Breaking down the decision where to go

It’s been 5 weeks since we sat at the Chinese dumplings restaurant XLB and decided to travel the world for a year. Since then we have packed up and moved, started this site and re-started AudienceWise (our digital marketing agency). One thing that we have not done much of is plan for the actual trip. It’s time.

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post while under the gun from the vaccination nurse to provide more details around our itinerary. It was a good start, but had some flaws — no South America? Really? Now that the dust is starting to settle from our move, we begin again.

Our first step was to list out all the countries that were in consideration. We landed on 75. Sure, we are traveling for at least 365 days, but still that is a new country every 5 days. That might work while traveling around Europe on Eurorail, but we’ll probably want take our coats off and stay a while in Southeast Asia, Australia, South America, and just about any remote island in the South Pacific (Hello Mauritius).

Next, Alyssa and I separately ranked each of the 75 countries from 1 to 3. Countries marked with a 1 can’t be missed. Countries marked with a 2 are high on the list but we’ll likely have to make tradeoffs and sacrifice a few. Countries marked with 3 aren’t entirely out of the question, but we need a little more convincing. Below are the results:


Tim’s Rank:

Alyssa’s Rank


  • My must sees are mostly in Southeast Asia, and Alyssa’s are spread throughout the world. She also has far more countries marked as “must go”.
  • We are in-sync on Southeast Asia, Australia / New Zealand and each have marked Peru as the only high priority country in South America.
  • I have always really wanted to go to Bhutan, and thus marked it as a 1. Alyssa marked it as a 3 because it would be challenging for the kids — OK, she has a point. My trekking to mountain village-self got a little carried away.
  • We both really want to spend some time in the South Pacific, but after discussing a bit, we decided that it will probably be as an off-shoot of a longer stint in Australia / New Zealand.
  • We are both really drawn to Turkey, but I ranked it low and Alyssa high. For me it’s a little too close to the turmoil in Syria, and the ongoing tensions between the Turkish government and Kurdish insurgent groups has had some violent outcomes of late.

When it comes down to it, we are actually pretty aligned. More importantly we are in agreement on the type of travel that we want to do. We both want the family to experience a lot, not necessarily race to get as many stamps as possible in our passports, see the most museums, or collect the most miles. We don’t want to fall into the common pitfall of planning for, and trying to do too much. So yeah, we have a year, which seems like a lot of time, but it will go by much quicker than we think. Ultimately, our “short-list” of 75 countries will have to be much shorter. We’re getting there.

Don’t forget: if you have some great places that you’ve been, or want to go, let us know here!


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