I mentioned a month or so ago that I’m suffering from the lack of international travel over the last thirty months or so. I’ve always enjoyed having something to look forward to, so – once we returned from Italy in late 2013 – not being able to even plan any travel has been quite tough for me. (I know, first world problems.) But I learned to put away thoughts of trips, safaris or cruises, road trips or flights, blissful anonymity in a strange place, or wonderful meetings with kindred spirits. Recently, though, we’ve decided that we should be able to travel sometime in the next year. My planning instincts have kicked back in.
Back in 2005, my husband and I were on holiday on Bedarra (or Bolly Island, as my friends dubbed it) and we were talking, as we usually did on holiday, about where we might travel next. We realised we didn’t have any clue. “Draw me up a ten-year travel plan,” my husband said. So I did. I just searched it out and realised that in truth, we only followed about two or three of the suggestions – Spain and Morocco in 2007, an African safari for a major birthday and wedding anniversary in 2009, and Greece and Turkey a few years later. We’ve since been back to South Africa, and also to a number of countries that were never on the list – Middle East, Poland and Slovenia – that we loved.
However, the travel plan had a lot of information and analysis behind it. I enjoy doing that. Figuring out where to go next, reading about destinations and getting those feelings of excitement and wanderlust is fun to me. After three years without an international trip (Australia doesn’t count, as I always say), it seemed that it would be appropriate to undertake a similar exercise now.
Some of the places which were high on my list ten years ago, even five years ago, have dropped off. Others are perennially there (US West Coast, or Scotland and Ireland, for example), but we just don’t feel the urgency to go there quite yet. Some that would inevitably be next on the list (Egypt, for example) raise issues of safety now. Would we be crazy to go there? Or are we being overly cautious? International travel these days seems to require a risk assessment.
Some entirely new ones (Myanmar, Namibia, and Iceland, for example) have popped up more recently. New air routes – Air New Zealand now flies direct to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – or friends living somewhere exotic (Clare in Seoul) bring new opportunities that must be considered. Central and South America call to us, especially since I renewed my Spanish studies when I broke my ankle and I’m enjoying trying to improve my language capability. So many places to go, so little time, so little money.
Yet making the decision where to go next will be tough. More research and planning is needed. I’m okay with that.