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Saturday, January 17, 2015

When traveling isn't an adventure

What Adventure?

A few years ago I was visiting my friends Patty and Joe in Switzerland. Joe and I were having lunch at an outdoor cafĂ© when a group of tourists approached us. One of them asked, “We heard you speaking English. Do you know where we could find something good to eat around here?”

Joe pointed out a couple of restaurants close to where we were sitting and suggested the food at all of them was quite good. The person replied, “We looked at all of them but all they have is weird stuff. Isn't there any place around here that has real food?”

Joe and I just stared at them in disbelief. What was this person doing here? Joe was embarrassed for even talking to them. I was embarrassed because they seemed to be from the U.S. He quickly suggested a place that had bland “American” food and wished them a good day.

The person's parting remark was, “Well, next time we'll go to Disneyland where everybody is polite and they serve good food.” To which Joe replied, “I'm sure everyone will be happier if you do.”

“What are these people doing here?” we asked ourselves. Why would they spend so much time and money to go someplace where they didn't want to sample the local food and culture? Sure, we all want a little comfort now and then when we travel, but these people were obviously trying to avoid it completely. Maybe they just wanted to take colorful photos to impress their friends back home. Regrettably that's all they would be taking home.

Adventure travel is listening. That's why I can never understand the people who travel with their music players plugged into their heads. What's the point? If they want to hear the same old music and the same old rhythms why not just stay home? Hearing the wind through the canyons or the crackling of rocks at sunrise is the reason for traveling, not seeing bright colored cliffs while listening to punk, funk, or new age. Nature is it's own best sound track. Sure, I hear songs while I ride. If the music is appropriate the mind will fill it in.

A generation ago it was, “Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out!” Now I think it should be

Disconnect, Get A Life, Make It Real!

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