Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Taking the Plunge... Again!

It's official.  My application to take a year of sabbatical from the Boston Public Schools was accepted!   This means that next year, rather than waking before sunrise with indigestion, stressing about achievement gaps, benchmarks, and age-appropriate learning tasks for 25 rambunctious 5-year-olds, I will instead be exploring my way through every remote and amazing place I can find in South America.  

That's right, it's time for me to give in to my wanderlust, and go exploring!  I am so lucky that I have a job that I find not only rewarding, but will also afford me the chance to take a year for myself (which we teachers really need to do every now and then).  For me, this trip is all about the right side of my brain: nature, exploring, photography, painting, and conservation.  I will spend every day seeing new things, and trying my best to capture what I see through the camera lens.

I am still researching, and hesitant to set down firm plans, but the current vision is to try to visit every country in South America, as well as my reach my #1 bucket list destination: Antarctica.  I can honestly say I have not felt this excited in a very long time, with the chance to complete some of my highest "before I die" experiences while I am young, physically capable, and untethered.  

So far, here are the places I have on my South American bucket list (photos not my own... yet!):

#1 Antarctica: though obviously not in South America, my research tells me that the easiest way to reach the land of ice, seals, whales and penguins, is via the Argentinian town of Ushuaia, where you can often join trips that are undersold, thereby saving a bundle.  Cross fingers for me!
Photo: Sumof
#2 Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia:  I first discovered this place through videos and pictures of other travelers.  It's a salt lake that is a disorienting, white expanse in dry season and a surreal, mirrored surface in wet.  It's a photographers dream!

Photo: Wikipedia

#3 Machu Pichu:  Another must see on any explorers itinerary.  Every image I see makes the long trek worth it!


#4 Brazil:  There's no specific place, but rather a general draw to the country in its entirety.  It all began in 6th grade when I had to do a report on the country, and I was drawn to the expansive rainforest.  Thanks, Ms. Lazarakus!  I want to see it all...  if only it weren't so enormous!


#5 Easter Island, Chile:  There has always been an artistic allure to the mystical sculptures across the islands.


#6 Galapagos Islands, Ecuador:  The only reason this isn't higher, is because I have already traveled there.  It is the most well-kept ecological paradise I have ever seen, and a photographer's paradise.  Im excited to go again, this time with better photo gear!

Ok, this one is my own!  I can't wait to take more!
Now of course there are many more things I plan to see, and the more I read, the more real and exciting my trip becomes.  I have started a google map to help me keep track of the places I read about, as well as to record where I know people to visit.  Please feel free to visit the map here, and add anything you'd like!  Thank you all for your support!