Tuesday, July 31, 2007

a map of the world

We are working on our route for our sabbatical. We bought a giant map and hung it on our wall and have been daydreaming about where to go. We've come up with China, Laos, and India with a short foray into Myanmar. We chose this in part because we can do much of it overland and it's cheaper than flying all over the grid. The downside is it's concentrated in one part of the world and there is so much more of it to see. I bought M a book about a kid who goes to India and now she wants to ride a bus in India but ONLY if she gets to sit on top and ONLY if the bus is blue.

I need your help. Where would you go if you had a year to get there? Where in the world calls your name? You lurkers need to let me know too because we need all the ideas we can get. And besides, I can't read you if I don't know how to find you.

Dream with me on this hot and dry July morning, the last one of the year.


kgirl said...

Chris seems to think a year in Europe is doable, I say he's out of his mind. I'm rallying for either the Thailand-Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia-Southern India circuit, or Central/South America. Or Australia-New Zealand-Tasmania-South Pacific. Or back to the Middle East.

Sheesh. I'm no help.

thailandchani said...

Where would I go?

Well, let's see.

This is really a stretch, you know?

Assuming home base is Thailand, I would definitely go to China, via Laos and Vietnam.

It would allow me enough time in each new place to really get a feel for the culture and the people.

You know, kind of like "Eat, Pray and Love."




kristen said...

I like your route and like Kgirl, I'd probably add Vietnam and Cambodia. As you know, I'm not very nomadic so I will live vicariously through your family and cheer along your journey!

I adore maps - it must be fantastic having one to map your dreams. xo

Christine said...

oh how we want a sabbatical next year, too!

I am with chani on the eat pray love trip. Sounds amazing.

Hmm. For me: aybe Thailand or Taiwan. My husband wants to spend a year in Scotland or Greenland. Blah.

some friends just got back from 6 months in Vietnam. they were in the me kon delta (sp?) which was basically hot as hell, but they said ho chi min was great.

Lawyer Mama said...

I would definitely add in Vietnam and Thailand. The friends I have who've been to both places just loved it.

Now *this*, you're sabatical, is one of the things I wish we'd had a chance to talk about.

Magpie said...

In context, this sounds so boring, but Scandinavia intrigues me - I'd try to get there.

phenom said...

pgoodness and I just had a discussion like this the other day. I've always wanted to visit Sarajevo (f'real), Nepal, Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia, as well as places like Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands and that area.

liv said...

It's probably passe and trite to say, but there's something about the idea of a few months on the Continent that would make me happy. Obviously, it wouldn't be like Miss Lucy wandering around with her Baedeker. Oh, and another thing that would thrill me would be to get to Australia/New Zealand. Or Africa. Yes, Africa. Listen hon, if I get off of my ass and win the lottery, we're all so totally doing it.

NotSoSage said...

Top of my list:

Sri Lanka
Czech Republic
All of South and Central America

I would eat live bees to take a train from East to West across Asia.

I'm so envious. I will be e-stalking your trip and gathering ideas along the way.

And M riding on top of a blue bus. I love that girl.

Anonymous said...

We read a book about a wedding in India which is supposed to be a secret so everyone won't crash it, but they do anyway, which is lucky because something happens to keep the "invited" guests away, and it turns out to be a really, really great party. Now that you want to get the book, I can't remember what it was called :)

I have wanted to go to China since I was a little girl. Also Kenya.

KC said...

Everywhere I've been in China has been amazing, especially loved a "cruise" along the Yangtze river, Guilin is scenic gorgeousness. Suzhou and Hangzhou are both lovely- Suzhou (my paternal grandmother's birthplace) criss-crossed with Venetian-like canals, Hangzhou with beautiful lakes (my maternal grandmother's birthplace). JP has traveled recently to Laos, Vietnam and Thailand for business and thought the Laotian people were just wonderful.

thailandchani said...

Fascinating comments. As far as I'm concerned, once I'm settled in Thailand, everyone on this comments forum is enthusiastically invited! :)



Julie Pippert said...

Well...short list...the entire world. I love to travel, see new places, eat up new cultures.

Umm...more specifically...short list...


Because I have had CRAZY weird detailed dreams about those places, that upon researching and investigating? Were true.

cinnamon gurl said...

