God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Unfulfilled Traveler

For years, well, since 2001, I have had a favorite travel website--as far as I am concerned it is the go to place on the net for information about traveling in Italy and many other countries. Its premise being that from fellow travelers come the best, most honest insights and advice about destinations.

Slow Travel and Slow Talk are two parts of the same animal. Slow Travel is the information partition where you find reviews, essays, road information, trip reports and a lot more stuff. Slow Talk comprises the forums which offer country specific boards, information about technology, language help and more, more, more. Travelers assist each other in planning trips, sharing information, arranging for get-togethers in far away places such as Turkey and Africa as well as well-trod (trodden?) Europe. It is a community of mostly like-minded souls--people who love to travel and who want to experience cultures a little more deeply than tour groups usually allow.

We are people who take the unexpected in stride--well, actually, thrive on the serendipity and feel that we have been blessed when those moments come. Getting lost offers opportunity, the hidden trattoria unpromoted by Rick Steves is the goal, coaxing a smile from the brusque shop keeper is a conquering moment, experiencing a cultural difference is a time of learning, making new friends promises more to come, accepting kindness from strangers reminds of brotherhood, knowing that what seems an idiosyncrasy to us is mundane for our hosts, realizing that maybe we were "taken" a little and then laughing it off becomes an achievement, sloughing off inconvenience becomes an accomplishment --these are the mindsets of those who relish travel, the new, the broadening of horizons; who know that the world is a big place and no country holds the monopoly for setting standards and defining correct and incorrect ways.

I am saddened when I read of someone who has dreams for a trip but does not prepare for what it will be--when one wants the comforts as defined by the lifestyle at home--whatever that might be, who seems to find a satisfaction in complaining and comparing. Inconvenience is a fact of travel but should not be what composes our memories.

When only looking through the prism of the known, the joys and serendipities and excitement and experiences and wonder of the unknown are excluded. Travel loses its purpose, becoming a disappointment--barren and disillusioning. Focus is spent on the inconsequential irritants that ruin the beauty that surrounds and presents itself.

Before embarking on a journey to somewhere-anywhere, it is so important to spend time researching the country, the culture, the details--determine what it is you want to see and do. What calls out to you--what are your interests? Read reviews, check out travel books, read the fine print, look at pictures, read a little history--in other words, learn something about your destination. Absorb what other people have reported and said. Pick up some clues and hints as to what to expect.

Travel is something we make happen--other people do not make it for us. I think to often people expect............

And this is why Slow Travel and Slow Talk have met the needs of so many people. We are a community of people who support, help, encourage and educate each other-- a community for both the new and experienced traveler--anyone who wants to learn, give, share and  take. We are not experts just sharers of experiences and the love of travel.


Anonymous said...

Well said,Jane!

Jane said...

Thanks, Sheri

Vicky Parrish Baylin said...

Yes, I recognize the source. :)