Going north and taking stock

Amidst visions of grandeur of volunteering in remote places like the Arctic Fox Station in Iceland and getting carried away with potential archaeological excavations in Scandinavia or Israel, I think I should consider myself incredibly fortunate that I can even make such trips up north a reality.

For a while, dominating my thoughts were the wilderness of British Columbia, or the French part of Canada – certainly a handy way of practicing my elementary French – until the flight times and prices caused this detour to Europe once again. Taking stock, much has changed since my first foray into pre-Euro Europe in 2001; my subsequent jaunts there are at best a bunch of mixed experiences but all unforgettable. The call of Europe, so to speak, has not stopped a decade later. The trips just simply got more complicated, with more variables and routes to play around while keeping prices in check.

The thin Lonely Planet Iceland is indicative enough of my latest obsession. Tired of yearning for the experience of the Northern Lights and the surreal landscapes, I’m fairly determined that this itch has to be scratched permanently at the end of this year. Clearly most accessible from Europe or north America, planning this trip means couching this week-long excursion within the confines of places like Germany or the UK – a trip within a trip, giving enough cause to peek at the possibility of Canada and the Eastern Seaboard of the US.

…Or perhaps Iceland – Germany – Switzerland. Throw in things and places which I’ve not seen. The number of contemporary art museums to visit. The cheese to buy! Chocolate to get fat on! Mountains! Snow, skiing! Christmas Markets when the sun doesn’t shine enough! Glühwein and sausages! Fast train journeys.

Travel planning is so exciting this way, and it’s surprisingly, not an ironic statement to how travel planning is approached in my case. We just don’t have world enough and time, or so goes my philosophy which grates on some people. With each trip more ambitious than its previous one, perhaps a Kenyan Safari or a meditative Tibetan Hike or a Bhutanese stint might not be too far away in the future.

Perhaps the travel companion (TC) of long ago would be interested in coming and splitting the travel costs. Bombarding him with details, possibilities and prices is evil but so much fun.

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