...I've been talked into circumnavigating the globe. Whaterya gonna do?
So as of two days ago, Cid and I had every intention of flying home together on the 1st of July. We were simply waiting for the paychecks to come in and the money to clear the Pacific and make its way into our bank accounts (at least I was). But then I got into a conversation with Joe. It went like this:
Me: Hey, I think I'm buying my ticket home tomorrow.
Joe: Really? Which way are you going?
Me: By plane, over the Pacific.
Joe: Oh. Well I think a bunch of us are gonna take the Trans-Mongolian Railroad west, through the stones of the Great Wall, across the vast dry spaces and sun-kissed steppes of the Gobi, hugging the glistening shores of fresh-water Lake Baikal, then on to Moscow, from where we shall head to Europe for an escapade so full of mischief and wonder that the gods themselves shall surely weep with uncertainty! You can come with us if you want.
So instead of east, I plan on going west, traversing Eurasia, flying back to Pittsburgh over the Atlantic, and finishing my journey having circled the entire world. (Which would put me at least in the top 5 on the Most Awesome People You Know list.) And I'ma do it in 31 days.
***A big thank you to Tim, who I just got off the phone with and was a great influence in getting me stoked about this idea. He also planned mostly every little detail of the following, using his Enormous Brain of Travel Information:***
The Trans-Mongolian Railway is cheap, a very cool thing to talk about at hippie parties, the first of the three life goals I get to say I've accomplished on this trip, and gets me to Moscow, which just happens to be a one-day train ride to Kiev. If all goes according to our planned best-case scenario (and doesn't it always?), Tim will be able to get a few days off and meet me there, where we will frolic with glee in his ancestoral homeland and make our way down to Odessa, where we will catch the overnight ferry across the Black Sea to Istanbul. In Istanbul, I get to FINALLY visit the Hagia Sophia, the most architecturally brilliant cathedral/mosque in the history of the universe and number two of doable life goals in July.
From Istanbul, I can take the night bus to Sofia, Bulgaria and catch a 30-ish Euro plane to Prague, where I want to adventure out and find the family plot in Brandys nad Labem (goal number three). Maybe I'll go back to Hungary while I'm at it. From there, a short flight to Holland...to, uh, see the tulips...then finally to Brussels, where direct flights to Pittsburgh are moderately inexpensive and easy to book. Plan is to book my plane from Brussels (or whichever European city is the cheapest) to Pittsburgh for July 31st. I'm going to do this relatively quickly because if I get a ticket home now, I can't back out of it later, and we all know I have a tendency to do that. I really don't want it to come down to go time and back out with some hollow reason because I'm scared to adventure. I'm never going to get another opportunity presented to me like this again, and I like to think that if I do, I'll be on board.
See you in August.