I’m a planner, so much so that our last two holidays have had their own enormous trip folders. Within these folders are multi-coloured dividers containing each day’s accommodation, maps, possible hikes, potential places to eat… Seriously. Feel free to mock but my approach to planning and research has always reassured me that we’ve experienced every trip to the fullest.

Obviously I realised that carrying a folder around with 13 months of planned activities wasn’t going to happen and letting go of my control freak ways has been difficult, liberating and a bit scary. We’ve had to book a few flights in advance to satisfy border officials that we aren’t planning on squatting in their country but we’ve left our options in between fairly open so we don’t feel tied into concrete plans.

Canada, 10th June – 25th July

Moraine Lake, Alberta

We fly into Calgary on the 10th June to start our 6 week road trip around Alberta and British Columbia. The practical reason for heading west to east on our RTW is to ease ourselves in gently to travelling long term, by the time we get to the more challenging countries we should be far more confident. In Canada we’re planning on taking it slow and not trying to see too much, it’s such a vast country that we’ll most likely stay within the southern parts of each province.

Canada To Do:

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    • See whales migrating north in the Pacific. Saw a humpback but no grey whales 🙁
    • Spend time on the wild north coast of Vancouver Island. Done!
    • Explore the less well known national parks of the Rockies. Done!



USA, 25th July – 20th October
Pacific Coast Highway, CA

Pacific Coast Highway, CA

We’ll catch a train from Vancouver to just north of Seattle where we’ll pick up our U.S rental car and begin a 3 month trek across the country and back. This is the most controversial part of the trip as most people can’t understand why we want to spend 3 months of a year long trip in a western country. The answer is, we’ve fallen in love with this amazing country and we won’t feel satisfied until we’ve properly explored it from coast to coast. I’ve been blown away by what the U.S national parks have to offer and we’re determined to see as many as possible.

USA To Do:

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    • Finally see the Grand Canyon. Done!
    • Stay in a fire lookout in either Washington or Oregon. Done!
    • See a baseball game at Wrigley Field. Done!



 Rarotonga, a week or so in October

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Photo credit: fabvirge

We plan to spend around a week in the Cook Islands soaking up the sun and relaxing after a hectic few months in the U.S. We wanted a break somewhere in the South Pacific before heading to New Zealand and Rarotonga looks perfect, plus we couldn’t believe the flight deals available.

Rarotonga To Do:

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    • Hike the coast to coast trail. Done!
    • Photograph an amazing sunset. Done!
    • Eat, sleep and soak up the sun!. Done!



New Zealand, November/December

Milford Sound, New Zealand

     Photo credit: joeforjette

Visiting New Zealand has been number 1 on my bucket list for so long that I can’t quite believe I’m going. The rough plan at the moment is to fly into Auckland and out of Christchurch, we’ll road trip it in between and think we’ll spend 6-8 weeks there but are leaving it very open.

New Zealand To Do:

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    • Hike a glacier. Done but in Canada!
    • Sea kayak. Done!
    • Bungee jump (this one is Paul, there is no way you will find me on a bungee!) Done!



We’ll continue to head west after the first 6 months, we know Australia and South East Asia will be on the list but exactly what, when and how are still very much open for debate!

We’d love to hear what you think of our plans so far and also if you have any tips/suggestions. Don’t forget, if you like this post you can click on the little heart just below.


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9 Responses

  1. Kim

    Make sure you book the fire lookouts early. Here is the link to do so: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/recreation/rentals/. I’m not sure if you guys are backpackers and where you will be in August, but Brian and I (and a few friends, possibly) are going to hike the Three Sisters loop near Bend, OR. It’s a six day backpacking loop through some of the most amazing scenery. You guys are welcome to come with us but since you may not be in the area when we are, I also just recommend checking it out. Plus, you should visit Bend, Oregon if you are in the area. It’s one of our favorite places on earth.
    Kim recently posted..The Gift That Changes EverythingMy Profile

    • Maddie

      Thanks Kim, that’s so kind. I’ll keep in touch when we’re in the States and let you know if we’ll be in Oregon in August, if not we’ll make sure to check out Bend. The Pacific Northwest is somewhere we definitely want to spend more time in. I’ll make sure to try and book a fire lookout before we leave the UK as we don’t want to miss out, Paul read your post and thinks it looks like an amazing experience.

  2. Fi Murray

    Great website! You are finally going 🙂 You will have a great time in the US! Look forward to seeing the pictures. We are off to New Zealand tonight…excited 🙂

    • Maddie

      Thanks Fi 🙂 Only 3 weeks to go so very excited! Saw that you’d arrived in NZ, cannot wait to see your pics and hear all about it on the blog. Have an amazing time!

  3. Changes In Longitude

    We left for our RTW in August so will enjoy following you. We also flew into Auckland and out of Christchurch so contact us for any tips. One thing though, ditch the planning folders. You’ll meet so many people who will suggest places you never dreamed of.

    Good luck!
    Larissa and Michael
    Changes In Longitude
    Changes In Longitude recently posted..Centralia Pennsylvania: The unforgettable fireMy Profile

    • Maddie

      Thanks guys, will take a look at your blog 🙂 Planning folders were definitely ditched for the RTW! Apart from a few flights we’ve literally booked a couple of nights accommodation when we get to Canada. It’s completely alien to me so trying not to freak out but I must remember that this isn’t a holiday.

  4. Debbie

    Hope you doing well and enjoying Alberta!
    I hope you survived the storm!!
    I think what you guys are doing is amazing and very brave!
    It was a pleasure to meet you and I am excited to watch your journey here!

    • Maddie

      It’s very beautiful but ridiculously expensive, not really backpacker friendly. I’ve got a post coming up on it soon!


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