Saturday, February 02, 2008

2008 Travel: Looking Forward

2008 brings with it commitment to two trips--one to Ft. Myers, Florida, in March, and another to Vancouver, British Columbia, in October, which is a new destination for me. The new year also brings a commitment to travel writing: I've enrolled in a travel writing class called Alternative Travel Writing with the intention of not only refreshing my reporting and feature-writing skills, but also producing at least one article from each of my planned trips. This is my year to publish!

I'm pumped about that!

Perhaps even more exciting is the possibility of traveling to Sierra Leone. While still a long shot, I am continuing to explore the opportunity. This would not be a leisure trip. I have gotten connected to a church outreach group that provides, and continues to develop, medical services to several remote villages in the interior of Sierra Leone. If I can find someway to make myself useful, I may be able to travel with one of the outreach teams headed for the west African country. The group is making trips in September and again in December. The mission for these two trips is to begin construction on a medical clinic. This, to me, is perfect material for what I think of as alternative travel. And, it would allow me to do something I've said I always wanted to do--give service to others less fortunate than I.

Wish me luck. I would love to venture into the Dark Continent.

And, as if that is not enough, 2008 also holds a couple of vicarious travel experiences for me. Two of my friends, both women, will be adding some great adventures to their travel dossiers.

One put her professional life on hold to fulfill one of her life's dreams: she has spent the last year in Peru studying Spanish and working with a nonprofit organization engaged in bringing medical assistance and life-skills training to some of the native people living along the Napo River in northern Peru. She will be returning in May after spending a year there. Although she lives in another part of the U.S., I am going to invite her to Minnesota to spend a couple of nights on the patio at our house so that I can quiz her about the trip and get a complete debriefing. Peru holds one of my Top Five Destinations To See Before I Die--of course, it's Machu Picchu.

The other plans to travel with her husband to New Zealand which, together with Australia, is also on my list of Top Five Destinations To See Before I Die. This young lady and her husband are adventurous types. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they plan to rent a couple of bikes and take off around New Zealand. Or, that they adopt the notion of vagabonding espoused by travel writer Rolf Potts (http://www.rolfpotts.com) and just take off for an extended walk-about. They're just the sorts of explorers who would do that. I need to have coffee with her soon to see just what she has planned for the New Zealand adventure.

So 2008 could easily become a busy travel year. I'd love it. I'm looking forward to it. I'll keep you posted on all of these topics as the days pass. Come back to this blog regularly; I will be updating it much more frequently this year. My primary travel writing goal this year is to have an article published. Now that I've got the goal, I need to develop a plan. More on that in the days to come. And more on the trips mentioned in this piece.

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