Travel Blog + Dining Blog + Frequent Flyer Tips Blog

I’m Returning to Indonesia in 2015!

One thing you may or may not know about me is that I studied in Indonesia when I was in college. It’s true. I spent two summers studying monkeys in a jungle on a remote Indonesian off the southwest coast of Java.

Pulau Tinjil, Indonesia

These experiences changed me for several reasons, which I wrote about in a previous issue of InFluential Magazine. But overall, this experience helped shape my career trajectory, but more importantly, it opened my eyes to the world.

I’ve been invited to participate in an amazing opportunity next summer. My undergraduate advisor invited me to return to the remote Indonesian island as a guest instructor in the annual field course that is held there. Yep, that’s right. I’m returning to my beloved SouthEast Asia. You have no idea how excited I am.

Now that I’ve cleared this trip with my employer, I need to start planning the logistics. Not only is Tinjil Island (the location of the field course) one of the most stunning places I have ever been in my life, but it is pretty much on the opposite side of the world. And that means travel. And lots of it.

Because my destination is halfway around the world, I’ve decided I’d like to try to find away to fly around the world. Based in Austin, I’ll be flying West towards Asia and Indonesia. After my visit to Tinjil Island, I plan to continue flying West via the Middle East and/or Europe before I return back to Austin.

Since I’ve learned of this opportunity, my mouth has been salivating trying to figure out how to get there and find a way to fly around the world.

Drooling Chocolate Lab

This is me at the thought of the various airlines I might get to fly around the world.

Right now, here’s what I know. I can’t leave Austin until August 11, 2015. There is a supply boat that runs between the base camp on Java and Tinjil Island every three days so I have to figure out that schedule. To maximize my travels and minimize downtime, I have to plan all my other flights around the supply boat.


Since I’m an Executive Platinum flyer with American Airlines, I have a bunch of systemwide upgrade (SWU) certificates that can be used to upgrade international revenue tickets, when the flight is operated by American Airlines. (Sadly, I don’t fly international very often, so these end up getting used on domestic tickets. The horror, right?) Therefore, I’m willing to purchase some tickets so that I can use these SWUs and travel long distances in comfort and style. As a result, I’m looking at potentially flying from Austin to Dallas/Ft. Worth and then heading to one of American’s Asian destinations: Seoul, Hong Kong, Beijing, etc. Alternatively, I could fly Austin to Los Angeles, and then continue into the west.

After the field course, I’ll be heading west from Jakarta. Some destinations I’m thinking of include Doha (Qatar), Abu Dhabi, or Dubai in the Middle East. Moscow or St. Petersburg in Russia. Porto or Lisbon in Portugal. Do you have any suggestions on where I should go? If so, please comment below!

Believe me, I’ve been playing around with routings and sample flights. One includes stopping in Hong Kong, then Jakarta, then Doha, then Lisbon, then back to Austin.

One possible routing to Indonesia and Around the World

AUS-DFW-HKG-CGK-DOH-ZHR-LIS-LHR-JFK-AUS

Another sample routing includes stopping in Tokyo, then Jakarta, then Doha, then St. Petersburg, then back to Austin.

AUS-LAX-NRT-CGK-DOH-ARN-LED-LHR-AUS

AUS-LAX-NRT-CGK-DOH-ARN-LED-LHR-AUS

Here’s where you come in. I want to know – where should I go on my around the world trip? If you have any award ticket advice as well, please let me know!

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