Friday, April 4, 2008

Wherin I Suck At Easy Decisions

Here's the sitch:

  • I have 30 days of vacation that I must use before December 31. (35 if you count sick days).
  • After five years of gaining points on my miles credit card I have enough miles built up to buy a ticket worth around $1000. Which basically means I can go anywhere in the world, maybe twice. (I'd like to thank my ridiculous rent from the past 5 years for it's major contribution to this outlandish balance).
  • I finally faced filing my tax return, and somehow, magically, I am getting back a FAT return.
  • I have this sort-of half-formed goal of going to every continent (except Antarctica, brrrr!) before I'm married, or dead. Whichever comes first.

and now for the part where I make the obvious unnecessarily complicated .....

  • None of my friends have any days of vacation, let alone 30 days.
  • None of my friends have any money to spend.
  • I'm sort of scared of traveling by myself. It just seems so overwhelming! All of that time - all day every day - to entertain myself - by myself - no one to comment on the prettiness to except strangers - strange strangers - who may or may not want to use me to smuggle cocaine or diamonds into the US - lots and lots of strangers - all speaking strange languages and using strange colored money - requiring me to convert their strange colored money which, as you know, I cannot do - and do you or do you not include tip here? - will my failure to haggle (or convert) leave me stranded in the street after dark? - with the mafia? - and stray dogs? - it's a bit overwhelming.
  • I'm a worrywart chicken.

Sooooooooo. I'm sure you can see how these two sets of bullet points have succeeded in canceling each other out, and thereby reduced me to a quivering blob of indecision.

Which is how I got to the point where I'm starting to seriously entertain the idea of Voluntourism. Have you guys heard of this? Basically you travel somewhere and do some volunteer work while you're there, and then you can travel around a little bit before, during, or after depending on the program.

Under normal circumstances this would be pretty much the opposite of what I'd want to do for a vacation. This is a definite do-gooders type of vacation and so the percentage of people apt to be wearing patchouli oil and hemp clothing is WAY too high for my liking. I'm not really a Build-A-Hut-In-The-Amazon kind of girl. But I read about this project where you work to reconstruct these historic stone buildings that are crumbling away. Oh and it's in the countryside in Provence. FRANCE. After a morning mortaring you can spend your afternoons ambling around the countryside. I mentioned the part about Provence, right?

So now I'm thinking to myself that this could be the best of both worlds. Perhaps this type of program would give me a little structure so that I'm not overwhelmed with the possibilities - good and bad - of how to spend my days which would otherwise cause me to freeze into stuttering spaz who can't make up their mind (see worrywart chicken bullet point above). It would allow me to also have some interaction with people in a safe and engaging way, but still have some time to be able to do my own thing. Yes! And Please!

Of course, it might not be that great. It could be a trip with a bunch of kumbaya drum-beating weirdos. And they're all jazzed to save the earth, and I'd be like, "Well, yeah the Earth is pretty great and all ... but do we need to smell SO bad to save it?" and they'll be all like, "Your global footprint puts Sasquatch to shame." And then we'd glare at each other from across the drum circle. So obviously we won't like each other but we'll still be forced to share mortar and get along! It will be torture!

....

See how easy that was? One little jaunt down Imagination Lane and I'm back to being a quivering blob of indecision. Help me, Internets, you're my only hope!

Should I travel alone? Or do Voluntourism? Or just stay at home and put my tax refund toward a house?

12 comments:

Camie said...

You need better friends. I say do the voluntourism thing, I think it sounds cool. Of course I am turning into a liberal earth loving save the planet freak. I'd be totally jealous and regret all of the traveling decisions I've made over the last few years which used up all of my vacation. And you know how much you love it when I admit I'm wrong about certain things.

Nik said...

Hmm. That's a tough decision. The voluntourism thing sounds OK, but that's a lot of risk to take--and possibly a lot of work--the opportunity to fly anywhere and use a chunk of vacation time that sizeable will be very rare (I assume). I'd keep looking for someone who could go with me for an actual vacation... Can your flight credit be used for 2 tickets? You could make the offer more attractive by paying for part of your companion's ticket...?

I think I'd do all in my power to actually vacation. Although a month is a long time, so maybe you could swing it so you volunteered for the 1st 2 weeks, then maybe you'd be comfortable enough to spend the remaining 2 weeks solo?

Tough decision. I have no idea.

Erin said...

i'm too selfish to spend my vacation on others. but you, you spent yours on girls camp, thereby proving you are a better woman than i (as i would NEVER do that). however, i would say go somewhere by yourself like australia or new zealand.

liloat said...

The France thing could be cool, but remember to save some of your vacation time so I can come and visit you in the fall. I will need some serious pampering by then and I'm sure you can style me out!

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Joseph said...

I don't see you voluntouring. Just travel alone.

April said...

What about rotating through friends with a few days of vacation? They could just each come out a different week!

lael said...

Talk to Crystal. She is leaving soon to visit her family in New Zealand. You could go to the lovely Down Under and meet up with her. She'll be there 2 weeks, so you'd have time to acclimate to your new surroundings with someone you know.

Can I just tell you how insanely jealous I am of you right now? I can think of 10 places I'd love to visit without even thinking. Sigh.

Julie said...

Can't mustard tag along? What he's already got plans? By the way I think if you're going on vacation for more than three weeks you should refer to it as "going on holiday." I vote for the 50/50 splip on voluntourism / holiday -

holly said...

dude. tough choices. definitely do something fun and relaxing. I like the tag along to NZ or ask around for friend of friend referrals like that. I think I still know someone in Australia. (boy that sounds promising!)

karen said...

I am available to use any of your travel miles with you for any destination. No travolunteering, please.

Margaret said...

I'm biased, because I LOVE Provence and would pretty much do ANYTHING (legal and moral) to get to spend 30 days there.

I say check out the voluntouring as long as it's not full days of labor. I read about that where you work a half day each day to pay for lodging, etc. I'd do that rather than a full day. I did a month in France working full time to pay for meals and housing, and it was good for my French, but not so good for "getting to see the countryside."