Alright, so we have a decision to make….and we sure could use your help.
Whether or not you were able to be a part of our wedding, 16 short months ago, you probably remember what a production we made about determining what our honeymoon location would be. Heck we even went on CBC radio to talk about it…TWICE! In short, we chose to make it an interactive process involving all of our family and friends. If you are looking for the more long, drawn-out explanation (and we hope you are), it can be found here!
The end result was that we were going to go to Madagascar, the not-so-small, island nation off the southeast coast of Africa. Home to incredible biodiversity and a couple of animated movies!
From this idea, the current RTW dream evolved. It wasn’t just Madagascar anymore….we were going to spend one year, maybe two travelling the globe, and well….here we are!
Today we sit, in Mali, trying to vaguely map out a the next 6-7 months of our round the world journey. We know this seems pretty extreme to plan so far in advance, but the fact is that we have a few really cool people who have agreed to meet up with us in the near future and so a little bit of strategic planning is definitely required.My parents will be meeting us in Vietnam for a whole month beginning January 31st!! And less than two weeks after they depart, we will be spending a month with Shawna’s sister, Carly, in Thailand! Obviously, we are looking forward to both of these visits more than you can imagine! It will be so incredible to see our family (in the flesh, as opposed to over a sketchy Skype call)!
The other fixed point on our itinerary is in Ghana. We will be arriving in Tamale, Ghana within the next week, where we will be settled for the next six weeks. Shawna has found a organization which we will be volunteering with from the time we get there until Christmas.
And now for the dilemma…when is Madagascar supposed to fit into all of this??
We could head to Antananarivo (the capital of Madagascar) at the end of December, before making the trek to SE Asia. That is possible. The positive being that we could do it without any backtracking. The negatives are that during this time of the year, from all the information we can find, there are parts of the island which fall victim to monsoon rains. Washed-out roads and torrential downpours do not make for a romantic honeymoon, in our opinion. We believe that some of the island must be accessible as it appears to be a big resort destination for European tourists over Christmas. However, we want to ensure that if we spend the time and money to get to a place as incredible as this, that we are able to travel through more of the island than just the small areas where the resorts may be located.
Secondly, we could backtrack to Madagascar and other East African countries after our time in SE Asia, say mid-May. The weather would be more conducive to an awesome time, and this is a good thing. However, the cost to doing this may be prohibitive.
To tell you the truth, flying there at all is not going to be cheap. We aren’t talking hundreds of thousands, but it will definitely put a dent in our budget. Stopping in Madagascar before Vietnam will actually cost us an additional $2,500 as opposed to flying to Ho Chi Ming directly, based on the cheapest flight we could find.
So, we actually threw out an idea the other night…as ghastly as it might sound, and after all the effort, on our part and yours to select our original destination….
What if we gave Madagascar a miss?
Would you consider us frauds? Would you feel deceived? Would you even allow us back in Canada?
Or, alternatively, does this line of thinking make sense to you? Is it alright if the lemur-friendly Isle is taken off our list of countries we will visit? Maybe it is wiser to get more value for our dollar, by spending it on experiences in places which are a little more cost-effective to travel to?
Looking for your opinions here? We would love to hear what you think or what you would most likely do if you were in our shoes? (Yes, we realize that if these are the toughest decisions we have to make, life is alright, eh?)
Madagascar or no Madagascar….that is the question!
UPDATE (DECEMBER 1, 2012): Well it looks like our decision has been made. Shawna and I have booked a flight leaving Accra, Ghana to Ho Chi Ming City, Vietnam on January 19th, 2012 and we have done so without any stop over in Madagascar. In the end, we just felt as though there was more of a draw to other countries than there was to Madagascar, and so we have decided to forgo it this time around. Thank you all for your comments, suggestions, and advice. It was not an easy decision at all, but now that it has been made it is one we are both happy with.