10.04.2012

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Flights have been purchased, hotels have been booked. In a little over a month I will be taking a trip that I've dreamed of taking for most of my life.

But then what?

I mean, once this is off the list, where will I dream of going?

You know how we're going to do this.

Planes.

Shanghai, which I will be going to for my first (and second) time very soon, is the largest city proper in the world. Rounding out this top 5 in descending order is Istanbul, Karachi, Mumbai, and Moscow. The 5 largest metropolitan areas in the world, in ascending order are: Mumbai, New York City, Mexico City, Seoul, and Tokyo. Combining these two top 5's, eliminating the one repeat and the places I've already been (or are going to go to shortly), and unfortunately for the time being eliminating the one of these that falls in Pakistan, this leaves me with a pretty promising top 5 of bucket list cities to visit (in ascending order of how badly I want to go):

5. Tokyo, Japan
4. Seoul, South Korea
3. Moscow, Russia
2. Istanbul, Turkey
1. Mumbai, India

Trains.

I've clocked a lot of miles via train travel, mostly in Europe, but it's not the only continent easily traversed by train. Unlike the last list there is no canon to this one, but these are the top 5 famous train journeys that I'd like to take:


5. The Orient Express

The Orient Express offers several routes in several countries, but it's most iconic route is that between Venice and Paris. I've been to both of these cities before, but never between them.


4. The City of New Orleans

They call it "Jazz Alley", as it connects Chicago to New Orleans via Memphis. Operated by Amtrak North America since 1947.

3. The Copper Canyon Railway

This trip connects Chihuahua and Los Mochis Mexico on a railway so treacherous to create that it took almost 100 years to build. Portions of this canyon through which the railway snakes are deeper and more vast then The Grand Canyon, and its cliffs copper deposits render its sheer walls a sparkling green.

2. Nizamuddin Duronto Express

This 20 hour trip connects Pune (a couple hours from Mumbai) with Delhi. This is the part you will not fucking believe: A first class sleeper, exchange depending, is about $100 and includes your own attendant. Baller.

1. The Trans-Siberian Railway

There are several ways to do this trip, but the [arguably] most classic is originating in Moscow and ending in Vladivostok. I'm oddly attracted to doing this trip in the winter, even though I hate the cold.


Automobiles.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to drive. I love driving, although I've never, ever done it in a foreign country. The first time I went overseas I read something about how hard it was to drive in Rome, and somehow, somewhat unconsciously, wrote off the possibility forever. Now, I'm not saying I'm going to try driving in London (I won't even drive in downtown Boston), but there are a few domestic and international road trips that I'd like to try.

3. Cinque Terra to Monaco via the Mediterranean Coast.
2. Olympia to Los Angeles via "El Camino Real", or HWY 101.

And then there's my favorite drive of all time, the one I'm convinced may change your life, the one I've done before but may never be able to get enough of, the one I may just do again in a few weeks time:

1. Miami to Key West.

So there we go. There's a solid five, if not ten years of traveling in there, especially if you add in my wish to visit all 50 states (I have...12 more to go, I think?). That should last me a while, right? But what the fuck does any of this mean when I should probably begin to at least consider making goals like "live somewhere for five years" or "pick something you want to do for money." And these lists: I love them. It makes everything seem so quantifiable and mathematic, and it's so very much easier to spend a couple hours wrapping myself inside this device rather than to think about the very real, very current reality in which I've been wrapping myself in the strong charge of someone's arms right here in this, the fourth largest metropolitan area in the world, to try in vain to escape the fact that I can't ever seem to sit still.

--M

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