After my first backpacking experience in Russia, Europe and England in 2014, I knew that was not going to be my last trekking experience.When I moved home back into the Detroit metro area, I found a job working for an organic, cold pressed juicing company and was also doing commissional art projects for random clients. I was not making tons of money, but I was content. I had moved into a small, two bedroom house right outside the city with two other roommates. Rent was cheap, the commute was tolerable, and I developed a small community of people that enjoyed music, yoga, boxing and of course…traveling.

Backpacking and traveling again was always in the back of my mind, I just had no idea when I would go back to my true love of that nomadic lifestyle…

Then it happened! 

In the cold snow-filled month of February 2015, two of my good friends and I went to a Ásgier and Hozier concert. Good times, great and music, and a few drinks brewed up this idea… My friend leaned over to me halfway though Hozier’s song From Eden and said, “Melissa! We need go backpacking together!” 

Well, for those you know me fairly well, you’d know that if anyone suggests a trip… I take that as a serious invitation. 

The next day all I could think about was the possibility of backpacking again. And I felt as though I hit the jackpot because I’d be traveling with my friends who are just as excited about traveling and I am! I called my friend Jamie and asked her if she was serious and she of course was. You know the feeling of seeing someone in a cafe or walking down the street and that attraction /connection in your mind and body meet, & your heart gives a pull on your veins like an electrical shock. And you will regret for a long time if you don’t stop them and say hi..?

Well, that’s exactly how I felt when that longing to travel oversees again, that idea that was in the back of my head, was set into motion!

We started planning in April 2015. One year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days… To plan another backpacking trip!

The first time I decided to go on a trip I gave myself 4 years to save and plan. Now I had 1/4 of the time and money. Starting from zero, how do you plan a backpacking trip!?

Jamie and I came up with a list of countries and decided on two after chatting for many hours about the topic. That next month we had come up with two places: Bali and Japan. Another country I had always wanted to go to was Australia and New Zealand. Which I had eventually decided to do on my own. 

We started to look for flights in the summer of 2015, but couldn’t find anything we were set on. Then, life brought up a contact to a great travel agent (which I would highly recommend). She was very nice and affordable for those who are on a budget. I was very skeptical at first, but she ended up being one of the wisest investments during this whole process of planning (if you’re interested in finding a travel agent send me an email and we will chat). 

By late November of 2015 we had our rough itinerary: 

Fly into Tokyo on April 23rd, spend a couple days in the city and then take the train to Kyoto. After Kyoto we will head back to Tokyo for a day or two and then fly to Denpasar, Bali.

Jamie and I will both be in Bali together for three weeks, traveling through the island and also to smaller islands along that region. 

On May 21st I will be heading solo to Australia and Jamie and Garrett (our other travel partner who will be meeting us in Bali later on) will stay in Indonesia and explore more of the surrounding islands. 

From the end of May until June 6th I will be backpacking through Sydney and other cities in Oz. A huge portion of my trips have always been fairly planned out and set in stone. This time, in Oz, I’ve decided to not plan!  To stop, and let things happen organically. For me that’s pretty terrifying because I enjoy knowing what’s next. But I am going to let that portion of my trip happen all organically. And hey, if anything, it’s going to make for a great read. 😉

So here we are. Three weeks away from a trip to Asia, Indonesia and Australia that was planned approximately in a 12 months period.  You would think that would be enough time… But there are some fascists of this trip that I still feel very unprepared for. 

I suppose there is only so much you can really prep for, then you just have to go. Step on that plane and fly.

Here we go friends! My backpack journey around 2!!!

Something crazy things are about to happen! 



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