Buenas Noches!

Hola Amigos!

Last night’s research on alternatives to the Singapore trip spilled over into this morning.  The original plan is now almost totally dead (put on hiatus – i still want to go) and the back-up plan is now the first string plan.

I was very excited to go and visit my friend in Singapore and then go further into SouthEast Asia, but it does not look like the schedules are going to work out.  My friend is getting delayed, and her two-week vacation for 2010 is valid until the end of January, so she has much more wiggle room than i do.  I really need to be able to be back in the US and either working or looking for work full-time at the dawn of the new year.   I had a great time researching for this trip and that information will not go to waste.

We have been talking about this Singapore/SouthEast Asia trip since 2005 or so, and we will get there one of these days.  I did learn that it is much easier for vegetarians to travel in Thailand and Vietnam than Cambodia – which was interesting and timely.  We actually discussed all three countries, so i do not think it will be a big deal to shift the plans for that trip around.  Eating in Phnom Penh is OK, but once you leave the capital, it gets more complicated, and we both wanted out-of-the-way beach time.  But that is good news.  It is cheap and easy to travel in the region so now i can think about a trip to Phnom Penh for a few of the temples and a sampling of Cambodia and beach time at either or both Vietnam and Thailand.

The present trip however is sunny and closer to home.  I am going to go to Mexico.  At first it was a little disheartening to have to change a long anticipated trip with a buddy in SouthEast Asia to a solo trip to Mexico, but i got over it quickly.  From two months ago up to 2 weeks ago, i could fly round trip to Singapore for about $1400.  Now the cheapest flights are about $2200, and climbing daily.  Round trip to Cancun – about $240.  I still have some more research to do, but i think i will fly into Cancun and go from there.

This is very exciting.  I dusted off my old spanish for travelers books.  I fired up some spanish podcasts, downloaded some free grammar and vocabulary apps, and began working my foreign language muscles. I have found several great sounding and inexpensive lodging options, explored some of the local things to do, and it just feels great in my brain to say it and think it – “i will be on the beach in Mexico in about 10 days!” That gives me a full work week to get through my most critical 3 meetings in DC, though hopefully i can arrange a few more, and a few days for last-minute planning and then i am out!  If i can get everything done in DC Monday or Tuesday – I could be in Mexico on Wednesday or Thursday!!!

I have some more research to do.  Whenever i leave, i want to stay through the new year and come back around the third.  So, i am going to work backwards from that and go for as long as i can afford to.  I expect that i should be able to handle three weeks without too much of a struggle financially.  I want to compare some package deals with the do-it-yourself options i have checked out already.  If i can do a combination of both, that might be good.  I am generally not a “package deal” guy, and these are not generally aimed at single vegetarians – but you never know.  Since i should have about 21 days to play with, i might mix it up. I am not opposed to spending the full time in one place relaxing, but i will probably travel around a little at first to get a better sense of some locations than i have now. Getting an in-country perspective and talking with locals and other travelers will help me flesh out from the general plans i have now. Cancun itself is an X factor.  From the little bit i know now, Cancun seems like a split personality place – romantic trippers/adventurers at some of the places and the rest a bit of an out of control frat party with fewer rules and oversight. I am not going on this trip to bar hop or go clubbing or any of that, so Cancun will probably see very little of my hard-earned credit that i am about to get a job to pay for!  But – you never know.  I do have a fairly specific (though extremely “un-programmed”) trip planned already, i just have some hesitancy about throwing it up on the web for all to see until i get back.

I do not have a lot of money, and with where my head is at right now, and since i am going alone, i am really looking forward to low-key experiences.  I want to walk/run on the beach, swim, read on the beach, unpack/blowout my head, and do some writing.  I am interested in snorkeling and diving and other adventurous things, but i think i will save those for a better funded trip with a companion of some kind.  Three weeks of little-to-no responsibility, agenda, deadlines, objectives, or obligations sounds awesome right now.  I can’t know exactly what my next job will entail, but i know quite a bit about the world i am about to re-enter and this may be my last chance for full relaxation for a little while.

I made great resume progress today and it is good enough to go now, but i have not seen Vance’s edits yet.  We talked for two hours tonight about timing our work tomorrow and talked through interview questions and remembered jobs we have done and crafted language.  I have to force myself to sleep tonight (the excitement is hugely distracting) so i can get up early and get to it.  Vance and i will finish workshopping the resume, and i will put in the final edits.  I have to write three specific business mails and send that out with the resume, then craft a form letter version for other colleagues, and a third version that is for a less personal audience.  I have a few tasks to finish for MINDS and a report to write for the BOD.  And there is loads of fun to be had with the research and the language study.

I am looking forward to something like this…

Christmas 2004 - Wakra, Qatar

…though it will be a little less hairy this time, followed by lots of this…

MILIPOL - Doha, 2004

…also with less hair – though i do fit in that suit again now!


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