Home | Multi-Country | Inspiration

wanderlust: Inspiration, Multi-Country - 2003-06-23

#1 - Wanderlust

I have been living in Miami for the past 3 years and life has treated me well. I worked for a wireless technology company while traveling throughout Latin America, befriended people from all over the globe, became an avid kiteboarder, and for those who visited apartment #520, can attest I fully enjoyed the South Beach nightlife. I am proud to say ‘I have lived life to its fullest’ and am sad that this chapter of my life is coming to a close.

I left my job in early May and for weeks was in a quandary what I would do. I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to do what I only dreamed of doing when I graduated from college. I took some time off to determine what lay ahead. I spoke with family and friends and after a couple of weeks made up my mind. Rather than jump from one job to the next, I yearned to take some time off and do something I would only have one more shot at in life; an adventure accessible only when you are young, healthy, and independent of serious responsibility.

A LOT OF US FIRST ASPIRED TO FAR-RANGING TRAVEL AND EXOTIC ADVENTURE EARLY IN OUR TEENS; THESE AMBITIONS ARE, IN FACT, ADOLESCENT IN NATURE, WHICH I FIND AN INSPIRING IDEA. ADOLESCENCE IS THE TIME IN OUR LIVES WHEN WE ARE THE MOST OPEN TO NEW IDEAS, THE MOST IDEALISTIC. THUS, WHEN WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO IMAGINE AS WE ONCE DID, WE ARE NOT AT ALL IN OUR RIGHT MINDS. WE ARE SOMEWHERE IN A WORLD OF DREAMS, AND WE KNOW, WITH A SUDDEN JARRING CLARITY, THAT IF WE DON'T GO RIGHT NOW, WE'RE NEVER GOING TO DO IT. AND WE'LL BE HAUNTED BY OUR UNREALIZED DREAMS AND KNOW THAT WE HAVE SINNED AGAINST OURSELVES GRAVELY.
Tim Cahill, "Exotic Places Made Me Do It", Outside, March '02


Once again I am “setting aside the dancing shoes and lacing up the hiking boots” as I wrote in my last update before setting out on my Patagonia/Chilean Lake District adventure. I will be departing on July 20th from New York and flying to Cape Town, South Africa. Over the next 5 months, I will fly, sail and bounce along pot-holed and dirt roads to Istanbul, Turkey. While I have been researching possible countries to determine an established itinerary, I am being as flexible as possible.

"YOU CAN'T EVER DREAM UP THE PERFECT TRAVEL FORMULA WHILE YOU'RE STILL SITTING AT HOME. WHAT SEEMS LIKE PARADISE WHEN YOU'RE PLANNING YOUR TRAVELS -- BE IT WHITE SAND BEACHES, ARCHAEOLOGICAL WONDERS OR EXOTIC TEXTILE MARKETS -- WILL EVENTUALLY SEEM SOMEWHAT NORMAL AFTER A FEW WEEKS OR MONTHS OF LIVING ON THE ROAD. MOREOVER, SO MANY NEW THINGS WILL HAPPEN IN THE PROCESS OF REACHING THESE PLACES THAT YOU'LL PROBABLY OUTGROW YOUR ORIGINAL TRAVEL MOTIVATIONS. AS NEW EXPERIENCES AND INSIGHTS TAKE YOU IN SURPRISING NEW DIRECTIONS, YOU'LL GRADUALLY COME TO UNDERSTAND WHY LONGTIME TRAVELERS INSIST THAT THE JOURNEY ITSELF IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY DESTINATION."
-- Rolf Potts, Vagabonding (2003)

Ok, ok… most of you know me to be way to organized (and anal) to not have some resemblance of a plan… so here it is:

My rough itinerary is divided into 2 parts, Southern Africa and the Middle East, spending 10 weeks in each area. My plan is to head east along the South African coast up to Lesotho and then travel north to Mozambique. From Maputo, head west to Mabane, Swaziland and back into South Africa to Johannesburg where I will head to northern Botswana via Gaborone to visit some wildlife parks. After getting my thrill of wildlife, I will head to Victoria Falls on the boarder of Zambia and Zimbabwe where I will catch a flight to Cairo.

Upon arriving in Cairo, I will set out for a month-long adventure through the land of the pharaohs. I plan on heading up the Nile and hitting the major sites as well as visit the White Desert in Western Egypt and then to the Sinai Peninsula. From Egypt, my plans for traveling to the rest of the Middle East will depend on the political situation at the time. I will continue on to Turkey where I will be meeting up with one my best friends from Bowdoin (Tim Dwyer) in early December where we will travel together for one month along the Mediterranean and Aegean coast to Istanbul getting home in time for the holidays.

I know most of you are saying ‘Africa and the MIDDLE EAST?’ Are you out of your mind? Aren’t you…scared?’

No, not really… What I am scared about one day is being the grandfather in the Harley Davidson commercial:

Grandpa: “All I could think about at your age was a Harley Davidson”
Grandson: “Grandpa, you had a Harley?”
Grandfather shakes his head in bitter regret “No, …I spent the money on aluminum siding”

Grandson: “Grandpa Dave, you backpacked from Cape Town to Istanbul?”
Dave: “No… I bought stock in Enron”

Excited and anxious are better ways to describe my sentiments. For months now, all of my research and information for this journey has been stored in a folder in my computer called ‘Dream’. Looking at photographs in National Geographic is not quenching my thirst, let alone fulfilling my dreams. You can drown in your own bathtub, get hit crossing the street to get the mail, catch on fire in your kitchen. Do you want to be ruled by your fears or your dreams?

TRAVEL IS FATAL TO PREJUDICE, BIGOTRY, AND NARROW-MINDEDNESS, AND MANY OF OUR PEOPLE NEED IT SORELY ON THESE ACCOUNTS. BROAD, WHOLESOME, CHARITABLE VIEWS OF MEN AND THINGS CANNOT BE ACQUIRED BY VEGETATING IN ONE LITTLE CORNER OF THE EARTH ALL ONE'S LIFETIME.
-- Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)


davidmlawrence@yahoo.com

More from wanderlust here


Recent Searches: