I was always planning to fly to Dubai or Oman from Sri Lanka. However my plans for the middle east changed quite a bit since leaving Australia, and more recently.
Before leaving Australia I planned to travel to Dubai, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Israel and Turkey. However this would mean missing the entire European Summer.
More recently I decided to focus on Oman, Dubai and Iran, then fly to Istanbul and travel overland to Europe from there.
I later realised this would mean spending all of Ramadan in the Middle East, making it uncomfortable and even difficult to travel without eating and drinking anything (in public) between dawn and nightfall.
In the end, I decided to spend 5 nights in Dubai (staying with an Auntie) and then to fly to Athens to begin my travels in Europe.
I still want to return to the Middle East, but I will be more careful with my timing concerning religious occasions and to avoid the extreme heat.
I will have 90 days of visa free travel throughout Central and Western Europe care of the Schengen Agreement. My plan is to travel north from Greece to Helsinki overland (6-7 weeks) where I’ll do a 3 day visa-free cruise to St. Petersburg. Then I’ll spend a few weeks in Scandinavia and travel to the UK before the 90 days expires.
I wanted to get my UK working holiday visa during my travels in continental Europe, but it seems the only way to get that visa is to fly home. Instead, I’ll go to the UK just as a tourst, and apply for the Irish WH visa at the embassy in London. Once that comes through I’ll go to Ireland and get a job!
I still haven’t totally figured out which countries I’ll transit on the way to Helsinki, I’ll just decide that en-route as all the countries are visa-free for Australians.