Here's where I start to have problems.
According to this, admittedly a biased source, a draft is in the works for 2005.
I told my mom. Her reaction: "But...my...son..." She grew up with Vietnam. Paul will turn 18 in '05. He'll be a senior in high school. He's college-bound for sure, but will that be enough?
My boss, who showed me that link in the first place, laughed. His generation slipped in just in time to miss the draft, ten years too late.
The topic was brought up because a friend of his is in the National Guard. His group got called up for duty in Iraq. He made it sound like their group was one of the last possible groups of any use, so a draft couldn't be far behind. Again, biased source, but scary nonetheless.
I started wondering about my male friends, what they'd do if their number was up. Some of them will probably be too old by then--if they start with the 20-year-olds in 2005, when most of my friends will already be solidly in their mid-20s, they will probably get out of it. But if not? Who runs? Who conscientiously objects (I think nearly all my friends object)? Who just goes?
And, of course, there are still those who joined up, to pay for college or whatever other reason, and are now in Iraq or thinking they will be soon. I know a few of those, at least peripherally. How can you tolerate being somewhere and doing something that is so blatantly based on lies and wrongs? It's impossible for me to conceptualize the cognitive dissonance that must go on at some level.
I've started seriously planning this whole Asian trip thing. I just have to decide, I guess, and give people a boatload of money.
What sounds to me like the best plan would be to hang out in Kuala Lumpur for a few days with the Meeshness and Winnie before she heads back to Buffalo, then catch up with a tour in Singapore that heads up the Malay peninsula and through some Thai beaches, ending in Bangkok. A sampler platter of Southeast Asian travel seems like the best idea for me right now, so next time--and there will be a next time, if all goes well--I have a better idea what I do and don't want to see.
My alternative is to go some other time altogether and hit up a five-day plan involving cooking classes in Chiang Mai, then spend time in KL independently of any tour. But that sounds less relaxing than I'd like for this trip.
Where is Japan in all of this? I would still like to go, but it sounds a little out of the way for this trip. So perhaps another time.
Looking at the tours, it would be super fun to do a food tour of...well, actually, anywhere, but especially Thailand, India, and Vietnam. Because yum. Maybe sometime my mom and I could do that. (C'mon, mom...India gourmet tour with a visit to the Taj Mahal? You know you want to.)
2004 is to be my year of international travel, I've decided. Besides this Asia trip, mom is planning to spend a chunk of the summer in Tuscany, so of course I have to go, too. And then I'll have to travel around to, say, Spain, maybe Greece. Maybe go visit Josie in Jordan if that's feasible. I'm trying to convince Kevin he should come to Europe for a bit, too--we could go to London and try to catch a show by some band that is finicky about playing the U.S. Or the Jerry Springer opera. Hee.
And through all of this, I feel sort of conflicted about the right to travel, what it all means, am I being irresponsible, etc. I don't really know. But that's kind of why I want to go: I want to see the world differently. You know, by actually seeing it.