If I woke up tomorrow and was free to do anything I wanted with my life, I’d get started straight away on the trip I’m starting to plan for when my current work contract ends in six months time. In an ideal world, though, I’d travel slowly, maybe spending two to three months in each country, taking the time to learn at least the basics of the language (I love learning languages), meet the locals, particularly local entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs to get a sense of what’s going on there and perhaps do some volunteering.
I have a pretty long list of places I’m keen to go soon, but top of my list at the moment are:
1. Israel – Despite being agnostic now, I was brought up Church of England and would love to visit all the places I read about in the bible as a child. Also, I’ve been reading about the lively tech start-up scene in Tel Aviv, which I’d really like to check out.
2. East Africa – Tanzania/Uganda
Other than Morocco, I’ve never been to Africa and would love to go and see some wildlife and do some volunteering there. I’d particularly like to do the Serengeti in Tanzania and maybe see some gorillas in Uganda. I might give Kenya a miss for now, though!
3. South-East Asia – Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, more of Thailand, Malaysia, the Phillipines
So far I’ve only dipped my toes into South East Asia, having visited Thailand and Indonesia, but I’ve absolutely loved it and am eager to see more.
When I travelled around South America I Heard so many good things about Columbia, from people (including women) who’d been backpacking there. I imagine Columbia to be a heady mix of tropical jungle, beaches, music and dancing (much like Brazil, my current favourite country in the world). Yes, it still has its dangerous side but, as the tourist board’s current slogan goes: “el riesgo es que te quieras quedar” (the risk is that you’ll want to stay).
5. North America
In North America I’ve so far only been to New York and California, but actually did leave my heart in San Francisco (last April). There’s a few other places I’d like to visit in the region, including Canada, but after a long period of travelling, I would see myself being based here for a while- maybe a year or two.
For me falling in love with a city is much like falling in love with a person -it’s not a process of ticking boxes, but more about the way it makes you feel. In San Francisco I felt alive, excited and relaxed at the same time. There’s such a buzz the city and it’s easy to imagine that everyone typing studiously into their Macs in the numerous cafes is creating the next Facebook or Google (although they’re probably more likely to be just checking their Facebook). As I’m brewing a few business ideas of my own, being around this energy and in close proximity to Silicon Valley would be a definitive boon; not to mention the beauty of the region and Mediterranean climate (I struggle with British winters).
So, I guess that’s it – travel the world then move to San Francisco to run an online business. If only it were that easy!