16 November 2016

Where to Next?

So I got back from Iran lately. Don't worry, I have a series of posts addressing that trip planned, which will be online soon. This post is more about my first-world problem. Where do I go next?

See, I suppose it's like a video game. First you start with the Beginner Level. Then you advance to Intermediate. And then once you've gotten used to that, you progress to Expert. The same goes for travel. First, you begin with destinations that are close to what you are used to. Perhaps a domestic destination. And then you slowly go to destinations where the level of cultural differences go higher and higher. Add to that the level of bureaucracy as well. And when you get to do it, you experience this travel high, as you just bagged another item in your belt, another item to boost your bragging rights.

So I guess once you finish a trip to Iran, you wonder, where do you go next? Europe and North America just looks so easy, that I want something that is more challenging.

Afghanistan? That's a war zone, so if you get out of there alive that's definitely something!

North Korea? Turkmenistan? These are Stalinist countries that will give you a headache when you figure out how to get a visa to enter in the first place.

Russia? There's the Trans-Siberian Railway, which is perhaps the longest train ride in the world. Speaking of trains, there's also the iron ore train in Mauritania.

What about countries in sub-Saharan Africa? My flight map tells me that I haven't flown routes that way yet. Speaking of flight routes, I also haven't connected Europe with South America yet, and neither have I flown to Australia and points further east in the south Pacific. I guess I want more lines in my flight map, I want a new route, not just this band of routes connecting North America to South America and East Asia, as well as North America to Europe and onward to Southeast Asia via the Middle East.

Or maybe I would go plan a trip that involves crossing an interesting border. Say for example entering Iran by land, either from Herat in Afghanistan (getting a tourist visa for Afghanistan is apparently easy) or from Ashgabat in Turkmenistan. Or for example exiting Russia through its land border with Norway near Kirkenes. Or crossing the Caspian Sea, from Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan to Baku in Azerbaijan. Or maybe incorporating a bungee jump, say in Victoria Falls, between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Sometimes, I meet people, whose idea of travel is so constrained within a very small bubble. You see travel bloggers and their websites, where they claim to be well-traveled, yet you soon realize that all they have been to are Europe. You see people from third-world countries (Filipinos, for example), and they want to go out of their homeland and explore the world, yet their only idea of the world outside is the United States. That's sad, since there's more to the world than Europe and North America. Having been to 48 countries so far, I can definitely attest to that. I might be well-traveled, but I definitely feel like there's more of the world that I haven't seen yet, and I am eager to see them in my lifetime.

These are first-world geeky problems, of course. But sometimes, when I have nothing better to do, I plan trips. I don't always take them, but sometimes they just sit in the back of my head, and who knows, in the future, I might as well take them.

And yes, if you want ideas on a future vacation, but have no energy to plan it, let me know. I might give you ideas.


  1. We kind of have the same issue. There are tons of places I'd love to check out but I don't feel like dedicating too much time to them and plan a specific trip for that. Then there is the weather issue too. I ain't going to Russia during the winter, for instance... I mean, a few days in Moscow, sure, but traveling around must be difficult when you deal with frigid temperatures.

    1. Zhu,

      I understand you completely. This is a problem when you only have a set time every year to travel, and it happens to be always the same. So if the only time you can travel is winter, then that means there are countries hard to visit because the time to visit them isn't aligning with yours.

      By the way, if there's a place you want to go yet don't have the time to plan, let me know, I might be able to help!