This time next week I’ll be somewhere in central Sri Lanka, waking up to breakfast at Kandy Cottage before setting out for the ancient cave temples of Dambulla and the magnificent rock fortress of Sigiriya. At least that’s the tentative plan on a still-unbelievable trip that after nearly two weeks spent exploring Sri Lanka will lead us onwards to the Maldives and around South Africa.

If it sounds like I have one foot out the door already, well, I do.

A little over two months ago I broke the news that I’d won a dream vacation. At that point we were still in the early planning stages of the trip, and still grappling with the notion that the world was essentially a blank slate, that for the first (and what will perhaps be the only) time in our lives budget wasn’t a prevailing factor in shaping our travel plans.

Whittling down the possibilities took some time: inland China, Indonesia, the Seychelles, Mozambique, India… we considered all of these and many more, but after the dust had settled on four months’ worth of planning, we sized up our five-week itinerary and decided we’d done a damn fine job making the most of it.

I’ll be posting short updates from the road here on Perceptive Travel (as well as on the Lonely Planet blog) while I’m gone, so I won’t get into too many specifics just yet. We’ll visit big cities and small villages, pound the pavement in crowded metropolises and kick back on deserted beaches, travel by train, plane, automobile, and boat, go from hot climate to cool, and dine at street-food stalls and four-star restaurants. We’ll hike, bike, snorkel, and swim.

That did it. I think my other foot just followed the other…