Thursday, July 21, 2011

Again, mostly quiet, except for buying things

We are at T-minus-one-month-and-nine-days for liftoff. Things that are happening in the Dan-planning-travel world:

- Iran: I'm starting to work with a travel agent to plan a trip to Iran. Man, that place is expensive too! Well, mostly because you either have to go with a tour group, which means you're not exactly couchsurfing, or pay for a guide too, on the order of $80/day. Looking like I'll probably spend about 10 days, eat another big chunk of my travel budget, and try not to worry about it. But man, check this out; sounds amazing, eh?

- Gear: I've spent the last week and a half living out of my bag and washing my clothes in the sink every night. Things I have learned:
1. Quick-dryingness is the most important attribute of clothing. Particularly, clothes must dry if I hang them up for 8 hours. And most techy clothing is made of synthetic stuff (i.e. polyester) or merino wool; merino is warmer, stinkproofier, and arguably more comfortable, while synthetics dry faster and last longer. Synthetic it is.
2. This is surprisingly fun! I don't miss the variety of wearing different clothes. Nobody else notices either.
3. My old travel pants looked, to just about everyone, like space pants. I've got some new travel pants, and damn are they slick. Well, I don't know if they're actually slick, but they're very me.
More updates on the gear to follow.

- "What am I going to do on this trip?" remains a question. Artificially imposing a theme sounds like a bad idea, but at the same time, I'm a little scared of going on vacation for a year. Consuming-life is a dead end; it's important to be practicing, helping, and/or creating as well.
Some things that sound kind of interesting:
1. Dig in to the meditation more. This is promising, in that it really helps the whole theme of my life. Plus, India, y'know? I've scheduled a 3-day meditation class at this center in Ladakh. It's a start.
2. Stuff your rucksack. Maybe as a quite light traveler, I could help a few different places by bringing an extra bag full of stuff.
3. Geocaching. And by that I mean, exploring more, with geocaching as an excuse. For example, there's this cache by the Alchi Gompa in Ladakh. Without the cache, I'm just looking at a bunch of different temples, and why visit one instead of the other? With it, I'll remember the Alchi Gompa more than most. Creating mental texture with arbitrary guideposts.
4. Juggle some. This never hurts.

Edit: this post from the "Other Guy's Dime" blog appeared in a rather timely fashion. It feels applicable here: throwing off the (golden) shackles of corporate America is great, but if that's all that's guiding your trip, ... well, it's a negative definition. Not that I'm going to build a positive definition out of juggling and carrying things, but the more positively I can define things, the better.

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