Monday, July 21, 2008

Best Laid Plans (Part 2)

Why Ghana?

Okay, multiple choice. If you had to couple your husband walking out on you with one of the following, would you choose:
a. in the same day, somebody makes a copy of your bank card and steals $2,000 from your accounts while your cell phone conks out and you have no land line in your apartment.

b. your cell phone bill spikes to over $500 because you no longer have rollover minutes from your husband's account

c. your dog requires a biopsy for a bump on her back

d. all of the above

Well folks, whether it was just a run of bad luck, a case of bad ju ju or the gods coming together to hit me with a can of whup ass, I was faced with choice d (though I struggle with the word "choice"). In the months after my husband left, I felt like I was surrounded by those weird black-liquidy spirits that took down the bad characters in "Ghost." Had I been approached by a cult in those days, I probably would've asked them to lead the way to the compound.  All I wanted was to escape somewhere and dive head first into the sand. To quiet my brain a bit, I began contemplating where I could escape to.  My family had a big trip planned, but that was planned with my husband in mind and was somewhere I'd been with him before.  Because of that, I knew I'd feel like he was still there - a hologram of him - following me around, reminding me that his actual body was decidedly absent.

So back in my dreamscape, I thought about where I could go.  New factors that I was faced with regarding vacationing were:
1. Giving myself enough time to save money
2. Feeling at east with going by myself
2. Trying to find something that I'd always wanted to do but had never had the chance to due to compromising with someone else.

First, an Earthwatch vacation popped into my head.  I'd always wanted to do one and I figured that, since I'd be with a group of volunteers, traveling alone wouldn't really be an issue.  They're an environmental organization that offers volunteer vacations in which you learn and do work for any number of different projects.  You can search for butterflies in Vietnam, do marine research on a boat in Greece, work on an animal preserve in Africa, etc. You are limited only by your finances and your interests.  My personal idea was to try to become one with the dolphins. Me and Flipper, coasting the waters in Greece... can a human marry a dolphin? Has that been on the ballot recently?

Then I found an organization called Globe Aware.  They too offer volunteer vacations, but with a more Peace Corp-type bend to the work.  (By the way, in a moment of utter confusion, I looked into the actual Peace Corp, but then realized that two years without my dog would make me feel like my left arm had been cut off).  Globe Aware's projects span the world and in their list of destinations was Ghana.  I'd always wanted to go to Africa, and the idea of going half-way around the world to either teach or assist in building much needed facilities (ASSIST being the operative word), really excited me.  Their vacations are only a week long so it wouldn't require too much time off of work, and if I went in August I'd have plenty of time to save (provided I never set foot in any clothing stores in said time frame).  Globe Aware addresses lone female travelers on their website and they also focus on safety and security.  I was in.  All of my criteria were being met:
Could go by myself: Yes
Time to save: Yes
Could do something I'd always wanted to do: Yes, Yes, Yes

I was off...

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