Seven Epic Journeys [I'd like to make]

Appalachian Trail, USA (on foot)
I've been planning to do this 6 month hike with my son as his rite of passage into manhood since before he was born. I will have to take a spring semester off in 2018, fly Blaise and myself out to Georgia and start walking north 3,507 km along the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains through 14 eastern states. It will certainly be epic.

St. Petersburg, Russia to Istanbul, Turkey to La Rochelle, France (by train)
In this doubly-trans-European train journey, I would explore both the great capitals and some small villages of Eastern Europe. Then make my way from the Bosporus Strait to La Rochelle, France where Louis and Estienne Robichaux set out to settle in Acadia in the mid 17th century. The first leg of the trip would take me through Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and into Turkey. Setting out from Istanbul, I would wind WNW through Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, northern Italy, and along la côte d'azure, through Bordeaux and up to La Rochelle, France.

Western United States of America (by car)
This 10,000 km road trip would take our family through and 10 states and would probably take us 7 weeks to complete. Some highlights:
  • Montana: Glacier National Park, American Indian reservations and culture (Blackfoot, Flathead, Salish, Crow) 
  • Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park
  • Utah: Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake City (Mormon Tabernacle, Olympic Centre)
  • Colorado: Dinosaur National Monument, Denver (and it's microbrew pubs)
  • New Mexico: Los Alamos (to visit the Manhattan project), Carlsbad Caverns, Artesia (to visit my relatives), Albuquerque (and it's tex-mex food)
  • Arizona: Grand Canyon
  • California: Joshua Tree National Park, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, San Francisco (see friends), Napa Valley (drink wine), 
  • Oregon: Forest districts, Portland (visit relatives)
  • Washington: Olympic National Park, Seattle, Walla Walla (visit friends)
  • Idaho: Moscow (visit friends)

Corners of India (by train)
#11 of my Life Goals is to Ride the Train around India. I would have to somehow define what around India would be, but I think hitting the North, East, South and Western corners of the country would suffice. I would be able to see Mumbai, New Delhi, the cutoff eastern provinces, and the southern tip. The entire trip would be between 10 and 12 thousand kms. I'm told I should ride in 1st class - we'll see what the pocket book says.

Niger River (by river boat)
Beginning at the source of the great Niger River in northwest Africa in Tembakounda, Guinea, I would float northeast into Mali travelling in the rich river basin through the capital city of Bamako and the legendary outpost of Timbuktu. After coming close to the Sahara Desert and maybe even taking a side trip to experience that a bit, I would continue the float south east through Niger (and it's capital Niamey), the board of Benin and into politically unstable Nigeria. The trip would finish in the Niger Delta.

England Coast to Coast (on foot)
A friend of mine, Jon Schmuland, did this 11-15 day hike last year and I followed his journal as he did it. It is surprisingly demanding on the body. The Coast to Coast journey goes through three major natural areas in England: the Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors. These areas are reminiscent of vet and author James Herriot and the stage for Wuthering Heights (one of my least favourite reads - maybe I'll see Heathcliff's ghost wandering in the moors...).

Circumference of Australia (on motorbike)
Almost 18,000 km on a motorbike. I'm not sure I want to do this, but I could knock two of my life goals off: #12 Motorbike around Australia and #13 Climb Ayer’s Rock (Uluru) (with permission of the aboriginal people of course). My biggest concern: water and fuel. I'd probably need to pull a little trailer with extra supplies which means I'll need a bigger bike which means I'll need to spend more money. I can picture myself cruising along the coast though - I'll have to grow out my hair for this one.

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