Recently, I have begun to think seriously about where my SoleJourn will take me. The exact places in each country I will visit don’t need to be established anytime soon, and I don’t want to lock too many things in beforehand so I can go with the flow. But, I do want to have a better idea of my plans so I can begin to consider other questions: How much sense would a round-the-world plane ticket make for me? When is the best time to be in each location based on weather? Which countries require I get visas ahead of time? What types of vaccinations will I need?
With my rough draft of countries in hand, I began to estimate how many weeks I would ideally like to spend in each region: 14 weeks in Central America, 16 weeks in South America, etc. Adding up the totals, I was only slightly surprised to find I had, in a matter of minutes, wished up a total of 55 weeks abroad! Without knowing if I can even handle 55 weeks of continuous solo travel, I immediately thought of my budget. That’s not going to work! A choice has to be made: Do I reduce the time spent in each country or do I cut the number of countries/regions I visit?
You might think this would be an easy question to answer, but this choice sent me deep into angst ridden thought. I have changed everything around so I can live my dream, and planning for that moment in my life has become so central to everything I do, that I felt like the wrong choice would somehow ruin it all! Reasonable or not, I realized I was having a crisis of intent: Until I decide what I want to get out of this trip, I won’t be able to make any more decisions. What is my travel philosophy?
On past travels, I have always appreciated being able to see the diversity of a country, enjoying moving around from place to place. I like to see the big cities, but also some of the smaller towns and villages and occasionally an out of the way, but totally worth it, gem. But, I hate to feel rushed. With only 3 weeks to see Peru, it seemed like we were constantly on the move, staying in any one place for 3 days at most. Admittedly, in conceptualizing this trip, one of the things I found most appealing was the ability to linger longer and stay a while if I really wanted to. No deadlines, no hurry.
BUT, I don’t know if I will ever have another chance to JUST travel in my life. Sure, I will get the 2, occasionally 3 week vacations I am used to, but will I ever have another block of months to spend exploring? Maybe it would be better for me to see as much as possible while I can, constantly moving, but covering lots of ground. Financially, it makes more sense to continually progress in one direction (Central to South America, Europe to Asia), rather than flying round trip from NYC on separate occasions. So, maybe I keep moving east, sampling as many cultures, foods, landscapes and languages as possible along the way.
Admittedly, I still have some pondering to do before I can comfortably make this decision, but at least I have figured out what questions to ask!
What would you do??