Africa first... I'd love to see it all but top of list (along with South Africa, which goes without saying) would be Namibia, Mozambique, Zanzibar, Ethiopia, Morocco and Egypt just to start.

Sugar D really really wants to go to China, which I think would be pretty cool, and I'm pretty sure India would be up there too... India intimidates me though for some reason.

And I would love to go to Thailand.

I would also love to travel all the way around the Mediterranean sea, including sort of a belly dancing trip with Turkey and all the Middle East and north Africa.

The Carribean and Central America are also on my list, but somehow I'm less intrigued with South America. No idea why.

Looking forward to lots more discussion on your sabbatical.

Binky said...

Russia and Egypt.

Jenny said...

Egypt. I crave Egypt.

jen said...

I LOVE your comments. It's so hard to pick just a few places. We started w/ South Africa and Morocco and Egypt but getting to Laos is so expensive from there. Somehow this trip is revolving around Laos.

Tibet. Ah, yes.

And Chani, we'll hit northern Thailand on our way to Myanmar, and you know, Vietnam...damn, we have to go there too.

You are all making me very hungry for the dusty road.

Wacky Mommy said...

Back to Portugal, where my husband and I got engaged, then Spain, then... ??? I'd decide that later.

thailandchani said...

Jen, I keep looking out the window and all I see is Sacramento.

Something's wrong!

I need to get to Khon Kaen. 21 hours from now would be good! :)


QT said...

Nepal and Tibet for sure.

As for me, I am drawn to the south of us every time. I am a fool, since I haven't even been to Europe. But I want to see Argentina, Chile, etc.

meno said...

Cambodia, Vietnam and Egypt. Oh and Peru and the Galapagos, because they are just right next door to each other. :)

flutter said...

Spain and Kyoto.

I have dreamed of Spain since I was little and saying "manzana!" instead of apple to my very confused mom.

Deezee said...

I'm overwhelmed by the question and I'm not even going!

Kelly said...

When I was a child, my father was gone so many months that turned into years on business in many countries. And he always brought back pieces of the places he traveled to for me. When he was gone I would study these things and try to imagine him there. Eventually my parent's house was filled with things from far away places. So if I were to do a year away I would try to revisit the original homes of these objects. It wouldn't always be practical, but it would be enjoyable for me. Here's the list:

Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman, Columbia, Brazil, Peru, Japan, China, and Russia. I'd also throw in Iceland, not because of my father but because I've heard New Years there is fantastic.

Jenn said...



Somewhere with castles and architecture and skylines of mountains and beaches of white.

But, you're taking your laptop, right?

bgirl said...

have map will travel

the book for M sounds good. i just got my guy a book about saying Peace all over the world. along with a book that features trains from around the world.

from your list...India sounds the most alluring. for me, i crave a spanish speaking culture,so i'd hit costa rica...thought i realize many (most likely including you) have been.

my next step...switzerland. my bro and his wife live there and i have never been! a sin really, just never had the means to get there...this will change.

Rock the Cradle said...

First, I'd have to see Machu Picchu. Maybe en route to Japan to visit my brother.

Then, of course, I'd have to get home, so I'd make a stop in Hong Kong, just to see the sites, then pop over to Thailand just for the hell of it and take in some ruins.

Then I'd have to hang with the kiwis for a while before heading off to Tibet. Then I'd have to see Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Marrakesh, (not necessarily in that order), travel down the Nile for a spell...

I'd have to get across the Mediterranean after the cruise down the Nile, on maybe a nice sailing yacht with lots of beautiful men to bring me drinks on deck while we island hopped around Greece.

Then I'd pop in on the relatives in the Netherlands, spend a month in Wales at their Royal National Eisteddfod, and drink lots of dry cider, then recoup at some swanky spa in Iceland.

Right. Playground, here I come.

Karen said...

oh, there are so many choices. If you decide on Myanmar, e-mail me, because I have some contacts there and it can be easier to travel there with a little hosting.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

jen ~ first off, are you familiar with this group http://www.hospitalityclub.org/? It's a great place to solicit help and information from locals where ever you are traveling. second off, do you or your husband speak any other languages than English? I ask because I think this might influence where you might travel since it will be your first big trip with M. I think it might be useful to start out with a environment that is a little less challenging then say China. I agree that Western Europe can be quite expensive but eastern Europe can be less so and can bring more discoveries as it's less off the beaten path. Driving from tip to tip of South America and exploring enroute is a good option. If you go to Africa I suggest you start in West Africa, such as Ghana, a place not terribly known for their wildlife but where people are extremely friendly and where the cultural roots are deep and where your main expense will be in getting there.

mamatulip said...

