After a quick and somewhat unfortunate trip to Mexico City (all was well until we both got sick, spent a day in bed and didn't recover enough to eat more than one real Mexican meal...although we made it to both Morrissey shows which is all that counts, yes?) I decided I really didn't want to travel again for a while. Doing the Bos-JFK-NBO round trip wasn't fun but then to follow it up with 6 hours to CDMX a week later was kind of crazy.
Well that sort of home-bound mindset lasted maybe a month. If that. The week before Christmas I wrote an email to my safari planner and said "I need to go back to Kenya, let's look at October 2019". Through a series of miscommunications and failure to follow-through, I decided I was getting a message from the travel gods that Kenya wasn't in much future for this year. It shouldn't be so much work getting an itinerary, I thought. And indeed, fate had other things in store.
I've had a roundtrip to Europe ticket burning a hole in my pocket for a few years (thank you United MileagePlus credit card) and I've tried to use it at least twice and the trip always falls through. So I used it to book Krakow and Munich this May, heading off to see some WWII sights as well as some museums. I've never been to Poland and have been to other parts of Germany but never Munich. I'll be ticking off some sights I've wanted to see like Neuschwanstein Castle and Auschwitz.
And as you'd expect, Morrissey announced tour dates for his first tour of Canada in 20 years, so the weekend before I leave for Poland, I'll be in Toronto for two shows there. Because that's how I roll.
For the fall I'd been kicking around Egypt and Jordan but hadn't settled on anything in particular. I also was eyeing Morocco. Knowing that we'll likely head to Paris for the Leonardo show over Thanksgiving, I had to keep the schedule somewhat fluid and affordable for the fall. And then I realized....
Next year is a milestone birthday for me. I need to plan that trip!
Looking back through this blog, you'll see I spent my last milestone birthday trip in Russia with a private guide and driver. It was splurgey for certain, but worth it to celebrate an ends-in-zero birthday. I have my sights set higher on this one. It has to be safari but it has to be amazing safari, epic safari. And that's when I turned my sights on Zambia.
Zambia is less visited and more wild. It has what is considered the best walking safari in the world. It takes longer to get to and costs more to be there. Indeed, I could only justify one location there no matter how much my new safari planner told me I just had to try another location. I wanted to maximize my time on the ground and not in transit. So I rejected Kafue and Lower Zambezi and focused my efforts just on South Luangwa, one of the best places in the world to see leopards and lions. Of course! So a week of back and forth tweaking itineraries and I arrived at one I think will be perfect. It's in three of the best camps in the area, with a focus on guiding, cats and two days of nothing but walking safari. And on my second to last night I'll be sleeping out under the full moon at an elephant watering hole. How on earth am I going to top that? I'm not...that's the point of these milestone birthday trips!
So the deposit has been paid. It's so far off that I can't even book airfare for another 8 months. The camps I wanted are very small and in demand, so booking early is necessary. I'm locked and loaded. As I say, it's all over but the waiting. 17 months and counting....