Have I gone crazy? Probably. Or, more accurately, I've probably always been crazy but now I'm just really letting that flag fly. Many of you likely have questions, such as: wait... what are you doing? And why? And how exactly are you doing this?
So, first things first. I somehow got the idea in my head to visit the original 7 Natural Wonders of the World back in June. (I say original, because a Canadian-Swiss dude decided in 2007 to have a new list created, and a bunch of people voted to determine the New Wonders. I'm sure that set of Wonders is spectacular as well. That being said, I'm a traditional type of gal so am opting for the inial list. Sorry, New Wonders... I'll catch ya next time.) Onto question two...
Why the 7 Natural Wonders of the World? Well, in my mind, why not? My ability to be dumbfounded and humbled by the beauty and chaos and sheer awesomeness of what Mother Nature can come up with is nothing new. Pair that with the fact that I live for a challenge and want to feel like I'm accomplishing things as I move through life, and you get the seed for a trip like this planted in my brain and heart.
Visiting the Original 7 Natural Wonders provides for all of the above; it will be challenging (read: practically a miracle) for me to pull off in one year, will definitely be an accomplishment if I do, and I'll do it while seeing the biggest, baddest, most breathtaking places on earth.
Besides, look at it this way: I've got no mortgage, no kids or husband or car payment. I have a job I love in a place I adore, enjoy a simple life in a little mountain town puttering around from work to the Resort and back or trailhead to trailhead in my old (but reliable!) dirt-laden SUV, and am surrounded by fantastic family and friends. But that's about it as far as attachments go. If there ever were an opportune time in my life to do something like this, it is exactly right now.
How, oh how on earth am I doing this? I'm afraid that is a question that will be by-and-large answered along the way. To prep, I chose a start date, worked three jobs up to that date to save like crazy and learned as much about budget traveling as possible. I'll provide more details as I go, but started by reading Nomadic Matt Kepnes' book on How to Travel the World on $50 a Day cover to cover straightaway.
I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm throwing nearly everything I have at this trip - I quit my job(s) and am selling or have donated most of my stuff. The plan of attack for a trip of this magnitude is a combination of aggressive flight mile acquisition and redemption tactics, cheap lodging and eating tips and tricks, and a whole lot of faith.
Okay! So, now that we've got that all squared away, let's get to the fun stuff! Here's the list, in order I'm planning on visiting:
Mt Everest - leave the US Oct 15th for 6 weeks in Nepal, yo!
Great Barrier Reef - Australia
Victoria Falls - Zambia (via South Africa)
Paricutin Volcano - Mexico
Grand Canyon - Arizona
Harbor of Rio do Janeiro - Brazil
Northern Lights (location tbd)
Certain things are up in the air, like potential travel partner schedules and whether or not I can get my Brazilian visa while abroad - if so, I might squeeze in the Harbor before Paricutin. I hope to spend a couple weeks at each Natural Wonder to get a taste of the local culture, to understand the impact of the Wonder on surrounding communities, and to fully appreciate the magnificence of these amazing phenomena. But I have to say... with a trip like this? We'll just see what happens, friends :)
So? Are you pumped to explore the Natural Wonders of the World with me? I am! And very, very excited for you to be joining me on this adventure! I'll be posting pics, video and blogging weekly, so check back regularly. Until then, I have lots of packing and last-minute loose ends to tend to, so I'll catch you on the next post!
Happy trails, and thanks again for coming along!