Friday, September 08, 2006

Deep Travel Thoughts

The following article is one I read from the travel junkie website. I found it inspiring. One day I plan on taking the Plunge. For now I need to work & raise kids ..and thats all great also.. ..but I am keeping myself in great shape so that I am still able to take the plunge when I get a bit older. (not a lot older.. feel it getting closer) ..but that's how things go sometimes.. and I'm just flowing along with it.. Thank God there's the internet to keep my mind wandering & entertained until then.

Have a most spectacular and beautiful day! : )

article url -

Deep Travel Thoughts

by Jon Guidroz and Tom Parker / Published January 30, 2006 at 8:55 am

Jon and Tom, two habitual travellers currently on-the-road, try to capture the experience, the feeling, the power of international travel.

Jon Guidroz
New Orleans
Age: 24
Professional Vagabond
Last spotted in Uganda, flying a plane over Lake VictoriaDeep

Thoughts by Jon:

What is The Plunge? It's fair to say that The Plunge separates the recreational from the habitual traveler. Twenty four hours ago I arrived in Lima, Peru and I'm buzzing with wanderlust.

As I write this, I haven't yet seen Machu Picchu. I haven't hang-glided above the cliffs of Peru's Pacific coastline or scaled the picturesque snow-capped Andes. Not yet....but The Plunge is full on.

The Plunge is different for every traveler. For me it's the insane experience of exiting customs alone and negotiating a crowd of men yelling TAXI! It's bargaining in a foreign tongue to get a ride to a place unknown. It's arriving at a hostel to find out you will be sleeping in the extra bed in the back of a guy's house.

You can only grasp The Plunge by going with the flow; eyes, ears, and mind open to the world. In essence, it is sensory overload in a debonair state of being.

Like a head-rush on the first roller coaster ride of a day at a theme park, the first day of travel offers a potent dosage of helplessness and excitement. When properly harnessed, the buzz of The Plunge acts as a saltine cracker does when dropped in a bowl of chicken soup: soaking up and incorporating the intricate flavors of the travel stock. It is during this time that we being to embrace the differences of another world.

We are reminded that it's okay, even encouraged, to park on the sidewalks. Accepting that, in Peru, it's cars first, then people when crossing an intersection. Trying to figure out how to write your journal entry on a keyboard where the button for the plus sign gets you ?

Today I had a snack at a little street-side table. Early Madonna played over a rustic speaker in the background. Industrious men with brooms meticulously cleaned the street as tiny cars zoomed and swerved by, as if they were terrified or disgusted by the Material Girl. (There's something unique about enjoying an enchilada to "Like a Virgin"... I encourage you to make it happen in your life).

The main reason it is impossible to capture the experience of international travel is because it is futile to describe The Plunge. It is even trite to attempt it here because The Plunge is impervious to characterization. Some of the most vivid and fascinating moments will sound inconsequential in an email and appear mundane as a JPG file. While educational, reading a hundred books on a country's culture while watching The Discovery Channel's special a dozen times, will still pay little homage to the personal experience of throwing yourself into a foreign land. It's a special moment and, like that first beer the alcoholic has, The Plunge is what hooks us habitual travelers.

Jons tip:
Pull the plug and get out there! So many people obsess over preparations they become discouraged and overwhelmed. Remember that even in the most basic of cities you can purchase toothpaste and aspirin. Take the leap, don't delay!

Tom Parker
Age: 28
Professional Actor
Last spotted in India, dancing in a Bollywood film

Deep Thoughts by Tom:

One meets the most extraordinary people while traveling. You may spend as little as a couple of minutes with them, but they can change your life and linger in your memory forever. Some become, as my friend Summer phrased it, new and always friends.

On a hot afternoon in Fes I returned to the hostel and spied Leigh-Ann, my friend of four days who I felt like I had known for a lifetime She was talking to an Australian woman. I watched captivated and paused to admire how beautiful they both looked. They appeared to be deeply content and emanated their own personal light.

I approached them and learned that they were talking about, what the Australian woman called ‘traveler?s glow.’ She observed that people who?ve been traveling for a while have a glow about them, an aura. They were, in fact, talking about the very thing I had secretly appreciated in them just moments ago.

Travelers possess a confidence, a serenity, a focus, and a passion. Their glow radiates from their soul and their heart, and those around them can sense it.

They carry with them, almost tangibly, their experiences and discoveries, and the ways in which they?ve learned from them.

The women wear loosely flowing skirts, flip-flops, and well loved, thinning cotton t-shirts. They wear the talismans of their travels - henna hands and legs, necklaces, rings, anklets, and bracelets adorned with bright, exotic stones. Their hair has a tousled look. Their skin is radiant and soaked in sun.

The men wear hiking shoes and trekking-pants. A protective stone or medallion around their neck here and there. Their eyes have faint crows-feet from dirt or sand or sun. Their hair and beards have not been trimmed; they grow them with pride, signifying their desire for a more earthly existence. They are free from societal pressures and obligations of work, money, and conventional notions of ‘success.’

Travelers are strong and durable from carrying their lives on their backs, yet their walls are down and they approach life with open hearts and minds. Their quest is one of discovery and immersion. They understand something new about the human experience and recognize their place in the world.

My friend Chad says of travelers: ‘They are the lucky ones’ to have taken the time to truly experience what the world has to offer. It isn't for everyone, and some do not have the opportunity, but a combination of opportunity and willingness puts them in a sacred group with some responsibility, I believe, to humanity.

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