My newest travel obsession:
I’m going to be in China for almost three weeks over the summer (mostly Beijing, with a couple days in Shanghai tacked on at the end). I’ve got two weeks of vacation time afterward for my own travel. I’ve done a bunch of research, and I was thinking of traveling to the south of China, to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge and see landscapes like this and this. And it would be beautiful. But the thing is: it’ll be July. It’ll be brutally hot. And, I just learned, relentlessly rainy. Do I really want to schlep around these beautiful landscapes in the pouring rain, my glasses fogging up, my clothes clinging to my body?
Frankly, I’m not ruling it out. It would be adventurous. And it would make for good storytelling.
But then I saw something else: a trip to Mongolia, where water is scarce even in the summer “rainy” season. I’d camp out in the steppes, watch the total solar eclipse, ride a camel in the Gobi Desert.
It turns out I’m not the only one to get all excited about this trip, since it’s already filled up. Drat. But now I’m researching other Mongolia trips. It’s my latest obsession. I’m in love with the thought of going to this vast, sparsely populated country. Mongolia is the place people name when conjuring up the ultimate image of distance. It’s beautiful, both for its landscapes and for its symbolism of the far away.
And if it doesn’t work out? I’ll travel there another time. I can still go to the south of China, admiring the spectacular scenery from my rain-fogged glasses.