One of the most important aspects of travel is knowing where you are heading next. Having a “next” journey in the hopper is a sure-fire way of mitigating the blues which, if you’re like me, you descend into rapidly at the conclusion of any adventure.
It seems obvious that this pearl of wisdom would not need to be reinforced in the psyche of like-minded travelers. That any adventure seeking, global explorer would not have this deeply embedded in his of her DNA seems ludicrous.
Yet, I can sit here and tell you in all honesty that the obvious was lost on me.
At least for a while.
Driving from Ubud to the airport in Bali was a slow, winding, jaunt through a landscape I love. I could see the tunnel of “departure depression” opening up and beginning the agonizingly slow process of devouring me. As we climbed the hill through the center of Klungkung it dawned on me.
Like a bolt of good sense from above, an epiphany, a wake-up call, whatever it was I was clear-minded. In order to feel that same sense of euphoria you have upon arrival, you must leave!
What leaving does is bring you one day closer to arriving. Or re-arriving.
This knowledge was a huge relief to me. I had spent many long days of wintry solitude at the conclusion of a trip locked in my Chicago home, curled up in a ball on the couch, TV spewing inane crap, snow flakes floating past the window.
I remember lying there thinking, “Just yesterday I was in the tropics; on a beach…hot”.
But, as I said, this was an epiphany.
The start of any new adventure is an idea. The trip grows slowly from there. You plan it out, you read about the place, you go online, you research. You get excited. Finally you work yourself into such a state that you cannot wait to go and the trip starts way before you even leave home.
It’s about the journey and not just the destination.
A little while ago I returned from a solo trip to Cambodia. Immediately thoughts turned to “where next”. Sometimes thoughts are already lying in wait. After they are summoned, your next trip is lodged in your mind; embryo released.
Unfortunately not this time but that would change.
One evening across the kitchen island Alison, my partner in all things that make my life better, announced she had a conference in Georgia in June. “Let’s make a road trip out of it; either before or after…what do you think?”
Travel to me has always been abroad; some exotic locale where absolutely everything challenges my zone of familiarity.
A road trip in southern USA did not seem to fill that bill at all.
It took me until the next day but the more I thought about it the more it struck on me how perfect this could be. The deep south is about as different to mainstream USA as you can get.
So we set about planning a road trip through Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana; getting excited about bayous, gators, delta blues, and BBQ.
The embryo was growing!
We also decided on some local long weekend getaways and a Yosemite road trip sprung into place.
Then came an embryo I had never thought of. Once again the imagination of Alison brought this to the fore. When it was out I took this idea and ran with it. Looking at websites and reading blogs; gathering information as much as I could about the wonders of the Trans-Siberian railway.
From one end of Russia to the other end of Russia.
It can be combined with the Trans-Mongolian and if you play it right you will find yourself at journey’s end on top of the world; literally. Lhasa Tibet can be the final destination. Or, you can opt for a more tropical conclusion and head to SE Asia.
That part is yet to be determined.
The whole point is, it is exciting to have trips planned for the future; even if just an idea.
I must admit the Trans-Siberian has hit a bit of a snag with Putin playing emperor but we shall see how that plays out.
In the meantime I am looking forward to continued travel here, there, and anywhere!