Interesting recent article forwarded by Joe Lex to *Events*, “The Tao of travel: Enlightenments from lives on the road” by Paul Theroux.
The road as cathartic has been addressed previously, most notably in Kerouac’s “On the Road”, recognized by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels. The potential for adventure begins by physically and metaphorically departing routine with the lure of what might be, not what is. Many have paid with their lives following that siren song.
I’m susceptible to that attraction.
Despite all the hassles, I truly love to travel. There’s a Zen to travel that resonates with me, always has. If I can get a compatible traveling companion that’s nice but I don’t mind traveling alone and I frequently do. I’ve traveled with females in the past and I have enjoyed that too, but the females in my life aren’t interested or are too busy with other activities anymore so I’m pretty much on my own.
I’ve looked for reasons to travel my whole life, sometimes going long distances for a relatively quick look-see. I have a short span of attention and I tend to bite off large chunks to get it all in. On a typical trip, I’ll usually try to see as much as possible in the amount of time available, which means I’ll rush around, scope out things, take photos and move on. There’s always too much to see so I’m usually exhausted on return and need a vacation from my vacation. I hate to miss anything.
I don’t mind getting stalled in airports, as now with my iPad I can stay in touch with the Internet and read a multiplicity of books. Frequently the only time I get to read much for pleasure. Otherwise, of late I only have one other requirement; I only travel Business Class (or First for domestic) for trips over two hours. I just refuse to put up with the hassles of flying “coach” (the flying sardine can). I can check into a First Class Lounge pre- and post-flight, get chow, booze and a comfortable seat. First on and off the plane, comfortable seat with lots of things to do. I won’t even discuss Coach anymore. If I don’t get Business or First, I don’t go.
There aren’t too many places in the world I have not been at one time or another. I’ve seen Lenin’s leathery face in Moscow, drove a Trabant in East Germany, purchased a real star sapphire in Rangoon before it was Myanmar, perched on a camel in the Sahara, climbed on mountain ice in Nepal, climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, Waded the surf in Rio de Janeiro, sipped wine at a corner café in Paris with a beautiful woman, Wandered the crooked streets of Kowloon, viewed atomic bomb ruins in Hiroshima, boated up the Amazon to the opera house at Manaus and many others.
I’m not done yet. I might tour the North Island of New Zealand and go back to Morocco through Gibraltar on motorcycle. San Diego to Cabo isn’t out of the question. Tres Hombres continues to toss around the potential for Alaska via the Trans-Canadian highway. My bucket list includes the Orient Express, motorcycling though Siberia and others I haven’t even thought of yet.
Accordingly, FYI, another really interesting trip in the works. Have to be in Manchester, UK anyway end of this month. During that trip, I have reservations to tour a Concorde at Manchester Airport. Afterward, I’ve put together a side trip to Kiev, and then to tour the ruins of Chernobyl including some of the nearby villages. Following that, a three-hour trip south to the Russian ICBM Missile Complex Control Center (out in the middle of nowhere). Right out of Dr. Strangelove, twelve stories below ground, connected to twelve ICBM missile silos, said to be the ones that probably would have been fired had the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated to war. I can sit at the seat and push “the” button.
Give me an iPhone, iPad, backpack and a Business Class Ticket and I’m on my way. Be prepared for “Postcards from the road” if you like. Maybe I’ll come to your town 🙂