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Well, as of 12.30 today I’ve been locked into my Oz trip.  I booked 5 flights that will help me get from China to Perth – and I then spent the entire day freaking out over it.

Essentially, paying for anything over double digits terrifies me.  Especially when it’s non-refundable.  But the longer I waited, the more expensive it was going to get, and on my tight time scale there was no other way to get from certain A’s to B’s than to fly, because I’d forgotten something while planning this trip.  I’m covering a lot of ground, and needed to set aside days dedicated to travelling.  I didn’t, and therefore had to take expensive routes to see everything.  As such I’ve got a flight from Beijing-Xian (could have done via overnight train but later realised the hassle of trying to organise this in a foreign country would probably send me into a mental breakdown), Xian-Guilin, Guilin-Hong Kong and then Hong Kong to Hanoi.  Finally, also booked the very last flight which is Kuala Lumpur-Perth for late January, just before Australia Day.  How much did this set me back?  Just over £1000 – feel the wince.

I admit, its more than I was hoping to pay, especially since I’ve looked at my plans and realised I’ve got at least 2 other flights I’ll need to book at some point, on top of the Vodkatrain that I’m holding off on since it’s a good £1400 alone.  But having this huge price tag has allowed me the opportunity to look at this plan and make some harsh choices.

I’m going.  That is now a fact.  I’ve been budgeting for cheap accommodation and certain travel so it’s as cheap as it can be – no problem.  But I’m starting to realise my original budget is laughable, and if I really want to do this, I’ll have to spend the rest of the year working towards it.  Budget like I said I would, and stop spending money on frivolous things.

EBay’s definitely helping me in that regard.  Last week I made almost enough to cover my accommodation costs – if I can continue on and rid myself of the rest of my junk I should be able to cover the visa, travel insurance and flights I haven’t bought yet from there pretty easily.  Which gives me an additional £1000 savings to go towards the tours and other additional costs.  I’ll be going on a career break rather than leaving my job, and the last pay check has been pencilled in as my spending money.  If I can increase how much I’m saving a month (or indeed get that job that is still being advertised), I should be able to recoup what I’ve spent and confirm if I can or can’t afford the vodkatrain come August.

So, what is the plan if everything goes the way I want it to?  Should look a little something like this:

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VODKATRAIN: Moscow, Irkustk, Ulanbataar, Beijing

CHINA: Beijing, X’ian, Guilin, Hong Kong

VIETNAM: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Min

CAMBODIA: Siem Reap

THAILAND: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Phuket

SINGAPORE

KUALA LUMPUR

And finally a flight to PERTH, AUSTRALIA on a working holiday visa.

Spending what’s starting to look like a ridiculous amount of time in Thailand – however this is due to 2 different types of home stay I’d really like to try, and because I’m tentatively planning on getting a diving qualification while I’m over there.  My Dad’s an experienced diver, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to try.  Besides, if I’m spending a year in the country that’s home to the Great Barrier Reef, seems like a skill that could come in handy.  Everywhere else, I’d say I’m really only getting a taste of the country, but this is mainly due to me being on something of a time limit.  Made worse by the fact that I decided I wanted to be in Cambodia for Christmas.  The plan was always to go see as many of the places I’d always wanted to see, so when I was time to come back, I could hopefully take a more relaxed trip home.

Thankfully, I do still have some flexibility if I panic and decide things aren’t the way I want them to be.  China is locked up, and I have to be in Kuala Lumpur for the 22nd, but other than that, I still have some leeway to research as I budget.  If anyone has any suggestions to how I can do things better, I’m all ears at this point.

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