I started and ended this year in the middle of trips while based in another country, teaching English.
On January 1, 2009, I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by the Obelisk. It was fairly lackluster, with not a big turnout and mild excitement from the minimal crowd, followed by a fairly good night hanging out with a variety of people.
After my trip to Argentina, the Iguazu Falls 3-country border area (Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil) and Uruguay, I returned back to Santiago, Chile to work for a bit before what was going to be an ill-advised idea.
I don’t plan my trips very well. My theoretical idea for getting back to the States was to take buses from Santiago, Chile to Los Angeles, California, over the course of a month. Not so likely, if I wanted to stop and see the things I did, such as the Uyuni salt flats, Potosi cooperative mines, Machu Picchu, Equator, etc.
In the end, I realized that Bogota, Colombia would be a good stopping point, esp. because JetBlue had just started flying from Bogota to Orlando, Florida.
Stopping in Orlando gave me the chance to see Justin Bowen, a guy who helped run the orientation for my job in Italy, another of the many folks I had kept in relative touch with, but hadn’t seen since the first time we met (and the only time we ever saw each other). Waiting for me at Justin’s place was a Zoom H2 microphone, that I had ordered online. It is a combination external computer microphone and field microphone. This allowed me to get back to Roni On Location, my audio recordings (that now became an audio podcast). We recorded before, during and after our time at Sleuths Mystery Theater Dinners.
Stopping in Los Angeles and Seattle for a bit, I went back to France for another 3 months of English immersion camp. After that, it was about a month in Eastern Europe, hitting the countries in former Yugoslavia that I had yet to see (including the new state of Kosov0), as well as the former USSR, in the form of Moldova, Ukraine and Russia. One of the highlights of this trip was Transnistria, a country that doesn’t exist.
This trip ended with a day where I had breakfast in Moscow, lunch in Berlin, took off to Frankfurt a couple days thereafter to start my road trip with Tav.
For the past few years, it has been my goal to do a US road trip. Working during the spring allowed me the summer to travel. Tav and I hit the road, perhaps not in style, perhaps not with grace, but hit the road, we did.
Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington were the sites of our lengthy, eye-opening trip. A chance to both test and strengthen a close friendship.
A little bit more time in Washington State, before heading back to France, this time to start my first foray into public school teaching. A rough situation at first, given a multitude of factors, one of which was not finding a permanent place over one and a half months (lived at 12 different places over that time). The other was the vast adjustment to not only French life, but working in the outskirts of the city, in rough areas, with mostly students of Arab and African descent.
Finally settling in in a dorm room in a high school, across town from work, I started to feel a bit more balanced in France.
In the meantime, I did another week of English immersion camp, wherein swine flu and other sicknesses almost brought down the week. I also took a trip to the south of France, including Marseille, Nice and Cannes, as well as the Principality of Monaco.
Which brings us to my current trip, of Montpellier, Toulouse, Andorra, Bordeaux, Basque Country, Santiago de Compostela and mid-trip, New Year’s Eve in Porto, Portugal, where I ended the year at a CS party.
A lot more travel and living abroad were the tenets of 2009. Barring the unforeseen, this will continue through Summer 2010.