Recent uni graduate and Canberra-based filmmaker Chris Arnold is going on a Round the World (RTW) trip with Student Flights this week. Chris starts full-time work in the corporate world in less than 5 weeks’ time, so to make the most of his remaining freedom he’s off on a whirlwind tour spanning 11 countries and 16 cities in 35 days from Canberra > Sydney > LA, and then connect him from NYC > London then home again from Paris > Dubai > Sydney > Canberra on a super-special Black Market Flights airfare – exclusive to Student Flights. Chris will film and share his overseas RTW adventure with us along the way – check back on our blog for regular updates!
But first, let’s find out more about our Black Market buccaneer…
What prompted you to head off on a RTW trip?
An old friend of mine is getting married in LA (in Sacramento). That was the basis of the trip, but then I decided to also visit some other friends and family in the States and Europe while I was out there. I really wanted to visit other parts of world I hadn’t visited before. This trip is about catching up with friends and family but it’s also to discover new and different cultures on my own, which you can’t really do if you’re just going to one country. I knew I wanted to go to Scandinavia and LA and it made much more practical sense to book a proper RTW ticket. When I went to Student Flights they advised me on the best options – i.e. flying from New York City to London and out of Paris on the way home -which meant I could get the best possible long-haul fares then make my own way around smaller cities in Europe. What’s great is my Student Flights travel agent booked the trip step-by-step for me – including the connecting flight from Canberra to Sydney. Usually when I book myself I have to take a bus or drive to Sydney.
What have you got planned? Any tours or add-ons to the trip?
No. I’m basically hitting up 11 countries and 16 cities in 35 days (that’s Sydney > Los Angeles > Portland > Seattle > NYC > London > Sheffield > Oslo > Stockholm > Copenhagen > Amsterdam > Brussels > Munich > Heidelberg > Paris > Dubai). The longest I’m anywhere is around 4 days – that’s with friends and family in Portland – so there isn’t really enough time for any tours.
Did you consider the seasons and the weather in the countries you’re travelling to?
Not really [laughs]. I’m starting full-time work two days after I get back from the trip – my first ever graduate job actually – so it’s a matter of this trip being the only time I could make it over there. With Scandinavia, I really wanted to go there and I simply couldn’t wait until it was warm – I had to go now – but everywhere else it’s getting into spring so it’s going to be nice enough at this time of year.
So it was a spur of the moment decision to go overseas?
After recently travelling to Vietnam, shortly after returning I had the travel urge again and I realised I only had 3 months left before I started the full-time job. I needed to do something – I couldn’t just sit at home in Canberra. It just so happened that everything went well in terms of booking flights and figuring out destinations. I was initially thinking of heading to South Africa or Sweden and try to work there for a month, but then I realised there was just too much in the world I wanted to see – I didn’t have time to be stuck in one country for a whole month.
Was Vietnam your first trip overseas?
It was my first in the last 5 years. My mum is German and actually my first-ever plane ticket was booked for me before I was born! I went over to Germany when I was just 3 months old. I’ve been to 21 countries already and I can’t wait to tick some more off my list. I didn’t get to travel at all while I was at uni because I couldn’t afford it and didn’t really have the time until now.
Have you received any advice from friends and family who have travelled around the world before?
I’ve travelled enough in the past to handle jetlag. As for packing light, I had to learn the hard way on my recent trip to Vietnam; I packed too many things and didn’t wear some of them. I’ve researched on a few blogs for packing advice on what to take – the bare necessities and being smart about what you pack. It’s difficult packing clothes for cold weather when it’s 35 degrees here in Canberra. If it’s snowing I’ll have to buy some new shoes or something. But I plan to just wing it with the winter clothes I already own.
What’s one thing you can’t leave home without (besides your camera, obviously)?
My Swiss Army knife.
What city are you most looking forward to?
I think Oslo. Definitely New York too – I’ve never been before – but Oslo seems really cool because of the architecture there. There’s an island that’s part of the city (Bjørvika Barcode) with several new high-rise buildings built on it. I saw a photo of it and it looks incredible – the colours and the way the sun reflects on it, I’m excited to see that. I’m also really looking forward to my 3-day stopover in Dubai. It’s another city I’ve always wanted to see – I’m really looking forward to seeing the incredible modern architecture there too.
We’re picking up a bit of a trend for architecture?
I studied engineering at university and buildings have always intrigued me. Less so the ancient architecture, but more so modern buildings and designs.