I’ve been fortunate in that I have had the opportunity to travel more than most but certainly not as much as some. Maybe the urge to “go see” is genetic because it is a passion that I share with many on the paternal side of my extended family. Or maybe it’s environmental. My late partner and I took a trip to London within months of meeting each other in the early 80’s. We kept going and never looked back.
People are always asking me “how many countries have you visited?” and I can honestly answer I don’t really know since I’ve never counted. But I did recently find a little app on the Internet that allowed me to map this question out. There are answers to be found in the white space.
As we wind down another year it’s time to look forward to the next. Assuming that I survive 12/21/12 (or 21/12/12 if you’re in any other part of the world outside the U.S.), I truly want to fill in some of the blanks this go around (the world).
Russia and Eastern Europe
It’s amazing how much white space would turn to black with one little trip to St. Petersburg. While Russia has never been high on my bucket list, Eastern Europe has. I could very easily imagine a great trip to Budapest, Prague, and Berlin travelling by train between these old capitals. While this trip could probably be done in two weeks I’d be more inclined to go for three to allow for a more leisurely pace and the chance to take spontaneous side trips should the opportunity arise.
Carnivale in Rio anyone? I’m taking a practice Mardi Gras run to Sydney in March so I should have my debauchery muscles well toned for the following year in Brazil. But probably what I would really find more interesting would be Bolivia which is reportedly the cheapest country to visit in the Americas. I’ve been to Peru and was fascinated by the colorful Incan culture. Bolivia is right next door, on top of the world in the Andes, but is much less developed than its more frequently travelled neighbor.
The Big Kahuna
“I had a farm in Africa.” This was the opening line spoken by Meryl Streep in the movie “Out of Africa.” Well, out of Africa pretty much sums up my travel history too, but it’s high on my list to rectify that. While I’m always drawn to the culture and history of large cities I also really like wildlife and nature. Both these longings could be assuaged with a single trip to South Africa and Botswana. If I find that this suits me I’ll come back for Kenya and Tanzania. But what about Morocco? Algeria? Libya? Oh, and would Madagascar be cool?
Maybe being methodical about choosing a travel destination is not the right path. Sometimes you just have to go where your soul takes you. I have a friend; we’ll call her Joan that goes where ever there is a total eclipse of the sun. It’s not as scientific as my method, but it’s a method nonetheless and her map looks a lot more impressive than mine. There’s something to be said about randomness I suppose.