Happy Sunday Everyone,
Just under 2 years ago, I boarded a plane from Halifax to Edinburgh to set out into the unknown. No job in hand, no final destination determined, no real fucking idea what I was doing. Looking back on my two years here, there is so much to reflect on: the friends I’ve made, the adventures I’ve had, and all the good things British like proper coffee, ales, jacket potatoes, and mince pies to name a few.
But life isn’t as romantic as the written word can make it seem. While the experience of living in a new country has been incredible, there is an itch that it hasn’t scratched. One that I’ve been trying to reach for a long time now. After 10 years in university followed immediately by full-time work and actuarial exams, I have found myself tired. Mentally and spiritually (whatever that means). I need a break and I’ve decided that now is the time to take it.
A week from today I will be boarding a plane again, embarking on a 3-month journey that will bring a new set of experiences and challenges. Most of you are probably already aware of this as I’ve been talking about it and planning it all year, but for those of you not in the know, let me provide a rough itinerary to my travel.
Stop 1: Tanzania (10 September – 9 October)
I am starting off my travels by spending 4 weeks working in the town of Moshi on the Education & Community Support project through African Impact. When I first decided to take this trip, I quickly decided that Africa would be on the itinerary. When researching what I could do in Africa, I came across African Impact. They are a charity that runs a large number of projects in Africa focusing on Education, Conservation, Gender Equality, Building & Development, Medical, Sports & Coaching to name a few (or to name a lot). Researching their projects got me excited about being a part of one of them. I chose the Education project because I wanted the opportunity to work with members of the community; to understand what their lives are like and gain perspective of what Africa is really like. I chose Tanzania because I liked the idea of staring at Kilimanjaro all day. I figured I would climb it as part of my adventure (I mean, it is right there). I, however, opted to save my climbing for later in the trip. Might still do some morning hill sprints up and down it though. Depends. If the coffee isn’t good, I’ll need something to wake me up.
If you would like to learn more about the project I’ll be working on, more below!
Stop 2: India (9 October – 22 November)
What the fuck have I gotten myself into here? Throughout October and November, I will be traveling solo in India. I’ll be one in a billion. Well, I wish anyway. I’m sure I’ll stand out like a sore thumb everywhere I go. Sore thumbs. Do they stick out? I mean, have you ever seen a thumb and gone “wow, that baby is sore”. That’s a Willow quote by the way. Lie to Me. Yeah? Just me? Moving on…
India is a massive country so there is only so much I can see in 6 weeks. I did an extensive amount of research and opted to mostly go with the typical tourist spots this time around. In India, some of the “tourist” spots aren’t overly touristy so hopefully, there are plenty of authentic experiences on offer.
My itinerary includes Mumbai, Goa, Hampi, New Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal), Jaipur, Pushkar, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Rishikesh. The best way to get around in India is far and away the train as the roads aren’t always in the best condition. Unfortunately, this means that the trains tend to fill up quickly so I’ve had to book most of my travel ahead of time which limits my flexibility. Things are cheap enough that if I did decide to adjust course, I wouldn’t have to swallow a massive loss.
A few things I am planning on doing in India include a camel safari, a week in an Ashram, yoga, meditation, cooking classes, overnight train journeys, laying on a beach, zipping around on a moped, exploring ruins, and befriending elephants.
I am equally excited and terrified about India. One way or the other, I’m sure it will be a memorable if not exhausting experience.
Stop 3: Nepal (22 November – 8 December)
To close out my travels, I am spending a couple of days in Kathmandu before joining up with Gadventures to trek to Everest Base Camp.
It’s worth clarifying that Everest Base Camp is NOT the summit of Everest. My Mother was confused about this and thought I was concluding the trip with my death. Everest Base Camp is a commonly trodden path and isn’t an overly difficult walk. I reckon it will be like Times Square up there. At 5,364m, the only potential difficulty is dealing with the lack of oxygen. Here’s hoping my trip doesn’t end with a helicopter trip off Everest. Actually, that be kind of neat. Kidding Mother, I’ll be fine.
You can check out the itinerary of the track below.
On 9 December, I’ll be boarding a plane back to Halifax to spend the holidays back home and get what I imagine will be much-needed rest.
I plan on keeping the Blog going during my travels so stay tuned!