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It was 1st week of May 2015 when we had a draft plan ready of our Round the world (henceforth referred to simply as RTW). Most important aspect was financial planning and that was taken care of. Everything seemed perfect and South Africa was the first visa we applied. Kiran believes he has some ‘Karmic connection’ with that beautiful country. After all it was his first job out of India and he was stationed in that country for one whole year. Chandni had visited him during Xmas- New Year and his parents had visited during Good Friday –Easter long weekend. But we received our first major set back. South Africa rejected the visa application as visas to South Africa come into effect immediately and as per our plan we would be in S.Africa during December. Since the visa expires in 3 months we either had 2 options – to apply a 6 months visa or apply 2 months before SAF visit which was not possible as we would have been in Europe. We have already explained all the challenges an Indian passport holder faces. The constraint of not being able to apply from country other than India or country of residence hurts the most. Unfortunately we had to drop South Africa from our list.
But more disappointment followed. We soon found out that for each and every country we had to apply only 1-3 months prior to the date of arrival so we had a window of only 3 months to apply all our visas before we depart Canada. UK Visa processing times from Toronto was 4-6 months and just the appointment at French consulate for Schengen visa had a wait period of 2 months. We had planned everything to the detail except for this visa situation which we were in and our disappointments had started taking a toll even on our relationship. After all we had sacrificed everything we had in the last 6 months.
Colombia announces visa on arrival for Indians with US or Schengen visas. Awesome!! http://t.co/T5fqjXAa7G Time for a trip!
— Backpack ME (@piggybackrideAZ) May 4, 2015
We decided to start all over again. Sometime in early May one of our favourite Indian travel bloggers (Ashray and Zara) had tweeted that Columbia has introduced visa on arrival for Indians. It was duly added in our list. We found out that Portugal is the best embassy to apply Schengen visa from Toronto and one way flight tickets to Europe are cheapest to Lisbon from Toronto. Moreover you get back your passports immediately and can send them to the next country for stamping. After much deliberations we drafted the below plan as our FINAL RTW ITINERARY :). Before we will depart for our RTW we will already be having Schengen, UK and Morocco visa.
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Leg # 1 : Western Europe with a kiss to Africa
Leg # 2: Euro Super powers
Leg # 3: Beautiful Budget Friendly Eastern & South Europe
Leg # 4: Extreme East Africa
Leg # 5: Simply South East Asia
Leg # 6: Discovering Hobbit Land
Leg # 7: Amazing Amazon
Leg # 8: Casual Central America
Leg # 9: Nirvana
Hopefully by the end of the trip our map will be something like this (If map does not load then click on the “Travel Map” link)