“We are all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland
April was the month I made three mad changes to my life.
I started wearing red lipstick.
I bought a pig.
I quit my job to travel the world.
In that order.
Decision #1- Inspired by Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, I decided if she could rock some red lipstick, why couldn’t I (this, from someone who doesn’t exactly spend a full minute on daily hair and makeup). Just before I left for my March trip to South Africa, I committed to the lipstick, a bit of glamour in the bush.
Decision #2- A pig you say? OK, so George isn’t a real pig- he is stuffed. And yes, I am fully aware that he isn’t even an actual pig, but a warthog (please pause now and watch The Lion King if this is lost on you). He’s is Mr. Pig! George stands as a symbol of my most recent trip to South Africa. I adore warthogs, in all their hideous cuteness. On safari, they inspired nonstop, spontaneous spouting of Lion King quotes that my pack of fellow travelers had to suffer and eventually yell alongside me. He will be joining me on my adventure, an ever present reminder of what led me to Decision #3.
Decision #3- South Africa stands as a symbol of this rather significant decision. I returned from South Africa, a country that stole my heart, with the burning need to keep the euphoria going. Walking from the train to my office after that trip, I made the decision. I could wait no longer. I needed to travel. And not a week here and there-really travel. Two weeks later, I submitted my resignation and six weeks later, I write this post.
You’ve quit your job to travel the world. Now what?
In order to get ready for the trip, I had some major tasks to accomplish. These included:
The Great Purge of 2016– sell it, donate it, fix it, toss it or pack it. In the end, I will fit all of my belongings into a 10×10 storage unit. I have also mastered the art of eBay, proudly sporting my “Above Standard” selling rating. I have no idea what that means or what is above that level, but my fierce competition strength almost drove me to sell random pieces of junk to improve on that status. Fortunately, my flea sized attention span ended that dream quickly.
Book some trips– if it feels safe, economical or practical, I go alone. When in doubt, book a group trip. So in Egypt, my camel ride will be led by an seasoned camel rider as opposed to my purchase of a random camel at the market and subsequent education on camel spitting.
Break the news to my family/friends– needless to say, no one was shocked. The exception to this statement was my youngest niece who lectured me on the need for a job to earn money (meaning buy her more clothes) and have a place to live (meaning, don’t plan on living with us and taking my playroom for your bedroom). My personal favorite comment of hers was “you can’t live with us between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That will really get in the way of our decorating.” Perhaps one of her Christmas presents will be a jar of that camel spit.
Binge watch Cosmos– the likelihood of me running into Neil deGrasse Tyson is highly likely (in my mind) so I wanted to fully prepared for a conversation with an astrophysicist.
Set up blog– to fulfill my fantasy of doing this travel thing forever by allowing the world to embrace my words. If you enjoy it, share it. If you don’t enjoy but have a friend with a totally different sense of humor than you, stop reading and tell them about it.
Plan my knitting schedule– I can be caught in the jungles of Cambodia without a toothbrush, but the idea of being without knitting needles and some yarn is terrifying. I figure I can also trade homemade mittens for food rather than resort to begging for a roll in the alleys of Tokyo.
Practice my Canadian accent– for those moments when it might be considered dangerous to broadcast that fact that I am an American. Or for when one of my jokes falls flat and I need to blame it on their wacky sense of humor.
Countless other boring things– like bank accounts, VPNs, address changes and more, that I am happy to share with anyone that has questions or is about to embark on this adventure as well.
Just how many airline miles are we talking?
Where can you expect to see me over the next year? I can partially tell you and partially tell you that I have absolutely no idea. Of course, once
Johnny Depp George Clooney meets me on the beach in Phuket, everything will change (most importantly being the quality of hotels).
I have broken adventure into at least three parts.
Part One- Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.
I wanted to start the trip by arriving on my final continent, my 7th continent in two years. In 2015, I visited North America (all over), South America (Argentina), Europe (UK, Poland, Germany), Antarctica and Asia (China and Hong Kong). In 2016, I visited Africa and will soon be walking on Australia. Suggestions for applicable tattoos commemorating the event are being accepted!
Part Two- United Arab Emirates, Oman, India, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong and Japan.
Pause for the annual Thanksgiving Caribbean Cruise and Christmas where I will attempt to get a job for the Holidays to refill the coffers.
Part Three- Iceland and who knows where. At this point, I will make my way across Europe, moving when I get bored or am enticed by an event or friend in another country. All of my European friends should consider themselves forewarned. I may one day be on your doorstep in need of a hot shower!
Something to show for my efforts?
So that my entire experience isn’t wasted on meeting people, learning new cultures and experiencing crazy things, I have set some goals. The problem with me is I love lists. Like seriously love lists and can become somewhat obsessive about completing them. Self-awareness forces me to limit the items on this list. Adventure encourages me to ask for your thoughts on what I should add. #conflicted
My theory for this trip is to say “yes” to everything- try everything – with a few exceptions.
- No snakes.
- No meat or seafood.
- No bungee jumping.
So bring it on, lay it on me. What else should I do? Here is what I have so far.
- Learn all of the words to La Vie en Rose. In French.
- Read all of the Game of Thrones books.
- Play Phase 10 on every continent (Europe and Australia remain).
- Learn to knit mittens.
- Master rolling a quarter across my fingers.
- Tackle conversational Italian.
- Learn to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius.
I want You to spend how much time reading this stuff?
So what can you expect to get out of the time you invest with me? While this first post is heavy on facts and history, I hope to be able to share a lighthearted take on travel with a little bit of useless trivia. My humor doesn’t always translate, but know that, while you may find a post mildly entertaining, I am laughing hysterically.
Not all posts will be this long- I myself, hate commitment (it is a miracle I have been someone’s daughter this long) so I won’t ask you to invest too much time in my escapades. But let’s be honest. I love the stage so your undivided attention is my goal!
I really love exclamation points so you can probably plan on a lot of those (I also love parenthesis)!
My observations on nearly everything, sometimes to the excruciating minutiae will be another highlight. This is a perfect example of what might be hysterical in my head and may not quite translate to the screen (hopefully photos will help)! People I meet or observe will often make appearances and their stories may be retold. My follies will definitely be prevalent with a healthy dose of pop culture references on the side. For example, I was blessed with both a horrible singing voice and incredible self-confidence- a terrible combination for anyone so unfortunate as to be on an adventure with me. Just ask the pig. And eventually the camel.
Hopefully you will enjoy- I look forward to your thoughts. As one of my favorite song quotes goes, “Give me the hook or the ovation. It’s my world and I have to have a little pride.”
So off I go- knowing full well, the red lipstick was the craziest decision of the three.