Sunday, September 30, 2007

Where Next?

Ah, what next?  Where do I want to go, what do I want to do, in the next few years.  During the past twenty, I’ve manage to take a look at over sixty countries, some of them more than once:  the UK, France, China, India, Nepal, Turkey, Croatia  - then there’s Canada -   Is that a Foreign Country?  I guess so,  for many Americans.  For me, it  seems more  an extension of the US (excepting a few  idiosyncratic pronunciations).  But I’ll count it.  

But back to the future:  Just before I’m to spend three weeks in Africa, I’ll take off for several days in Los Angeles area for a two day symposium on TE Lawrence, that most interesting and  enigmatic man.

Then,  I’m off to   Capetown, on through Botswana and Namibia to Victoria Falls.  Reserves and preserves - a chance to see forests and animals native to the area.  I don’t go to zoos for penned and tied up animals, human and otherwise, shrivels my soul.    I worked in a prison  and was in and out of jails in a past life; no more!   To share in  the freedom of  two and four legged creatures will be a delight.  My roommate on this trip has spent time with baboons in the wild so  I’m looking forward to learning from her experience.  Anyway, that is October, the month of my birthday, no longer  a particularly  festive event.  Just the march of time imprinting itself on my being!

Moving on, I will be in Yemen for Christmas and maybe   Oman.  Not enough signed on for a tour with  dhow cruise so I am considering doing it independently.  Hate to waste the  reading on Oman, which had the SAS charging around in the fifities and seventies and James/Jan Morris accompaning the Sultan on an inland  tour in the fifties.    

March 2008  is planned, if all goes well, for Afghanistan.  I will be part of a Global Express people-to-people group, focusing on Women Making Change.  I plan to stay over an additional few days and   work something out with a local travel firm; find out how much of the countryside I can safely see.    Having finally finished Hopkirk’s The Great Game, I’m ready to take a look around this country that has been  the center of  political activity for all so many years.  I even   bought my BA tickets to Dubai - they were having a sale - so all I need do is purchase fare onto Kabul, which I will do when I return from Africa.  

Then onto the UK for a couple of weeks  in May-June 2008 with Elderhostel, a group I usually avoid.  It’s expensive and the participants are pretty  much a While Bread bunch, at least at the few things I’ve attended.  But the topic drew me in::  The Man Behind James Bond; celebrating Ian Fleming’s 100th to be followed by an extension: The Cambridge Spies.  The first gathering in London and the second in Cambridge.  I’m fascinated by this bunch of upper crust guys who signed on to the Soviet Union’s cause.  I’ve read the books of  Rebecca West, Nigel West  and Philip Knightley on the topic.  I’ve also read a bio of St John Philby, Kim Philby’s father, which may explain something of Kim Philby’s personality.  What sold me, despite the expense, were that the speakers include not only  Nigel West but Andrew Lownie, who wrote a bio of John Buchan, another of my heroes. And interestingly, I’ve been reading books by and about Fitzroy Maclean, said to be one of the models for James Bond.   And I plan to get away to  see some performances.  

No other commitments but plans:    tentative  for October is to volunteer for a archeological dig around the Hejaz RR in Jordan, the area covered by TE Lawrence during WW1.  Brits are sponsoring this and there was an article about last year’s results in   History Today.  Since It’s a twenty year project, I’m hoping to sign on in 2008 as the Africa trip interferedwith  this year’s trip..

And nothing definite for December, my  other travel month.  Never  home for the holidays is my mantra.   

I have a list, god knows I have a list:  Mali, Libya (whenever visas are available), Sudan (also no visas -  unless you’re Madonna or Jolene  adopting), Algeria, Eastern Europe (Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Poland, Romania), the Baltic countries. Laos, Kurdish part of Iraq, Dubouti, Eritrea and then back into Ethiopia.  And somewhere along the way, either an Arctic or Antarctic cruise.

At the moment, I’m not interested in Central or South America, at least not until I work through the rest of the list.  There is a desert trek in Egypt close to the Sudan-Libya border that could tempt me; I think it’s by truck rather than camel.  Camel may be the cool way to go but I don’t appreciate the camel’s  spit - and I can’t project a good response! 

No comments: