Planning Our Post Peace Corps Trip – 5 Months in Asia

It’s a bit of a tradition for many Peace Corps Volunteers – the Close of Service trip.  Peace Corps service is always a little exhausting.  Eating strange food, missing good pizza (and NW beer); making new friends but missing friends and family from home.  Most volunteers eagerly await a trip to close out their service – a bit of a reward for making it to the end and for many a time to reflect and decide what’s next.

Our plan took on many variations throughout our time in Peace Corps. Knowing we may not be able to do a 2 or 3-month trip again until we retired, we wanted to make the most of it.

Our first plan was to travel overland through other parts of Central Asia.  We’d see Tajikistan, and make a mad dash through Turkmenistan on a transit visa en-route to Uzbekistan.  It would be epic, adventurous, slightly dangerous.

About a year into Peace Corps this sounded far less enticing than delicious food in the Balkans or lounging on a beach in Southeast Asia. We were in the middle of planning a 4-month trip that would take us across Turkey, hit all the Central Europe/Balkan nations we’d missed before, and end up on some beaches in Asia when our hasty departure from Peace Corps and Kyrgyzstan changed our plans once again.

The early exit turned out to be work out well for us.  We were able to be home with our families for the holidays, lighten our bags a bit for the trip and really plan out our route (which is to say, research a lot of places that look fun and we’ll figure it out as we go).

LA sunset
LA sunset

The trip became longer.  Right now we’re expecting to be gone at least 5 months although our return ticket is flexible (sorry Mom!).

We’re flying into Tokyo, spending some time in Taiwan and then a brief layover in Hong Kong.  We have a little over 2 weeks in Myanmar before we head to Cambodia & Vietnam for the only planned section of the trip as Taylor’s parents join us.  Beyond that, nothing is planned.  We’re definitely going to trek in Nepal and experience as much of Southeast Asia as we have time for.

We’ve (actually mostly me but Taylor is my sounding board) done a lot of work on places to visit.  Some everyone has heard of, some so remote they may take 3 days of travel to get to.  We’ve packed as well as we can and we’ll share what we find works for a photography loving techie and remotely working couple travelling everywhere from the plushest Tokyo hotels to high-altitude teahouses in Nepal and remote Indonesian islands. We’ll share what works, what doesn’t, photos, stories and if I can push through the learning curve maybe even some decent videos.

Last sunset in America
Sitting on the beach for our last sunset in America for awhile

If you want to see what we’re up to, you can follow us by:
-Subscribing to this blog (which will be undergoing some changes when I get away from this Myanmar internet)
-Following us on Instagram.  I post at least one photo from each day on the trip on @EricPaulPhotos and we’ll post plenty of selfies @Eric.And.Taylor
-Subscribing to our YouTube channel here: Link. This will be new to us, so watch as our video skills improve as we go (we hope).

PS – The timing of all this is a bit of a lie.  As I write this, I’m sitting on a wooden bench seat on a very slow and bumpy train in the heart of Myanmar.  But can we all just pretend?

Here’s Video 1!

Road Trip Planning

Before our departure for Kyrgyzstan we decided we should take a vacation.  Before starting we considered some different options but decided on a road trip.  Not only are we not going to see the US for a couple years but we thought it would be great to see family before we leave.  Originally we wanted to drive around the US, hitting all 4 corners and many points between but once you map it all out it becomes incredibly long, especially when you skip the freeways for the more scenic parts.  After much debate and research we decided on two road trips, one down the West Coast and up through Arizona, Colorado and Utah followed by a second between New Orleans and Atlanta, following the coastline the entire way.

Continue reading “Road Trip Planning”