I had been planning to do a big world trip long before I had been to Australia in 2004. I had enough money to go away for 12 months but also could still qualify for an Australian or New Zealand working holiday visa if I applied before my 31st birthday. I choose New Zealand because it was a cooler climate which would be a lot better if I ended up working outside.
Then there was the question of what countries to visit and planning a route. I found a website that lists all the cheap airlines which helped loads. The only definite things on my journey was that I would be spending Christmas and New year in Asia to keep the costs down and I would be arriving in New Zealand in February 2009 at the latest to catch the start of the fruit picking season.
During 2008 Oasis airlines who were doing 200 pound flights to Hong Kong and Zoom airlines who were doing similar priced flights to Vancouver went bust. As the Americas were low down on my list of must see places I decided against going literally round the world but would be going as far as the South Pacific islands turning round then coming back through Asia.
As I enjoyed my job on the dustbins I kept putting it off leaving all summer but finally set my leaving date for the end of October 2008. This gave me 2-3 months in Asia to start with, seeing the parts of Thailand I missed last time such as the north along with Laos was part of the plan. But the one place that stood out when doing my research was Sumatra, having been to Borneo it seemed a logical next step. Plus I felt that I was ready to take on a more challenging off the beaten track destination.
Then there was Australia and New Zealand, the priority for New Zealand was finding employment and the priority for Australia this time was visiting friends and relatives in Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Sydney. I would try to restrict my drinking and partying to the cheaper countries of Asia.
I wanted to visit at least one south pacific island, basically they all looked good so it was a matter of finding the cheapest island and flight to get there. Samoa was top of the list for this reason and like Sumatra it was a more off the beaten track destination as everyone else seemed to go to Fiji. Finally I would come back through Asia making it up as I went along.