Sunday, 1 May 2011

Travel Plans

In September of this year I am going to go travelling for two or three years around the world, visiting man-made monuments, to determine what the actual and existing Seven Wonders of the World are.

As such, I have selected about ninety-three of what I consider to be the best candidates, ranging from the ancient to the modern, the sacred to the unholy, the graceful to the brutal, and from the crumbling ruins of mysterious civilisations to the gleaming showpieces of modern capitalist powerhouses. One thing unites them: they are, quite literally, monumental. These are the most remarkable buildings known to man.

For a few years now I have been researching each location, to understand the history, the feats of engineering, the manpower (and cost to life) and the - sometimes entirely insane - motives behind building such epic structures. I want to understand the story behind each, so that I know exactly what I'm seeing, rather than wander around with a slightly glazed expression admiring really large piles of bricks. I want to know who built each place, and when, and how, and why.

The trip will take the form of three distinct geographical legs. The first: Asia; the second: Europe and the Middle East; and the third: the Americas. Finally, there's a handful of stray locations to round everything off.

If you are reading this, likely having followed a link from my email or from The Facebook, then I'd be delighted if you could join me. Not for the entire two years, but for a week or two perhaps, anywhere you fancy that's vaguely on my itinerary. Perhaps there's a country or city you've always fancied, or perhaps you have a friend/cousin/prospective internet bride you'd like to visit that lives en route, or perhaps you simply fancy an interesting holiday. Whichever way, it would be lovely to see a familiar face during some fairly length travels.

So where, you may justly ask, am I going to then? I'll save the list of monuments for a later entry, but for now, here is my rough - and wilfully unfixed - schedule.

[Edit 02/11/14: The number of Wonders is now 105 rather than 93, and the schedule has changed somewhat. The new schedule follows, with the old one in small letters at the bottom]


Sep 2011: Australia, Singapore 2 Wonders visited
Oct 2011: Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma 5 Wonders visited
Nov 2011: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, some Philippines 2 Wonders visited
Dec 2011: some Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia 2 Wonders visited
Jan 2012: India 6 Wonders visited
Feb 2012: some India, China, North Korea 1 Wonder visited
Mar 2012: China  3 Wonders visited
Apr 2012:  China, South Korea 1 Wonders visited


between Apr 2012 and Dec 2013: France and UK 9 Wonders visited

South America

Dec 2013: Peru 2 Wonders visited
Jan 2014: Bolivia, Chile 1 Wonder visited
Feb 2014: Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil 1 Wonder visited


Mar 2014: France 5 Wonders visited
Apr 2014: Greece, Turkey 4 Wonders visited
May 2014: Spain, France 5 Wonders visited
Jun: 2014: Italy 5 Wonders visited

North America

Jul 2014: USA 2 Wonders visited
Aug 2014: USA, Canada 6 Wonders visited
Sep 2014: Mexico , Guatemala 4 Wonders visited

The Rest (Europe, Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, China)

Jan 2015 onwards: remaining 38 Wonders to be picked off in God knows what order


Sep 2011: Australia (just Sydney) and Indonesia.
Oct 2011: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand
Nov 2011: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam
Dec 2011: Philippines, Burma
Jan 2012:  India
Feb 2012: China, North Korea
Mar 2012: South Korea, Japan, Taiwan
Apr 2012: Russia (trans-Siberian) - then overland rush back to the UK

Europe and the Middle East

Jun 2012: Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine
July 2012: France
Aug-Oct 2012: Spain, Italy, Greece and anywhere in between
Nov 2012 - Jan 2013: Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Libya
-----but this is still a little vague

The Americas

2013/14: all the mainland, pretty much, starting in the USA and finishing in Brazil

Further entries will offer more detail, but for now I suppose I'm saying simply that I'm off round the world to look at some nice buildings, join me if you fancy.


  1. If you come to Los Angeles, contact me. We can play some tennis together and my husband and I will show you around.

  2. This sounds awesome - but don't remember the manmade landmarks of the UK!
    Also, what of Central Asia?

  3. Jenny - thanks. Though LA isn't formally on my list, it's almost certainly on the route, so I'd be delighted to visit. The America leg of the travels aren't for a couple of years yet though. I'm a little nervous about the tennis...

    Simon - the UK has a few landmarks. Being close to home, I'm quite flexible about when I visit them, likely during the European leg. No Central Asian monuments have jumped out at me as candidates - if you've any suggestions I'll look into them.

