I just wanted to bask in the glow of those apartment photos for a while. Rest on the laurels of pictures neatly hung and shelves dusted of potentially hazardous construction residue. I appreciate all the lovely comments and emails from friends and readers, most of them New Yorkers lusting after my newly acquired counter space. The new place certainly didn't take long to feel like home.
Weirdly though, having the whole "place to live" thing nailed down and having a place I feel comfortable and relaxed in, has inexplicably left me with a yen to travel. Unfortunately, having just spent most of my disposable income (and some of the less disposable stuff) on moving expenses and an endless supply of allen wrenches, my current trip plans will have to stay more in the realm of fantasy. That said, I can't stop looking at travel locations and mentally salivating over the possibilities. So I guess this post is more for me as a reference. I just thought I'd write down some of the places I'd love to visit whenever my travel budget revives itself. Although if anyone reading is looking for ideas to put your travel funds towards, perhaps this can benefit you as well. Just remember where the idea came from when travel companion choosing time comes around. I can be a very agreeable Sherpa.
Tanzania/Mount KilimanjaroThis is a very recent addition to the list. I'm not usually one of those people who sees the tallest anything and then wonder what it would be like at the top. My hiking experience is relatively limited. It took me 10 hours to get out of the Grand Canyon (although, I have to point out, there were some environmental factors like 104 degree heat that affected my speed there). Still, the people I've known who climbed Kili have said it wasn't that bad. And "not that bad" is enough to get me on board when I've been looking for reasons to head back to Africa.
BoliviaA good friend of mine lived in Bolivia for a couple of months last summer and came back with some incredible photographs. Prior to this point, Bolivia was only really known to me as the place Butch and Sundance go to be shot (er, spoiler alert?). After seeing her photos and hearing all her tales of this land-locked South American nation, it's now officially on the list. It's also home to the most dangerous road in the world. My friend did that. I, however, would stick to the salt flats.
It's funny because I always thought of myself as more of a beach person than a mountain person, but I'm noticing a theme here. I'm only putting them in this order because once I'm in Bolivia anyway, it just makes sense to head on down to southern Chile and Argentina. I like fjords, glaciers, and lakes, and this region has them all. I also have somewhat of an obsession with Antarctica, but this might be as close as I could get for a while. Sadly, choosing places that are incredibly far away is not conducive to budget vacationing. But then again, this is a fantasy list, so I may as well go for the moon (only not literally, because the idea of strapping my head down to sleep in low-gravity conditions really freaks me out).
Now obviously, I wouldn't go all the way to Thailand just for the beaches...but I can't say I'd avoid them either. This is in Raillay Bay in the province of Krabi. It's apparently far enough away from Phuket to avoid the tourists who have more specific reasons for going to Thailand. Most of what I know (from a tourist perspective) of Thailand travel comes from stalking some girl's facebook photos. From those, I glean: delicious-looking food, waterfalls, and the prospect of a just-touristy-enough elephant ride through the jungle.
I've been to Canada a handful of times, but never to the far north. Basically, seeing the Northern Lights at some point is definitely on my list. Seeing polar bears would be fun too, but I think I might have to go further north and east for that? At this point, I have to admit that I'm not 100% where polar bears live--just that you probably can't go too far north.
Five seems like a good number. I think if I start saving now, I should be able to start planning the first trip for sometime in 2014. For the record, I do have more local trips in mind and several places in Europe that I'd like to visit too. These don't make the list because I could actually manage them in the foreseeable future. And what's the fun in dreaming about that?