After six weeks of solo backpacking across India and endless rides on buses crammed beyond belief with people, livestock, and all manner of the unexpected, I thought I would never again venture more than ten feet (3 meters, to my Euro friends) from my couch.
Yet here I am, leaving in less than a week for Mongolia, Europe (a large part of Western and Eastern Europe, specifics to be determined later), Thailand, Vietnam, and New Zealand, where I will ultimately be living. If it looks like my itinerary involves some unfortunate backtracking, that is because it does. Mongolia was a last minute addition to my plans; my dad, who travels even more than I do, is working on a project in Mongolia and offered to take me there so we could spend some time traveling together and I could help him organize a conference. After he showed me some spectacular shots of the Gobi desert I couldn’t resist.
It sounds cliché, but I think the best way to sum up my feelings at the moment are apprehensive and excited. I’m not worried about any of the places I am going, or the traveling. After my last trip, I think I could survive just about anywhere. It’s the other stuff: wondering if I will manage to finish everything on my to do list before I leave; saying goodbye to my family, friends, and cat; having to make a new set of friends that I will have to say goodbye to in a few months. I realize I could stay put, but in the end the draw of the mountains, islands, ancient cities, limestone cliffs, and a million other wonders proves too strong.