Challenge #2 : Around the World in 35 Days


The end of my university period is approaching – in fact, it’s a matter of about two months before my four years at The University of Auckland end. It seems so close yet so far because I have stacks of things to do before I even begin thinking about next year! Instead of walking through the doors of Engineering everyday, next year, I will be leaving my own apartment, in a whole new city, and driving to my job – as a real legit Chemical Engineer! Okay, maybe writing about it gets me a little more excited!!!

To finish off my time at University and before transitioning into adulthood, I decided an around the world trip seems appropriate. I love traveling because it opens up your mind so much. You get to see the world in a different light and it hits you just how small you are in this enormous world. That sentence has negative connotations to it, as if I am saying that my existence is insignificant but what I really mean is in fact that it is insignificant! Confused?!? I meant insignificant in the sense that, “Wow! My problems are so small compared to what’s really out there!”.

I thought it would be nice to highlight my trip in this blog post. I have been meaning to write it for a few weeks now, but have always put it off for some reason.

Screen shot 2013-09-01 at 10.11.36 PMDon’t let the Louis Vuitton bags fool you, I will be doing this trip – Backpackers style! This is the Challenge. Now if you know me, you know that I love luxury. To be a little more honest, I probably can’t do without it. It’s not to say I am spoilt because I have worked hard to get where I am but I am just accustomed to this lifestyle I have built for myself. Unfortunately, this lifestyle so to speak, is very expensive. A little too expensive for a trip around the world. So here I am – taking on the world (literally!) in very comfortable shoes, season appropriate clothes and a very chic backpack, not to mention Hostels! Yup, this is definitely a challenge and probably the biggest I have ever undertook!

I am hoping to revisit all these places with the bags above though, perhaps once I have a little more cash. Duh!

United States of America

I think it’s kind of silly to flood this blog post with the cliche photos of USA that you can find if you do a quick google search. So instead of plastering beautiful scenic pictures all over, I thought I would give it a different approach and post photos that are more unique so to speak.

I head off from Auckland to Los Angeles in November. My family is there and I haven’t seen them in about two years so it’s very exciting! Hoping to stay there for a few days before I explore Las Vegas and Grand Canyons. I know it seems absolutely pointless to some people to go to America without going to New York but it’s proving to be impossible to visit New York this time around. That was honestly a really disappointing thing for me, and making that decision was quite hard but I had to understand that a day or so in New York wasn’t worth it, especially if it meant I have more money to spend in other parts. See, I am making adult decisions already! 

United Kingdom
I arrive in Paris and take the train straight to London to spend a few days there. When I was a little girl, I really wanted to attend Oxford. It had been a little dream of mine you could say, which I knew as I grew older wouldn’t come true because things like money came in the way. That, and I realized that I needn’t go all the way to the other side of the world for an education, when I had already flown all the way to New Zealand for it. However, I knew that England will always have a special place in my heart and that perhaps one day I would move there, and there you have it – the perfect reason to visit England!

I think it will be interesting to go to London and see what it’s like and if I could really see myself living there one day. Whilst I am there, being the nerd that I am, I am going to go see Cambridge University! Not much more to say to that except that I am super excited!!

I am going to be in England in December so hoping to see some snow and Christmas lights. My only worry is what shoes will be comfortable, warm and still fashionable! 

France

Screen shot 2013-09-01 at 9.23.02 PM

Paris is such an iconic city. A city of love, passion and romance. It’s full of experiences – the culture, food, landmarks, atmosphere. It’s a city every girl wants to visit, and what I can say, I’m just like any other girl.

I have always thought I’d go to France for my honeymoon for the first time. As in, my first trip to France, not my first honeymoon!! I don’t plan to have more than one! Well, why not as I long as it’s with the same person. Okay, I am going off track now, back to my trip!

Side note: Yes, I know every girl probably wants to go there with that special someone and I don’t give a crap. Anyway, now I am thinking Greece, if I get over France after I go there? I will keep you posted. 

My first plan was to spend time visiting all the little towns in France and exploring them but there are just way too many amazing things to see in Paris, that I rather see it well.

Just to give you an idea of what I have planned in Paris. I will be visiting the Louvre because who goes to Paris and doesn’t see the Mona Lisa!?! Also I am planning to go see Stade Roland Garros, which for all the non-tennis lovers out there (which are missing out big time by the way) is stadium where the French Open is held every year. I am really sad about not being able to attend the Australian Open next year due to conflicting dates of me moving to Australia and setting up, so this should cheer me up!

Chateau de Versailles

Chateau de Versailles

Chateau de Versailles – the palace of France’s Louis XIV is what I am most excited about! Words can’t even begin to describe how beautiful it is, so maybe google images can help you out there. I have put aside a whole day to explore this beauty, and I know that it still won’t be enough time! Also on the list are Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame and Sacré-Cœur.

One thing I really want to go to in Paris is the Lovers Bridge. You know the one? I am sure you’ve seen it in any cheesy chick flick. The one with a fence where lovers place a lock with their names on it on the fence of the bridge and throw away the key in the river. Yeah? Yeah, that! I am one of those sentimental girls so I am going to leave that to when I go there with that special someone. Cue cheesy soppy girly music.

