There’s No Place Like Home

Albany Bulb Sperm

It’s Freak-Out O’Clock.

Official Voyage Kickoff Countdown: 27 days. 

Yes, team, we’re approaching the very exciting, but altogether terrifying, date on which I will throw myself and my one 70L survival kit at the mercy of strangers to be transported up to the magical land of Portlandia (where Nusha will hopefully be alive,  recovered, and ready to celebrate the beginning of the Voyage with me): August 25. My cell phone will still be in reception for the following three weeks, so any last minute suggestions you’d like to convey to me via text or Actual Phone Conversation (not Skype) should be arranged for before September 13. 

Official International Soil Countdown: 47 days.

And of course, it’s in these final days – which will include buying travel insurance, quick-dry underwear, and a probably-unnecessary amount of baby wipes – that I decided I should go away for a week and counsel children on Gandhian principles and the prudence of not riding in cars with boys (if you know what I mean). I’ve never been that great with timing.

About time: I also realized that I love being home, ill-timed in light of the fact that the number of days I’ll actually be home are in the single digits. Now that I bought my mom a hammock, the weather in Campbell is at its optimal peak, and the pool has recanted its pond/swamp ways, I am finding it difficult to justify why I’m even in Berkeley anymore (aside from the occasional hang out and the proximity to good live music). I’m paying for my apartment, but as my friend Nathaniel notes, it doesn’t make any sense to stay somewhere when you’d prefer to be elsewhere for free. (The traveler motto.)

Either way, it’s almost time to move anyway, which invokes yet another tremendous undertaking (though this time equipped with a U-Haul. Adam sighs in relief). It’s unbelievable to think that this will be my final major move for quite a while – then I remember that I myself will be moving more than ever before, and my brain just completely explodes with excitement and barely-concealed incredulity.

Possible Route Changes?

I thought that planning a route was a fairly common concept, but it has come to my attention recently that it is not. Good thing I’m not common, because I love planning.

Who wouldn’t, when what you’re planning is the potential for infinite opportunities? Besides, when you’re coordinating with over twenty (and counting) different people, it’s fairly universal etiquette to give them a heads up of when you’ll be occupying their couch/bed and/or using their kitchen to cook yourself vegetarian food.

This is just my opinion.

Anyway, after a few months of trepidation concerning traveling to the Middle East, I’ve decided to table the region for a separate, Middle-East-dedicated trip (by which time I’ll hopefully picked up at least a few phrases in Arabic and will have chosen a time other than the middle of summer to visit). Here is my modified travel itinerary, dedicated especially to the spring graduates who’ve voiced an interest in galavanting around with me post-graduation:

August 25, 2012 – Portland

~ August 31, 2012 – Seattle

September 7, 2012 – New York 

September 13/14, 2012 – England, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Croatia, (Serbia), Turkey, France, Spain

Early to mid-December – Morocco

Christmas – Morocco? 

New Year’s Eve* – ? 

January 2013 – South India

Mid-February 2013** – Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam)

Mid-May 2013 – North India, Nepal, Bhutan

Depending on my financial situation, I then have some options:

Option 1: The Deluxe Package

Mid- to Late-June 2013 – Return to Europe (Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, (Poland), Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, Greece, the Netherlands, Malta) for 3-4 months.

October 2013 – Middle East (Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt) for 2-3 months.

December 2013 / January 2014 – South Africa

January / February 2014 – home!

Option 2: The Northern Hemisphere Package

Mid- to Late-June 2013 – Return to Europe (Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, (Poland), Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, Greece, the Netherlands, Malta) for 3-4 months.

October 2013 – Middle East (Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt) for 2-3 months.

December 2013 / January 2014 – home!

Option 3: The Expensive Series of Flights Package

Mid- to Late-June 2013 – South Africa

Mid- to Late-August 2013 – Middle East (Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt)

November 2013 – home!

Option 4: The Broke Package

July 2013 – home

As my dad points out, planning nine months in advance – let alone a year and a half – is a bit overambitious. But as I’ve said, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Organs are replaceable (and the Black Market is up in this financial meltdown), but the adventures I experience will be completely worth it.

* Suggestions, please.

** Yes, I know it’s going to be blisteringly hot at this time of the year. …Sigh.

*** Here is where I was going to go to the Middle East (Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt). As you notice, it is summer, and my even my brown skin can’t save me from inevitable dehydration.

On the topic of the Middle East – check out this Iraqi-Canadian rapper The Narcicyst. Don’t let his name fool you; he’s anything but self-involved. His main focus is political, particularly concerning matters of war, racial inequality, and hopes for a better future. Of course, some songs still address the normal rapper repertoire – seducing women and living the life – but his wit and clever turns of phrases make him much more listenable. With that said, click the link below to see what I mean:

All of his music is free and available online at his website, Other immediate standouts include “Paranoid Arab Boy” and “One Thing,” though everything is pretty top-notch.