All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.

Robert Kennedy

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Travel Plans

On these slow days at work my mind tends to wander. So a fun thing I have found to do is to plan my vacations. I realize what a terrific opportunity I have being where I am to see the world. That was definitely a contributing factor in joining the Peace Corps is the ability to travel. We get 6 weeks of vacation over our two year stint. It sounds like a problem everyone would love to have but my biggest issue with all of this is where to go? I am in a position where I can literally go anywhere in the world. Where do you begin? It's a little overwhelming when you think about it. Granted, money is a factor. Isn't it always? But it's way cheaper over here to get around and I'm 38. Who needs a savings account? It's not like the States is any kind of financial trouble that I should be saving for, right?
Anyway, the best thing I could think of to do was a wish list. Without money factors or time constraints, where do I really want to see? Not because I've been told to go somewhere or because someone wrote a book about places to see before I die (which duh, of course it'd be before I died...that one's for you, Diehl!) but because I have a genuine interest in seeing them. (In the interest of full disclosure, most, if not all of these have to do with pop culture references, but hey, it's my list so just deal with it.) So here's what I came up with:

  1. Austria - Numero Uno. I have wanted to go to Austria forever. (Figuratively). The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies of all time and Mozart is, without a doubt, my favorite composer. Austria is a country dedicated to these two things. I want to explore Vienna and Salzburg to my heart's desires.
  2. Greece - I am a sucker for theatre, no big shocker there so of course i have a desire to see the original Greek Theatres and worship at Dionysus altar. But yes, Mamma Mia also played a key role in the desire as well.
  3. India/The Maldive Islands - I have always been fascinated by the culture. The heat is a big drawback as I hate heat but the thought of seeing the Taj Mahal in person is still very attractive to me. (Yes, Slumdog Millionaire helped in this desire...) The Maldive Islands are a pipe dream and I'm fully aware of that as even from here it costs thousands of dollars just to travel there but I can keep it as a dream.
  4. Ireland - Yes, I'm a sucker for my heritage. I love everything about it. And the though of seeing all that green is very appealing. Not even a pop culture reference here, just a genetic one.
  5. Bangkok - I have never been anywhere near Eastern Asia but this city is tops on my list. I'd love to visit Vietnam, Cambodia and Japan too but Thailand has always been tops. (Fine...The King and I.)
  6. Egypt/Casablanca - Very touristy destinations, I know but still a desire nonetheless. 
  7. New Zealand - Lord of the Rings...
  8. Sicily - I was in love with Italy even before I went a few years ago. I visited the tourist sites in Rome and Florence and the not so touristy Naples to have the best pizza of my life, but I'd still like to get South to see some more of this fascinating country. 
  9. England - I've done London and Stratford on Avon, but I'd really like to get to Canturbury, Salisbury to see Stonehenge and Liverpool to see where it all started. 
  10. Peru - Machu Piccu. Enough said.
So how many, if any, of these are going to be feasible while I live here in Moldova. I research pretty much daily what is affordable and possible and no, not all of them are. (I guess I should say not probable...anything is possible.) I can safely cross Peru off the list this time around. Can't even imagine the cost for flying to South America from Eastern Europe.
I figure, we can start traveling in November so I can plan a trip every 3 months until I leave. So I guess the best thing to do is to take it one day at a time and remember that I don't have to do everything all at once. I love traveling and seeing the world and know just how fortunate I am to be able to. 
The first project will be the Christmas trip. It will be the first time I have ever been not at home with my family on Christmas in my 38 years. I don't know how that will be. Some people rarely spend Christmas with their families but we always manage to come together.  The last two years at Christmas have been particularly emotional with losing Selena then Dad and Cris so it would've been nice to get back to a regular holiday where we all just tease each other and argue about who hates/loves Penn State and of course the usual political wars. However, it wasn't in the cards. So instead, I am looking to find somewhere fabulous. Lyndsey and I decided we would try to travel together and hopefully get another few girls to go with us. At first we were looking into the island of Cyprus which is nestled in between Greece and Turkey. It is still an option on the table. Also, we're looking into Barcelona. 8 days in a beautiful seaside city with delicious food doesn't sound too shabby. Another option was going Nordic and exploring Finland and Sweden although the thought of going somewhere colder than where we were didn't really overwhelm us. Although the thought of seeing the Northern Lights was pretty appealing. My first choice was to go to India but it really is expensive. I'm still going to push for that as much as I can but I don't think I can convince her. Lyndsey is much more frugal than I am. I know you're thinking, "the majority of these are not even on the top 10 list." I realize that but I want to travel alone just yet.
The other factor is that I have people from back home who say they want to visit or meet up somewhere. So say someone says "oh I want to meet you in Ireland" I have to 'save' that destination for that person. However, if that person (s) decides against it, I'm out a wish destination. But then, is it really a bad thing to go to Ireland twice?
These are such first world problems.
Anyway, that was my day today. Exploring Austria/Prague adventures, looking for the best way to see a bunch of cities in England/Ireland, comparing and contrasting Barcelona and Cyprus (so cliche, I know), finding the cheapest way to see Cairo and Casablanca on one trip. It hasn't been a bad Thursday, must say. There are definitely worse things in the world.
Side note, Cahul has no gas for 3 weeks. Yay! They can just shut the gas off on an entire city. That means no hot water, no stove, should be interesting. Guess I should be grateful it isn't winter and the heat is gone.

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