The map above shows the route I initially had in mind when planning my trip many, many months ago. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t stick to my plan at all! Although I visited most of the countries I wanted to (except Laos – no time), the order and places I visited changed completely. That was one of my favourite things about travelling – having an empty schedule means that one photo, recommendation or story can send you off to a completely unplanned, sometimes unheard of destination. It was these spontaneous stops where I often had the best experiences of my entire trip, such as:
- Motorbiking around the island of Cat Ba, Vietnam.
- Climbing an abandoned skyscraper and exploring an ‘aeroplane graveyard’ in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Relaxing on the incredibly tranquil beaches of the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia.
- Watching the surfing championship on Manly Beach, Sydney.
- Drinking in the rooftop bar on top of Marina Bay Sands Resort – one of the most exclusive spots in Singapore.
- Camping under the stars in the Fjordland, on the South Island of New Zealand.
- Conquering the tallest mountain in Indochina: Mount Fansipan, Vietnam.
- Watching the sunset behind the Petronas towers from the top of a helipad in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- Living it up with some amazing friends in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
I hadn’t even heard of most of these places before starting my trip (let alone planned to visit them) – each and every one was either recommended to me by other travellers or stumbled upon by myself!