Travel addicted - hiking to the peak of Mt. Masada, Israel, 2015

As I mentioned in a previous post – I have some pretty big plans for upcoming travels! As I approached my graduation from UCSB, I realized that this would be the best time to see the world before locking into a full-time career. I’ve always dreamed of going to Australia, so I set it as my main destination and started doing some research. I applied for (and was granted) a work and holiday visa, which kicked off the planning for my backpack adventure!

The travel bug bit me at a very young age, and I was lucky enough to go on vacations with my family to awesome surf destinations like Indonesia, Taiwan, and Peru. I figured that Australia is so far away from California, I might as well make some stops and see some cool places along my way over there! Indo was on my mind, because of its affordability and close proximity to Australia. When I thought about the inevitable layover in either Japan or Singapore, my adventure junkie mode kicked in, and I decided to start my trip with a week in Tokyo. I booked my first flight and the date was set – I am leaving California on August 9th!

I then booked my flight from Tokyo to Bali. I want to experience Bali, Java, and the Gili Islands, but I was advised by friends who are experienced solo travelers to keep my schedule as open as possible, as I am going to be meeting heaps of new people at my hostels to make plans with! I have always been sort of an obsessive planner, so leaving space to be flexible and spontaneous gives me major anxiety... Ahh! So far, trying not to get ahead of myself and plan out a day-by-day itinerary has been the biggest challenge I’ve had!

Americans can stay in Indonesia for a month before having to deal with complicated visa extensions, so I was about to just sort out my flight to Australia for exactly one month after arriving in Indo, when I started hearing about how amazing Sri Lanka is for surfing and backpacking! It’s only a few hours away from Indonesia, so it would obviously be totally crazy NOT to go there too, right? Right. And thus, flight to Sri Lanka = booked. By staying in Sri Lanka for about a month, I’ll be getting to Australia in the first couple weeks of October, which will be perfect because it is the beginning of spring! Its funny, it kind of feels like I’ll be chasing an endless summer. Hey, they should make a surf movie about that! Sure would be neat.

Just last week, I booked the last international flight of this first leg of my journey, from Colombo to Sydney. It has a 26-hour layover in Singapore, so I get to squeeze in one more country before getting to Australia. Now that I am officially in the one-month countdown, it’s all starting to feel very real! I’m beginning to pack up and am trying to figure out how in the world I am going to fit my whole life into an 80-liter backpack and 9’6 board bag. Wish me luck!

Written by: Stephanie Schechter