May 31, 2005

The Cost of Realising Your Dreams

Sitting at your desk at work dreaming about exploring the world outside your window is one thing. Making it happen is another. Dreams don't require a lot of effort or sacrifice, and everything seems so much more easy and doable in your head.

My enthusiasm surrounding my RTW trip, which was at a high a few weeks ago, has waned considerably following a recent setback. In the past weeks, I have been thinking less and less about it, and now I'm depressed as hell! :(

So, I've decided to record the intended itinerary on my blog as a constant reminder of what is ahead of me.

I recently decided to abandon the traditional RTW ticket and wing it instead. There are a number of reasons for this. I dont like being restricted (hence the travelling solo ) Having to stick to ticket schedules, not really how I wanted to do this trip. I'd much rather just move from/stay in a place as I felt like it. Okay, so yeah I'm a little bit worried about the fact that it might cost me a LOT more doing it this way...but I should be okay. Shouldn't I? :D

Getting the money together for all this is the bitch! In the headiness of previous weeks, I went shopping for a few staples

- backpack
- hiking boots
- camera
- travel accessories
- waterproof gear

So, on the upside, any money I do save from now on will be money I'll be leaving with. Although, I still have to pay for travel insurance and the dreaded JABS!!!

On the downside, it's so hard to save, living in Ireland. Grrr...everything is sooo expensive here. I've been staying at home on Saturday nights as much as possible to try and save the pennies but it is hard. Plus, the Summer is here now and that makes it even more difficult!! My friends and workmates think there'e something up because I keep making excuses for not going out. I can't tell anyone about this trip yet because I cant blow my cover too early at work....they wouldn't be too happy if they thought I was planning to I have to keep schtum for a while yet. So, Ive been telling them all that I'm thinking of getting a new car and I'm saving for that.....tee heee...

When I said, I was planning a round the world trip, I wasnt joking. The list of countries is ambitious...maybe too ambitious, I dont know. I could be back in Ireland after a few months...but if not, this is the plan:

India 1 month approx
Nepal/Tibet 2wks/2wks
China 1-3 months (possibly to work)
Myanmar 2-3wks
Laos 2-3 wks
Vietnam 2-3wks
Cambodia 2 wks
Thailand2 wks
Malaysia 2-3 wks
Borneo 1wk
Singapore2-3 days

After this, it's difficult to plan anything remotely concrete

Australia 3-6 months (not sure whether to work here......)
New Zealand 6mnths - 1 yr (Working VISA)
One of the Cook Islands or Fiji - 1/2 wks

Easter Island 1-2 days
Chile 3wks-1 month (depending on whether I decide to see Patagonia
Peru 2 wks
Bolivia 1 wk

I said it was ambitious! Lol! If I get this far, I will be doing great! If I still have money and time and energy, I will add some more South or Central American countries on, and possibly Canada.....

At this point in my life, all I can think about is getting away from everything I know at home. I definitely have the will to embark on this adventure, but I wonder how long I can last....really. Looking at my intinerary, I just want to keep lengthening the list, but 1-2 yrs of roughing it is not easy on anyone...and I may find that I dont manage to see half of that list.

I don't imagine that I will get terribly homesick at first, but a trip of this magnitude means leaving your family for a long time. And then, there's your family. Is it selfish to leave them for such a prolonged absence?
I am lucky that I have parents who have never stood in my way and who encourage me in all my dreams and goals, even if they sometimes dont agree.
Is their a cost for them in me trying to realise these dreams?

Doing this trip boils down to one thing for me. I want to have an adventure. I want to be able to eventually buy my house/apartment and settle into my chosen career, have a family..etc...and be perfectly content to do that because I have made the most of my young life. I will have embraced the restlessness of youth and looked my fears and dreams right in the eye. Having done that, I think that middle age and beyond may be a happier and more content prospect.

May 30, 2005

Mica & The Hippie

When I was on holidays in Alicante a couple of years ago my friends and I met an old hippie. We were just sitting outside a bar having a few beers in the sun and he came up and sat near us with his little dog, Mica. He was a complete stoner and it appeared that he spent most, if not all, of every day completely wasted. We bought him a beer and he sat and chatted with us for a few hours. As the afternoon went lazily by, he sat there skinning up joints one after another.

Every now and then, he'd take a big drag on his spliff, take little Mica on his lap and blow a stream of smoke into the dog's mouth. Mica didnt seem to have much of a problem with this, other than walking around banging into tables and walls. Lol! Then he'd launch into a 20 minute rant about something or other (he was actually pretty interesting to listen to) and direct the odd question at Mica who'd gaze up at him adoringly.

Debiliating drug habit aside, he seemed like a very content individual who was seeing the world with his little dog. He seemed to have little or no possessions and not a lot of money, but I found myself feeling pretty happy just spending a few hours chatting to him.

May 28, 2005

Dicks On Tour

I was chatting to someone today and I remembered something that happened to me and some friends when we were in America a few years ago. I had forgotten about it, and it had me in knots laughing today just thinking about it.

We had hired a van in San Fran and drove up to Yosemite. We arrived pretty late the first evening and picked a spot to camp in. We left our car at the spot and went off to do a bit of exploring before dark. When we got back to the spot, some German travellers had set up camp there and had settled in.

We explained to them that we had picked this spot and that we even had left some stuff in the metal bunker. They argued a bit but eventually gave in and moved somewhere else. We settled down for the night, happy that we had stood our ground.

The following morning we got up and were greeted with the following sight - the word "DICKS" had been scratched into the side of the van in massive letters. YIKES!!! We could only assume it was the Germans from the night before....

That was early in the road trip. We had to drive around California for the next week with DICK on the side of the car.

When we got back to SF all the girls stood in front of that side of the van so the guy at the car hire place wouldnt notice! LOL!!
We never heard anymore about it!

May 27, 2005

Inspired by Nature

One of the times I remember being most in awe of my surroundings while travelling was the following:

I was in Italy camping on the side of an olive grove high above a little Italian town on Lake Garda. Looking out the door of my tent I could see the whole town twinkling below as dusk began to fall. This place was situated at the edge of a lake at the base of a mountain which loomed over everything - a really beautiful part of the world. It was August so there was THUNDER in the air - I remember sitting at the door of the tent smoking a j and soaking up the heat.

As night fell, thunder started to roll in the sky. It got closer and closer and suddenly there was this enormous crack and lightning lit up the whole place. The mountain, which had all but disappeared in the darkness, was completely illuminated - the best thunder and lightning storm EVER went on for the next half an hour. Fantastic flashes of light lit up the sky and I saw the place in a completely different light. It was like nature's very own fireworks display. It definitely surpassed any real fireworks show I've ever seen! Eventually the thunder began to roll off into the distance and everything quietened down again. I felt so "charged" or something by the electricity in the air - exhilirated.

And then the rain came...that very heavy, wet, wet rain that falls after thunder. It quenched the energy in the air and in me, and I fell asleep listening to the sound of it drumming against the tent.