I leave McMurdo on 10/7 and on 10/17 I board a plane in NY that will fly me to Kenya where I will begin a 2 month tour through SE Africa! On Dec 13 I fly out of Johannesburg and have a layover in Istanbul. For no additional cost I was able to extend this layover for 10 days so after overlanding through Africa I will spend 10 days exploring Istanbul and a bit of Turkey.
I am doing something for this trip that I have never done before and it's making me a bit nervous: I am taking a 54 day "package" tour. I have always traveled independently, preferring the joys and stresses that come from doing it on your own. And, oh yes, the cost savings.
The tour is an overland trip which will basically consist of 24 people loaded up in a specially converted truck and slowly driving through 8 countries in Africa stopping off in many places along the way, including 7+ game parks. Each night we will camp and prepare a communal dinner dish. This lack of luxury keeps the costs down (which, even doing it on the cheap is not cheap compared to my previous trips) and adds a bit to the adventure. I hope.
Throwing together a group this large, randomly, and then tossing them on a bus for hours each day is a bit of a gamble. This could be the greatest travel experience I have ever had or the worst. I don't know. This was and is my major concern with this trip. It's not like it is only for a few days and then I can my own way. It's 54 days, together. While there will be a somewhat varied age bracket the trip mainly caters to Brits, Aussies and Kiwis.
Logistically I think this is the best thing for me. The thought of planning this trip on my own is rather daunting especially given where I am right now. There would be just so much involved. And while it's true that planning is often really fun for me it is very time consuming. There is also the issue of traveling alone in africa, not from a safety standpoint, but of actually getting to and from the game parks. I don't want to drive overseas so it really limits me and since I am traveling alone it's hard to absorb costs etc.
Part of me does feel like I am cheating a bit by doing this. But I think my previous experiences have earned me a bit of backpacker cred (South and Central America on my own, Egpyt on my own and China on my own!! :) ) so I hope they don't take away my membership card.
So I am doing a package tour. I hope it is good. I think it will. The one thing I have realized as I have traveled more is that my best experiences involve other people. I never knew how lonely I was until I started traveling with others!
This is the company and tour I am taking:
And let's not forget Turkey, though I know I will! I have wanted to visit Turkey since 2005 when I was camping in SD and had a dream that I was in Istanbul.
Well... I can't say my life is boring! :)