Liechtenstein, has us strongly considering a quick flight out there…If it is legit, I found a London to Koln flight for $30pp!! Crazy! Anyways, we WILL keep you posted, absolutely…thank you very much for the offer!

  8. Amy May 11, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    Very cool list of countries, and good enough reasons as any as to why you are visiting them! We really wanted to go to Madagascar too, but didn’t end up ponying up the money (because we already made enough expensive choices). Sometimes you just have to, though. I’m excited to read about your adventures, because I don’t know a lot about many of these countries (and I’ll need something to read and daydream about when I’m back to reality at home).

    • Shawna May 11, 2011 at 3:52 am #

      Thanks Amy! I think Madagascar will likely be our most costly destination but over 200 wedding guests voted that we go so we have to!! I love that it’s so random too…it’s possible we’ll never make it back there again! What do you think is your most exotic destination so far?

  9. Phil May 18, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Hey guys,
    You know how I feel about Ghana :) Mais, qu’est-ce qui s’est passe avec Mali??? Cut from the list? If you guys want to see some big game in West Africa, Mole is alright, but see if you can get to Pendjari National Park in NW Benin. Best game reserve in West Africa as far as I’m concerned and not too hard to get to from Ghana. Looking forward to your trip! Kudos for the slow travel approach. It is better in so many ways!
    Phil recently posted..40 Hours- Dakar to Bamako During the Hot Season

    • Skott May 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

      Oh no, we won’t be missing Mali ….this post is merely about some of the highlight countries we will see, but do recognize that there are many places which we will still fall in love with along the way. The National Park in Benin sounds cool… Thanks for all the advice you have passed along so far Phil – you are awesome!

  10. Steph May 29, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Consider Colombia because it’s a truly stunning country and the people are incredible. There’s Andes mountains, Amazon jungle, Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, big cities, beautiful countryside, etc! I never pictured myself coming here, but I’m about to renew my visa for the second time after spending three months in the country.
    Steph recently posted..5 things I’ve learned from my Colombian boyfriend

    • Skott and Shawna May 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

      Oh do not worry – we will consider Colombia indeed! Central and South America appear to be the final leg of our journey, and we may indeed be saving the best for last??

  11. Brian June 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    The ‘Stans: Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are amazing!
    – Ashgabat, Turkmenistan – Las Vegas + Pyongyang
    – Darvaza, Turkmenistan – “The Gates of Hell” flaming gas crater in the middle of the desert
    – Muynaq, Uzbekistan – The Aral Sea
    – Bukhara, Uzbekistan – Beautiful medieval silk road city, visit the Ark & Zindon (bug pit, look it up)

    • Skott June 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

      Wow! How much time did you spend there? I am with you…I think this would be incredible to see this part of the world, especially because there simply are not that many people who make it out there.. I would love to check this out! This is getting really tough to fit this all within 12-15 months…I am starting to think we might want to push this a little closer to two years…. Shawna?? :)

  12. Soon Loo July 20, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    Egypt! It is cheap and safe safe…. don’t listen to the news. The greatest people there. Love Jordan, Turkey.
    We were in Vietnam…mostly the north….hanoi etc. great food. People there have the mentality that it is their right to rip off tourists and they are good at it. Bargain like crazy. If you get 50% off , it means that you are paying 100 % too much. Even Vietnamese get ripped off themselves. Go north to Sapa for trekking and you can enjoy South China there by bus to Kunming. Best thing about Vietnam…bakery, pho….eating off the street. Worst thing…they put MSG in everything. I am sure they have MSG air freshener.

    • Skott July 26, 2011 at 12:35 am #

      Egypt – it may just make the list after all….ditto for Turkey….I swear we will have to go RTW twice to make this all happen!!

      Thanks for the heads up on Vietnam….I think that is where my folks will meet us, so these tis help tons!

  13. Tracy January 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    There is tons to see in Ghana!!! Elmina Castle is a must as well. Also, I hear great things about Turkmenistan actually from those who have toured it. Great list!
    Tracy recently posted..Where the Google is Malta?

    • Skott and Shawna February 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

      The six weeks we spent in Ghana, was definitely a highlight! And you better believe one of the ‘Stans are still on the list…. it is in high consideration for after SE Asia!


  1. Ebe Silk Safari - January 4, 2012

    [...] Countries We're Considering | Get Up and Globe Many people spend several thousand going to see “The Big 5″ while on safari in Kenya, Tanzania, or South Africa. This isn't currently one of . The 'Stans are intriguing to travel the old Silk Road. I encourage you to do this . [...]

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