Well, this is embarrasing. This post is over 2 years old. I posted it on my wordpress blog but forgot to post it here - for all the other pots about the trip visit https://noordeolinad.wordpress.com/
Now, if you are like me and have not travelled extensively and want to try some independent travel then here are some tips I learned through trial and error based on my own experiences. I like to be prepared so I love to research my destinations; the history, the current social and political situation (stable/war etc), and all kinds of things like how long it takes to get from one city to the next, what kind of souvenirs I should I look out for and nice places to stay at that won't overwhelm my budget. No 5 star travel for me unfortunately, all the lotto tickets I keep buying haven't yet made a return on my investment.