Add it to my bucket list…

Well, cruises may not be my thing, but traveling still certainly is! In my last blog I talked about all the reasons I didn’t really like cruise life, but I’d be lying if I said at least some parts of it weren’t amazing. Would I rather travel by plane than boat? Yes. Would I prefer to spend an extended amount time in one place than hop around to a bunch of places? Most definitely. But we still got to see some pretty incredible things while docked in Mexico.

Our first stop was the dock outside of Progresso. We were traveling by bus for 2 1/2 hours to reach Chichen Itza – one of the greatest Mayan sites on the Yucatan peninsula. The tour had some pretty mixed reviews: Long bus ride, bland lunch, questionable bathroom on board the bus…if only those people had traveled in Ethiopia! It felt like we were on a luxury trip : )

This is the first time we’ve left the United States since we flew back from Ethiopia via SE Asia in November of 2014, so needless to say, it was about time. But what struck us the most is how similar traveling feels, almost no matter where you are. Take this photo for instance…

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I took it in Mexico, but it could just as easily have found its way on my blog back when I was living in Ethiopia. Life doesn’t always seem so different.

That said, the history from one place to another is what really makes cities and countries stand out. I’ve been to the rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, the San Antonio Missions, the archaeological site of Pompei, and the Cathedral of Notre Dame (all UNESCO World Heritage Sites) and it’s these incredible structures (and the stories they tell) that I value most about my time traveling.

I’m lucky enough to now be able to add Chichen Itza to my list, with its gargantuan splendor. But despite the overwhelming immensity, I was struck most by the precise detailing that still survived.

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Each of the figures or animals, still so intricate. Though not all of the structures have gone unscathed. Take, for instance, the main structure for which Chichen Itza is known. That temple has undergone an amazing face lift to transform it back into its former splendor, however, sides of it remain as it was found, a solemn reminder of what can happen to our history if we don’t take care to preserve it.

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My Ethiopian Bucket List

I’m not one for bucket lists, really I’m not – I haven’t even seen the movie : ) But in my head I’ve started making a list of the things I want to do/accomplish in Ethiopia (outside of the incredible things I’ll be doing with the Peace Corps of course!).

  1. Pet a baby elephant – if you know me, you know I’m obsessed with elephants! I don’t even know if Ethiopia has many…
  2. Climb the Semien Mountains, preferably up to Ras Dashan, the highest peak in Ethiopia. Will I survive? We’ll see.
  3. Write – not the next great American novel…I don’t even think I want to write a book, I just want to write, weekly, if not daily. We’ll see how motivated I am!
  4. Get over my fear of spiders. I’m 22 for goodness sake. And they’re just bugs.
  5. Learn to cook a truly Ethiopian meal – and have it taste good!

I’m sure I’ll come up with a million and one things to do in addition to these…but it’s a start! T-20 days until I reach Ethiopian soil!