Thanks to the magical thrill of travel planning, I am now completely recovered from my little sinking spell and eager to move forward! I like to post my plans for the future from time to time in this blog, because it gives me a place to collect them and because it gives my friends and family a chance to ponder when and where they might visit me!
I’m making heavy use of Workaway.info to trade volunteer work for free room and board. The money I’ll save allows me to do some exciting things, like join a group tour of Ethiopia and a dance tour of Egypt.
August: Florence, Italy (where I’ll be seeing my son and celebrating the 10th anniversary of my first overseas trip to Italy with one of my dearest and oldest friends) September: Venice, Italy and Tremosine. (big ups to the Travelettes site I just linked for helping me discover Tremosine, I can’t wait!) Late September into early October: Another friend is coming to visit and we’ve planned an AMAZING trip down the French coastline, with a sharp right at Barcelona to wind up in Madrid. This will basically be my vacation. 😀 Less work and more sightseeing than my regular life!
October 2–12: I have some open time and think I’ll probably visit Cadiz again, and then take the ferry to Tangier and maybe go to Fez. These are some of my favorite places — if anyone is thinking of visiting me, I highly recommend this stretch!
October 12-November 2: Casablanca, Morocco I’ll be volunteering with an English school. I get free lodging and meals in exchange for chitchatting all day in my native language and talking about American customs and traditions. 😀
November 3-24: South African wildlife rehabilitation program I will be working with young monkeys and other animals who are being rehabilitated for life in the wild. I’ll live in a dorm, and I’ll probably spend a lot more time cleaning up monkey poo and cutting up fruit for them than cuddling. The cost is about the same as finding food and lodging on my own, but the money goes to a good cause. I know these ‘voluntourism’ programs are more about the fundraising than the service the guest provides, but as long as you know that going in, they can offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences for tourists and raise funds for good organizations. That’s a win-win in my book.
Nov 24-30: deliberately left open. I may stay with the monkeys an extra week, but will probably give myself a quiet week alone somewhere. I’m doing a LOT of group living for about a 6 month stretch here…
December 1- Dec 22: Ethiopia tour This will be my first time — EVER — joining a group tour of this kind! It’s a pretty rugged one, that includes several days of trekking, and it’s designed for people who want to have a real, local experience and don’t mind getting dirty. I’ve never wanted to look at a country through glass windows from an air-conditioned bus and getting the locals to put on hokey song-and-dance shows for me while I eat lunch. But I want to explore as much of Ethiopia as I can in just three weeks and this seems like a good compromise.
December 22-Feb 5: Volunteering in Moshi, Tanzania I will stay with a local family near Kilimanjaro (will I try to climb it? We shall see…) and teach in a school program. My cost is $50 a week for room and board. This will be my first classroom teaching experience, although I have my TEFL certificate and I’ve worked with children and teenagers before. I hope I will be good at it!
Feb 5- 23: Journey through Egypt This is the Level 3 & 4 portion of Sahra C. Kent’s Journey Through Egypt folk dance certification course. I’ve completed levels 1 & 2 already. I will travel with a group, led by Sahra herself, who is an anthropologist and dance ethnologist (and had a dance career in Cairo). We’ll meet local people in Cairo and along the Nile through upper Egypt and learn all about their music and dance traditions. This will be the most expensive part of my Journey so far, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. Several months of volunteer work are freeing up the funds for this.
After Egypt, nothing is certain or arranged, but these are my thoughts about what I will do next:
Late Feb-early Mar I may be in Petra Jordan helping a small hotel with publicity (in negotiations now)
March/early April I hope to be in Oman, volunteering at a dive school in exchange for free scuba lessons. (I contacted the hosts already, but they don’t plan this far ahead, so I’ll have to wait and see)
April: I’d really like to return to southern Turkey and trek the Lycian Way trail. It’s about a 5-week hike. A lot will depend on whether I can manage 5 weeks off from work when the time comes.
May: If I like the way my GoEco voluntourism project in South Africa goes, I may put in to teach English at a Buddhist monastery in Nepal for a month.
After that I imagine I’ll head into Asia & New Zealand.
Where should I go? Bali? Fiji? Thailand? Vietnam? Singapore?