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Wow, 2013 was a big year.  A really big year.  It included the end of my West Africa trip, the Bahamas, India, and living in Europe.  It also included some Canadian and American road trips.  I still have to add my Bahamas posts and finish my Cameroon/Benin posts (I’m getting Internet tomorrow!), but bear with me… Uploading photos can take me up to a whole DAY per post!  But if I’m not going to do it well, why bother at all?  Right?  Or so I keep telling myself…

2014 is only a few days away, and I’m already drooling over my next fantasy trips.  Money has been – and also isn’t – an issue at the time.  In other words, I’m not actually in a monetary bind considering how cheap it is to live in Cleveland and how little I spend (besides on travel!), but I’ve been paying my debts off at 5x the required rates and thus placing myself in a monetary bind.  I’m just trying to save thousands in the long run.  I don’t think it’s such a horrible plan, but it does stress me out a lot and causes me to skip meals when, quite frankly, I should just skip writing that unnecessary check.  But that doesn’t keep me from cutting corners so that I can plan a new adventure!

So where have I been thinking of going?  Well, about a year ago, a friend and I thought about planning for a Mardi Gras trip to New Orleans.  It might not even require PTO if I play my cards right.  I’ve always wanted to see New Orleans (I’ve been to Louisiana, just not to that city), and I think it would be fun to finally experience “American French” now that I’ve spoken it in so many other places!  But March is also the month I might be rescheduling a trip to Cameroon again in Africa.  I also want to do the Leadership Summit for AISES and, depending on how kindly our sponsors our, I might have some friends joining me.  This leaves the question of “Where do we fly in (and drive from!)?” and the high possibility that we will make that 4-hour drive to Mexico on a day off.

Thus March looks pretty full.  January is bleak as of now, apart from trips to Pennsylvania and New York for skiing and hockey which I do frequently (and just did last Friday at Holiday Valley).  But February – that holds another adventure to North Carolina likely, as well as a weekend trip to Knoxville.  I have already lined up some folks to fill my car and make that an adventure into the Smokies should the trip not fall through before then.  On the horizon was also a possibility that I might accompany a group going to Panama as well as watch flight prices and snag a trip to Seattle for Memorial Day Weekend.  I have friends there now and others who would accompany me to a couple days in Seattle and a couple days in Vancouver.  Friends are definitely great advantages to have in far-away cities.

Speaking of which, one friend just moved to Peru for half of a year and boy I’ll tell you I am so tempted to throw out my freshly earned vacation time and put down my hard-earned pocket money for a roundtrip flight there.  I have been dying to see Peru since I was fairly young, about the time I became obsessed with the Incas, alpacas, the Andes, and surrounding countries (like Ecuador with the Nazca lines).  Similarly, in maybe a year or two, there is talk of me joining some people on a backpacking trip through Brazil and Argentina.  Oh, saving vacation time is just such a struggle!

Working is a blessing in that it funds my travel, but it’s a curse because it also binds me to a schedule and to limited time off.  That’s why I take advantage of weekends as much as I can because, if you work hard enough during the week, you can usually exempt yourself from taking those PTO days and instead cram 40 hours in a 3 to 4 day period.  So while I continue to fantasize about all the places I may or may not see in 2014, I begin to wonder – Do any of you have any plans?

Furthermore, is there anything you would like me to write about?  I know loyal followers crave information and new posts, but if I’m short or inconsistent on content (due to my travel schedule), I want to provide the opportunity for me to still be useful!  I’m no expert on traveling matters or particular places, but I have seen quite a lot and wouldn’t mind recommendations 🙂