Sunday, July 5, 2009

Our Days Are Numbered

It’s finally summer in New York City. It’s hot and sunny and I am almost ready to suggest we pull the air conditioner out from under the bed. Now that Mark and I have quit our jobs, we have a month to enjoy New York before leaving for California in August. After our wedding, we will prepare for our trip. The trip.

About this trip: This trip has been quietly planning itself in the back of our minds since we returned from West Africa in fall of 2006. It was an amazing 7 weeks full of markets that smelled of smoked fish, voodoo priests who offered us grain alcohol from feather-covered bottles, scary moped rides through dense French-speaking cities, wild elephants swimming in muddy watering holes, large cement mosques with scratchy loudspeakers, bright, custom-tailored clothing that we loved but never wore when we returned home. We arrived back in our apartment in Queens at midnight. We sat silently on our couch in our apartment that the subletters had finished cleaning just hours before until Mark broke the silence. “We have to do that again,” he said. I nodded.

Since then, the map in our hallway has been covered with many different pushpins identifying potential destinations. Our building super Fernando will wonder if we were playing darts on that wall when he comes to repaint the apartment. After months of evening conversations that start with the lines like: ‘You know, I was talking to this guy from Senegal” or “I had some other thoughts about South Korea today” we have a rough outline of our trip.

Our trip starts in October with a few days in Seoul, South Korea, before heading to Bali, where we start our exploration of Indonesia. In November, we head back north to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, where we plan to spend two months before heading to India in January. From India we will head west through the Middle East. Possible stop offs include Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. From Egypt we fly to Kenya and then return through Europe in spring or summer 2010.

While I hope to learn and experience a lot of large and wonderful things in the next year, there are some little things that I am also excited about:

  • Really large insects (and maybe poking at them with sticks—but gently)
  • Hotel room with outdoor bathrooms (sitting on a toilet and looking up at the clouds is the best)
  • Having to think about what day of the week it is
  • Riding a camel
  • Riding an elephant
  • Riding a river dolphin. But I’ll settle for seeing a river dolphin.
  • Eating meals on banana leaves
  • Observing fishing communities
  • Deciding that morning to sleep somewhere else that night
  • Learning some new tricks in the kitchen
  • Strange new fruits
  • Playing the “what bit me now?” game
  • Getting really good at washing clothes in a sink


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. may i make a book suggestion that will get you even more excited about eating strange fruits? perhaps you already have it! the fruit hunters by adam leith gollner. reading it aloud with morgan now.