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Traveler Dream Maps – El Salvador, Belize, Cuba early 2010

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Vagabond Journey schedule of travels early 2010 —

Travel is something that is taken moment by moment. To do otherwise is to make it a chore, a job, something that you micromanage to the point of being work.

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Payson, Arizona, Southwest USA, North America
Thursday, November 12, 2009
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From a summer of traveling across Europe working in hostels I cannot believe how much work the backpacker tourist puts into their travels:

“We can wake up at 7, and take the city tour at 8, and then go to the museum at 10, and then eat lunch at this restaurant in the guidebook (it says that they have traditional food there), then we can visit this town outside the city, and then come back and eat dinner and then do the pub crawl and then screw the last man standing in the youth hostel. ”

It all sounded a lot like work to me — far more work than I was doing working at the hostel.

A plan that is made is made to be broken.

I fear the sludge that my mind would become if I seriously planned the logistics of traveling in advance of the moment that plans need to be actualized. Planning logistics is work.

People plan out and micromanage their work days:

Wake up at 5:30.

Wash the crud off of me.

Get to work by 6:30.

Arrive to the site by 7:30.

Take a break at 10:00.

Eat processed meat in tortillas at noon.

Take a break at 2:00.

Leave the site at 4:00.

Arrive back at the hotel by 5:00.

Play with Petra until 6:00.

Eat dinner.

Submit to the computer, go to sleep.

Do it again the next day.

I hope I never face a travel itinerary that resembles anything like a day of work.

This is perhaps one of the main cranks that keep me traveling: traveling is nothing like working. Or, at least, I hope it isn’t. I crave the traveling life because it is a life in the moment, a life where you do not need to waste time with logistics until you are nearly in the moment of action.

A plan that is made is made to be broken.

Perhaps I am sprouting a few seeds of humbleness, but I know well that I cannot take into the entire spinning wheel of existence into mental account — I know that I cannot see the variables ahead on the roads of traveling. So why waste my mental energy planning and plotting logistics for situations that will not prove to meet my parameters?

Especially when I can put my energy into daydreaming.

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The Open Road, Patagonia

The Open Road, Patagonia

Planning travels is perhaps an odious occupation, but dreaming travels feels good.

Like Marlow, I am a map gazer — the very shape of continents and countries strewn across the familiar shape of a political map of planet earth is enough to send me into a day dreaming vortex.

It is my impression that a traveler must take life day by day, but part of the day is for dreaming: connecting the dots, finding the paths across the globe. Sometimes you really connect the dots, most often they become connected in ways not imagined.

Traveler dreams look like nice paths neatly mummifying the globe. Traveler trails look like knots.

Traveling also makes for easy dreaming, and dreaming up travel plans is part of the great affair of moving about the world. By nature, some of these plans happen, some happen farther down the Road than planned, and others just have not happened yet.

And sometimes planning for travel is just for fun.

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I remember a Chatwin tale about two Christian monks who lived in a monastery together. They both knew that they could not travel, but this did not stop them from planning their global journeys.

Each day these monks would get together and talk of all the places in the world they were going to visit, how they were going to get there, and where they were going to go next once they got there.

These monks never left their monastery.

But they traveled the world in dream plans.

Dreaming of traveling is fun.

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I have yet to meet a high stress long term traveler.

I have also yet to meet a long term travelers who regularly know what they are going to do the next day.

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Connecting the dots to El Salvador, Belize, Cuba

Connecting the dots to El Salvador, Belize, Cuba

A path through the woods is opening up in my cerebral view of traveling. New methods to meet my new circumstances are rising to the forefront.

I am traveling with a baby now, this Road is now for three.

Suddenly, places that I have previously had very little interest venturing to are rising to the forefront of possibility (like Australia). Suddenly, new ways of traveling that I have not before considered are now shinning brightly in the foreground of my Path (like sailing).

I warn that the following plans are, as always, on shaky ground. But what I do know is that we are going somewhere.

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Petra needs to complete her “new person” shots. After a lengthy debate and various avenues of medical consultation, we figured that if Petra will be traveling to foreign lands it would be best to have her vaccinated. If she was going to grow up in a cabin in the woods, then vaccinations would not be much of a priority.

Though this is not our circumstances. In her travels Petra will invariably encounter many things that may make her sick. I don’t want a sick baby. So we are getting her vaccinated against some illnesses. It is our impression that that the risks associated with traveling internationally vaccinated may be higher than the risks of the vaccines themselves.

I do not think that vaccines are safe. It is my impression that the pharmy corporations are mass producing these chemicals in dubious circumstances in dubious places and then forcing them upon the children of the world in the name of public health and profit. They care nothing about my baby, nor should they — their job is to make money.

It is my job to care for my baby. And it is my feeling that preventable disease on the long haul around the world is more of a threat than these vaccines.

Though we have opted not to dose Petra with these big loads of chemicals in swift succession, and have decided to space out her vacinations.

This means being in the USA for a while.

Could we get Petra her shots outside of the USA? Probably. But we are not going to shoot for it.

(Chaya does not like messing around with her baby.)

From here, it is looking like Petra will be all shot up by February of 2010. I made a promise to visit a friend in El Salvador that I wish to keep, and Cuba sounds pretty good to me right now.

Connecting dots across Central America: NYC to Mexico City to El Salvador, watch two or three months pass with Chaya’s Salvadorean family, then Guatemala, Belize (why not?), Mexico, flight to Cuba, look around, polk about, and then connect dots to somewhere else.

“You are probably going to have to stay in places for like three weeks at a time,” Andy spoke to me over the phone.

The new path is obvious: the revolving door way of traveling is not applicable for the next couple of years. Staying places for one or two days and then moving on to another town for a similarly short amount of time — and then repeating on and on  — with an infant sounds hideous to me. I like to enjoy my days, and moving a family around the world quickly sounds draining.

The slower the better.

Setting up three week to three month camps around the world seems as if it may be a decent way to travel. So the backpacking days may not be finished, rather, they may just need to be adapted. Moving in short ticks around the world with a minimum stop time of three weeks in each place may be enough to nurture our backpacking seeds — as well as those of Petra (at least until we come up with enough money for a boat).

Making temporary three week to three month homes in each place we visit would be to take the slow road around the world, but it is still a road none the less — and all roads are moving.

I am connecting the dots across the world, dreaming into maps, and running the mental maze of world travel. I think I have worked too much this year. I am ready to go.

Traveler dream map

Traveler dream map of South America

Traveler dream map of South America

Preparing for travel

Read more about travel philosophy
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Filed under: Travel Philosophy, Travel Strategy, Travel With Family

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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