Mission ‘Adventure’

about-james-and-anna
by James & Anna
Updated: November 21, 2023
13 minute read

The Initial Idea

Considering that we met when we were both travelling around South East Asia, we definitely dreamt about going back. At times, to experience something more, other times – to recreate memories. At some point we sat down to create a world tour plan just for the sake of seeing what could be done and how we felt about doing it. That’s what we got as a result.

Initially we put dots of which countries or places we would like to visit. After that we connected the dots using different colours to represent easily identifiable chunks of the trip. Circles in pencil are meant to represent the area that we planned to explore properly travelling around that marked area. There is one notable location no.5 – Moon that Anna added in hope that when we pass by Baikonur in Kazakhstan we’ll be able to quickly pop in to the Moon and back. Indeed, why not? Also a travel destination. At least we think it should be and will be.

The moon picture taken through our telescope in the garden in North-West London
We created this map back in 2021 just after Anna calculated that by April 2023 she should have her British passport in her hands and would have more flexibility with travel. Initially we thought to spend 12 months travelling but once we started assigning timings to each country, we realised that we definitely need more time and extended it until November 2024.
It was just a visualisation with no hard rationale behind it. Just anything we could think of which wasn’t that easy, to be honest. When you can go anywhere, you definitely can get stuck and struggle with choosing. But it was pretty fun.

Anna is a big believer of setting up a plan to follow even if it looks crazy to start with. For example, in 2015, when we both were travelling in Southeast Asia but on separate routes, Anna set up a preliminary plan which turned out to be super close to what it turned out to be in the end:

Itinerary in 2015
12.01-13.01 – 1 day – Beijing, China
13.01-20.01 – 7 days – Singapore, Singapore
20.01-22.01 – 2 days – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
22.01-30.01 – 8 days – Langkawi, Malaysia
30.01-31.01 – 1 day – Penang, Malaysia
31.01-01.02 – 1 day – Changi Airport
01.02-02.02 – 1 day – Krabi, Thailand
03.02-05.02 – 2 days – Koh Tao, Thailand
06.02-08.02 – 2 days – Bangkok, Thailand
08.02-12.02 – 4 days – Pattaya, Thailand
13.02-17.02 – 4 days – Pai, Thailand
17.02-22.02 – 5 days – Chiang Mai, Thailand
22.02-26.02 – 4 days – Pattaya, Thailand
26.02-27.02 – 1 day – Bangkok, Thailand
27.02-28.02 – 1 day – Siem Reap, Cambodia
28.02-01.03 – 1 day – Bangkok, Thailand
01.03-19.03 – 18 days – Pattaya, Thailand
19.03-21.03 – 2 days – Kanchanaburi, Thailand
21.03-28.03 – 7 days – Pattaya, Thailand
28.03-01.04 – 4 days – Vientiane, Laos
01.04-24.04 – 23 days – Pattaya, Thailand
24.04-10.06 – 47 days – Jakarta, Indonesia
10.06-12.06 – 2 days – Surabaya, Indonesia
12.06-24.06 – 12 days – Bali, Indonesia
24.06-25.06 – 1 day – Singapore, Singapore
25.06-02.07 – 7 days – Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam
02.07-05.07 – 3 days – Nha Trang, Vietnam
05.07-07.07 – 2 days – Da Lat, Vietnam
07.07-08.07 – 1 day – Da Nang, Vietnam
08.07-20.07 – 12 days – Hong Kong, Hong Kong (Met James)
20.07-23.07 – 3 days – Manila, Philippines
23.07-24.07 – 1 day – Kalibo, Philippines
24.07-28.07 – 4 days – Boracay, Philippines (Reconnected with James)
28.07-29.07 – 1 day – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
29.07-05.08 – 7 days – Matara, Sri Lanka

