I’d always imagined I’d see Morocco, or base camp at Mt. Everest way before I got down the list to China. That list of 100 things to see I compiled years ago has been veered from like a blown out tire at 90 mph. When the list was created I couldn’t have factored in my only child, a son, would inherit the adventure bug that’d been held captive on my maternal side of the family for generations. I say held captive as no one, even me until recently, has had the pieces of their life fall together such that they were able to do anything about it. Children and husbands, and crops and cattle and well, eating, have taken precedence. Other than seeing the world as a gypsy (my mother was close), exploration has just not been feasible. Nor could I have known I would indulge this child with the opportunities to once and for all put that ache to rest. Indulge is a tricky word here. And so is rest. Let’s start with indulge. If you can call instilling in him (over and over and over ad nauseum) the need to have children later in life so he could explore the world, putting him on a plane for some destination with the last money in my checking account (there was no savings account), and spending many an hour talking about Morocco, then you can say I indulged him. And that word, rest. Putting that exploration bug to rest has entailed everything BUT.

Actually China wasn’t even on the list. But the adventurous son upon graduation from OU, decided to pursue his fledgling Mandarin. In China. So when the opportunity arose for him to take a month off from school and my schedule became such that a month was possible as well for me, we began to plan. Bigger backpacks were purchased. Squatter toilet techniques were reviewed. Immunizations. Visa. Maps, maps, and more maps. We nixed all the big cities. If I’m going to see something, I want to SEE something.

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  • Tammie Dooley

    I’m an explorer who happens to write and maintain a camera on my person at all times. Foreign travel is exotic but doesn't happ…

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