Where to next? What corner of the world is the right place for me to go first, with my 5 months off of work? And how do I narrow down my options when there are literally hundreds of amazing and exotic locations I want to see?? I know, I know… This sounds like the worst version of #FirstWorldProblems and I realize it could be super annoying. This has actually been looping through my brain for the last few weeks as I weigh my options. I want to make sure I’m not just completely reckless in my impulsivity because I will be travelling solo most of the time, and I’ll need to have an idea of what I’m getting myself into so I can have the best chance of being safe. A part of the fun for me is dreaming up what I might get to experience and so with that I like to do a bit of digging into where I might go. Don’t confuse that with setting an itinerary though! (Aimless and come what may, remember!)
With about a week before I expect to leave, I still don’t know where I’ll go. My first plan (and I use that term loosely) was to fly down to French Guiana in South America. Here’s why it appealed to me:
- French language is spoken there. I’d love to have a chance to learn and expand my knowledge beyond the “cereal box” French I grew up with in Western Canada. **
- It’s remote and different. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s been there, or even talked about going there – and I do love being a bit of a trailblazer!
- Rugged Amazon jungle. Sloths and leopards and toucans and stuff!
And why I ultimately scrapped that idea:
- It’s bizarrely expensive since the currency there is the Euro, and
- I might not meet other travellers and I don’t want to be lonely! Yes, the positive about no one travelling there turned into a negative when I realized there might not be hostels for me to stay in and connect with others.
Plan B was to go to either Martinique or Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, again both are French-speaking locals also boasting tropical beaches. But they were scratched off the list for the same reasons as above.
And that brings us to Plan C, Morocco. I’m about 75% sure this is where I want to go. It has the culture and history that I want to learn about and experience, the food, chaotic open-air markets, French, AND loads of other tourists in cheap hostels. The flip side has the heat of the Sahara Desert in summer, and a reputation of being a tough place to be a woman. Do I really want to be an unaccompanied, western and blonde woman there? I’m not quite sure…
As I’ve been mulling all this over it struck me that I have a pattern of changing my mind about where to go. Last year in June I spent 3 weeks in China, but I started out planning for that time to be spent in Bulgaria. I even bought a guidebook and pinned photos of the Eastern Europe highlights I wanted to see there! A couple years before that my vacation time was spent in Tanzania and on safari, but I got the vaccinations for Cambodia instead since at the time I was planning on SE Asia instead of SE Africa. Oops… One more example is at the beginning of 2012 I planned a trip through Croatia. I couldn’t wait to see the coastal cities and I bought a phrasebook to start learning some basic words. And then that trip ended up a Western Europe cruise – which I completely and totally loved! – but in hindsight it would have been nice to go to Croatia back then, before it exploded onto the tourism scene…. Now I almost feel like the only one who hasn’t been there instead of the ‘trendsetter’ I like to consider myself! ha
Wherever I end up, I know I’m so stinkin’ lucky to have this kind of opportunity. This is never something I’ll take for granted and I am genuinely grateful for each little adventure this life brings.
** Cereal box French – the words learned from reading the other side of any product sold in Canada. Not super helpful in conversation, but I know what saveur de miel et de noix means 🙂