“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu ~
Planning is the antithesis of how we want to approach this trip. Aside from a handful of countries and a vague idea of what we want, nothing is cast in stone. Plans, timing and desire are subject to the "whim du jour", a technique perfected on the banks of the Mekong in 2000, when during a mid afternoon reading session in Luang Prabang we decided in about 5 seconds to stay put for another week.
In general, the trip will go south from Vancouver, meander through the Western US and slow down in Mexico. Central America is a bit vague at the moment, but Colombia and Ecuador have been widely discussed and ideas gathered. The Galapagos will be on the itinerary, as well as a hike around the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru. We tried the latter in 1996, but the lack of infrastructure, mostly abandoned villages, following Shining Path guerrilla movement over the years hampered our efforts at the time. The rest of South America will mostly be covered on the western end, avoiding places like Venezuela and some of the French colonies.
The current plan is to fly from Santiago de Chile to New Zealand or Australia after we're done with South America.
In New Zealand, lots of riding, hiking and camping is planned. From there, Australia will be a much longer adventure, with an offshoot to Papua New Guinea. Drifting upwards, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the rest of Asia will consume another year or two. We've both been to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, and there are lots of places we want to go and revisit. Bhutan is a delightful mystery and most likely we won’t visit there by motorcycle. The question then becomes whether we tackle China and "ride over top" to Nepal, or whether we try Myanmar, maybe by putting the bikes on a truck, or fly to Nepal from Bangkok.
An inordinate amount of time will be spent in Nepal and India, the latter which I visited for exactly two days, when I crossed from Pakistan to Nepal in 2006. India is going to be a challenge but the plan is to cover a large portion of it. Personally, I can't wait to get back into Pakistan, the land of rugged peaks, devoid of tourists and with surprises around every corner. Here too a number of treks will be made and hopefully the Baltoro Glacier will be accessible when we're there. Leisurely Iran will provide a break from intense Pakistan and slowly ease us back into Western civilization. Turkey, Syria and Jordan are known quantities to both of us but Egypt is net-new, certainly with the bikes. Then we enter the heart of darkness.