Yes. This is a travel list. Yes. This can be a hackneyed practice. Like my Mama taught me to say as a two year old, “Oh well!”
I know my last post was a bit depressing. It wasn’t really meant to be, but the darkness that is slowly taking over as winter approaches must have seeped in. Also, I wrote it in the minutes before leaving for work, with no time to proofread for existential crises.
This post is a lot more positive. I may have attenuated my expectations, but I have not given up on dreaming. I have not given up on travelling, the one true sinew running through my life. The red string of fate (紅線) brought me to the man I will marry in about two weeks’ time through travelling, and I believe that it pulls us inextricably onwards…on to the next place, on to the next adventure.
The next adventure is still hazy, but then I’ve learned to be comfortable in the fog. In six months’ time, I might be writing from the same place. But I might be writing from a world away, in a village I’ve never known. In Saigon, in Kuala Lumpur, in Shanghai, in Busan. I spent time today in Dalston, London…it reminded me forcefully of the Bronx.
I’m making a list. I want to check it off. I want to see these places and to live the biggest, broadest life possible. I remember standing in someone’s backyard, the summer before I began my last year of high school, crying. I was at a graduation party, I think. For a friend of my high school boyfriend. I didn’t know what had upset me. It was probably someone talking about mortgages, again (a long and burdensome theme in my life). Get out of high school, go to college, get married, get a house, work, retire, die. My poor constant and helpful high school sweetheart tried to console me.
“I just want a broad and beautiful life.”
I was 17, and pretty idiotic most of the time (thank the gods of the Internet there was no Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat when I was that age). But then, I could see myself being upset over the same things ten years later next spring, in 2015. I still want that broad and beautiful life. I am a traveller above all else. Above the M.A. at the end of my name. Above my current work as a bee who fetches delicious, intoxicating nectar for others in the hive. Just look at that picture after 36 hours of travel and one of the worst bus journeys I’ve ever endured, taken in a Chinese Wanton Soup shop in Puno, Peru. So happy.
So, a list. Hopes. Goals. Concrete ones. Nothing to do with money, except as a means to an end. I’ve made a lot of travel feats so far, but there is infinitely more to do.
I will see these places in my lifetime. I promise that. Hold me to it.
Middle East – A challenge. Let’s do this.
- Somewhere less safe
- Tehran (I hold out hope for a free Iran in my lifetime)
- Abu Dhabi
- Mecca (I wish!)
Central Asia – Wide open spaces
- Dushanbe, Tajikistan (because of the teahouse back home)
- The Himalayas (yes, I’ve technically already been there, but just the foothills)
- Leh, India
East Asia – The call has always been strong here
- Siberian Forests (the Taiga)
- Many Chinese cities that westerners don’t always know
- Hong Kong
- Japan (especially the North and Kyoto)
Southeast Asia – Possibly the next stop
- Ha long Bay (Vietnam)
- Mekong Delta
- Kuala Lumpur
- Angor Wat
- Many many other places….
Oceania – Unexplored territory
- Australian Outback (and the rest…I feel a kindred nationhood with Australia, being from the vast Western USA)
- New Zealand
- Bikini Atoll (radioactive, I know. I need to see how we are become Death, destroyer of worlds)
- Rapa Nui
Africa – One of two Continents I’ve never set foot on
- The Great Rift Valley
- Oldowan Gorge, South Africa
- Cape Town
- Accra, Ghana
- The big slave trade castles of the West African coast (I need to testify to their existence and the feeling they have)
- So many many other places
Europe – Travelled a lot here, but nowhere near finished
- Eastern European countrysides in various countries
- Sarajevo (my great-grandmother Lela said this was one of the most beautiful places she ever went…I have to see it)
- Skelefteå (land of my Swedish forebears)
- St. Petersburg
- Mont St. Michel, France
- The catacombs of Paris
- STONEHENGE (relatively easily accessible)
- The Scottish Highlands
- So many many more places
South America – I lived on the extreme, still need to see others
- Sao Paulo
- Caracas, Venezuela
- Bogota, Colombia
- Coyhaique, Chile
- Villarica, Chile
- The Amazon
- more of Bolivia
- Mexico (especially Chitin Its a)
- Costa Rica (living here, maybe!!!!)
North America – Yes, I’m from here…there is still more to see
- Alaska – especially Denali
- New Orleans
- More of Los Angeles
- The Appalachian Trail