When it comes to travel, I’m not big on planning. I’ll typically set a vague path for myself, knowing that my actual destinations and the time I spend at them will depend on how I feel, the influence of other travelers, what the weather is doing, political conditions, and any number of other small and large complications. I’m used to having my ‘plans’ evolve constantly.
Still, it’s a bit difficult to accept changes to the ‘plan’ when I don’t even come close to achieving what I set out to do.
This Uneven Tenor project is morphing before my very eyes. My grand concept is being steadily whittled away to something that more nearly approximates reality. Did I aim too high? Perhaps. Or maybe I’m just a different person now than I was four years ago when I began to dream about following Richard Halliburton around the world.
I have decided to break the Uneven Tenor project into multiple trips. After four months of travel, my original idea of being on the road for 14+ months is no longer appealing to me. There are both practical and emotional reasons for this, but the driving factor is wanting to be with my boyfriend instead of half a world away from him.
I struggled mightily with this decision, battling with ideas of failure, independence, self, and expectations. It didn’t help that the decision coincided exactly with my thirtieth birthday. But I’ve made it through the mental obstacle course, and I can now say with total comfort and acceptance that I’m happy to be coming home early.
So, what’s the new plan? I’ve booked a ticket home from Ethiopia (yeah, I wasn’t expecting that, either!) on January 31st, 2015, a neat seven months from when I started. Between now and then I’ll finish with my African and Middle Eastern destinations. I’ll be home in Colorado until the fall 2015, and then I’ll spend three months in Beijing (with my boyfriend), which I will use as a base to complete the Chinese and Japanese portions of Uneven Tenor. That will leave the Spain/Italy/Matterhorn, India, Southeast Asia, and Malaysia/Indonesia portions of the trip to complete in 2016 and 2017 (roughly).
What does this mean for the Uneven Tenor project? Well, not much has changed, really, just the timeline. I still have every intention of finishing the trip and writing a book about it, and those of you who know me know I’ll follow through! It’s just going to take longer. And as for money, I’ll be putting all my remaining travel funds (including the donations I’ve received from my lovely followers!) into an Uneven Tenor account so I’ll always be able to fund this dream.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying being out of Western Europe and in developing countries again! As weird as it sounds, traveling in developed countries was really getting me down. Now I’m back in a place where my experiences feel unique. I’m learning about cultures that are very foreign to me, growing as a person because of it, and seeing sights that not many other people ever see. Hell, I’m even happy to be sick from drinking bad water—makes me feel like a real Traveler again, the kind with a capital T.
Thanks so much to everyone who has supported this project, and extra thanks to those who have supported this rather significant decision—I couldn’t have made it without you.