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  • Writer's pictureRobin Gilmore

Round-The-World Trip Cut Short

In early February 2020 Judy and Bob embarked on an epic journey designed to take them around the world in just over 2 months. They began in Hawaii and traveled west. They would've arrived in Boston in early April, had it not been for COVID-19. While their journey was cut short it still made for a great vacation to some incredible destinations.

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Q. What inspired you to take an extended round-the-world trip?

A. We had long promised each other a trip to Australia and New Zealand when we retired. Angkor Wat was on my wish list, and things just evolved into going west instead of east to get home.

We also planned to visit Singapore, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Dubai, Jordan, Greece, Spain, and Portugal. We only made it to Dubai due to the pandemic.

Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia

Q. What was your favorite destination, and why?

A. Unfair question. Our top three favorite destinations were Australia, New Zealand, and Cambodia.

Australia is a great mix of interesting cities (Melbourne and Sydney), breathtaking places (Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef), and friendly people.

New Zealand is beautiful, culturally diverse, and exciting. Queenstown, home to Doubtful Sound, combines particularly stunning scenery with adventure sports. We went paragliding!

Cambodia was wonderful and an unexpected pleasure. Amazing history, ancient temples, wonderful people, and great food.

Doubtful Sound in New Zealand

Q. What was your favorite hotel, and why?

A. We enjoyed very good hotels throughout our trip. Best pool goes to the Amara Bangkok (on the roof with a great view). Best all-around hotel was the Borei Angkor Resort & Spa in Siem Reap because of the accommodating staff, comfortable room, good restaurant, lovely pool, and spa.


Q. What were 3 aspects of your trip that made it the most memorable?

1. The wonderful variety of the places we were able to visit. Different cultures, lifestyles, histories, and diverse ecological environments.

2. Covid-19. By the end of our time in New Zealand there were fewer tourists than usual. In Cambodia there were only a handful of visitors at Angkor Wat and surrounding temples, so we had a great experience. We were increasingly concerned when we had our temperatures checked at the hotel. In Bangkok the crowd at the royal palace was down 75%. Again, that meant we had a wonderful tour.

3. The pandemic. While we were in Bangkok, we had to cancel the European part of our trip. When we arrived in Dubai, our next flight was cancelled. A very anxious 36 hours later, thanks to Brian Chima, we were safely on our way home. The flights home felt like a lifesaver.

Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. Was there anything in particular you wish you would have done or would do differently?

A. We brought masks for the fires in Australia and then left them behind never imagining we would need them for the pandemic. Luckily, up until Dubai we were able to do everything we planned and hoped to do. We hope to be able to complete our trip in the future.

Uluru (or Ayers Rock) near Alice Springs, Australia

Q. How did you pack for a round-the-world trip?

A. We each took one checked bag and one carry-on bag. We tried to pack light with clothes that could be hand washed and layered for different climates. We took iPads for books, music, journaling, and emails. They were particularly nice on long flights for entertainment.

Māori cultural experience in Rotorua, New Zealand

Q. Do you have any advice for someone who wants to take a similar type of trip?

A. Take your time planning. Think carefully about where you want to go and what you hope to experience.

Plan down time to just enjoy the moment. Make travel days just that, with no other planned activities.

The two things that decreased our stress were private transfers and nonstop flights so we didn’t have to change planes in airports outside the US.

Street art in Melbourne, Australia

Here at Chima Travel we're ready to travel when you are. No matter where you want to go we can create a custom itinerary tailored just for you.

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