Contributed Columnist Betsy Herbert is leaving for an around-the-world trip, and she'll be writing along the way, explaining what people around the world are doing to protect the environment. Follow her travels at www.betsyherbert.com.
By Betsy Herbert, Earth Matters
Posted: 03/19/15, Santa Cruz Sentinel
On April 28, I board VIA Rail Canada to start a year-long trip around the world. During my travels, I’ll continue writing my monthly “Earth Matters” column, but with a broader perspective. I’ll focus on stories that highlight positive changes that people are making around the globe to help the environment. The aim is to make these stories interesting and relevant to readers back in Santa Cruz.
After crossing Canada on the train, I board the Queen Mary 2 in New York City on May 10 to cross the Atlantic. A week later, I disembark in Southampton, England, and take the Eurostar to Paris. I’ll be in Europe through August, then continue through Africa, India, Indochina, Australia, South America, Central America, and then home.
When I retired just over a year ago from the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, I knew I wanted to travel extensively. I began compiling a list of places that I have dreamed of visiting over the years. I bought a big map of the world and hung it on my living room wall. As I placed markers on each of my destinations, a path emerged that took me around the globe — roughly west-to-east. For the most part, this path lets me travel the whole year while avoiding the coldest and wettest seasons.
Preparations for a worldwide trip can be overwhelming. I’ve been planning for eight months. First, I had to be sure that my passport and visas would be up to date for the duration of the trip. Each country has its own visa requirements. I found it worthwhile to hire a passport/visa consulting firm to procure the visas for me. I had so many visas that I needed extra pages added to my passport!
I decided to lease my house during the year of my trip. I hired a property manager to find the right tenants and take care of things in my absence. This was a necessary choice, since I’m depending on the rental income to help finance the trip.
Since I’m traveling solo for most of the trip, I signed up for tours (after lots of research!) in parts of the world where I would rather not travel on my own. Some overseas tour companies that cater to solo travelers. Overseas Adventure Travel doesn’t generally charge a single supplement fee, meaning that there is no extra charge for a room of your own.
For this year-long trip, I bought my train and ship reservations online, and I bought my airline tickets from AirTreks, an online agent that specializes in round-the-world tickets.
I bought travel insurance from Allianz for the entire year to cover trip cancellations, lost baggage, emergency evacuations, and medical expenses. Most tour companies offer individual insurance policies for the duration of their tours, but it’s much less expensive to buy it directly from an independent agent for the entire trip.