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Location Of The Mystery Trip (Part 2)

This is the second part on where I might be going on my Mystery Trip, wherein I let you know where other folks have suggested to send me and stop just short of revealing where I think I’m headed and why.

My boss said he’d send me to one of the following locations:
Kerguelen Islands
Canary Islands
A Finnish lake

I like the idea of Tajikistan. The mountainous region of Afghanistan and Pakistan – two of its neighbors – is someplace I’ve long wanted to go, and Tajikistan is 90% mountains. They also share a culture with Persia, another place I’d love to visit. The border with Afghanistan has been guarded by a modern army since at least 2001 and the country has ties with the World Trade Organization and NATO. I’d feel safe heading there, although I’d better get there quickly, according to Barnett.

A couple of my friends said they’d send me to Thailand. I like that idea, too. If nothing else I’m sure I could get some spectacular Tom Kha Gai soup. Though it will be the rainy season, that just means fewer tourists and cooler temperatures.

South America has been a popular suggestion. Specifically Peru and Argentina. I’d be alright with either of those. Machu Pichu looks incredibly beautiful and I’ve wanted to go to Buenos Aires for a long time.

Location Of The Mystery Trip (Part 1)

It’s now less than two weeks from my Mystery Trip and I have no more idea where I’m going than I did when I started this crazy idea. This is part one, in which I lay out what I know so far and stop just short of providing speculations on a location.

I’ve started working on the skills that I’ll use when I am wherever I am. I’m using an Asus eeepc 1005HA-B to type this up now. The screen glare is killing me. I’ve uploaded photos to Flickr and done some other basic tasks on here which will be required if I’m going to blog my trip.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s what I have been told so far:

I have been told that I have at least one mission planned.
The location will be North of the equator. (I suspect that this may be a red herring, since the real intent is so I don’t have to deal with Winter conditions where heavy clothing is essential to survival.)
I will be traveling Internationally.
I will not need to get a visa in advance.
I depart Saturday, September 19th and return Saturday October 10th.
I will be on a direct flight from Atlanta.
I need to travel light and carry boots.
I should have connectivity to the Internets available to me, though not at all times.

The Tyranny Of Planning

You remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? They sucked after a while. I kept getting eaten by giant ants or falling into a black hole. Choosing your own adventure in travel can be the same. Take this cartoon, for instance. The image is of a couple at a travel agency looking through brochures. One says to the other “It all looks so great. I can’t wait to be disappointed.”

And it’s true – the more we plan and the more we put into some of the things we do, the less we get out of them. But if we simply go with what we are given, we have a great time. With few pre-conceived notions, we have a smaller chance of being disappointed. The surprise is a part of the enjoyment of the trip.

But ironically, I really enjoy planning trips. Oh, could I catch any good concerts or sporting events while I’m in town? What are the best places around for sightseeing? These types of things keep me up at night searching online excitedly. But it doesn’t make the actual trip any better.

So that led me to undertake the travel experiment that I am currently undergoing: I will plan as little for my next trip as possible, knowing nothing in advance but the dates of departure and return. The planning is essentially in what to pack – and I plan on packing very light.

This is probably part of a larger issue we have in our society with choice. According to Barry Schwartz, we have too much of it and it is ruining our lives. Any time we feel we could have made a better choice, we feel we should have. The more choices we have, the more potential we have to make a sub-optimal one. But if we have few choices, we focus on making the best of what we get.

Ticket To Somewhere

See more posts in the Mystery Trip saga!

I am going on vacation September 19-October 11. I just don’t know where. It’s not that I haven’t decided, I’ve got a plane ticket already. I will be informed of my destination when I get to the airport to get on the plane!

I’ve been thinking about this type of trip for a couple of months now and finally decided to go ahead with it. I asked Brian to find me someplace to go for 3 weeks, with the following rules of engagement:

  • I won’t know where I’m going until the day I leave.
  • Nothing booked in advanced except the departure and return flights.
  • I can carry one bag plus the clothes I’m wearing.
  • I’m going to blog the whole trip.

He booked me a ticket and gave me some guidance.
What you need:

  • Backpack
  • Boots
  • Clean undies
  • A good attitude
  • Camera

What you cant bring:

  • Rollerbag
  • A lot of stuff.. you need to travel light

So where in the world am I headed? I haven’t got a clue but it sounds like it’ll be an awesome trip!