catch me if you can

After a few months out of the workforce, I’ve officially started working again. Like any good 20-something-yr-old worker, I’ve already dreamt up a million and one ways to spend the money I plan to save this coming year. Some are sensible – save for moving out, save for a deposit on a house, start paying off my hecs. Some are frivolous – buy a new hair straightener or purchase every single item in Kikki K. But, of course, coming in at the top of my spending list is another overseas adventure.

Though it’ll be 12 months, probably longer, until I will have enough pennies saved up for worthwhile trip, it’s never too early to start figuring out where exactly I’d like to go. To aid the decision-making process, I’ve started making mental lists of my Top Ten destinations. Now I think it’s time to document it in blog form, and hopefully inspire some hard-core saving!

So, counting down to my current number one (sure to change in the next 12 months weeks days minutes)….

10. East Timor.

While it’s probably one of the more likely options, I thought I’d pop this in at Number Ten – I’ve already been and seen quite a bit of the countryside. But it really was a whirlwind adventure, so if I could, I’d take more time, meet more people, visit Jesus a few more times and most certainly increase my daily intake of fresh coconut juice… or is it coconut milk? I’m never quite sure.

Crist Rei - We spent an early morning up with Jesus, doing devotions and looking out over the ocean

9. Laos

A trip to Laos would be done with a friend or two, for about three or four weeks. I’d slow down, take my time and definitely take my camera. The only countries I’ve been to in Asia are Singapore, Timor and Malaysia (if 23 hrs in transit can be counted as a true visit) and from what I’ve heard, Laos is very, very different to those three. There would be days spent floating down rivers, nights out in the local markets and perhaps a visit out to a rural village for tea and many cultural misunderstandings. It would be glorious.

8. Morocco.

Again, I think I’d want to spend three weeks there, and I’d want to try and see as much as I could – a ‘go, go, go’ holiday! Particularly keen to visit Glaoui Kasbah in Telouet, the markets in Marrakesh and to eat big bowls of couscous every single day.

7. Peru.

I have two words for you.

Machu Pichu.

That is all.

(Oh and also, because two words is barely enough, I would also like to sneak in a trip to Chile to visit their gorgeous lakes and Bolivia to hang with llamas!)

6. Burkina Faso.

I know Burkina isn’t exactly a hotbed for tourism, but this is a country I am so intrigued by. I should have snuck up when I was in Ghana, as friends did, and really regret that I didn’t. If I do ever get there, I’d like to check out the old mosques and explore Ouagadougou, partly because it’s a fun word to say! And then, to be really, really, really cool, I’d set off over the border to Mali, in search of the mysterious Timbuktu…

5. Mexico.

So I have this friend who did this trip to Mexico once and spent time working with kids that lived on the rubbish dump and it changed her life. When she came back, a whole heap of things went down, including the death of a close friend, her best friend falling pregnant and a shooting at her school. She had this on again, off again thing with a guy named Josh, who she eventually ended up marrying, but not before calling off the first engagement and practically breaking his heart. If you know who I am talking about you’ll probably also want to go to Mexico just because…well, just because Caitlin did. If you don’t know who I am talking about, please just assume my insanity hehe.

Hmm, I often wonder how dear Caitlin and Josh are doing.

4. Japan.

I can still say ‘My name is Laura, I am twelve and in Grade Seven‘ in Japanese, and let’s be honest, what else do you really need? Japan fascinates me on so many levels – the fashion, the politics, the history, the culture – and though my Japanese might not be quite up to scratch, I’d love to spend a few weeks here. Perhaps I could weave a three month Asian adventure through East Timor (No. 10), Laos (No. 9), Japan and my next go-to destination – China. I’d be keen for some cherry blossom trees, long socks and pigtails, a tour of Tokyo and the bullet train. Oh the bullet train!

3. China.

Okay, I like to think that I am fairly open to going anywhere really. But in the past, if I could have chosen three countries I would least like to go, the United States, Antartica and China would have made the cut. These days I’m still not keen on the United States until I’ve seen A LOT of the rest of the world, and Antartica I think would be physically impossible (given my extreme adversity to cold weather). But China? I am now intrigued. I have no idea where I’d like to go, except to say I’d steer clear of the big cities and try and spend some time exploring the rural areas. I think a childhood interest in Hudson Taylor, a more recent reading of Mao’s Last Dancer and tales from a  few travelling friends have all changed my mind!

2. Liberia.

Three years ago I had never heard of Liberia. Two years ago I was living in a Liberian Refugee Camp in Ghana, asking everyone ‘How’s de body?’ and eating fufu like it was going out of fashion. Six months ago I was in an Aussie loungeroom with a group of newly arrived Liberians, desperately trying to remember Liberian English and drinking more ginger beer than I care to remember. I would love to make it to Liberia one day, catch up with some dear friends, maybe land a job and spend a year or three. And of course, learn to surf in the Liberian ocean!

A little Liberian in 'Little Liberia', Buduburam Refugee Camp

1. Croatia.

Well, Croatia has been on the list for about…well, forever really. I just want to sit on a sailing boat, sip on something delicious and soak in the goodness of the Adriatic Sea. Might get off the boat long enough to check out the interior of the country – as described here by Lonely Planet:

The interior landscape is as beguiling, even though less visited. Soak in a thermal spa at Istarske Toplice in Istria. Hike through pristine forests watered by mountain streams in the west. Let the waterfalls of Plitvice moisten your face. And then there’s the culture. The country that endured Roman, Venetian, Italian and Austro-Hungarian rule has a unique and slightly schizoid identity. You’ll find a strong central European flavour in the baroque architecture of Zagreb, and Italian devotion to the good life percolates up from the coast, permeating Croatian food and style. During holidays and festivals the country’s Slavic soul emerges, as colourfully costumed dancers whirl about to traditional folk melodies.

Ah Lonely Planet. You’ll be the death of me yet. LP Addicts Anonymous anyone?

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