Today I did it. I booked the fabled ‘RTW’ ticket. That’s shorthand for ‘Round The World. Most people use this ticket for business, traveling perhaps to Munich, Singapore and Shanghai, that sort of thing. Me, I am doing something a little different. I am going everywhere I can to max out this ticket and see as much as I possibly can. One Delta RTW phone rep told me that my reservation will be up on his wall of accomplishments.
I am using all my mileage, accumulated over ten years, to redeem this ticket as an award. For me, that means six full stops and 16 segments (0r ‘legs’ or ‘flights’, if you prefer). But a segment can also be counted as an open, overland journey done by the traveler. That would mean that you could go by air to Tunisia, and travel on your own dime by air, or go overland or by boat to, say, Rome and then take a plane to your next stop. It would count as one stop & one segment, but you could get to Malta, Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Naples and anywhere else you had time for before leaving out of the Roman airport. Also, it’s not a stop unless it’s 24 hours or longer, so you could fly into one city, stay there 20 hours, and then fly out again without technically “stopping”. Many thanks are owed to the crew at the Delta RTW desk for all their patient explanations and over eight hours of searching this itinerary.
To exploit these constraints maximally, I have booked the following itinerary:
1. Los Angeles -> Seoul, Korea (~22 hours); Seoul, Korea -> Singapore (~16 hours, enough time for chili crab!!); Singapore to Denpasar, Indonesia (aka Bali) and STOP.
2. Denpasar (Bali) -> Mumbai, India via Seoul (long haul!) and STOP. The tentative plan here is to fly to Kathmandu, Nepal and back on another ticket. Have to leave out of Dehli, so we are going overland in one form or another no matter what.
3. Dehli, India -> Tanzania, Africa via Amsterdam and STOP. Zebras, here I come. Or maybe the beaches of Zanzibar?
4. Tanzania -> Amsterdam and maybe STOP. If I am willing to shell out another $100 in airfare on SAS, then Amsterdam -> Oslo, Norway and back. More research is required on the cost of sailing the fjordlands before committing to final locations, but I could get to the arctic circle.
5. Amsterdam -> Tunis, Tunisia (also known as the site of ancient Carthage) and STOP. Meet up with my husband Tom, hopefully, and see Northern Africa. Could we get to the Sahara? Or maybe just the ferry to Sicily for some new sandals… Either way, I have to find my own way to Madrid, Spain for the next leg.
6. Madrid -> Buenos Aires, Argentina and STOP. Yes, the home of the tango and giant steaks. I can’t wait! From there, I’ll use a combination of Argentine transport to Salta, most likely, then fly from Salta to La Paz, Bolivia. Yeah, Bolivia. You remember Bolivia? Where Butch & Sundance relocated? That place. The one with the questionable extradition. It also boasts a capital city at 12,000+ feet and a host of interesting diseases in the lowlands. Mom, Dad, I promise not to drink the water. Use a reputable travel company to get the few miles out of La Paz to Lake Titicaca, stay on the lake a couple of days, then cross into Peru via the lake. See Macchu Picchu, and more of Peru, then exit at Lima.
7. Lima -> Mexico City for 21 hours -> Los Angeles. Stay the night and find my way home in the morning. The next day? Get a job!
Between now and then, there’s a lot of travel, a lot of photographs, packing, some vaccinations, a lot of time in the Schiphol airport, and some new technical strategies to try.
Given the availability of electricity and the internet in some of my destinations, I don’t know how often I will be able to update this blog. I recommend subscribing so that you can be alerted by email when there’s an update.