Possibly the least personal and most tangible goal of the bunch is my wish to document at least one hundred species of snakes, and fifty species of miscellaneous animals. Of course, sometime in my life I hope to discover just one species new to science, I highly doubt I would be able to accomplish that on a trip such as this, where my attention isn’t utterly devoted to the scientific aspect, and I don’t have the proper paperwork to actually conduct a field expedition.
Aside from the vague attempt at one hundred species, there are certain animals I look forward to finding and learning more about–species like the olm (Proteus anguinus), a cave-dwelling salamander that lives in the caves of southeast Europe that has been reported to be able to survive without food for the length of ten years, is blind but for a minor sensitivity to light, and has the ability to sense weak electric fields; or the dragon, tuburcle, or javan mudsnake (all common names for Xenodermus javanicus), a rare, fascinating snake that no one knows much about that has strange scalation, unknown origins, and and is just about the coolest snake I have ever seen (there happens to be a couple of good pictures of it on Google, since someone made the illegal mistake of bringing it from SE Asia in a misguided attempt to breed it a number of years ago without understanding the species at all). There are others, but those two are the highlights of my trip, and the challenge of searching for the dragon snake positively gives me chills!
The main problem of this goal are the laws against trapping or even handling indigenous species in certain areas. Plenty of places won’t even allow you to touch an animal without a permit unless it’s in self defense. That includes dead creatures as well. This calls for a lot of research in the laws and availability of permits for each country to make sure I don’t wind up in a foreign jail for being overzealous.
Friends! Meeting people around the globe, gathering countless stories from different cultures, and building relationships with people that either end with our parting or last forever. I want to be social, friendly, and open to others–something I only do in forced situations right now. I’ve never been known to take the first step, to introduce myself, or to talk first when not spoken to. I’m a follower, not a leader–except when I’m by myself–and it’s something I long to change.
The reason for these goals is to help me shape my trip by understanding the full purpose behind it. Without goal number four, I could have taken a completely different route, because I wouldn’t feel the need to travel through countries with a heavy concentration of reptiles. Without goal number five, I could remain a recluse in my journey, burying my nose in my mock research. I think it’s important to understand the why behind the travel, especially if you’re merely looking for yourself. If you don’t, you’ll miss opportunities, zip by the places you should slow down for, and may lose the key to yourself entirely.
So, why do you travel?