We’re leaving reality for a beat. Welcome to the inside of my mind where a whole factory of mini-mes work endlessly to keep the wanderlust mobile in motion. What you’re about to read is only a dream, but I have a pretty good track record of making my dreams come true. See also: what I hope the next 2 years have in store.
What Happened in Kyoto
Remember when I told you that creativity struck in Kyoto? Well the main theme behind all the ideas was becoming multi-lingual. A new part of me aspires to be a translator or interpreter. More than that, I have an intense craving to be able to talk to people. All people, not just Americans, Brits, and Aussies. As much as I try to delve into a local culture, without speaking the language, I can only dig so deep.
So maybe I could take on a similar mission to Benny Lewis’ FI3M, but instead, I would spend 1 year or more in a destination soaking up culture, eating food, learning the language, and really getting in tune with the country’s heartbeat. The list of said countries and languages includes but is not limited to Mandarin in Taiwan, Japanese, Korean, Portugese in Brazil, French, and Italian.
Also, as I’ve been studying Japanese since last December, I can now fluently read and write hiragana and katakana. I’m [very] slowly making my way through kanji, and I can speak in basic sentences. Hashtag progress.
Re-doing it the Right Way
Since my plans for China and North Korea fell through, I want to go back and do it the right way, before my Chinese visa expires in February 2014. And it’s no surprise that I want to seize another opportunity to visit the DPRK next April. This time, nobody can stop me except Kim Jong Un himself. Ideally, after North Korea, I’d like to make another round across S.E. Asia including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia. Perhaps I’ll sit still for a few months in Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Chiang Mai to work, catch up with friends, and eat my way into a delicious food coma.
The A-Game Mission
The most ambitious leg of the mission I’ve playfully named “A-Game” because it will require A-game planning, documenting, and finances. Also, all the major destinations start with the letter A. In no particular order, I’d like to get an introduction to South America through Argentina before visting Antarctica with Quark Expeditions. After tackling one end of the Earth, I’d like to visit Santa at his home on the other end. G Adventures’ Arctic Highlights trip has been high on my list for over a year, and it’s time to cross it off.
The most challenging and surreal of them all would be traveling overland through Africa from Cairo to Capetown. Lastly, after intending to visit Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji twice and failing both times, I’m more anxious than ever to visit the land down under. Where I went wrong was tacking those destinations onto the end of a bigger trip, when I should’ve made them a special trip all their own.
Scandinavia & Poland
I’ve visited my father’s side of the family’s homeland and to complete the circle, it would be an honor to visit my mother’s. Though Poland is not of the highest priority, I look forward to adding it to my list of diverse destinations. Side trips to Germany, Switzerland, and Italy to see friends may also be in order. In April-May 2015, I’d like to spend the Spring chasing Northern Lights in Scandinavia and soaking up the unworldly scenery.
Back to reality. This new cycle of dreams is much much bigger than me. I have no idea how things will pan out, but these are the places I have my eye on. Thank you for listening. Back to regular scheduled programming…
All photos by Trey Ratcliff