With around 200 countries in the world it’s always hard deciding where to go. Sacha has a rule when we travel (which I sometimes try to argue against) that we shouldn’t visit a country that we’ve already been to. In this case it was pretty useful as it eliminated around 30 countries. I eliminated Europe because we’ve seen a lot of it recently on our shorter travels and I was after a bigger culture shock.
It came down to a toss up between the natural beauty of Central America and the multifaceted culture of Asia. Asia finally won mainly because Sacha has always wanted to do the various golden triangles in India and Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos, the opportunity to teach English, and also because of our heritage.
Sacha’s dad grew up in Calcutta as it was known then, plus everyone wants to experience the madness of India don’t they? My parents are Chinese yet I have only been to Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore but never “mainland” China. With the number of different ethnic groups in such a scenic setting, Yunnan in the southwest of China seems like the perfect place to experience the many different cultures of China.
Another reason for China is the availability of TEFL opportunities. Yes it will help fund our travels, but more importantly it allows us to soak up the culture and experience of everyday life whilst hopefully helping local children and adults improve their English skills and future quality of life.
TEFL got us thinking about other work abroad opportunities and it struck us that working a ski season would be a great way to improve our infantile snowboarding skills whilst earning a bit of cash – nice lifestyle surely! I know we ruled out Europe before but ski resorts aren’t really like regular places are they? With my kitchen experience and Sacha’s people skills we’re aiming to score jobs as a Chalet Couple. I’m quite looking forward to doing some more cooking but have no doubt that it won’t be an easy life either.
So that’s our rough itinerary (for now), aiming to start with the ski season in November, get to India in May/June, travel through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and end up in China by August/September to start teaching. Oh and we decided to slip in Myanmar after India as it seems like such an interesting place right now with all the changes – ah so many places. With 10 months to go, we can’t wait.