Trip of a Lifetime

I’m going to the Galapagos this upcoming May. I’m excited. Some say, it’ll be a “trip of a lifetime.”

I hear people say that a lot — a [insert noun here] of a lifetime. Most notably, an opportunity of a lifetime. But is any single trip really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

When I graduated from high school, a number of my friends went on summer European jaunts with friends (but I did not). It was the thing to do. Parents gave the trips as graduation gifts. For students, it’s fun right out of the movie Eurotrip, and for parents, it’s fear right out of the move Taken. But still, there is this notion that travel is more than just a simple reward or treat, it’s a singularly important and groundbreaking experience. That freedom and excitement of the international adventure makes it a trip of a lifetime in the moment. That is until you travel enough that trips are become units in a lesson plan.

I treasure traveling, but no longer see any individual trip as a “lifetime” opportunity. Travel for me is about adding to a layered experience of lessons. And it’s an important part of education. I realize that I’m lucky enough to have had my share of passport stamps (or in the case of China, a whole collection of full-on one-page visas) and that a lot of people don’t have that choice.

So perhaps it’s not an immediate goal like reading or local foods, but ironically travel is a lifetime goal even if no single trip a trip of a lifetime. Here’s where I’m going soon and where I’d like to go in the next few years:

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands — a last-minute spring break trip (thank you to my boss for the days off)! Haven’t been to Europe since high school?
  • Galapagos/Ecaudor — a May 2010 trip with the family
  • Turkey — been waiting to get here for a long time. realized I can’t jump a flight without a visa. probably should plan this out.
  • Botswana and South Africa — Soccer World Cup held in South Africa very soon
  • India — it’s not right that I can go around spouting nonsense of the “rise of India and China,” if I’ve never been.
  • Jordan/Egypt — I’m surrounded by Arabic speakers at Middlebury.