Travel to Central Asia, Western China, or Middle East and then Africa? Where to now? Seriously, where to now is my only question. But it is a good question, the best of questions. I cannot think of a greater joy than standing at a global crossroads, looking in all directions with feelings of excitement, inquiry, [...]
Travel to Central Asia, Western China, or Middle East and then Africa?
Where to now?
Seriously, where to now is my only question. But it is a good question, the best of questions. I cannot think of a greater joy than standing at a global crossroads, looking in all directions with feelings of excitement, inquiry, and knowing that Chance is ever laying directly in front of me regardless of the Path that I choose. I am looking north, south, east, and west, just waiting for that prick of inspiration that will send me off onto another unexpected Road.
There is nothing better in this world than endings, as endings just lead to new beginnings. I am excited.
This is one of the most enjoyable parts of traveling: planning, pondering, making mental lines across a map and giving free reign to all feelings of adventure, romance, and excitement. The Road is always open. I am squirming in my chair as I write this.
Sun bright, crispy autumn leaves blowing, no clouds, people joking on picnic benches, I am writing.
Oh how I just want to run today. Autumn nostalgia is blowing through me like the wind and it is making me want to MOVE. To get away, run, to travel, and to travail. I feel like a caged bird in migration season, ever battering my plume up against the bars of my enclosure. I will not be a captive much longer.
One more month in Brooklyn, then I will break free.
I am feeling the Wanderlust hitting as hard as it always does in the migration season, as the weather changes in the north. Humans are migrators, the flying geese overhead makes my feet want to start walking. It is my impression that the migrating urge vibrates just as strongly beneath our modern, civilized human crust as it did in the earliest nomad.
But where to now?
I think about this question for a good portion of my days. Map gazing is my perhaps my most comfortable occupation – some people have comfort foods and comfort places, I just stare at maps. My gaze has been lingering in the most landlocked and mysterious center of the great Asia continent: the Stans and China’s Xinjiang and Qinghai regions!
I applied for a teaching position in Uzbekistan a few days ago, and I am getting in contact with some friends and connections in the west of China. This is an incredibly huge region of the world that I am interested in, and I would like to really dig in and discover for myself what is going on.
I would be a happy traveler if I could land a temporary job in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, or Turkmenistan. I can think of no better cover for doing an initial cultural investigation than that of the English teacher, as your job is to do nothing other than talk to people in a language that you can understand. So I am provided with a means to learn about a culture as I teach someone a skill that they wish to learn, and I get paid for it.
It means a lot more to be able to say that you are an English teacher at a university than an un-provenienceable traveler just wandering through. Having a place and a role in a community – an identity – is important to be really accepted. If cultural impressions are my goal, I know that it is much more effective to play the part of a worker – who is employed and, therefore in the same shoes as most everyone else in a community – than a lackadaisical tourist who is perceived as living the high, easy life on independent means. It just means something more if you are a part of a place.
There is a time and a place for different roles when traveling. Most of the time I enjoy just wandering into a country – a culture – and being the traveler. I arrive, I may make a couple one-night friends (or I may not talk to anyone), and then I am on my way again in a couple of days to go through the same routine. This is a good and probably the typical way to travel, but it can quickly become a warn routine after a few months.
I have found that I like to stay in regions for around two to three months. Anything over three months I begin to feel caged, anything under a month is a limited exposure and little can really be learned.
So I think that I will travel for a few months after this term in Brooklyn. Just travel, dream, and watch the world go by. But by summer I would like to land a job somewhere for a season.
Maybe Central Asia.
Maybe North-Western China.
Maybe I will take my flight back to Budapest, hop on a train to Istanbul, travel through Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan (if possible), Ethiopia, and then find work in Uganda or Tanzania for a few months before continuing south to the bottom of the great Africa continent.
These ponderings are fun.
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3657 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York
January 14, 2010, 1:41 am
I love the concept though. Excellent.
Next post: Tourist Guilt and Helping the Poor
Previous post: Lonliness, Traveling, and the Open Road