The day of departure is drawing nearer, and as my excitement builds, so does my to-do list. Travel insurance, extra medications, summer internship applications, and last-minute necessities all amount to a less than stress-free final few weeks in Minnesota. I suppose it has to be that way when you are planning to leave for four months to a continent you’ve never set foot on.
I have been spending some time thinking about what to do with the extra ten days I booked myself after the end of my study abroad program. The plan was to climb Kilimanjaro, but I couldn’t manage to get the funds together (it is an expensive pursuit). Mt. Meru, however, the often forgotten little sister of Kilimanjaro, is still a whopping 14,977 feet tall, almost 2000 ft higher than the highest point I’ve ever been to: Wheeler Peak, which stands at 13,063 ft. Meru can be summitted in only three or four days, making it a much shorter and more easily budgeted trek, ranging in cost from $600 to $1300.
Then I thought, after climbing an ancient volcano, what would I want to do more than camp on a white sand beach on the Tanzanian coast? So that is my makeshift plan: climb a mountain, lay on a beach, then fly away home. I have never traveled independently in a foreign country before, so I am feeling both excited and nervous about the final leg of the trip (though hopefully some of my comrades from SFS will be with me).
Even with so much to do and plan before leaving, I can’t help but cherish these days. A big part of what makes travel so much fun is the anticipation of it: imagining the places you’ll be, hearing stories and seeing photos, then finally arriving to find it more spectacular than you could have imagined! As excited as I am, I can’t help but savor the holding-of-the-breath, the tantalizing anticipation of departure, especially after holding my breath for so long.
Until next time,