Will I ever see a baboon in the wild?

Yesterday, I listened to Fado music for three hours while I put together an article about all the magical cities in Portugal. I didn’t understand a single word of it but felt compelled to sway in my chair as though it was all I’d ever listened to my entire life. Something about the way they sang, combined with the music that was at once dark and lively, spoke to me in a way I didn’t expect it to. I want to walk through the vibrant cities of Portugal, eat fish jerky from a vendor by the beach, and feel the sun shining on my bare shoulders. I want hopeful Fado artists to play their music with open guitar cases. I want to give them all I have in my wallet.

I want to see Sintra, the vibrant Pena Palace high on its hill and encircled by clouds.

I like to learn new things, and for my “job” I do every day. Unfortunately, the biggest lesson I’ve walked away with is that I am so inexperienced. I haven’t seen shit. I’m getting older, time is running out, and there is no clear picture of how I can become truly knowledgable about the world. I could put together impersonal articles for years and say absolutely nothing at all, because at the end of the day, I know nothing at all.

For some reason, I started thinking about all the baboons I’ve seen in my lifetime, keeping track on one hand how many of them were messing around with their genitals. All in captivity. Same with the bonobos, who I’ve only seen once. The females propped their backs against their glass enclosure and touched themselves lazily, avoiding eye contact with all the assholes trying to get their attention. I was one of the assholes. But I couldn’t help it. How else would I ever see these animals unless they hadn’t been collected and placed close to where I live for my personal entertainment?

Suppose you should find yourself lucky enough to hit a Polynesian Island transformed from its native glory to serve rich white people looking to get away from their stressful lives. You have the opportunity to don a scuba suit and watch humpback whale mothers floating through the crystalline waters with their newborn calves. Doesn’t that sound incredible?

In the Maldives, there is an island called Vaadhoo that glows blue at nighttime.

The average cost of a trip to The Maldives is $2,500 per person.

Don’t even get me started about fucking Bolivia, dude. There is a 4,000 square mile salt flat formed by the evaporation of prehistoric lakes. When it’s dry, the salt shines a blinding white in the sun, a vast expanse of cracked, flat earth punctuated by hundreds of naturally formed sculptures. But God, when it rains, the sky reflects itself perfectly off the water. You can walk on the sky, or feel like you are, anyway.

There’s a motherlovin’ green lake (Laguna Verde). Debris from a collapsed volcano created a crater. Over time, rainwater filled it up, mixed with a bunch of minerals to create the emerald green hue that changes saturation depending on how hard the winds mix the sediments.

And a pink one (Laguna Colorada). Endangered flamingos hang out and eat the abundant plankton living in the water.

Neither are great for humans to swim in. I like that.

I have never in my life learned this much about our planet and all its wonders. For the past ten years, I’ve been so focused on United States National Parks. Even in the U.S., there’s more than the parks. There are national monuments. Historic sites. Dinosaur bones. Hidden gems in every state. And for fuck’s sake, there are national parks all over the world. UNESCO world heritage sites. There is so much to see. So much to learn. So much to do.

In January, school loan payments start back up. Just a reminder, guys.

Anyway, it’s 11/11. Make a wish.

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