Can you believe 2014 is almost halfway over? Time flies, right?
I have managed to squeeze in quite a bit of travel into the last six months, visiting Boston, Atlanta, Southern California (albeit for work), Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon and Washington, D.C. (again, for work). And I have some even more exciting travel plans for the next six months, which include finally heading out of the country again!
Minnesota: July 18-20
Next up is a trip home to Minnesota for my high school reunion. I graduated from White Bear Lake High School in 1994, so you do the math! While our ten-year reunion was pre-Facebook and I hadn’t done a good job of keeping up with people since I had left for college, I feel more connected to people this time around – thanks in large part to Facebook. I’ve been able to find things in common as adults with classmates who I was never even close to in high school. I’m excited to see who shows up and I think I’ll enjoy it more than the last one.
Toronto: August 8-10
I visited Toronto for the first time last June for TBEX, but that didn’t leave me much time to actually see any of the city. This time around, I’ll be attending the semi-finals at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, doing a bike tour of the city with Toronto Bicycle Tours, visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame and checking out the Taste of the Danforth festival in Toronto’s Greek Town. Other suggestions for what I should check out? Let me know!
Bulgaria: August 30-September 7
I’ll be celebrating my birthday by visiting a new country – Bulgaria! This whole region – Romania, Bulgaria and the Balkans – was on my radar for my career break trip, but squeezing them in would have been too rushed. So I am so excited to finally head back to Europe and to Bulgaria! I’ll only have eight days, but I plan to make the most of them, with a tentative plan to visit Sofia, Blagoevgrad, Rila Monastery, Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo.
Mali and Burkina Faso: November 22-December 6
This may be the trip I am most excited and nervous about at the same time! While I visited Egypt in 2008, I have never been to sub-Saharan Africa, so this will be brand new territory for me. I will start my trip in Mali, visiting the villages of Menie and Folona in the southeastern part of the country to see the schools that buildOn built with the funds we raised through Passports with Purpose last December. I will spend a night in each village and visit with buildOn staff in the nearby city of Bougoni. I’ll also stop in the capital, Bamako, and possibly head up to Segou and Djenne, depending on the current security situation.
Then, I will move on to Burkina Faso for a week on my own. I’ll stop in Bobo-Dioulasso first and then make my way to the capital, Ouagadougou, before heading back to Chicago. I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll see and do in Burkina Faso, but I’m excited to figure it out!
Do you have any recommendations for me for Toronto, Bulgaria, Mali or Burkina Faso? Please share below!