my new wanderlust wish list


Four years ago I made a list of the places near and far that I most wanted to visit. At the time, I was coming out of a long student debt-induced travel lull, so I didn’t expect to cross much off the list very quickly. But I did – I lived in Senegal and I traveled to Burkina Faso, Cuba, Mexico City, and Tanzania. 

That leaves a lot of places still on the list, hopefully for one day in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, other places have captured my imagination and taken precedence. Here is an update: 

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home again, home again


Landed back in Dakar on Wednesday morning at 3am, two hours late and in the midst of a downpour. It was hotter and more humid, by a long shot, than I’ve yet experienced here. And it has continued to be stifling and sweaty the rest of this week.

Still, it’s nice to be back. I call this place home, but it only halfway feels like it because of how much time I’ve spent out of town since I first arrived. It would have felt like cheating to skip out on Senegal’s rainy season altogether. And the speed with which I dispensed with my money during my one month of vacation had started to worry me. Especially after I got word, halfway through the trip, that the job I was supposed to start tomorrow has been delayed indefinitely. Eeks.

I’m now waiting to hear about three separate video projects, in Benin, Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso. I would be thrilled to do any of them, not only for the work but also for the travel. I figured going to three new countries in the space of five weeks would calm my wanderlust but it only fueled it. In Ethiopia, my friend and I started calling out names of countries we wanted to visit and we didn’t stop until we had basically listed everywhere on earth. Just saying the names of those places out loud and rapid-fire got me tipsy with euphoria. And in Johannesburg, I hung out with a group that included a guy who told a story about borrowing his mom’s bakkie (South African slang for a 4X4, derived from Afrikaans) to go on camping safari in the Botswanan Kalahari. My eyes were like saucers and I informed him, “If you ever go again, I am coming with you. It doesn’t matter when. Just let me know, and I will be there.” And then everyone else wanted in, and it was agreed: 2017 Botswana road trip.

BOTSWANA ROAD TRIP. What kind of amazingness is my life right now, that that is an actual thing that could actually happen? What kind of transcendental awesomeness is it that I could tell myself – and realistically mean it – that when I return to Southern Africa to go to Botswana, I should add at least four weeks on to the trip in order to properly see the parts of South Africa I missed this time around, to climb the orange sand dunes of Namibia, and to check out Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zambia while I’m at it. And to maybe fly to Madagascar, too.

Of course, that’s all dependent on me getting my next job so that I can finance such craziness. So for now I will stay happily put in Dakar, hustling and crossing fingers for good news.

I’ll post vacation pix here as soon as I sift through them all…

In the meantime, have a good weekend!

P.S. Here are two cute things I read today:

How kids around the world get to school.

Lost luggage goes to America’s greatest thrift store. 

(get over the) hump-day inspiration: Paperwhite edition

I am actually over the hump already, since it’s 1:30 on Thursday morning here, but I never changed from EST to Dakar time on my computer so I’m just going to pretend it’s still Wednesday at 9:30. When it was actually Wednesday at 9:30, I was in a great mood despite this looming deadline, but since then a very industrious and vengeful mosquito has picked up tormenting me where it left off last night. This same mosquito bit me repeatedly on four of my toes yesterday, and today it has tattooed that ankle and also gotten both arms so many times that the hydrocortisone cream that usually kills the itch immediately has given up the fight and left me wanting to peel my skin off. I don’t even understand how one mosquito needs that much blood. How has it not exploded by now?

This is all entirely tangential. I had meant to post a song that, while not filled with the most inspirational words, is filled with an inspirational feeling that had described my current mood, until my current mood shifted from a world-is-my-oyster-happiness to a world-is-nothing-but-discomfort-itchiness. Is itchiness a mood? Because it is literally overwhelming all my senses right now.

In the battle of mosquito bloodlust vs. Ruth wanderlust, the mosquito has won out tonight. But there’s always tomorrow, and with that I am off to bed.