2 weeks til departure.
Sitting in the place where this all started. My classroom. My students are typing away, completely unaware that in 2 weeks I will no longer be their teacher. I have prepped them since the beginning of the school year however that I would not be here for the entire year. But like a young puppy, their memories are short and their attention span shorter.
I have chosen to challenge myself. The daily grind, the red lights and traffic jams, the phone bill and t.v. commericals, the facebook posts about elections and ding-dongs, the holiday shopping euphoria, all of these mundane articles of life have pushed me from this "normal existence." I do not want to be "normal." To "settle down." I have been greeted with frowns for long enough! I cannot participate in this race of rats, I need to get away!
The plan, to travel Around the World in 120 Days.
This has been a goal of mine since the 7th grade. We read the book "Around the World in 80 Days" by Jules Verne. We then had to write a report on the book, listing all the places we would go if we too were to travel the world. For some reason, the one place that stands out from that book report is Bombay, India. Now known as Mumbai, I will be visiting there soon, and from what I've read and studied, I won't be alone.
It has been nearly 5 years since I packed my bag and boarded a plane with a one-way ticket to South America. I had a plan then, to teach for 8 months in Chile, then travel back by land all the way to California. Well, it didn't quite happen that way, I ended up getting sucked back into Brasil, thus forcing me to buy a plane ticket from Peru to Mexico. Skipping all of Northern South America and Central America, I had no regrets of course. 18 months was the total time of my being away from home, so in comparison, this 4 month trip is a quick turn-around.
When? December 13, 2012. Leave with the New Moon. I always plan my big trips with a "New Moon." This allows me the permission of the heavens. Those who dictate the laws of travel. The Travel Gods.
Return in exactly 4 months. In time for the one-year celebration of my baby nephew Lucius Gilbert.
The goal, 10 Countries.
Starting in China, New Years in Shanghai, on to India, Egypt, Italy and leave from Paris, France. 10 Countries, a month and a half in Europe should suffice to reach the 7 (China, India, Egypt being the other 3.)
Sites on my list: The Great Wall, Terra Cotta Warriors, Taj Mahal, The Great Pyramids, The Sphinx, The Colosseum, The Sistine Chapel, The Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam, The Eiffel Tower.
And of course, THE FOOD!!!
The first question I always get is "Where will you stay?" Hostels are my choice of lodging, they're cheap, friendly, and everywhere! In India I will be greeted by a family that will be taking care of me. One month in India, all expenses paid. I have quite a few friends that I made while in South America that I will be contacting in Europe. Of course, I plan on making many new ones as well. I am treated different as an "American." "You are not a typical American" I've been told. What this means I'm not quite sure, though I do take it as a compliment.
Well, 2 weeks from today I will be over the Pacific Ocean...time and Travel Gods to determine the rest.
Good luck class, you'll be missed!