Here is James’ itinerary plan in 2015:
01/05/2015 – 1 day – Manchester, United Kingdom
03/05/2015 – 3 days – Stockholm, Sweden
06/05/2015 – 7 days – Bangkok, Thailand
12/05/2015 – 1 day – Phuket, Thailand
16/05/2015 – 4 days – Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
20/05/2015 – 7 days – Langkawi, Malaysia
27/05/2015 – 3 days – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
30/05/2015 – 4 days – Singapore
03/06/2015 – 2 days – Bali, Indonesia
05/06/2015 – 8 days – Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
13/06/2015 – 4 days – Lombok, Indonesia
20/06/2015 – 5 days – Bali, Indonesia
25/06/2015 – 4 days – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
29/06/2015 – 7 days – Da Nang, Vietnam
05/07/2015 – 7 days – Hanoi, Vietnam
12/07/2015 – 12 days – Hong Kong, China
24/07/2015 – 14 days – Tokyo, Japan
07/08/2015 – 14 days – Manila, Philippines
28/08/2015 – 7 days – Manchester, England

Timing

As much as we thought to start our adventures in April 2023 and despite the fact that Anna got her British passport in April 2023 (after a 5 year quest, if not a lifelong one) as well, she was still doing her masters until September 2023 so there was no question in setting off to travel that month. However, she asked for her PhD at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory to start later in February 2024 which created a break between her Masters and PhD of 4.5 months. That’s when we decided to travel.

There was another reason to travel in general and travel around that time. James’ friend’s wedding is happening on 30th September 2023 in Australia and we didn’t want to miss it. We thought that since we are going all the way to another continent, we could combine that with exploring that part of the world.

Countries to visit, places to see

Anna completed her masters on 14th September 2023 so at 7am of 15th September 2023 we were on a flight out of London. We had 2 weeks before the Australian wedding so we headed to Boracay island, the Philippines. That’s where we had our first honeymoon in 2015, as we call it. So it is a special place for us. Going forward our preliminary itinerary is:

17/09/2023 – 8 days – Philippines – Boracay
26/09/2023 – 14 days – Australia – Brisbane
11/10/2023 – 12 days – New Zealand – Auckland
23/10/2023 – 10 days – Bali – Denpasar
02/11/2023 – 16 days – Philippines – Manila
18/11/2023 – 4 days – Taiwan – Taipei
22/11/2023 – 6 days – South Korea – Seoul
28/11/2023 – 11 days – Japan – Tokyo
09/12/2023 – 4 days – Hong Kong – Hong Kong
13/12/2023 – 9 days – Vietnam – Hanoi
22/12/2023 – 11 days – Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur
02/01/2024 – 7 days – Thailand – Krabi
09/01/2024 – 6 days – Myanmar – Yangon
15/01/2024 – 9 days – Nepal – Kathmandu
24/01/2024 – 5 days – India – Delhi
29/01/2024 – England – London

Also, feel free to see where we’ve been together and where we are right now using this map.

This plan definitely requires a couple of adjustments. We wouldn’t go to Myanmar because it is a bit too unstable there these days. We don’t have enough time for India so we’ll spend more time in Nepal based on the recommendation of our Nepalese friends (hi Sagar, hi Shikha). We definitely want to spend some time in Singapore.
We know that it is definitely not enough to spend 2 weeks in Australia and then only 12-14 days in New Zealand but if we want to cover all the countries we want in 4.5 months, we need to make sacrifices. At least we’ll get an impression of many countries for further selection of holiday destinations.

Goal

We are setting this trip as an exploration of as much land as possible to be able to select the best places to visit going forward. We will search for the best beach holiday destination for the time when we’re lucky enough to travel again within a more concise period of time. We will search for some metropolitan destinations for the same reason.

Travelling Mode

We will carry on growing our business (Adventure Websites), while publishing our experiences on this website and working on new ventures in the space industry. That means that we are not on holiday but working remotely. We prioritise work (especially, paid work) as much as possible because we are passionate about what we do (we don’t need a distraction of the ordeals of the working environment).

That said, we want to live in the moment and experience what new countries have to offer. Besides, it’s pretty hard to work with the screens in sunny places (and where we are is very sunny!) so we tend to explore around the area during daytime and at night we work. That works perfectly because of the time zones. For example, when we were in the Philippines 4pm was 9am in London.

Whilst We Are Away

We moved out of our place in London just before we set off on our adventure. All our possessions are in two storages (one storage for the grand piano – special treatment, and the other storage for everything else (25 sq feet)).

What’s After

When we are back from our travels, we will move to Surrey because Anna’s PhD programme is based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) near Holmbury St Mary, somewhere in between Guildford and Dorking. We definitely see this as a continuation of our adventures which is very exciting.

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