When did our blood run so thin?
One of the unavoidable hazards of adventure travel is Uncle Henry. Uncle Henry is the friend of a friend who knows a guy who had an awful disaster befall him because he a) was riding a motorcycle, b) was visiting a place outside the U.S., or c) ate or drank something that wasn't processed and wrapped in 3 layers of plastic.
Uncle Henry is well versed in the ways of the world and knows that the only safe place to visit is Disneyland. They speak our language, serve familiar food, and take money that isn't weird looking. He always says “murdercycles” instead of motorcycles and is sure that all riders should carry organ donor cards.
Uncle Henry once had a motorcycle but, as he tells it, “This guy came out of nowhere and scared me so bad I ran off the road and crashed. I sold that bike the next day and haven't gotten near one since. Any damn fool can see how dangerous they are!” He thinks MSF stands for Mighty Stupid Freaks.
As for travel Uncle Henry is sure that if he wanted to visit Italy or Germany he would visit Epcot Center where they are only a few steps apart and everyone speaks English. The Sphinx and the Eiffel Tower are in Las Vegas, everyone knows that too!
I could go on but I'm sure you get my drift. We all know the well meaning friend, relative, or acquaintance who drives a Camry and uses hand sanitizer by the gallon. They can't understand why anyone would want to go to Mexico. If the banditos don't get you the narco-terrorists certainly will. And god forbid you should drink the water! We should all wear earth tones and stay close to home. Travel, if it is to be done at all, should be in carefully orchestrated tours and cruises where the experiences are all precisely orchestrated for maximum enjoyment. Stay with the herd, there's safety in numbers.
It is tiresome to listen to their small minds and little voices but, ironically, there is often a look in their eyes that a suppressed spirit exists within them that yearns to be free.
I wonder when it was that the spirit of adventure and discovery left so many of them. When did safety become the new religion? When did we trade the family station wagon bound for the wonders of the road for a Volvo that promised to save us from ourselves? Sure, we mocked the phony wood grain panels on the sides but what kid didn't love to ride in the “way back” and pretend that the trip was all their own?
Let the herd stay at home and watch the phony reality shows on TV. There are beautiful places to visit and wonderful people to meet. It's easier to get mugged in New York City than in the villages of Mexico. We're all going to die no matter how much granola we eat or how many Volvos we buy. What's the point of a long life if you're bored to death?
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