Jetting off and travelling the world has been our intention for a good couple of years but at some point we actually had to sit down and decide exactly where we wanted to go!
We knew that the best time to go would be after my Foundation Year 2 (the second year of training after medical school) as there is a natural career break so as I started my FY2 we also started to think about our travel destinations.
It can be a daunting task to look at the world and think 'where on earth are we going to for a year' so we decided to do just that. We looked at a map and made a big list of everywhere we really wanted to visit. We then plotted all of these and started to see if we could find some sort of route between those places.
We were also restricted by the fact that I needed to fly back round Christmas for a couple of months to be able to go through the application process for the next stage of my medical training. This meant that we would have to split our travels into two distinct trips.
We both really wanted to visit New Zealand as well as Australia so this naturally started to form into one of the 'halves'. We also figured we would be better visiting the southern hemisphere in our autumn/winter so that we would get the best possible weather. After a trip or two to STA Travel in Manchester and some help from the lovely Ben there - we came out with flights booked for our first section of worldly travels.
In the end we decided to spend three months out East. We would start in New Zealand and spend 4 weeks there to see as much of it as possible. We would then head to the east coast of Australia and travel up along the coast for 3 weeks. After this we jet across to Singapore and we are then free to explore South-East Asia for 5 weeks (which roughly at the minute looks like Indonesia for 3 weeks and Malaysia for the remaining time).
In terms of our flights - our fantastic STA agent found us return flights to New Zealand and managed to book most of our locations as stop-offs on the way home which reduced the price drastically!
In order to also reduce the price we are flying out of Dublin (as we are based in Northern Ireland before leaving) which turns out is much cheaper as you avoid a lot of the UK taxes!
Finally we elected to fly back on Christmas Eve. The days leading up to Christmas were a lot more expensive but they dropped on Christmas Eve so we decided to risk it and book those for the cost saving (we'll let you know if it was worth it when we get back!)
For the the second half we have lots of different thoughts such as South America, Euro-railing, North America and Canada but we've decided to wait until we are back from the first bit and see how much money we have left before we book anything so we shall keep you updated!
In the meantime - here is a rough overview of our first half:
Dublin - Auckland*
Auckland - Christchurch (overland)
Christchurch - Sydney*
Sydney - Cairns (overland)
Cairns - Melbourne
Melbourne - Singapore*
Singapore - Indonesia
Indonesia - Malaysia
Malaysia - Bangkok
Bangkok - Dublin*
* included in return flights to New Zealand
Just in case you are in a rush - we normally can get back to you in less than a day!