Normally, after a vacation, I’m always glad to be home. Vacations generally aren’t restful for me. I like to go and do and see as much as I can while I’m in any given place. I mean, if I wanted to sit on a beach and relax, I could go down the street. I live in Sydney after all. So, whenever I land, I arrive home, take a shower, and just lay down on my bed or the couch for a while. I’m usually so glad to be home so I can just sit still for a while and rest some.
Coming back from China in October, however, was a whole different story. I was happy to have my own bed, my own shower, and my own toilet, but I really wasn’t all that content. Yes, I came back and showered and laid down for a while as per usual. But while I was lying down, I was on my laptop looking up my next trip.
After discovering the joys of traveling on a group tour, I thought “well hell, I should go somewhere new.” Everywhere new actually. I do have my list of 103 Things that I want/need to do around the world, but in my head, the list tripled. In mainland China, I had one thing on my list: The Great Wall. But the Terra Cotta Warriors were just as spectacular, the Forbidden City was cool, and the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum was an unexpected small treasure. If I was missing all of these things on my list, what else am I missing???
Living with Clinton, my new flatmate, hasn’t helped at all. He loves travel too, and he likes nerdy documentaries. He turned on Joanna Lumley’s Nile one day and I was immediately sucked in. I never even thought of going to all of the places she went – from Egypt, through Sudan and Ethiopia, down to Rwanda – but now I want to. Add a few more things to the list. And I’m totally sending him the bill for that one. Or maybe I’ll send it to Joanna Lumley. By “send”, I mean hand deliver, because I’d love to meet her!
The number of hours I’ve spent on the computer looking at websites for Lonely Planet, G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, Wikitravel, Gecko’s Adventures, and countless others is… staggering. It has helped me kick my bad habit of looking at Wikipedia and, 4 hours later, realizing I’ve gone through 30 articles and now know a huge amount of useless information about something random like bonobos or Nunavut. But now I’ve just replaced one vice with another – hours upon hours of looking at different tours and pricing flights and figuring out what vaccinations I would need to go to that unheard of country.
Some of them are easy from Australia – like this quick 10 day Vietnam trip which goes the length of the whole country from top to bottom:
Asia is easy – especially from Australia – but Africa is a much bigger adventure. Most westerners who do a safari tour in Africa stay south. From Cape Town, through Namibia, Botswana, and into Zambia seems to be the most popular. Tanzania is up in the rankings too. But I found this 3 week jewel in a very different part of Africa – Senegal, Mali, and the Gambia. The best part is: it actually incorporates two of my 103 Things – the House of Slaves Museum in Dakar, Senegal, and the Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali:
In searching for that one, I found another nearby tour which hits completely different countries, none of which I ever really thought to go to and definitely aren't represented on my 103 Things:
Voodoo Kingdoms? Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, and Benin? Bring. It. On.
The crown jewel of trips – the apple of my eye – is this one:
18 days aboard the MS Expedition and a day or so in Argentina on either end. Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and the South Georgia Islands would be truly incredible. Now, looking at the price tag, it will be a long while before I get to go. Unless of course I find me a sugar daddy or win the lottery stat. In the meantime, a more plausible option is this one:
When my mate Lenora was here in September, we made some plans for the Trans Siberian Railroad in 2013. Anyone want to join?
In the meantime, I have another trip to hold me over. It may not be to a far off place like Siberia, Senegal, or Antarctica, but it’s exciting in its own right. This weekend, I head off with Cade – one of my Perth travel buddies – along with his partner and another mate. Destination: Tasmania! Little Tasmania – the island state – has a reputation for being inbred. Despite that, I am totally pumped to go. Actually, I’m probably more excited about seeing Tassie (as the locals call it) than I have been about any other part of Australia. Why? Tasmania – once the most backward state and the butt of every joke – is now the most progressive state. While the inbred jokes remain, every other review of the island is nothing less than stellar. The last state to decriminalize homosexuality has now taken the lead in gay rights legislation. With green energy, Tasmania is at 100%. The food, wine, and arts are supposed to be divine. And 45% of the island is protected in national parks and other reserves because the scenery is said to be spectacular. On top of that all, Tasmanians have a reputation of being super friendly – maybe a little off – but super friendly nonetheless. What are we going to see? EVERYTHING! … or at least as much as we can squeeze in…
As always, blogs and pictures to follow upon our return. Woohoo!