Monthly Archives: April 2014

“Let’s not travel to tick things off…”

“Let’s not travel to tick things off lists or collect half hearted semi treasures to be places in dusty drawers in empty rooms. Rather, we’ll travel to find grounds and rooftops and tiny hidden parks, where we’ll sit and dismiss the passing time, spun in the city’s web ’til we’ve surrendered, content to be spent and consumed. I need to feel a place while I’m in it.”

—Victoria Erickson

I need to learn how to do that.

(158 days)

Round-the-World Ticket Booked

It’s pretty official. I finally booked my round-the-world ticket.

There was a lot of checking and double checking, and I may write about this more in detail later on. But I actually went back and included the round-trip flights between Lima and Cuzco into the RTW ticket itinerary instead of buying them separately (because apparently there was practically no change in cost whether I include it). And more importantly, I also included my flights within Europe instead of using Athens as a hub. No more Greece, and slightly less time in the air.

Quick advice, if you know you’re going to make the purchase, it may help to tell your credit card company that you’re going to make a huge purchase. My credit card company emailed me (as they should, I’m glad) right after I click the order button about potential fraud activity. Fortunately, I was able to approve the purchase from the credit card’s site and I didn’t have to call anybody (it’s getting late right now also).

Now that that’s done, I get to move on to a million other things I have to do to plan this trip. That’s another post.

(The first of four “Blood Moons” is about to start soon)

(It’s my cousin’s birthday today)

(I think I can handle saying that you would like to drink something later at my house in Italian now.)

(171 days before start of the Big Trip)

Eat Pray Love, Under the Tuscan Sun, and The Motorcycle Diaries

Eat Pray Love

  • Liz (Julia Roberts’ character) has an editor who really wished (almost regrettably) she could take a similar trip but couldn’t because she has a family. I am (and Liz was) taking this trip while still unattached.
  • Liz goes on the trip because of some sort of life crisis. I’m not (at least not that I’m aware of, and not so severe).
  • Liz wanted to go to Italy because she used to have an appetite for food. I’m not much of a food person, but what appetite for life do I used to have? Maybe I do need this trip to rediscover that. (It’s interesting that I’m writing about this now: In addition to good food, Liz also mentioned how that Italian language is so beautiful. I’m going through the Pimsleur lessons for Italian right now and I have to say that it is. It’s so beautiful and rhythmic and flows so well.)
  • Italian joke about winning the lottery requires buying a ticket. Well, I am buying a ticket.
  • Italian is spoken in gestures.
  • Dolce varniette: the art of doing nothing. Italians/Europeans seem to have mastered that. I want to learn. And I probably should read that book about goal-free living that I bought.
  • Liz visited this landmark in Italy that’s pretty old and not frequently visited and taken over by the homeless. It used to have more historical significance but no many people visit it now. But the fact that she was there and described her experience, and also her friend had been there and told her about that experience, added meaning to visiting the place. In other words, any place in the world and the universe is worth visiting, even if other people don’t think so. It matters whether the place has a story, be it culturally in the society or personally through people you know, though the latter means more. The places I’m going on this Big Trip are major landmarks that millions of people have been to. There’s not too much personal connection, so the significance may be lost on me (sort of like when I first saw the Sydney Opera House). But I hope that in this trip, I can create meaningful memories and stories that would make it worth revisiting a few of these places or allow me to share my experience with people I know so they can potentially have a more meaningful experience when they visit.
  • One of the scene showed Liz sitting at a table of people she met in her trip and they talked in Italian and had a great time, enjoying the meal and the company. I want to do that in as many of the places I’m going to visit as I can, speaking Spanish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Japanese, and English at a table, being in the moment, and connect with the world around me.
  • Idea: people-watch in foreign cities and imagine what their life is.

Under the Tuscan Sun

  • Even though my notes for the movie are limited, as is the movie’s core about traveling, I watched it a few years ago and figured it may help get me prepared for the trip.
  • Like Eat Pray Love, Italy is painted as this beautiful place. Even though my main itinerary is more urban than countryside, I hope I can still see the history of the country through the old buildings and the rich culture when I’m there.

The Motorcycle Diaries

  • Open road looks nice as audience, but it’s hard to get perspective when traveling through it. Follow up: Am I supposed to see/experience it with perspective?
  • Alberto, Ernesto (Che)’s traveling buddy, wanted to make the trip before he turns 30, like me.
  • Tip for self: when you walk by people on a trail, say hi. My knowledge of traveling manners is limited, so my theories for doing that include 1) just being polite, 2) to show you’re normal and friendly so that it keeps others happy on what may be a rough trip.
  • Machu Picchu: when Ernesto went there 50 years ago, it feels so less touristy, which I guess is both good and bad. Good that you “feel” the place more, the history. Bad that you wonder if this is a place worth visiting since it’s so out of the way and no one’s there.
  • Machu Picchu: After having seen so many of my friends post pictures of it, I think I’m going to actually “feel” it when I’m there. This is one of the places that I can’t wait to visit.
  • Ernesto’s young story inspires me to continue to dream, to make sense of the world, and do something about it.
  • Add to list: Phrase to learn in other languages: Happy birthday.

(172 days until start of trip)

(Pimsleur Italian lesson 6)

(Coachella’s happening)

Almost Approved

Finally got sign-offs from my bosses. Just one more signature and it’s official. Perfectly timed, too, for tomorrow will be six months before the supposed start date.

(Also finished reviewing Pimsleur French Level 1. It was good but I’m going to need to review the last 8 lessons some time before, and then maybe also go into Level 2.)

(I watched a few movies related traveling over the weekend but I will review them later.)

(There have been many earthquakes along the Ring of Fire lately, including one in Chile, and I swear another one in South America, near Lima. One of my friends from college just went to Machu Picchu. It’s gonna be fun.)