Now, more than any other season, I almost inhale the urge to travel along with each breath of spring air. I see the condensation trail of a plane in the sky and my thoughts race. Where is it going? What awaits its passengers when they arrive? Will they deplane to explore a new culture or landscape? Or are they business travelers on just another business trip who won't really look at all that is around them? If I were on that plane, where would I wake up tomorrow? The sight of two or more con trails in the sky just multiplies the process. Which one would be best? Which one is going to a more exciting destination? I don't know why, but spring amplifies my wanderlust more than any other season.
A year from now, the plan is to be in Hue, Vietnam again. To prepare for this, one of my New Year's resolutions was to learn as much Vietnamese as I could. Unfortunately, I'm not doing as well at this resolution as I am at many of the others. On any given morning, I think that I'll put in a half hour or an hour at the end of my work time and then, in the afternoon, realize that I've shut down my laptop, at which point it's all too easy to think, "I'll do better tomorrow. Right now, my mind needs a break." And when I do remember to load the software (I'm using Byki), the fear exists that while my Vietnamese-to-English answers are valid, my English-to-Vietnamese ones might not be. Vietnamese is a tonal language, and it's impossible for me to tell if my tones match those emanating from the software's audio files. In other words, it's easy to make excuses for not doing it on my own.
Remembering and acting on a shower thought (a random neural firing while one's body is covered in warm soapy water, usually wiped from memory as one's towel wipes the droplets), I recently used my search engine friend Google to look for Vietnamese language classes available in, where else, Vietnam. As the sons say, I rolled twenties. Hue University, at which the husband will again be teaching, offers such classes. They're of varying length and cost the princely (for Vietnam) sum of $5 per hour. I've asked the husband to inquire of his Hue contacts about the classes and whether it would be possible for me to enroll. It would be ideal if the language classes might be at the same time (morning or afternoon) that the husband is teaching. This would leave some time in which to play tourist, with the possibility of doing that together when he's not preparing for his class and I'm not studying for mine.
Our last visit to Hue was followed by some touring in Vietnam, a visit to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and some time in the Netherlands and Norway. We'd like to cap next year's visit by following the yellow brick road to Oz. I have friends on both the east and west coasts of Australia, inspiring the plan to fly from Vietnam to Perth to visit my friends in that area. From Perth, we'd like to stop to visit Uluru (Ayers Rock) and possibly Alice Springs. From there, it would be nice to go to Melbourne to visit my friend there. Then, instead of last year's homeward flight across the Atlantic Ocean, we'd fly home across the Pacific. We won't be circumnavigating the globe, but I will then be able to say that I've traveled "around the world" albeit by combining trips. Besides adding 1 to the number of continents I will have been in, I'll be able to say I've been in the Southern Hemisphere. I don't travel for the numbers, but it's nice to keep track of one's expanding horizons.
In the meantime, I shall keep breathing the clean, fresh spring air of Central Virginia, while traveling in my mind. Cue Carly Simon's singing "Anticipation" and fade out.