East or west? North to south and then north again? Or do we stay south and swing north at the last second? How would Australia fit? Is this even possible in 21 days?
We had a few non-negotiable items:
- The trip had to fit into 21 days.
- We needed to visit every continent except Antartica.
- We would need at least 24 hours in each location, with an ideal timeframe of 48 hours.
- We needed to fly into airports close to our final destination. Any time spent on the road was taking away from shooting.
Luckily for us Gray Line does this daily so our challenge was their Tuesday afternoon. After hours of trying to build an itinerary, Gray Line’s CEO Brad Weber made it work with a “Round the World” ticket from OneWorld Alliance. It wasn’t perfect, (his words) but the ticket would connect us with every destination we needed and also give us a cushion with only a few early morning flights.
Nine days out he sent us the itinerary. I printed it up, stuck it to the refrigerator and tried to make sense of it. Finally it was just time to write it all down.
Denver > Dallas > Washington DC > New York > Buenos Aires > London > Reykjavik > Paris > Marrakech > Casablanca > Doha > Hong Kong > Sydney > Melbourne > Los Angeles > San Francisco > Dallas > Denver
At first glance I remember thinking there’s no way, but the more I looked at the schedule and matched up our shooting locations the genius of Brad’s plan began to form. The big flights were mostly over-nighters and the short flights between close destinations gave us ample time to film on either end. The shortest time we would have in one location would be Iceland, but we would have 3 days in Paris to slow things down a bit and regroup before the flight-heavy second half.
We had a flight just about every day and the day we gained coming back from Australia would give us enough time to spend 2 days in SF before flying home.
The only catch? Everything was coach.
In the end the itinerary worked out well. We didn’t have much jet lag until we got to Australia and the seasonal shift wasn’t too bad outside of DC > Buenos Aires ? Reykjavik > Paris. Our few hours in Doha confirmed the country is rich as hell and Hong Kong was the perfect place to kill 36 hours and relax.
The only major change came at the end of the trip when we decided to scratch Las Vegas from the itinerary. It was a bummer, but there were logistical hurdles with shooting we just couldn’t overcome in the timeframe.
Curious what the whole thing looked like in real time? Check out this BTS piece.