It looks like fun, but…

It is actually a lot of work!

How long does it take to plan a holiday? For most people, much of the joy of travel is in the anticipation and planning. It is complicated if you are traveling with someone, a bit less so if you are traveling alone. But it takes time to plan airfares, buses, hotels, sights, visas, and what to bring. Most people are lucky to do this once a year, hence the gleeful anticipation.

While I was teaching in Asia, I took several trips a year. As the term, or half term, dragged on and the grading of papers added to the tedium, there was always a trip to plan for. Anticipation of a new exotic locale, or a return to one I loved, added a bit of a spring to my step and helped me get through the stack of papers. Let’s see, 10 papers graded, now I can spend a little time looking for hostels, or flights. The whole stack done? Time to take a break and go buy airline tickets.

Now the travel is different for me; it is my life. I am leaving Cuenca on Friday for about 5 days in Riobamba and Banos (Ecuador). Going to both places involves buses and hostels. But the following week I am getting on buses to Peru, which involves dubious border crossings, and even more dubious cities on the other side in north Peru. I’ve been trying to sort that trip for the last few weeks. Meanwhile, my two fellow travelers and I are planning to meet up in Yurimaguas to take boats to an Amazon jungle tour, and onwards to Iquitos. Oh, and it is necessary to get tickets and arrange lodging now for Macchu Pichu. I am also taking a Spanish class.

I’m sort of missing the stack of papers to mark. For some reason it has just occurred to me what a long strange trip this is becoming. I have been, since January, in Melbourne, Australia, Seattle, Miami, Medellin, about 4 cities after that before I got to Bogota, and about 4 more cities before I got to Ecuador, and then on to Quito, Banos, Riobamba, and now Cuenca. Each of those stops required lots of planning as well as some long flights, and some very long flights.

It is fun to plan, of course, but also work. Maps and books and websites are my resources. I’m really grateful to my fellow traveler bloggers. Yesterday I came across a blog about traveling in the south of Peru, and I found out about Peru Hop, a great, safe, comfortable way to travel around the south of Peru. That is a find that will save me a lot of time and grief.

In Bogota I got very sick, (emergency room care in Bogota), but during my recovery I met a French couple who have become good friends and fellow travelers. I will travel with them to Iquitos and the Amazon, and around large bits of Peru. We have an apartment together in Cuenca, and I watch Veronique with her maps and books, and websites, planning the details of the next 3 months in Peru. Meanwhile, Marcel takes care of the logistics with their camper-truck. They both spend hours a day. What I honestly hadn’t noticed was that that was what I was doing, too.

I am not complaining. I love my travels. But I need to recognize the work involved, and maybe reorganize some of it more efficiently. Less time choosing places to stay, and perhaps staying in some places longer might help. As well as choosing to do less. Do I remember all of the museums and places I’ve visited?

Vacations and holidays aren’t long term travel. I learn every day how to travel better. 6 months now, and I think I’m improving. Yesterday I sent a box of clothes I brought with me back to the States. I’m giving away more than I sent. I’m now down to a medium-sized backpack. I’m still figuring out how to un-complicate my travel. I see no end in sight to my travels, so it is about time I got good at it.


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