Things that are not in my immediate (or “realistically imaginable”) future: homey hostels, exciting foreign national parks, hitch-hiking with a bunch of nuns and/or watching World Cup Soccer live. Fortunately, there’s a sign for that.
I’ve decided to get a third degree. Due to the current state of the educational system in my area I have decided to get my Masters degree from a university in my hometown. This means I will be going back and living with mom and dad this summer, then doing coursework online for two years. Two years! There are fairly big costs associated with the program (upwards of $20,000), but the bigger problem is going to be time: the program has one-week breaks between each of the ten modules but no reading week, spring break or summer break. Combined with my regular work schedule I’ll either be working or studying pretty much every day of my life from July 2013 to June 2015. I’m not sure that the Mongolian Express (a lifelong dream of mine) is really equipped to meet the needs of your twenty-first century grad student.
So what does this mean? Well, I’d better take The Trip to End All Trips in Summer 2015! I will have earned it! And while grad school is expensive, I’m eligible for some financial aid that will offset the costs, and my new studious lifestyle will probably result in some savings. So I should be able to afford a celebratory graduation trip. It also means My Very First Road Trip: I will have to drive more than 1,000 kilometers each way to attend the on-campus summer sessions. I’ve never driven more than 300 kilometers before, so this is Kind of a Big Deal. Road Trip posts to follow, for sure. To get my foreign culture fix I guess I’ll just have to host more couchsurfers, cook more foods from around the world, and keep working on my Russian skills (so far I can count to one and say “минимаркет”).