A Change in the Wind
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
Everyday my thoughts are occupied by the abstract idea of travel. Sometimes I’m in a colourful jungle listening to tropical birds. Other days, I’m sipping coffee from a rooftop terrace looking out at an ancient city. Occasionally I’m sitting on a bus, filthy and uncomfortable. But mostly I’m walking, walking towards a horizon in the middle of nowhere. The truth is, I’m in love with a fantasy that I desperately want to make a reality.
So I am, and my best friend Luke is coming with me. When the school year ends in June, my time as an art teacher will too. I don’t plan on leaving the teaching profession forever, just until I feel as strongly about teaching as I do about travel.
My plans are vague. When I wrote my 2013 resolutions, my biggest goal was to stop planning out my life and allow things to happen naturally. I have an idea of where I want to go but there is no set schedule or itinerary. I know I want to travel slowly, staying in fewer places for longer amounts of time. I’ve divided the trip up into three parts, each representing a region that has some kind of significance or special meaning for Luke and myself.
I’m going to Central America for discovery, nature and art. Everything about Central America seems exotic to me. I’ve never been in a jungle, visited the ruins of ancient civilization, or hiked a volcano. The seven tiny countries sandwiched between North and South America seem to be full of life, art, and natural beauty. I hope to take a weaving class and connect with the locals as much as possible too. I’ll be in Central America for 10 weeks.
I’m going to the Balkans because I am drawn to that part of the world more than any other place. I am going to visit all six countries of the former Yugoslavia, a dream and goal I’ve had for years. I will also be visiting Hungary and Albania although they were both not technically part of Yugoslavia. I am including Hungary for two reasons. Firstly, because I want to return to Budapest for at least 3 weeks, and secondly because my Hungarian family is from a town that is now in Serbia but was once Yugoslavia. I am including Albania because Kosovo was almost entirely Albanian and many Albanians suffered in the Yugoslavia wars too. I’ll be in the Balkans for 13 weeks.
Greece and Egypt
Lastly, I’m going to Greece and Egypt. For antiquity, art, and their art historical significance. I won’t just be running from ruin to ruin though, I’m as curious about contemporary Greece and Egypt just as much as I am historically. I’ll be in Greece and Egypt for 4 weeks.
I’m not sure why I’m drawn to these places. Perhaps it’s the terrible violence that has happened in my lifetime. There have been terrible wars, people have suffered, borders have changed, all in my lifetime. It’s hard to even imagine. The NATO bombing of Serbia happened in 1999, only 14 years ago.
For six months, Luke and I are going to travel. The timing isn’t perfect, but it’s as good as it will probably ever be. We’ve been saving for over a year, and have given up plenty of comforts, but it’s all worth it.
This is our dream.
What do you think? Have you been to any of the places we’ll be visiting? What are your travel plans for 2013?