As I sat on the bus from Jimma to Addis a few days after the New Year, I thought about all the places I’ve traveled to in the seven months I’ve lived in Ethiopia. Fourteen cities in total – not bad. And for this holiday alone I traveled 1,244 km solo just spend a few days with my boyfriend and some friends.
Which got me thinking…how much traveling did I do in America during the 22 years I lived there? Outside of Minnesota, I’ve probably been to a little over a dozen cities (driving through a city doesn’t count, I had to have actually done something there). Meaning, in a year and a half, when I leave Ethiopia, I’ll easily have been to more cities here than in America.
And I can’t wait to do more traveling here in Ethiopia. I hope to visit all of my fellow volunteers in the south as well as head up north to Gondar, Aksum, and Lalibela, and possibly even spend more time exploring the Jimma loop. So why didn’t I travel more back home?
I think I always told myself I didn’t have enough time…or enough money. But what I’ve learned here is that you have as much free time as you’re willing to give yourself. And really, traveling doesn’t have to cost that much money.
So I’m setting a goal for myself for when I head back to the states: travel. Yeah, I’ve been to Manhattan, Chicago, and D.C., but what about San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston? And what about all the random small places I’d love to see, like the oldest public art museum in Hartford, the Rockville Bridge in Carlisle, and my bestie in Lafayette.
Before leaving for Ethiopia, I joked with some friends that I wanted to plan a road trip to visit the greatest bookstores in America. Why not? And by the time I’m back, my friends and family will be even more spread out across the states. I think a road trip from coast to coast to visit everyone sounds great.
And I’m sure some of you are thinking: what about work? How will you get the time off? Well, seven months ago I quit three jobs and moved to Africa. So clearly I’m not going to let a little thing like a job stand in the way of my travels. I’m more interested in wide open spaces.