Italy, Spain, Rome, England, Scotland, Ireland, Thailand and quite possibly Australia.

That is, if I was drugged enough to actually get ON a plane.

ewe are here said...

Hmmmm. I have to admit, if I were doing this with little ones in tow, I'd probably stick with Europe. So much to see and do.

Or Australia and New Zealand and the Pacific Island nations...on a lovely boat. Now that I would really love, and I've seen it done.

Anonymous said...

Well I've always wanted to visit Japan, Greece, and New Zealand. But Africa is continously calling. You'll have life changing moments just about anywhere you go though!

Kyla said...

Do you know I fell asleep thinking of you and this trip last night? The pure magic of it just boggles my mind. I am in awe of your spirit. I think with your heart, wherever you end up will be filled with amazing memories and life changing moments.

BOSSY said...

Where would Bossy go if she had a year to get there? To Chicago, of course. At least that's how long it took Bossy to get there for the BlogHer convention:


nomotherearth said...

I'm torn two ways actually..

I'm really interested in a "back to nature", "living off the earth" kind of thing in Africa and Australia.


There is a special place in my heart for Europe and I know I would end up in Greece (theatre ruins), Italy (wine), England / Ireland / Scotland (countryside), Spain (the coast), and France (cause how can you not go there after you've been everywhere else).

Jennifer said...

If it were just me, or just me and the husband, I'd go back to Africa and spend more time there than the little bit I've done already. Once Africa is in one's heart, it's difficult to escape her pull. But, I'm not sure that is the best plan with kid(s), so with kids, it would be Central and South America, hands down.

My brother recently did 18 months in SE Asia, spending a year teaching in S. Korea and then 6 months traveling around Korea, China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand. Let me know if you want any "must experience" or "must avoid" tips from him.

- Jennifer (Faking It)

Seattle Mamacita said...

i'd go to Zacatejas in central mexico and eat mole till i break out...its nice to dream

slouching mom said...

GREECE (weeping with desire)

Tabba said...

Greece and Korea.

How different, eh?

I think you know why I would choose Korea. As you said in a comment so long ago, I need to eat that soup I love on the street.
I'm in love with that culture, the people.

And Greece....well, because it's Greece.

alejna said...

There are too many places I want to go. My travel-lust has been dormant for quite a few years, but it is re-awakening. I'm so excited about this trip to Europe next week.

I come from a travelling family, and my grandmother in particular was an adventurer. One of her favorite trips was to India, where she spent 9 months mostly solo. When she was in her 60s. Her stories and photos from that trip were amazing. India would have to be very high on my list. My mother spent a year travelling the world just a few years ago (also in her 60s), including an African safari. I want to follow in both of their footsteps. (Of course, my grandmother went to over 100 countries. I doubt I can top that...)

So, an abbreviated list: India, Afghanistan, Iran, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary. (I also would love to go back to Brazil, Japan, various western European countries, and Australia. Though I don't remember Australia, seeing as I was 6 months old last time I was there.)

thordora said...

Ankor Wat (I'm spelling that wrong)
New Zealand
Pyramids in Central America
Tierra Del Fuego

My list is long, and odd. I cannot wait until my girls are a little older before we go. (I get anxious when travelling with anyone other than myself.)

Denice said...

I'm de-lurking to say that I would definitely go to Africa and spend as much time and see as many countries as I could. So much history, so much hurt, so much humanity needed there. I would do everything I could to help the people there.

JMA said...

I was lurking, but for the first time, so I'm not really sure if that counts as lurking...

I would go to England/Wales/Ireland to reconnect with long lost family.

Then to Dubai, to visit my sister, who is currently living a 20-something adventure in a place that she says you have to see to believe.

jen said...

sigh. so many places. Dubai. Egypt. Greece. Korea. All of them.

Thordora, the temples at Angkor are out of this world. We spent a month in Cambodia a year or so ago so sadly we can't consider it this time although i'd love to live there someday too.

