Monday, May 2, 2011

Laura's Big Adventure

I'm sure I've told this story before. When I was in grade school I used to read the New York Times travel section every Sunday, and dream about all the awesome places there are in the world to see. There once was an interview with actress/model Lauren Hutton, who was on vacation in Africa. She said the reason why she worked was so she could earn the time and money to go on trips. This inspired me immensely, and to this day I remember thinking "Yes, that's what I want to do, too!" I'm not a model or an actress, but I did work for over a decade as a computer programmer, including a run of five Silicon Valley start-ups that left me burnt-out but in a good position to have adventures from time to time.

I'm about to embark on a Big Adventure. I'm going to go around the world! There's something magical about being able to say that, it puts me in mind of the greatest traveler of all, Magellan. Anyway, I'm firing up "One Reader Per Blog" again to track my adventure.

It will be a short trip, and I'm only stopping in a few places, but hey it's MY trip and I'm excited about it. Here's the basic itinerary:

Belfast, Northern Ireland -- I've long had the goal of visiting every state- or country-level geo-political entity that ends in LAND in English. So far I've been to England, Scotland, Ireland, Maryland, Queensland, Thailand, New Zealand, Finland, and the Netherlands. Visiting Belfast will knock another -LAND off the list.

Blackpool, England -- For the past few years I've met a bunch of ballroom dancing friends there to watch the biggest most prestigious ballroom dancing competition of all. If it were Tennis, the British Open Dancing Championships would be the equivalent of Wimbledon.

Okinawa, Japan -- I have two diving buddies that like to tack on diving expeditions to business trips. They needed to go to Japan for something, and decided to dive Okinawa. When they suggested the trip, the rest of us in our little dive group said HELL YEAH. Why? I'm not really sure, I never thought of Okinawa as a famous diving destination. I think we all said yes because we all love diving, like diving together, and pretty much will take anything as an excuse to take a cool trip that includes diving. What more could one ask for from a group of friends?

Honolulu, Hawaii -- I've been to Honolulu a few times, but only "on business" for a ballroom dancing competition. I'd fly in, go to the hotel, dance my events, and fly home again as soon as possible. (I'd also kick ass, for some reason Hawaii Star Ball was always awesome for me.) Anyway, I've never done any of the tourist stuff on Oahu, like visit the Arizona memorial or Diamond Head. I'm glad to finally take the time to do this.

Kona, Hawaii -- In truth, though, the real reason for the stop in Honolulu was that I needed to kill a few days between Okinawa and the departure date for the live-aboard dive yacht, Kona Aggressor II. I'll be spending a week sharing a quad-bunked cabin with any other single women who book the trip, diving off the west and south coasts of the Big Island of Hawaii. The highlight of this may be seeing huge manta rays feeding at night. I now have an underwater camera, maybe if I can figure out how to use it I'll get a decent picture.

More later as I prepare for this grand excursion :)

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