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the traveler

January 15, 2009


Truth be told, I’m not a fly by the seat of your pants, go with the flow, laissez-faire, leave things to chance kinda girl.  I’m the girl with a plan, a thousand to-do lists, a map and a compass to help me navigate this world.  I like to be in control, I like to know what I’m doing and where I’m going.  So the fact that I’ve barely begun planning my trip is a little unsettling.  People have been asking me “Sooooo.  Where are you going?  Whatcha doing?”.  And the answer, invariably remains the same.  “Well… I was thinking Italy or Spain… oooh…. but Morocco sounds nice and then there’s all of Asia.  Have you ever been to Croatia?

Sure, the plans are slooooowly coming together but the way I’m going about this trip is so uncharacteristic.  One might say it is the opposite of planning.  It’s like planning’s rebellious ornery little sister.  It’s not for lack of interest… justement, there is too much interest, too many places to choose from.  I’m like the gnome in this photo, wide-eyed at all the choices, as if I may never travel again.

But ultimately, I think it boils down to this… the whole point of this trip is to break the mold, to fight the fear and dust off old patterns that are still hanging around like pesky unreachable cobwebs in the corners of my mind.  And the only way I can do that is by letting go (even though it’s about as comfortable as wearing a sweater 3 sizes too small, tearing at the seams in resistance).  I want to go without any expectations because we all know where expectation street often leads… strait to disappointment avenue, people.  I want to go with an open heart and mind.  Sure, I’ll be smart and I will plan some things, book tickets and contact people but I’m also leaving a big old window open for chance to fly in.  Listening to the signs on the wind waves and seeing where they take me.  It’s already beginning.

I can’t put my finger on what I’m looking for on this trip, but these quotes do a pretty good job of putting it into words.

The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience.  The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him.  He goes sight-seeing.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac


And of course, lucky Wilbur will be by my side through it all, protecting me.  Don’t let the cute face and curly-q tail fool you.  He’s a kung fu master and will take you down if he feels threatened in the least.   wah-paaaaaah!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2009 9:30 am

    I’m sure you will have a fantastic and enriching time no matter where you go. Do youplan on blogging while you are away or is this a computer-free journey?

  2. January 15, 2009 10:57 am

    Summer 2001. After a crashcourse learning basic spanish, I leave, a single paksac on my shoulder, for a 3 months trip alone to Ecuador.
    “Off the beaten tracks” was the thematic for this trip. Sure I had a lLnely Planet (what an ironic name for the one most popular travel guide… following these trails are nothing but lonely). I was going to travel thoughout the country through a small organization: “ecotracker”. You get a list of people to contact on site (small, very small villages). You sleep in their “house”, they feed you, in exchange you help, whatever there is to do in the village/ around the house.
    It led me to live and connect with people, but after a while, even this seemed framed.
    The first time I really got “into the wild” side of traveling was by mistake. An awesome british girl met in La Tolita and I decided to take a boat (canoe with a small engine) for 6 hours up a river to a Mission where they would welcome lost tourist, the LP mentionned. We got there only to learn that the Mission had moved out some five years before (weird since our LP guide was dated/printed from that year). Basically, a small village had formed there, a village that had a little something uncomon: more or less a full orchestra. People welcomed us anyway, we ended up staying there for a couple of days, one of the highlight of this trip.

    The second time i got off the grid, litterally, was premidited. I was in Maracas, the city that goes the deepest into the jungle on the West side of the country. From there I really wanted to get lost and, most importantly, go paperless. I left everything, passport, cards, pen & paper, most of my stuff was dumped into a locker. With me, a bit of cash, some clothing, my malaria pills. Took the bus for 8 hours through the jungle and after some time, military checkpoints from the border with Perou were intensifiying and since I didn’t have any identification whatsoever, I decided to get off on the shore of a big river (perhaps I was also scared and wondering how the bus would manage to cross it on that little sketchy train-boat). I was told there was a large community of natives. A dingy ride later, I was told that I was not welcome to the tribe. The guy from the dingy boat mentioned another family, a couple with 6 children, was also living nearby, and this is where I ended for a few days. I helped with the banana plantation, I ate those big white stuffy warms that we see on Fear Factory.

    Long story short, yes, having no plan might be the best plan as when it comes to expose yourself to new adventures…

    N.B.: On my way back to Maracas, in the midst of the night, the bus stopped. I thought someone had a nature’s call. We simply ran out of gaz. We waited for hours.

  3. January 15, 2009 11:15 am

    Oh… and about being in control and not go with the flow, I can only think of:
    Do you believe in fate, Neo?
    Neo: No.
    Morpheus: Why not?
    Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.


  4. Christina permalink
    January 15, 2009 11:32 am

    You go girl! ….is that saying still ‘IN’? Anyhow, I’m sticking to it!

  5. January 15, 2009 4:40 pm

    oooeeee!!! Exciting!!!

    take out the map…close your eyes…twirl…put your finger on the map…buy the ticket online…and go on your adventure! xx

  6. Frannie permalink
    January 15, 2009 6:17 pm

    I am so excited for you and can’t wait to find out where you go and hear about your adventures. You ROCK!

  7. Amy permalink
    January 16, 2009 8:43 am

    Hello! I’ve been lurking around enjoying your blog for a few months now, and since your post touched on my passion in life – ****travel!!!**** – I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes with you. I hope it resonates with you and inspires as you plan for this adventure! I know that the more I travel, the more this wonderful world offers me. Travel has given me the inspiration and power to come back after a trip, and grow and transform my life in miraculous ways. You are such a creative soul and I wish the same for you!

    “I prefer to think of the end of exploring as an invitation to return to my origins and transform them. The transforming angel: you go out, far out, and when you return, you have the power to transform your life.”

    Frances Mayes, A Year in the World

  8. January 16, 2009 11:23 am

    My antidote to the illusion of control: Gamma Ray Burst. Look it up. One could come flying out of deep space and hit planet earth at any moment, annihilating all life in an instant. The size of your sweater would be totally and completely irrelevant.

  9. January 16, 2009 12:53 pm


    How absolutely wonderful.

  10. January 16, 2009 11:49 pm

    ah a lovely mysterious wonderfully free trip. go go with that wind. enjoy breathe it ALL in. may you have clear skies. i wish i had traveled so much more. i envy (yes a little green here) your opportunity. so if you don’t mind i will live a little vicariously through you, oh and wilbur.

    have F U N

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