I’ve been discussing the Big Trip a whole lot over the past few months, but I’ve never laid out our itinerary here on the World Wide Web. For anyone who is interested, here’s my plan for the next six (or so) months of my life:
Jan 2: Wave goodbye to the United States. Hop on a plane with Mariel. Sleep, read, and have at least one meltdown over what we’re getting ourselves into. Be thankful for the fact that international airlines provide vegan meals (!!!). Arrive in Dubai. Spend a few hours in the world’s busiest airport.
Jan 3: Arrive in Bangalore, India. Then it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump over to Mysore, where we will live for a month studying at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in the mornings and explore our surroundings during the day. I can’t believe I’ll be here so soon. It’s the reason that I started daydreaming about India.
Month of January: eat lots of food, do lots of yoga, drink no tap water, keep mouth closed while showering (“Eat, Pray, Poop” doesn’t seem like a marketable book title).
Month of February: Say a sad goodbye to Mysore. Take a month to travel through India. Likely highlights include: Kerala (houseboats!), Varanasi (healing river waters!), Agra (Taj Mahal!), Udaipur (desert!), Dharamasala (monks!), et al.
March: Fly from Delhi to Kathmandu, Nepal. Spend a few days soaking in the city. [Mom and Dad: skip over this next sentence] Fly into Lukla, one of the most dangerous airports in the world; pray really, really hard (note to self: go to confession before boarding the plane). Trek to Everest base camp. This will take fifteen days, we will hire a Sherpa, we will sleep at tea houses along the way, and we will try not to get severe altitude sickness.
Late March: Fly from Kathmandu to Bangkok, Thailand. Spend a week or so between Bangkok (city slickers!) and Chiang Mai (temples and elephant sanctuaries and long necks, oh my!).
April: Laos (rhymes with cow), Cambodia (no landmines, please), and southern Thailand, where we will relax on the beaches of Kho Phi Phi (which we lovingly refer to as pee pee island–yes, that’s the correct pronunciation). And, no, we don’t plan on seeing any ping pong shows. [M+D….don’t ask]
Early May: Head back up to Bangkok. Hop on a flight to Kuwait. Say goodbye to Mariel. Ugly cry. Fly to Rome and meet parents. Take out emotions on them. Go to the Vatican!!! (I will be accepting prayer requests! Yes, I’m serious). Go to Florence. Eat lots of Gelato. Look at lots of art. Say goodbye to Mom.
Mid-May: Lourdes with Dad, and then on to St Jean Pied du Port (I am finally getting the hang of pronouncing this). Take 40 days to hike the Camino de Santiago with Daddio. Pee pants with excitement upon crossing the border into Spain. Have lots of hilarious fights with Dad. Arrive at Santiago de Compostela. Cry.
Mid-June: Head back to Madrid. Say adios to Dad. Spend a week or so visiting the old stomping grounds in Spain (Zaragoza, Barcelona).
After that: Africa? My parents’ house? It’s unclear…
I know that there will be days when I’m scared, or frustrated, or unhappy, or acting like a complete ungrateful brat. But I know that this is right for me right now. It’s what has been whispered in the back of my head and the depths of my heart for months. I am simultaneously completely unsure of, and totally at peace with, these plans. I want to make the most of each day, but I’m not sure what that will mean yet. Hopefully a good deal of gratitude, an open mind, and an adventurous spirit.
And because I think that posts without pictures are boring, here’s a picture of me in Argentina last summer, holding a jar of peanut butter after searching THREE WEEKS for the stuff. Backpacking is HARD, y’all.
Onward and upward!