If you follow my Twitter feed or have read this post on the forum, you’ll see that I’m not too happy in Denmark. Stupidly, I locked myself into a two-month lease when I arrived because I assumed it would be at least as good as Iceland, but it’s not even close. Just last week I thought, “This blows. It’s time to tighten things up. You need to make a list of all the countries you want to go to with reasons why…” and then I paused, because I know I did this before. From A Dead Bat In Paraguay:
That night I came up with a plan. With my guidebook next to me and reports of other travelers simmering in my head, I wrote a list on a napkin of the next ten cities I should visit. Next to each city I put how long I was allowed to stay in each, plus or minus a couple days. It was time to introduce a little structure and discipline or I’d never finish the trip. Instead I’d just keep getting sick in cities I didn’t care for and miss out on the ones I wanted to visit most (Rio, Buenos Aires). At the bottom of the napkin I wrote down two rules that became my new travel strategy: “Only go to a city if it has something you want to see and experience,” and, “Only stay longer than planned if you are having the time of your life. No exceptions.” I wanted these rules to last beyond the ten cities I listed, until the end of the trip.
The biggest mistake I keep making is investing too much time in crappy countries, but is that a mistake or just a normal feature of travel? Is it possible to ever eliminate going to a “bad” country? While hindsight is 20/20, commiting two months to Denmark, a place that has gotten zero positive reports, seems inexcusable, even though just a few weeks ago I felt brave for doing it.
I have to come to terms that in the year 2011 I’m not going to discover a magnificient unconquered land. I’m not going to be the first horny gringo to tap a species of women that no one knows about. I will not find the diamond in the rough. There is a reason why men repeatedly go to the same countries in South America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia, and why they don’t go to Denmark, Belgium, and Mongolia. As much as I like to think of myself as a mighty conquistador, I might as well stay in America than duplicate the experience I’m having right now in Copenhagen.
I’m curious about countries like Sweden and Germany, but Denmark has scared me straight. I’m heading east to Poland in a few weeks to begin following the path left by men before me.
I wanted to close out with a little update on some projects I’m working on:
- Argentina Compendium: This should be out in a few weeks.
- Day game book: Third draft is done. I’m still on track for a July or August release.
- Bang Iceland: I just finished the rough draft. Once it’s done, I will chop it up and release it for free on the blog. I’m hoping for a June release. Patience, please.
- Denmark guide: I don’t want to waste much time writing a guide for a country that I will advise you not to visit, but there will still be some posts about my experience that will help you in a place like Sweden or Norway.
I haven’t taken a break from the blog in over a year so I think now is a good time to do it. Check back in a week or two.