  4. Oops, I meant 'don't forget'...

    For Central Asia I'd point first towards the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana. It's a new capital, transformed from a tiny Soviet city in the desolate central steppe to city of 700,000 people in just 15 years, in part as a statement of Kazakhstan's idependence and future plans and in part to reignite the stagnating parliament that existed in the old capital Almaty upon independence. It has bold plans, shown by its architecture, particularly the Pyramid of Peace and Harmony, the Bayterek Tower and the Presidential Palace itself. There are also huge mosques and Russian orthodox cathedrals. It's a city of enormous statements for the future in the race to take a lead in the new country.

    Perhaps also I might suggest the architectural marvels of the central mosque in Tashkent and Registan Square in Samarkand, Uzebekistan and the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Turkestan, Kazakhstan.

    On a different note, I thought also of Diocletian's palace in Split, Croatia, the world heritage city centre of L'Viv, Ukraine, and wondered whether space ports might count, such as Cape Canaveral, Baikonur or Kourou?

    All simply things I think are interesting for all manner of reasons. I leave it to you to decide if they are wonders!

  5. Crikey, Simon, that's a fair whack of suggestions. I hope the Kazakh tourist board are giving you a good commission. I'll take a good look at them all and see if any look to be potential Wonders.

  6. Nev - for this bit "Aug-Oct 2012: Spain, Italy, Greece and anywhere in between"

    I will definately be in touch. I will do the Italian bit with you and if you do Switzerland or Austria I will be even more interested. Will contact near the time. Good idea mate - very constructive and I've no doubt it's gonna be legendary.

  7. Cheers. Switzerland and Austria aren't directly in my plans, but are en route so certainly not ruled out either. As might be evident, the Asian part is taking shape, but anything beyond that has yet to be planned in much detail.

  8. Hi there!
    I'm not start to telling you about the People's House from Bucharest, Romania, where is my hometown, because it's so f*****'n boring bulding which was made by a fanatic communist, Ceausescu, even it's the second largest building in the world. Anyway, your travel looks already awesome! I'm thinking about doing a worlwide tour in the future, to see the most beautiful places, but it depends, I have to travel on the budget because there are so many wonderful places to see and so little time...

    Do you know how much money do I need for travelling on a budget? I mean, backpacker, hitchhiker, teardrop trailer sleeping etc?

    Thank you and have a wonderful trip!

    P.S. If you intend to visit Romania in the future just tell me, I got a beautiful place in the mountains and you can stop by to chat, resting and a couple of beers/wine bottles...


  9. Hello Rocknroll.

    I've actually visited Bucharest before, ten years ago, and so have seen the People's House. It's certainly impressive in regard to sheer size, but is not exactly what I'm call pretty - very much a legacy of brute Communist architecture.

    For travelling on a budget - which I mostly hope to be myself - it depends where you travel. Excluding flights, I'm hoping to get by on about £10,000 for eight months in Asia. However, I know a girl who spent only £800 in five months in India. It just depends how budget you are willing to go. Ten years ago, I spent £2500 on four months on Eastern Europe, although I reckon beer took up a considerable per cent of that.

    Although Romania isn't formally on my list, my travels are very flexible, and it isn't far off my route. If you're still there in about 18 months, it would be great to get some beer and wine, and to debate the merits of the People's House. Cheers, and thanks for reading.

  10. Hi Nev I have just been reading a blog on your old site about basil the bow wow, I have also been searching everywhere for info on this toy but mine is just a stuffed dog teddy, but says all these phrases when i pull the cord,
    'im learning to sing aawoooo' -
    'please stroke me, mmmm thats nice' -
    'im basil the bow wow, whats your name?' -
    'can i be your friend' (lots of panting on this one he he) -
    'woof woof woof i do love you' -
    'I love children aaawoooo' -
    'im so glad you are here because im lost' -
    ' woof woof woof woof ill keep you safe ' -
    ' mmmm arnt i adorable ' -

    Please let me know if you found anything out about your toy because im sure they must have been made by the same company. I can email you a picture if you like to see if its the same type of dog, I know yours would have been a lot bigger but who knows mabe they look alike, email me

  11. Hey Nev- will you visit Canada this year or next?

    1. Hi Eileen. Next year is the plan, but I don't have a more precise plan yet. I'll let you know when I do.

  12. Bali, Indonesia
    Bali is truly a tropical paradise. Visitors can take their pick from lush jungles, wild mountain scenery and pristine white sand

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