There's something about being settled for longer than a month that gets the creative dream juices flowing, and so I bring you the fourth installment in WayWorded's most imaginative series.
This dream trip was inspired not just by being settled but by who I'm settled with. Since I arrived at the Sustainable Bolivia house more than six weeks ago, volunteers have come and volunteers have gone; the only two constants have been a young pair from Poland. I've had many chances to discuss their homeland with them, through such interesting lenses as WWII history, the once-Polish stronghold of Chicago, and Polish cinema. The more I hear, the more I'd like to head to Krakow and toss back some pivos while getting to know this often-overlooked yet fascinating country.
But why stop there? "Often-overlooked yet fascinating" describes all of Eastern Europe, in my opinion, and I'd like nothing more than to give it the attention it deserves. I'm proposing the mother of all road trips to do just that.
Map from a Cornell University Library page
The starting point would be Tallinn, Estonia's almost-Scandinavian capital that's been getting rave reviews from travelers lately for its low-budget, high-class atmosphere. From there, a southbound route takes us through the rest of the Baltic states, to Minsk and "Europe's last dictatorship" of Belarus, and finally to Kiev, Ukraine.
Next begins a series of switchbacks as we cut west to visit the fount of inspiration itself, Poland. From there, the zigzags continue, heading south and then back east to take in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria. After this, one final westward loop is necessary to swing through all six states of the former Yugoslavia (the map shown above is a bit behind the times and so is missing Montenegro), plus Albania. Finally, what better place to cap an epic road trip than a Greek island?
Twenty countries, more than 4,000 miles, up to six months on the road. Yes, being settled does fire up the imagination!
The lengthy duration dictates a start in the summer months to ride the temperate climate wave south. But the options are limitless in terms of where to stay, how long to stay there, and what various touristic, volunteer, and other activities to take on along the way.
Of course, I might need to purchase a carbon offset to ease my conscience regarding all the driving, too. But I'd be willing to do whatever it takes to realize this dream road trip.
Who's with me?