Here’s some simple math. Two years. Eight trips. One month each.
That’s the plan, just as I laid it out for you back in April. The next stage of Traveling Savage. Or the first stage; all of my writings and pondering thus far can be viewed as a kind of prelude to the start of my first trip. I hope they’ve set a tone, a baseline for my approach to the experience of travel, that you will see striking through the posts, poems, videos, and photos to come.
As my departure to Salta, Argentina draws ever closer, I’ve decided to take some time to think about future destinations. I have a feeling that the time between trips is going to flash by, and it will help to have some preliminary thoughts I can work from. Keep in mind that what follows is a rough framework that I fully anticipate will change. In my experience, time has a way of turning rigid plans into flaming bags of poo. I figure if I stay loose, roll with the punches, and avoid sacrificing the agility to jump on new opportunities, I’ll stay flaming poo free. Yay!
That said, here’s one possible framework for my unconventional travel around the world.
Fall 2010: Argentina
This one’s got the green light. I’ve booked tickets to Buenos Aires and started lining up hosts there and in Salta. This trip will be huge on many levels: it will be the litmus test by which I’ll measure how I cope with solo travel, how I find and develop post and article ideas, and how Sarah and I hold up while apart for an extended period of time. I’ll have a much better sense of how Traveling Savage will function in the long run following my sojourn to Salta La Linda.
Winter 2011: Australia
As winter slams into Wisconsin I’m planning an escape to the land down under and the tail end of summer. Australia is awfully big and, per my style of travel, I can promise you that I will only see a tiny segment of the country. Which part? I haven’t decided, but my Dad mentioned Tasmania and it’s been stuck in my mind ever since. I also read an article about Tasmania in a recent issue of AFAR and it could be the perfect place to settle down for a month.
Spring 2011: Turkey
I’ve developed a recent fascination with Istanbul. The mix of cultures and religions, powerful history, and exotic flavors are calling to me. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit all of this was kicked off by an episode of the Bachelorette, but now I’ve said it and Google doesn’t give words back. Will it be Istanbul, Cappadocia, or some other destination? I don’t know yet. Suffice to say I’m intrigued by the culture and would love to learn more.
Summer 2011: Scotland
I’m no stranger to Scotland. I’ve been there three of the last four years and spent many weeks driving the length and breadth of the country. It’s my favorite place in the world at the moment, and if I return I’m planning to spend a month in the western isles, probably Islay. Oh, did I mention that I enjoy single malt? No, this wouldn’t just be a trip of indulgence. I believe I could produce some amazing pieces with a month of focused attention.
Fall 2011: Japan
When I think about Japan, it’s all lights and crowds and very little personal space. I’d like to prove this image wrong. I would probably base myself in someplace other than Tokyo, though at this point I haven’t done any research. Japan is another country with rich cultural traditions in which I could learn much about myself and a way of life very different from my own. Plus, my brother’s girlfriend has Japanese roots so I’d have an insider’s view.
Winter 2012: South Africa
Cape Town calls. Many bloggers have made the sojourn to Cape Town and it was on one of these blogs that I saw a picture of the city taken from the sea with Table Mountain in the background. I had this sudden impulse to go there and experience the place for myself. It looks like such a tidy, beautiful city with gorgeous natural surroundings. Copious vineyards abound and you can go cage-diving with great white sharks (I promised Sarah I wouldn’t do this). What more could you ask for? Again, the pull of a complex and fascinating culture has me.
Spring 2012: Greece/Italy
This trip would not be one of my standard eight trips. Every five years, my wife’s (and my current) employer gives you a sabbatical that equates to an extra paid month off. They also pay for you to go places you’ve never been. We’ve talked about going to the Greek Isles but also Croatia and the Balkans. The second half of this trip is a family vacation in the works for a couple weeks in Tuscany. I would consider this trip vacation for me, but I’d still be able to devote some time to work.
Summer 2012: Russia
To be fair, Russia isn’t one of those places that’s called to me through time and space. I’m not blind to its cultural charms, however. Often it’s the places you expect the least of that surprise you the most. This stop could be somewhere in Russia or in one of the Baltic countries like Estonia.
Winter 2012: Indonesia
Yes, Indonesia is where people go to love, apparently. I was having a hard time justifying my absence in southeast Asia with so many trips lined up. Many travelers head to Thailand and I think that would be wonderful, but the culture of Indonesia is more interesting to me.
Buckle up. I am excited, terrified, anxious, joyous, expectation-less, and down for whatever. And it all starts in seven weeks.
What do you think about my unconventional plan? Think I’m missing an important place?
Listening to: Boards of Canada
Drinking: Lagunitas Rich Copper Ale