One of the biggest thrills in my otherwise mundane life is the short walk from my car to my apartment building. I often get home late, so that adds to the excitement of being offered crack by a dealer who could probably get away with robbing me if he really wanted to. Obviously, this is an unsafe risk, but it's risks that makes my heart pound and my fists clench.
Everything else in my life – aside from that short walk – is safe, comfortable and familiar. Those feelings aren’t something I particularly enjoy. I want things to be unexpected, occasionally outside of my comfort zone, with just a hint of actual danger. I’m too young to be getting soft and travel might help me fight this feeling. There are so many places in the world I absolutely have to see, and not going to these countries is unfathomable. The only thing holding me back is time and money. Fortunately, I’m fairly clever. I can make it happen. Maybe.
Bagan, Myanmaar: Two mind-boggling numbers stand out for this archeological park: 26 square miles and 2,200 temples and pagodas. Nestled within this historic place are massive temples, which are fine to me, but it’s the thousands of obscure ones that appeal to me. Renting a bike or a motorcycle and doing some Tomb Raider-like exploration would be a dream. Maybe seeing all the temples will jog my memory with what I learned from taking a course in Southeast Asian arts.
But if the country were to suddenly open up…wow. The poverty is unimaginable, but this is one of the last countries unexplored by Westerners. The mountains sound incredible. The wilderness, which hasn’t fallen victim to overpopulation, is another selling point. I’m looking for something unfamiliar, and it doesn’t get more unfamiliar than
. Let me in, Kim Jong-il. Oh, and stop being awful. North Korea
: For one full day, two companions and I navigated the temples with amazing precision and efficiency (that could have something to do with the fact that one of my travel buddies is German). I was consistently in awe at the diversity and grandeur of each temple. We saw all the big temples, but a dozen or so smaller ones were too far away to see in one day. We were exhausted, but when we arrived at our $10 hotel room we were satisfied. I don't feel that way any longer. Cambodia
Looking back, it’s ridiculous to only spend one day in one of the most glorious places created by man. Our hands were tied since we had class in
the next day, but I’ve felt the strong urge to go back ever since. Maybe spend a week there, slowly exploring each temple while reading one of my art textbooks. Bangkok