Tuesday, October 2, 2018


Whew - it feels like it's been a year since I last posted. I'm currently in Thailand enjoying the respite the "rainy season" provides (I can't exactly sight-see if it's pouring out). To give you a bit of where my brain's at before I dive in, the past 10 days have been spent in Los Angeles, Honolulu, Osaka, and Bangkok. Please excuse the post if it's a little scrambled!

I'm not sure what to put for my Phase I Wrap Up, but I feel like there should be one. I welcome any suggestions! How about we start with the facts?

My "plan" as it was conceived.

Start: August 4, 2018. I flew from Philadelphia to Halifax, officially inaugurating my trip.

End: September 14, 2018. I flew (overnight) from Anchorage to Los Angeles. After some internal debate, I decided this ended Phase I, as it was the end of my plans. Phase II, while intended to cover SE Asia and Oceania, had an improvisational feel to it, which covered LA (and Honolulu), despite still being in the United States.

Cost: $5,500 / $5,000 OVERBUDGET. The good part of planning things in advance is there's less anxiety - you're always moving toward something. The bad part is, say, if you paid for a $700 boat trip several months in advance and forgot to put it on your budget sheet as your travels moved along, thereby thinking you were underbudget for the whole thing. I'll grant the budget was a made-up number to begin with, but if one is not accountable to one's self, who can they truly be accountable to?

Boat Birthday?: Yes, I did spend a short time on a boat on my birthday.

Cities Visited:

  • Halifax (need to go back)
  • Montreal (would go back)
  • Quebec City (would go back)
  • Ottawa (would go if I could find a local guide)
  • Toronto (okay with not going back)
  • Winnipeg (didn't really get a feel for it)
  • Edmonton (didn't really get a feel for it)
  • Red Deer (as long as there's a friendly face!)
  • Calgary (should go back - probably to see Bamff as well)
  • Vancouver (loved it and would go back in a minute)
  • Seattle (would go back)
  • Whidbey Island (would go and stay as long as possible!)
  • Juneau (don't need to go back)
  • Anchorage (don't need to go back)
  • Whittier (don't need to go back)
Missed Opportunities:
  • Hornepayne (would totally find a cabin here for a couple nights)
  • Saskatoon (why not? I was in nearly every other provincial capital!)
  • Jasper (climb a mountain, drink a beer)
  • Victoria (see: Saskatoon)
  • Ketchikan (I'm spelling that wrong. Seemed like an interesting spot from the boat)
  • Skagway, etc. (There's a float plane service that will fly you all over the interior passage. That'd make for a fun month.)
  • Homer (I tried!)
  • Seward, etc. (fly into Anchorage and hop on one of the sight-seeing trains. I should have, but I was at the end of my budget.)
I did a best & worst of Canada and I'm not sure that the US portion needs one (being three cities and a boat ride). How about a "what would you do differently?" section.


Given the same budget constraints, I would have spent one less day on the boat to Alaska (get off in Ketchikan and float plane to Juneau?). I would have also carved out an extra day for Halifax and Vancouver.

Given an increased budget, I would have added no less than two weeks (preferably a second whole month!) to the Canada portion and went for the 10-trip rail pass (instead of the 7-trip one). I think I would have flown to Anchorage / similar and went sight-seeing southward instead of Seattle northward (especially given that one could continue a trip down the west coast of the US).

For a budget slim-down (say someone wanted to do a similar trip for less), Canada could be pared down to Halifax - Montreal - Toronto - Winnipeg / Edmonton (you will need a "get off the train and take a shower" stop) - Vancouver. This could be done in 3-4 weeks for under $1,500 (AirBnB / hostels / couchsurfing / friends). A pared-down Alaska, given a similar sightseeing list, would look like: Anchorage, Whittier, boat to... Skagway?,, float plane to Juneau. No idea on cost, but probably about the same (under $2,000? under $1,500?) for two weeks.

Alright, the rain's let up for the moment, so it's time to do some more sightseeing in Bangkok. Expect a Los Angeles write-up soon!

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