As my free time grows short until starting work again – a little over a month left – I crave adventure. Of all the activities I wish I could have done more in my time away, the top one is travel, not travel to the places I know well, like back to my parents’ house, but off and out into the far-flung world on extended sojourns. Bring on the Himalayas or Easter Island. I did not leave the country this year, and I barely visited any states (10): California, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York.

Yet I’m loathe to pile on too much in this last month, for December is a cold and lonely time to venture off alone. I flirt with a solo stay on the island of Kauai (accommodation is too expensive), or a drive through Death Valley (already been), or perhaps a flight to Key West (I’m doing sun and sand soon enough). Threatened next year with a limited 15 vacation days off, I jump late on to my brother’s 10-day trip to Cuba. I have helped plan the accommodation, or rather I’m the only one doing the planning. In spite of my typical frustration with this crew, I realize that I may not be able to go much more on these Christmas holidays.

For December I shall go inward instead of outward. I would like to soak in the baths of the Bay Area: Kabuki, Steamworks, Banya. I booked a two-night stay early-December at the silent retreat center in the Santa Cruz mountains where I can contemplate darkness and roaring and roaring into darkness all by myself.

In the meantime, I compile a list of places I’d to visit before I die:

  • North America: All 50 States, Alaska, Key West, Cuba, Costa Rica
  • South America: Argentina, Chile
  • Europe: The Balkans, Greece, the Baltics, Helsinki & St. Petersburg,
  • Africa: Egypt, Tanzania, South Africa and Namibia
  • Asia: India, Nepal, China, Burma, Singapore, South Korea, Tokyo (again)
  • Other: New Zealand

If I do one trip per year, that makes about 20 trips bringing me to almost age 70. Bring on the world.