Italy 

Venice

Venice

I want to begin Italy with a story. I have been using a lot of ‘I’s in this blog post which I probably shouldn’t because I am traveling with a good friend from high school the whole way. While we were planning out the trip, I told her we must go to Rome!! We just must! She got really mad with me and said, “Anna!! We don’t have time to go to another country, I thought we decided on Italy!”. I am paraphrasing here but boy did that sentence make me laugh out loud! It’s okay though she’s an accountant so she can worry about the financial part of the trip while I go all goggly eyes on all the beautiful sites I will be seeing later on this year.

We are taking an overnight train from Paris to Milan and spending only a day there. Fashion capital of the world here I come! I wish I could once again plaster images of the beauty I will be witnessing but I will stop myself. From Milan, we head to Venice and spend a night there. Venice, is another one of the cities that every princess (girl) in the world wants to go. So, you guessed it! I am looking forward to romantically drifting from one place to another in Venice.

From Venice, we leave by train to Florence to see the Statue of David before moving onto Pisa to see, you guessed it – the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Last but not least, we are heading to Rome for a few days.

I just noticed how I changed from ‘I’ to ‘we’ as soon as I mentioned that I am doing the trip with someone else. Good observation there but I am way too lazy to go back and change it.

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

I am ecstatic about Rome because it’s all ruins and to walk through that everyday that I am there, to walk through history, its already giving me goosebumps! The list of monuments hoping to be explored by us include the Colloseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Roman Forum, Vatican City (Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica) and last but not least, the Pantheon. The Pantheon is the oldest, still standing structure in the world and dates back to the reign of Augustus and was a temple to all the gods of ancient Rome.

Oh the history! I find there is no better way to learn about the past then to be present where it all happened and that’s exactly what I am hoping to achieve in Europe. Europe is so full of history and although it’s true that I am going there for the shopping and authentic food, I am also going there to learn. I truly believe that I will have more appreciation for the past and the present after this trip. 

United Arab Emirates

Dubai

Dubai

From Rome, we are flying Emirates to Dubai. I am looking forward to Dubai because we have got the best hotel (yes, you heard it I am staying in a hotel as opposed to the hostels I will be trying to sleep in, in Europe) and at the cheapest price!

There is not much planned for Dubai, except for Shopping, Shopping and to fit in another S, a Safari? Haven’t thought about it too far ahead yet! Don’t worry, we are much more organized for the rest of the trip – have already booked hostels, trains etc for other countries.

A little secret: I am looking forward to visiting the Burj Khalifa because the first poem, my boyfriend ever wrote for me mentioned this tower.

Malaysia

Batu Caves

Batu Caves

The only country on this trip around the world, to which I have already been! I visited Malaysia a few years ago with my family whilst traveling to India. If I am being frank here, which I always am, I didn’t like it too much. It’s weird because the western cultures love going to Asian countries and I just don’t find the charm. Maybe, it’s because I am from India and all the things that attract them to these countries aren’t new to me. Perhaps, this is why I am more attracted to the glitz and glamour like cities.

However, I have made it my personal mission to do things in Malaysia that we will make me appreciate this unique country. My friend that I am traveling with is from Malaysia so we will be shopping at the best malls and eating the best food! To add my own zing (gosh! that sounds weird) to this adventure, I have added a trip to Batu Caves. Batu Caves is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples dedicated to Lord Murugan. I have personally never heard of this lord, because this deity is more specific to the Tamil culture, but nevertheless that doesn’t make me any less excited to visit this shrine. Have a look at the photo and you’ll see just how big that statue is compared to the tiny ants climbing up the stairs.

From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, we head back to Auckland via Melbourne. I want to go into more details as to what happens after I get back, but a lot of it is undecided and still under plans so I will leave that for another blog post.

So there you are! My around the world trip in 35 days!

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9 responses to “Challenge #2 : Around the World in 35 Days

  1. Wow! This trip of yours is going to be amazing. I’m kind of jealous that I couldn’t find someone who would travel like this with me. I’m curious to know how much this is gonna cost all up (minus you shopping expenses of course).

    Dammit Anna, I’m fucking jelly.

    • Yeah it sucks especially because you have to find someone who has saved up to travel as well! I was really lucky because my friend and I knew for a while we wanted to travel at the end of uni 🙂 We have budgeted for $7000 for the bare necessities.

  2. This sounds so incredible Anna!! I bet you’re super excited and can’t wail till you start off on your great big adventure! 🙂 Like you, I also love travelling and agree with you that it really opens up your mind a lot when visiting places all around the world. Also, I’m on my own countdown (10 months to go!!) till I leave for my own travelling adventure around the world for 365 days. 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading all about your trip around the world! Happy travelling! ^^ Cheers, Violet

      • Perhaps after your taste of travelling around the world in 35 days, you’ll want to do a whole year too, after you work and save some money!! 🙂 I’m really excited and plan to visit New Zealand as part of my trip. Can you recommend a few “must-see and/or must-go” places in New Zealand please? Thanks in advance!! 🙂

      • You might be right there 😉
        New Zealand is absolutely amazing. You have to go to Coromandel – especially if you come in the summer, we’ve got some great beaches there eg. Hot water beach. 90 mile beach in cape reinga is also a nice drive. Also Rotorua is a great city – live gestures go off every so often there! If you’re coming in winter Mount Ruapehu is great for a skii or in the summer you could do some tramping!

        In the south island I recommend going to Queenstown and do some sky diving or paragliding or just the view is amazing (especially in the winter!!), Lake Wanaka as well as Milford Sounds (All those are close by!). If you are wanting to check out cities then Auckland is probably the biggest. Although I don’t think there’s anything special to see in the city 😛

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