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Itchy Feet

October 28, 2010

I have been hearing from people, or reading on their Facebook pages, about their travel plans for the upcoming “holiday season.” Some people are going to the U.S., one person I know is going to Nepal, many people are going to Egypt. So far, I have no plans to go anywhere. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, part of me feels the obligation to stay at my site, not to travel around the not-distant area, using up my vacation. To stay and experience the full range of the seasons and holidays in Ukraine.

The other, larger, part of me wants to travel. Somewhere. Specifically, somewhere warm. Though somewhere not as warm would also do. I just want to get out of here for a while.

This is not because I hate Ukraine. In fact, I rather like it here, most of the time. Of course I have my frustrations at times, but I have those no matter where I live. After all, no place is Utopia. Perhaps it is because I am hearing about or reading about all these great places that people are visiting, that it reminds me how much I want to visit so many places. And since I am, relatively speaking, close to some of these places (or closer than when I was in the U.S.), of course I want to visit them.

Perhaps it is because I have always had itchy feet, and whenever I am in one place for a certain length of time, I feel the need to get out, at least for a while. So I asked Vika about where a person can go on the cheap that is warmer than Ukraine in early January. From all accounts, from January 1 through about January 10, pretty much everything here shuts down, because it is the holiday time. January 1 is New Years Day, and January 7 is Orthodox Christmas, so people are taking time off work, visiting family. Schools and universities are closed. It seemed like a good time to plan a trip, as so many PCVs do.

Vika suggested I go for my birthday instead, as it would be cheaper. However, that is in merely a month (and a few days), and I have just begun working at my new organizations, so I don’t think that is the best time to go. She suggested Turkey rather than the popular Peace Corps Volunteer destination of Egypt. I think either of these countries sounds great. But also because I am a PCV, and a rare bird at that, being mid-career, I do not have a great deal of “resources” available to me for travel. I mean, the allowance we are provided generally pays for day-to-day expenses, but certainly is not enough to take international vacations (I don’t think the taxpayers of the U.S. would be terribly happy if the resource did provide enough money for that. After all, PC is a volunteer position in “hardship” situations).

So I am thinking. Wondering where I can go, who I can visit (i.e., stay with for free or little cost) to save me some money. Someplace warm would be great. Someplace not warm would be acceptable. I have a friend in Prague, where I have never been (but part of me wants to go there when it is warm). I also have friends in Denmark, where I have not been in 20 years. Then part of me wants to go somewhere I have never been before – even though the lure of France, my favorite country, is strong. But France is best saved for spring or fall, I think.

Anyone have friends of family in Israel I can visit? Still have not been there.

I have also been corresponding with people who are PCVs in different African countries. Hmm.

What I need is a travel buddy, someone who can say “well, here is where I want to go” so we can compare notes and ideas. None have magically appeared as yet, though, so that brings another consideration into my going ANYWHERE – safety. Would it be safe to travel by myself to any of the places I am interested in seeing? Some I would say yes, absolutely. Others, I am not so sure.

I guess at some point I have to stop thinking and start planning, or this just won’t happen at all, and all this thinking will be pointless, and the concerns moot at best. So if anyone wants to weigh in on this – where I can go as a single woman that is cheap and safe (and preferably, but not required to be, warm), let me know. Or alternatively, if you want to come take a trip with me, or meet me somewhere, let me know that too!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    October 28, 2010 8:41 am

    In Minnesota in January we have a syndrome which we call “cabin fever.” The need to get out and away from the dreariness of the cold weather.
    Is there not someone locally who might invite you to participate in their family’s local holiday customs? Would that not help in cultural and language immersion?
    I’m sure some opportunity will present itself at the right time.

    • October 29, 2010 1:00 am

      In all likelihood, no. You know how hard it is to make friends in MN? Multiply that times 100 and you have my life here.

  2. Heidi permalink
    October 28, 2010 11:17 am

    If by some miracle you win the lottery and decide to fly home, let me know. 🙂 Kaj would like me to fly home with the twins for Christmas and well, I can’t do that alone. And I know you would LOVE to fly a LONG international, overseas flight with 2 9-month old babies!! 😀

  3. Sim permalink
    October 28, 2010 3:30 pm

    A couple of things: Prague was one of our favorite trips in the world- recommend that. I hear Turkey is great (my friend went there as a single woman in her 20’s and reports Istanbul was safe and comfortable). I would not recommend Israel unless you go with someone who knows where they are going and how to get around- I am not aware of any great public transit system there. One question though, have not heard any PCV’s talking about visiting Russia or other former Soviet countries- is that a possibility? (I don’t mean for you, but for PCV’s looking to travel?)

    • October 29, 2010 12:08 am

      It depends. These countries are popular because they are close, but Russia requires a visa, so often, PCVs don’t go there for that reason. That is not to say that people never do. There is also the fact that since I LIVE in a former Soviet-bloc country, I would rather go elsewhere on a vacation.

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