And Africa. I am so glad so many hearts pull there too.

I am dreaming more than ever now because of all of you.

urban-urchin said...

I love this. Okay:
Galapogos Island

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to go to Borneo, or the Caucasus Mtns. and Caspian Sea. That would be me, on my own. With family I'd probably go to Africa and work my way from top to bottom.

Hel said...

India - definitely.

In fact if you don't make it to Africa I'm going to use it as an exuse to catch up with you in India. In the Himalayas.

Go have a look at http://windyskies.blogspot.com/

You inspire me my heart sister

Hel said...

I would like to travel up through Africa and then to Mongolia and China and India.

Aliki2006 said...

Well, you know I'm going to tell you Greece, and if you time things right and end up there in the summertime maybe, just maybe, I'll be there too?

Also, New Zealand has always called to me, and Australia, too. And others have said Africa, but I'd want to go there as well. And Wales is incredible--such beauty.

Bon said...

in the China>Laos>India run, with Myanmar on the side, would it be possible to sidetrack to Kathmandu? 'cause for me, that name is magic, straight out of legend.

i've been blessed with having had the chance to do a lot of my dream trips, because of the years i spent as an expat. trekked all over Europe and the British isles, went through Turkey on my own, travelled from Singapore to the Vietnam border before monsoon season defeated us and we hightailed it back to Bangkok to fly to Frankfurt, where it was spring and not so soggy. but the trip we'd hoped to do, which 9/11 quashed, was overland from Korea (well, boat to China) to Jerusalem, following the old silk road, the hippie trail. i think some of those routes are more open now and safer than they were six years ago...though i still might hesitate with parts of them. but oh, what a trip that would be.

Hel said...

And if you go to India you must stop here for a while: http://www.auroville.org/

It looks fascinating. They have very cool sustainability projects with scientists from all over the world contributing.

mitzh said...

I would love to have a European travel. Then tour Asia.

I am so excited for you and your family...

NotSoSage said...

Coming back to read everyone's comments and I had to agree with Aliki: Wales. Oh, Wales. I found another of my heart's homes there, I think. It was magical.

PunditMom said...

As someone who has terrible wandelust, that's a hard question. I'm very envious, as you can probably guess, that you're going to be spending time in China. That is something I'd really love to do with PunditGirl. My problem is that I want to see it all, and more than once. I know that's not helpful. :(

The Expatriate Chef said...

Belize, with you, of course!

That aside, I would say Australia as I have friends there. Galapagos is on my list. I'm an island girl at heart. My stomach is an Italian grandmother, tho, so Italy, too. Greece counts for both Mediteranean and island, right? I've done a bit of the third world, ancient cultures are amazing. But, with my little one along, next stop would be Australia or Italy.

thordora said...

Bon, I want to trace that silk road with you JUST because you made it sound so bloody wonderful.

jen said...

Bon, I am sure you've read Danzinger's Travels but just in case, I thought I'd mention it.

sara said...

Laos is a wonderful place to travel. Hit it in 1996 right before the first edition of the Lonely Planet~ Laos was being published. Have an amazing story of a trip to a hospital in Vien Tien to deal with my husband's ear infection, the old Soviet equipment, a young female doctor speaking French with my guy responding in basic Thai....

Awwwww, long time ago before three little boys joined our party. Just got back to the East Coast from a family wedding in Cali & suddenly my dreams of living abroad have been dashed~~ for now, anyway.

I love, love, love Thailand. Go south by train. Go to the west side. Spend time in Koh Phan Ngan (not the side with the Full Moon Parties-ugh!). I am dreaming of Bottle Beach......

Cristi said...

Prague, Budapest, Vienna for one leg.

jen said...

sara, i've spent a lot of time on that beach opposite the full moon party spot. miraculous.

Susanne said...

Thinking about your trip makes me realize how much I love it where I am right now. If I were to travel I'd love to go to Paris (will do that at the end of August), a weekend in London maybe, the isle of Sylt in the North Sea (maybe this month too), a couple of German cities I haven't seen yet.

No wanderlust. I'll love to read of your trip though. And hanging up a map and dreaming of such a trip semms like a great idea.

Nancy said...

I would love to go anywhere and everywhere that's not here. So I'm no help, but I will live vicariously through you in your travels.