Where I Think About Traveling in 2008, 2009
Miami Beach, United States
I think about travel a lot… When I'm traveling, I think about traveling. When I'm stationary, I think about traveling. I think about the cost and hassle of visas, flights, ground transport, accommodations, food, Internet, and weather. I think about how much money I've got left, and where it can take me. I think about the company I keep, and where I can get acclimated to traveling full-time with an infant.
I think about these things, and start brainstorming. If and when I plan a travel route, it's generally to give me an exit strategy or direction out of a country or continent. Answers produced from research turn into more questions, or spark an idea—a destination—once hidden in the vague nothingness of politically colored maps.
One country desired leads to another, which leads to another… and before you know it, you're lusting for a path that sounds marvelous on paper, but can be quite the opposite in practice.
Perhaps that's exactly what I've done here—only time and travel will tell.
Depending on our travel speed, impressions, and financial situation, the path laid out here could easily stretch on until the onset of 2010. Teaching English in South Korea is part of our financial endgame, as we'll both be running on fumes by the time we return to SE Asia, if not before. There's a big part of me that truly enjoys not knowing where we'll be or where our sustainable income will come from in the years to come.
The cost of travel in eastern Europe—well, Europe in general—scares the crap out of me. I spot-check the prices of a hotel bed or private room in various cities and cringe. The shared 90-day travel limit within the Schengen zone feels like I'm already getting pushed out of the region with a boot on my ass.
I hate to travel quickly though so many places, but I also don't know how long we can realistically afford to move about in some of these regions until we get there. My guess is a shared (split) average of a $50/day budget is encroaching on unrealistic. Bearing all that in mind, cold weather can likewise motivate us to move out of a region just as fast as €40/night/person room prices.
…And yes, I'm aware with the problem of having an Israeli stamp in my passport (or even an entry/exit stamp from another country that might indicate entry) will present when trying to enter other countries in the Middle East, should I ever want to do such things without replacing my current passport.
The good news is that Aidric doesn't have to pay full fare for flights until the beginning of 2010 (it'll be very costly for us to purchase a third ticket for intercontinental flights), and we can always hit the abort button at anytime and push on to the next leg of the journey east.
We've decided to slightly augment our original thoughts on departure date from Miami. Trust me when I say few things would please me more than getting out of the U.S. as soon as possible, but we've deiced to make some compromises to save ourselves some grief later.
We're thinking specifically about the final round of big immunizations for Aidric, when he hits the six-month mark in mid-July. We know exactly where to go here in Miami for his shots, they're free, and we don't have to think about him receiving an incompatible dosing or hunting down a clinic in the middle of Poland or the Czech Republic.
I've got a bunch of family coming into town from the June 15-25, Tatiana says she'd love to see a Fourth of July fireworks show, and Aidric needs to get his vaccinations on the 14th of July—so, what's another week or two in town? Who knows the next chance we'll get some quality beach time.