I’ve decided to try my hand at blogging more often than not, and what better way to start than by joining in the fun over at BootsnAll and writing for the 30 Days of Indie Travel? Each day, they give you a prompt that you can interpret however creatively or practically as you want. I first heard about this from Candice over at Candice Does the World. I think I can find the discipline to do it every day, though as I’m already a few days behind, I’m not sure how well that bodes. But I’ll give it a shot, and hopefully it will help shape my travel plans for next year.
So I’ll start with a wrap-up of the first four prompts:
#1: GOALS: What were your travel goals last year? Did you accomplish them? What travel goals do you hope to accomplish this year?
I got married last year and while my family didn’t seem to care if I changed my name or not, I decided that my married name sounded much more like who I wanted to be: a little mysterious, a little European, a little artistic. But changing my name meant getting a new passport, which was devastating. My old passport was well loved to the point of crumbling at the touch. The picture was peeling off, the pages were full and torn (I had to get additional pages for it back in 2008 before a trip to Dubai), and I think I even set it on fire once (by accident!).
So my goal this year was to make my new, crisp passport as well loved as my last… a goal, sadly, I did not accomplish. Partly due to the barren wasteland that is central Wyoming (we live 6 hours from the closest international airport) and partly due to losing BOTH of our vehicles this summer (we are still, in fact, relying solely on bicycles to commute, which is getting awfully chilly!), it just wasn’t logistically possibly to get out as much as we wanted. Luckily, we have all next year to stretch our travel legs again!
#2 EMBRACING CHANGE: Change can be exciting and bring new joys into our lives. But it can present challenges that frustrate or annoy us. How has travel changed you in the last year? Did you welcome these changes or resist them at the time, and how do you feel about them now?
I was lucky enough to find and marry someone who has never asked me to compromise on my travel desires. He supports me every time I come up with a last-minute travel idea: Let’s go to Honduras for your birthday! (which we did); let me come with you on your business trip to Dubai (which I did); Hey, I’m gonna go to Morocco to teach English (to which he said, “OK; can I come visit?”). I’ve always done a lot of my exploring on my own, but when you marry someone who loves your sense of adventure, travel becomes about sharing experiences instead of just having them all to yourself. So one of the biggest changes is how I have begun to adapt my travel style to fit a couple instead of an individual, and I’m learning that it’s not really a compromise or a sacrifice, it’s a chance to share my travels with him and his travels with me in a way that only makes us stronger as travelers and as a traveling couple.
#3 MUSIC: Music and travel memories often go hand in hand. A song can inspire our explorations, or it can take us back to a specific place and time. Tell us about your travel playlist and what it means to you.
The first time I heard Ali Farka Tour was while holding on for dear life while a Berber man barreled up and over the Atlas Mountains and through the Sahara Desert. He claimed to speak no English, but every once in a while, I or one of my companions would crack a (terrified) joke about dying in a Jeep pretending to be an airplane, and we could all see him laughing for a brief moment; there was no doubt the man enjoyed his job. His own music collection included the haunting blues of Tour as well as, of all things, Tracy Chapman. The same two scratched CDs, over and over until we reached a camp in the middle of nowhere. At the time, they represented my triumph over my fear of death (and careening off the side of a mountain), and now they represent one of the most peaceful adventures from my time in Morocco: several days just sitting in the desert and listening to the wind and the sand and the gurgle of camels hobbled nearby. My travel playlist today includes Ali Farka Tour and other bands from the Festival au Desert in Mali ( if you haven’t listened to the electric blues of Tinariwen, get on it!), and even Jimmy Buffett and Robert Plant, who often make appearances at this music festival.
#4 MISTAKES: Everyone makes mistakes. We forget to ask for Coke without ice in Mexico and spend the rest of the trip in the bathroom. Or we arrive at the airport for a 7pm flight only to realize the flight left at 7am. Tell us the story of your worst travel mistake.
Embarrassingly enough, I forgot the sunscreen in Hawaii. The realization hit me a mile from launch, but we decided to push on: We spent an entire day out kayaking around the Big Island and marveling at the curious dolphins and the lighthouses lining the rocky coast. By the end of the trip, the tops of my legs were crispy, and I spent the next several days shooting ibuprofen and soaking my legs in cold water. I committed the cardinal sin of vacationing in the tropics (especially as a Wyomingite!) and definitely paid for it…
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