Travel Diary

RTW Countdown: Less Than 60 Days Away!

The Countdown Begins

The wait for any epic journey is exasperating and I can whole heartedly agree with that sentiment. As much as I just want to pack my backpack and make a bee line for the airport, preparation is always key, and timing being everything for me. To make things even more excruciating, I put a countdown timer on the homepage and even on the sidebar to the right (if you are on a desktop only) counting down to my departure date of April 1.

As of this writing, there is a little over 57 days to go!

 Image originally from taken by  Aaron Davidson/Getty Images
Image originally from taken by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

I Got The USA Visa!

This is huge and I let out a big sigh of relief when the consulate officer granted me another visa for the USA. Given my prior immigration history with the country, I shouldn’t have been sweating this as much as I did, but visas are never a given. With this visa in hand, I’m in line to execute my ideal plan and at the very least Plan B with the addition of the United States. What I’m most pleased about is that I will be able to meet my ultimate goal of a complete circumnavigation of the globe! As I alluded to in Plan B, there was going to be a situation where I would be stuck trying to get from South America to Fiji as most flights transit through US airports. The caveat being transit through US port of entries requiring a tourist or transit visa. With the visa now in hand, this is one less thing I can worry about.

The other upside of getting this visa is the ability to visit Turkey, which is contingent on either a US or EU visa in possession at the time of arrival. This was certainly the cherry on top with a few friends recommending the Western Asian nation quite highly.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide To Getting a USA Visitor’s Visa (B1/B2) For Philippines Citizens (2016 Edition)

New Blog Series: Traveler Interviews

The art of traveling is tried and true and there is no sense on going on any extended journey without consulting those who have been there and done it. Fortunately for me, I know quite a few and after having casual conversations with them about all things travel, I decided to post the full transcript of each conversation. With so many gems of information coming from them, it would be a shame to keep it to myself and not share it. Knowledge is power! Thus far, I have posted the interview I did with Alison, who crushed 30 countries in 8 months, and Renzo who has been on the road for 12 out of the past 24 months and is currently making his way through South America.

I hope to have many more leading up to my own trip!

Most Recent Side Trip: Baguio, Philippines

I have a problem sitting still and without a full time job (this is a mini-retirement after all!) leaves me plenty of time to explore. While I’m keeping all my side trips on the more economical side to save funds for the RTW trip, there are some great destinations to be had for cheap here in the Philippines where I’m currently based.

This past weekend I headed to the Philippines hill country, Baguio, after an invitation from a friend. With the slightly cooler temperatures providing some respite from the inferno like heat in Manila, the city had a quite a few things to see and do for the weekend traveler. I’m currently going through my photos and notes from the visit so look out for a trip report soon!

 Beautiful views in Baguio
Beautiful views in Baguio

Upcoming Side Trip: Colombo, Sri Lanka

Did you know that I grew up in the pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka?

Well, now you do!

I’m pleased to be headed back to this beautiful country for only the second time in the last 10 years to visit my even more beautiful girlfriend one last time before I head out and we have the longest distance relationship EVER!

Travel Dates: February 19 – March 1

 More excellent food like this Red Snapper from Zephyr (Mirissa) for only 1,500LKR (US$ 10.42)
More excellent food like this Red Snapper from Zephyr (Mirissa) for only 1,500LKR (US$ 10.42)

RELATED: Year In Review: Top 10 Things I Ate In 2015

What’s Next?

With the approval of the USA visa a huge step in my RTW preparation, there are still a few more hurdles I need to overcome.

1) EU Schengen Visa: I’m planning to apply for a 5-week EU visa in the middle of March because of the strict rule of applications only being accepted for EU travel 3 months in advance. According to my ideal plan, I’d like to be in the area starting in June and next month will be the earliest I can apply.

2) Medical Insurance: I’ve heard from many travelers, including Renzo, that medical travel insurance is going to be very important. I’m in the process of shopping around for a provider and should have it in place in the next 45 days.

3) Vaccinations: Looks like I’ll need a Yellow Fever Certificate in order to travel to the African countries in my itinerary. The Bureau of Quarantine here in Manila will be where I need to head to get this checked off.

Is there anything I’m missing?

Let’s Connect!

Instagram – @nicoatienza
Twitter – @nicoatienza
Email – nico [at] whereintheworldisnico [dot] com

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