Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fifty Tickets In 24 Hours

Three months after deciding the departure day. Less then five months until we leave we find ourselves closer and closer, sometimes too close. We bought the first tickets for an amazing price, breaking our trip in two, Asia until February 29, then New Zealand and the rest. In March I bought the first leg of our trip. Another great deal, taking us from New York to Osaka. In April I bought another three tickets, from Kochi, in the South tip of India, to Kuala Lumpur, then to Guilin, Hong Kong, Macau and back to Kuala Lumpur on January 27. It was a quick and impulsive decision, but we wanted more time in China, we wanted Hong Kong, we initially wanted to avoid the Chinese New Year. Then we realized that we actually want it in the craziest, busiest, most crowded place we could imagine, so we will be there for it. That wasn't anymore a time to look for cheap tickets, I think I justly assumed that the closer it gets the higher the price so we got the tickets and even reserved 2 rooms in Hong Kong for 3 nights and payed for 2 nights in Macau! Then we took a long break. We bought more things for the road, we bought some books, we read some more and went on with our life. We kept talking about it. We answered some questions, took some decisions, postponed some others. We are stuck (for now) trying to decide how to get from Tokyo to Beijing. Considering that the cheapest one-way direct ticket is more than $2000 (even more for return ticket), I have to come up with an alternative.

People ask me if I am excited. Yeah, maybe, I don't know. I explain that "travel is the saddest pleasure", at least planning for it. This is a quote from Paul Theroux, I will read something by him at some point. It makes sense. With the whole world and "all the time" to see it, we find ourselves constantly making sacrifices, eliminating things, giving up on some dreams. Every yes for a destination involves a no for several others. Deciding to go to China a second time means no Laos, Burma, or Northern Thailand. No Vietnam. Going to Xining means no Chengdu and so on. More days in Tokyo means no to Hiroshima and South Korea. So I explain it sometimes, but I'm not sure if I get my point across and I wouldn't blame them, nice problem to complain about. We set some dates to break our trip in different stages. Then we break it further apart, leaving room for decisions on the road. Anything could change at some point and we just need to know our options. How can we tell if we'll survive India? How long should we stay there? We all are very excited, very eager to discover it and a bit scared. How long should we stay in Nepal? Every extra day there would take a day away from India. So we decided not to decide anything. We'll cross Himalaya on December 3rd and then six weeks later we'll have to catch a flight 2200 km away. That's 1340 miles by air, but it will be much more and much slower by land. We are all confident that we will make it somehow.

Last week I started to hear rumors that AirAsia is having the yearly sale. Tons of tickets for 10 cents for travel from February 6 to June 20, 2012. We had to decide quick on a day to leave Australia, that being one of the most expensive tickets. We did that and starting Monday night I bought 50 tickets in 24 hours. I also worked for 12 of those hours, slept for 4 and else. After getting the Darwin to Bali ticket on May 8, I decided to buy a ticket from Penang to Kuala Lumpur on February 29. Then I had the "great" idea to try to fly from Bali to Yogyakarta, no direct connection, but who cares. I bought tickets from Bali to Jakarta, then return Jakarta - Yogyakarta. After another hour or so, I decided that we really don't want to spend any time in Jakarta so I got tickets to Singapore, one year from today. Initially they were $2.42, but until I made my mind they were gone. Finally I found 4 tickets for that price, and got another one for $25. It was enough for the evening, it was after 2 am. I went to bed still trying to solve some puzzles. Next morning at 7, I bought tickets for Thailand, leave Bangkok to go to Krabi (February 8), return on February 22 to fly to Penang. I went to work and when I got home I bought the tickets from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. Funny, the tickets were listed as 7-8 cents, but the final cost with all the taxes and convenience fees was $215. Still a good price for 5 tickets. At this point Ileana said STOP! I was done anyhow! I got 50 plane tickets for a little over $1500. Average of $30 per flight, that's a decent price especially considering that most of it is in fees. $200 of that is just the luggage cost, for just 2 bags.

Overall an amazing thing, we now have 15 flights bought and still plenty of open dates in our calendar to make our plans as we please. There are some missing links, three more mandatory flights, two optional ones and we are set with the air transport until June 1st. The first 230 days of travel. After we are done in that half of the world, assuming that we want to go on, we will most likely move to Africa. I'll write more before that...