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Quietly traveling the world.
July 11, 2011 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Need help planning a fitness-oriented RTW trip starting in mid-August, consisting primarily of a few long-distance treks. Complication: I'm a really really extreme introvert.

My starting point is East Asia and my ending point is the United States, but it's totally fine if my route doesn't make sense. I want to travel for 3-6 months, spending roughly a month in each country and my budget is around 10K. My dream vacation is to spend most of the day walking or hiking, occasionally visiting a magnificent city, and the rest of the time curled up with my Kindle, indoors. I plan to spend August-September (6 weeks) walking the French portion of the Camino de Santiago and visiting Paris.

... but I'm clueless about what to do next, as it will be getting cold. I would love to do the Annapurna Circuit and October is a great month for that. November sounds like a good time to explore India or Southeast Asia, but I'm not exactly sure *what* I could do that would provide fitness as well as peace and quiet. I'm painfully shy, easily overstimulated, and tend to not get along with free-spirited hippie types, especially more than one at a time. I find it almost impossible to enjoy a place with a lot of touts. It would be great to spend a few weeks on a beach somewhere. I've also never been below the Equator and would like to, but have no idea where to begin. I've heard that New Zealand has some great walks, and of course there's Machu Picchu, but not sure what else I should do in South America. Please help!
posted by acidic to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you're willing to draw a bit more on that budget, I saw more than a couple solo trekkers in Nepal who had hired a porter and/or guide just for themselves. You could probably also do this in the Atlas mountains (Morocco) with a mule and/or guide. Either place, this would make it possible to do long long walks with very controllable social interactions (even if you don't need a porter, they (can) insulate you from interacting). In Nepal, for example, you can either eat in the tea house and be social with other walkers, or not.
It might be worth it, especially in places like Kathmandu or Marrakesh, to book whatever assistance you're getting ahead of time; then the touts can still solicit you, but you have a destination (and maybe even a local business that will meet up with you).
have fun!
posted by Mngo at 9:27 AM on July 11, 2011


overstimulated, and tend to not get along with free-spirited hippie types, especially more than one at a time. I find it almost impossible to enjoy a place with a lot of touts.

You're pretty much describing most of India. If you still want to go focus on the less touristed parts. There are a lot of national parks to explore but they may require a bit of effort to get to and a you may need to hire a guide. I found the South (Madurai, etc.) much less touristy or tout-filled than the North but there will be a lot of stimulation. Sounds like you might like a meditation or yoga retreat—there are tons to choose from in India. I spent 8 days in Southern India at a yoga ashram for around $12/day all-inclusive.

saw more than a couple solo trekkers in Nepal who had hired a porter and/or guide just for themselves.

I walked the second half of the Jomsom Trek by myself with one guide/porter. A porter was legally required and I was alone but it wasn't all that expensive (even though I had to pay for his flight and I'm a cheap traveler). I then met up with other hikers at night for diner and drinks. If you tell your guide that you are very quiet and like to hike away from any groups they should be accommodating and not be offended.
posted by Bunglegirl at 11:08 AM on July 11, 2011


I'm also an extreme introvert.  I didn't get on very well with Hong Kong - the noise! the crowds! the touts, the beggars, the people staring at me! - and friends have advised me that I'd find Thailand, India and China worse in that respect.  However, I loved Japan, which is an introvert's paradise.  It wasn't on your list, and your budget might rule it out anyway, but it fits well into your schedule (October - November is a good time of year for visiting Japan in terms of cost, weather and accessibility of the countryside) and it's got plenty of beautiful, hikeable scenery, with some very long-distance trails.  If it appeals at all, take a look at Lonely Planet's Hiking in Japan book, which is pretty thorough.

In the southern hemisphere, I can vouch for Australia and New Zealand as good choices for the shy loner.  Both are really comfortable, laid-back places to travel, both are absolutely worth the trip, and in both countries, I found that people were friendly but not remotely smothering.  However, I stayed in hotels rather than hostels, which probably coloured my judgement but would break your budget; and in Australia I stayed in cities, apart from a single day's walking in the Blue Mountains, while in New Zealand I was even lazier and just enjoyed the scenery from afar.  Hiking's popular in both countries, though.  Wikipedia has information on long-distance trails in Australia and in New Zealand, and hopefully someone who's actually done some walking on them will pop up and tell you more.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 11:32 AM on July 11, 2011


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