2015 Travels: Nepal, Turkey, Scotland and Wales, Seattle, and a Move to Vietnam
By Dave Fox
December 23, 2014
I have so much travel coming up, it’s making me dizzy. Here’s what’s on deck:
Christmas in Kathmandu: Kattina and I love traveling. We hate the hoops Asia’s budget airlines make us jump through just to book a simple ticket. And for that reason, we were in severe procrastination mode as to what to do over Christmas. But last week, we got spontaneous and booked a flight to Kathmandu. As I type this, my bags are packed. We leave for the airport in 30 minutes.
After a couple of days in the Nepalese capital, we’ll be heading off on a wander around the country — with very few plans other than to find adventures as we go. I’ll be there two weeks. Kattina will be there three. (I will spend the third week home in Singapore, working on a writing assignment and lazing around the apartment in my underwear — ‘cuz that’s what guys do when our wives are off trekking in Nepal.)
January 23-24: Twenty-Five Hours in Istanbul – I had absolutely no intentions of hanging out in Turkey for a day on my way from Singapore to Edinburgh — until I started looking at the routing options I could wrangle with my frequent flier miles. There was a Turkish Airlines flight I could take with a six-hour layover. I have not been to Turkey in around 20 years (but I lived there for a short time in 1993) and the thought of a quick trip out of the airport excited me. With a little more poking around, I managed to find a different option that would let me stay overnight — a 25-hour layover — without using any more miles or paying any additional fees.
Keep this in mind when booking mileage award tickets. Many airlines let you have a 24-hour stopover (or a bit more if needed until the next connecting flight.) This doesn’t usually come up as an option online if you just enter your start and end points (i.e. Singapore to Edinburgh). But once you’ve found out which routings are available on which airlines, try entering a multi-destination itinerary (i.e. Singapore to Istanbul on January 23, Istanbul to Edinburgh one day later) and you will often discover you don’t get charged extra miles. Rules vary from one airline to another. Some allow longer layovers than a day as long as it’s part of the same routing.
January 24-28: Scotland – I lived in England for a year when I was eight years old, and my most gargantuan travel dream at the time was to go to Scotland. (Because I really loved the bagpipes — no joke.) I’m 46 now. I’ve had a love for Celtic music for nearly four decades. I’ve been to nearly 60 countries. Yet I have never set foot in Scotland. It’s time.
I’ll be meeting up with Marius, my host-brother from my days as a Norwegian exchange student. He’s the same age as me, but we still behave like teenagers when we travel together.
January 29-31: Llandudno, Wales – This brings us to my original motivation for this trip: To go see a post-punk, pre-grunge, noisy, alternative-rock band from the 198os, of course. Everybody had a favorite band growing up. Mine was The Alarm. Explaining why I have traveled to the northern Welsh coast in chilly January — three times from Seattle, and now from Singapore — requires more words than I have space for in this short travel blurb. The band’s lyrics have meant a lot to me on a personal level. Some day I am going to tell the full story.
In the meantime, I’m going to hang out down the road from their hometown of Rhyl with a couple of thousand other aging punksters, and party my ass off, and celebrate life at their annual Gathering.
February 1-4: Somewhere in the Cotswolds – I don’t know exactly where I’m going on these days. My most excellent pals, Matt and Deb Preston of Travel With a Mate, used to live in Asia. Now, they’re back in England, with a squirming, miniature travel-writer-in-training who is going to help me with my grammar and egregious overuse of em-dashes.
Then I’m back to Singapore to write some articles and books, give some talks, and create some new writing courses. In June, we’ll be packing up our apartment and heading to Seattle for four to six weeks. In July, we move to our new home in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, where we will keep doing what we do.
Whatever you have planned in 2015, I hope it’s adventurous! Stay tuned to Globejotting for stories of the above journeys and a lot more!