I’ve been back at work for just about a month at this point, and the most wonderful thing happened.
I GOT PAID, Y’ALL!
As much as I got quite accustomed to being a thrifty traveller (there’s an upcoming post about that, by the way), my bank account was getting very, very lean. And it was hard to daydream about my next adventure when I was (and still am) eyeballs-deep in budgeting boring everyday stuff such as transit passes and rent deposits.
So I got discouraged. I fell into a bit of a monotonous cycle and kept putting off updating this blog, figuring that no one was reading it anyway. But then another wonderful thing happened. I looked at my stats, and realized that people DO read this blog. Therefore, my broke ass should keep writing and planning.
One of the greatest things that I’ve learned from all the various backpackers I’ve met is that adventures never have to end. Some people are lucky enough to spend large chunks of time travelling, while others may take smaller vacations. It doesn’t matter. Some of my greatest memories stem from a long weekend exploring a city and day trips. It’s only important that you never stop. I may have complained about my senior citizen roommate from South East Asia, but I was really impressed that she was pushing 80 and not slowing down. So to ensure that I keep going, I decided to put my travel wish list to paper. Or a computer screen. I may have completed my first bucket list, but that just means it’s time for a bigger bucket!
And so, my “Ten for the Decade (ish)”, meaning things I hope to complete before I’m 40 (ish):
1. Surfing in Tofino
To those who know me, it may seem strange that I have never surfed. Having travelled to Hawaii, BC, Australia and California (a million times) I should have surfed by now. I’ve boogie boarded in California and thought I was going to die, while small tots squealed with glee around me. I tried in Byron Bay after a big storm and ended up losing part of my bathing suit and likely knocked several years off my life from fear. I was all set to go surfing in Tofino last summer and chickened out at the last minute. So by telling myself this is on my list of things to accomplish, I have to do it. First up – learning how to swim (aha! Makes more sense now, right?). Second up – growing a pair.
2. Going to a Festival in Europe
Not the renaissance kind. The kind where I sport wellies and camp and don’t sleep for three days. I’ve been to Lollapalooza and will one day do Coachella, but I want to do a festival right, the European way. This one needs to be done sooner rather than later. I don’t want to be the weird old chick in the corner who tries to convince a 16-year-old that there was a time when Courtney Love was awesome (sidenote – I am already this person, as I had this conversation with an 18-year old who had never listed to Live Through This because they were two when it was released).
3. Run Through Central Park
I’ve never been to NYC. Crazy! I’ll admit that I’m an uber-California snob when it comes to US travel. To be fair I’ve been to Vegas and Arizona twice, but there was a point a few years ago when I went to California at least twice a year. I went through customs once and the agent guessed where I was going before I answered, based on my passport history. Dear California Tourism, I am an excellent candidate for any job postings you may have. ANYWAY, I’ve always wanted to go to NYC. I grew up watching Friends and SATC, loved Breakfast at Tiffany’s, dug the fashion and music scene, and early in my journalism student days fancied moving there for a career. So I want to go and just run like mad through Central Park. Go to Magnolia Bakery. Explore the High Line Park. Wander the streets listening to nothing but Beastie Boys, Ramones and Blondie.
4. Camp in the Wilderness
I’m not meaning I want to pull an Into the Wild here. But my camping has always centred around drive-in campsites with amenities. Which is nice, don’t get me wrong – sometimes you need a nice warm shower after spending three days straight in freezing-cold rain in Algonquin Park. But I’d like to camp in Alaska (again, not pulling an Into the Wild), northern Ontario or BC. I love exploring cities but ultimately I’m a back-to-nature kind of gal at the end of the day.
5. Drink Russian Vodka in Russia
I have this weird love with Russia. Well it’s probably not weird – it’s a beautiful place full of history, what’s not to love? Perhaps more specifically I love Russians. And the nesting dolls. And vodka (don’t worry gin, you’re still my BAF – best alcoholic friend. Oo. Not a great term. BB? Best booze? ANYWAY). I want to go to Moscow really badly. Whenever I do my trip to Scandinavia (hopefully soon), Russia will be added on.
6. Drive Across Canada
Travelling in Canada is really expensive. And it’s unfortunate, because this country is beautiful and DESERVES attention and exploration. One of my loveliest of friends Krissy (check out her great blog if you love wine) just did the drive and blogged about it as she moved cross-country and made me want to pack up my life and do the same immediately. I feel guilty about the extent of my world travels, and yet I’ve only been to five provinces (counting the one I live in!). Must fix that.
7. Voluntourism in Costa Rica
I love turtles (chocolate kind yes, but animals more specifically). When I went to Hawaii a few years ago I watched a dozen sea turtles drag themselves out of the ocean and sprawl out in the sand, exhausted. I almost cried (I almost cried over a lot of things in Hawaii) and decided that one day I would do a sea turtle conservation project. I don’t know anyone who has done one in Costa Rica but given the experience I had on my first voluntourism project at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand I know I would love it.
8. See the Great Barrier Reef
I had an awful time in Australia. This one will likely occur when I’m closer to the 40-year range, as I think it might take that long for me to get over the experience and be willing to try it again. But I am WILLING to try again. So get ready Australia and start working on the charm.
9. Hike Ireland and Scotland
I’ve done some great walks thanks to my travels, but I’ve always been enchanted by stories from my well-travelled boss who’s hoofed her way through both countries on several occasions. I like the idea of using my legs as my main form of transportation, and love the charm of the people of both of these countries. And the baked goods. Beer. The accents. If my hunt for a Russian husband doesn’t work out, I’m hoping my Irish or Scottish one will be waiting.
There isn’t one particular thing I’d like to do in Iceland. I’d just like to see it. I’ve seen the airport tarmac and have it ingrained in my memory from a hellishly long stopover when I was 9. But I’d like to see more. Obviously the sheer physical beauty of the place. I figure it’s got a pretty good kookiness factor which I dig (I mean, there must be more than one person like Bjork there, right? Jackpot!). And I like volcanoes. Win win.
There are a few places which I’ve left off which would seem like obvious must-visits for some. South America, for one. To be honest, I don’t have a ton of interest in it at the moment. Maybe it’s because I’m a pale vegetarian and feel…like I would stand out. I have heard great things about Peru and Argentina and my aunt used to go to Columbia for vacations (this was in the 80s too – badass!). But so far, I’m not psyched about it. More of Asia, such as China, Japan or Taiwan. Again…not so interested. And India. One day, I hope to work up the courage to take India on. But I get overwhelmed just thinking about it, and found the airport in New Delhi to be stressful. That is not a good sign.
I am open to more additions – where have you been that you think should be on my list, or where are you eager to visit?