Updated September 3, 2017 – Nearing our halfway point we thought we should update our trajectory.  We didn’t make it to Belgium – we were having so much fun with friends in Germany we decided to cancel those plans and stay longer but hopefully we will make it there when we are in France in January 2018.

We have also cancelled our plans to visit Russia.  While we do keep tabs on the Trump / Putin affair and the back and forth of embassy closings, we didn’t change course because of any politics.  Rather, after lots of research and trying, we just couldn’t get our Russian visas while being outside the US.  You cannot submit for your visa earlier than 90 days before your planned trip and you cannot get your visa outside of your country of residency.  This meant that, in addition to the invitation letter and challenging form and the hefty fees, we would need to travel back to the US (or at least our passports would need to).  Neither option – flying to the US for as long as it would take to get our visas processed or sending out passports to a visa processing service and then mailing them back to us – sounded like options we were willing to do.  So… rather than taking the train from Estonia to St. Petersburg, as I have always dreamed of doing, we will fly form Estonia to London and start a great UK road trip.

We have also shortened up Brazil and dropped Costa Rica to add a drive from the east coast back to Oregon.  We were not willing to miss Brazil entirely but we thought it is crazy to have gone everywhere we have ever wanted to go with the kids at the perfect age and not have seen NYC or Washington DC as a family.

Jan. 2017: L.A. and Dana Point, CA; Fiji; New Zealand
Feb. 2017: Australia; Singapore
March 2017: India; Bhutan; Thailand; Cambodia
April 2017: Vietnam
May 2017: Japan
June 2017: China; Greece; Italy
July 2017: Italy; Switzerland; Austria; added Slovenia; Croatia; Hungary
August 2017: Poland; Czech Republic; Germany; The Netherlands; Belgium
Sept. 2017: updated to add Denmark; Sweden; Norway; Estonia; Russia
Oct. 2017: Scotland; England
Nov. 2017: England
Dec. 2017: England; Germany
Jan. 2018: Holland; France *** updated adding here Morocco
Feb. 2018: Spain; Portugal
March 2018: South Africa; Botswana; Victoria Falls
April 2018: updated to add Argentina before; Brazil
May 2018: Peru; New York City and drive America
June 2018: Costa Rica; L.A.; Drive west Florida – Texas – Colorado – Ashland, Oregon USA

From January 2017 – It was an interesting process landing on a list of places to visit. We started with the places that had things we had to see or do – such as India (Taj Mahal), The Netherlands (Anne Frank House) or Russia (Hermitage). We also spent a good deal of time mapping out the decent weather in general and as it impacted what we might want to do. Then we sprinkled in times and places where friends were willing to meet us. Lastly we added logistical details -such as visa duration, rail pass dates and how long it takes to get from place to place.

It has also been interesting to see what did not make this final cut. It is clear that there are lots of places we will miss; who would guess that 18 months barely scratches the surface of visiting the world? We have heard from so many friends that are sad that we will miss their favorite spot. Is it sad that we already have a list going for stops during our next trip – Egypt, Jordon, Israel, Iceland, Cuba… and that doesn’t even start to list the towns or regions that we know we will miss, even where we touch down in a country on the list. it’s a good thing we don’t plan on stopping our adventures after this trip!