Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 Days of Indie Travel

I came across a 30 days of travel blogging challenge called 30 Days of Indie Travel, which has a different blog prompt for every day of November. I'm not too far behind, so I'm gonna give it a try.

Day #1:
What were your travel goals last year? Did you accomplish them? What travel goals do you hope to accomplish this year?

This time last year I was on a train from Cairo to Luxor. I had accomplished pretty much everything I could have hoped for as far as travel for the year: I was 2 and a half months in to what was supposed to be a 10 month stay in Egypt.

My goal was to learn Arabic and Middle Eastern Politics, and have the time of my life. 

In Egypt I saw ancient temples and tombs in Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel, watched the sun rise over Saudi Arabia and bathed in the Red Sea in the beach town fo Dahab, and saw and climbed inside the Great Pyramids of Giza, and learned so much about myself.

I also had the chance to travel over the winter, and spent most of January in Istanbul, Spain and Morocco. On these trips I was forced to learn some lessons about myself as I struggled to make the most of my trip after being robbed about a week in.

Upon my return to Egypt I got a lot more Middle Eastern Politics than I bargained for. A whole revolution full of Middle Eastern politics and the chance to be a part of history. The events of my last week in Egypt will probably be the most memorable of my life for a long time.

What I did not accomplish was the second half of my year. I did not learn as much Arabic as I had hoped, and I did not get to take the journey to Jordan Lebanon and Israel over my extended spring break. I never went to the Egyptian Museum, the Black and White Deserts, the Siwa Oasis, or St. Catharine's Monastary. These are on my list for when I can go back.

This is not to say I did not get something in exchange for what I missed out on. After being abruptly torn from my  barely month-old lease on the apartment I was just starting to call home for the second half of my year, I got to dash through Paris, had a brief week to see some friends an family, and then was whisked off to Chile, where I spent the next five months.

In Chile I had so many amazing experiences, gained a family I will never forget and friends who can't be beat. I got to drastically improve my Spanish and make friends with all kinds of locals, something I never got a lot of a chance to do in Egypt with my limited Arabic. I traveled from the mountains of Patagonia to the desert of Atacama, the driest in the world. I saw abandoned mines in Iquique and learned about the modern-day lives of indigenous peoples in Temuco. I saw two of Pablo Neruda's three houses, all filled with the most amazing collections of oddities and explored the costal cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar.

So did I accomplish the goals I had for myself at this time last year? I'd say yes. And so much more. What I've accomplished and learned about myself and the world in the last year is so far beyond what I could have expected.

So now for next year.

I've decided (during one of te breaks in writing this post, actually), that I will be accepting a job offer to teach English in Korea next year. I begin February 23rd. My goals for next year, then, are: 1.) To immerse myself in a culture that I am for the most part completely unfamiliar with, 2.) To travel to at least one other country while in Korea (hopefully Thailand!) and to do a lot of traveling within Korea, 3.) To learn Korean, 4.) To decide if living and teaching abroad is something I can see myself doing long-term, and 5.) If so, to figure out where to next.

I think those are good goals. 

Hopefully I remember to do these 30 days again next November and we'll see how they go.

No comments:

Post a Comment