Travel and travel related adventures have been an integral part of my life since birth. At age one we motored west from Virginia in a 1951 Chevy convertible that dad got on the cheap because it had been under water after a hurricane.
Between then and the year that I got my drivers license there were innumerable “vacations” from Virginia to Michigan, Virginia to Alabama, Arizona to Alabama, Tennessee, and Michigan, and a few up the west coast. In between were epic moves from North Carolina to Virginia, from Virginia to Michigan, Michigan to Arizona, Arizona to New Mexico, New Mexico to Michigan, and from Michigan to Arizona. As an adult my moves entered on Arizona and New Mexico but there were more than a few.
My dearest friend and I dated in a 1946 GMC, and double dated in a 1926 Ford. In thirty plus years of vacations together we have traveled from Colonial Williamsburg to Vancouver, from San Diego to Copper Harbor, Michigan. On occasion we flew. Once and awhile we rented a car and once we took the train. More often than not, however, we drove, and in the finest of family traditions, usually in well used vehicles such as the twenty-year old, $350 Oldsmobile and a trip to San Francisco, or the twenty-five year old Impala and the adventure up the west coast of California and Oregon.
Little if any of this experience has prepared me for the pending adventure to the Netherlands in January. The veritable maze of details that range from contents of carry on bags to rain gear, deciphering the intricacies of modern travel (e-tickets?), currency exchange, and the need to almost completely abandon a lifetime of experience gained in more than five decades of epic cross country adventures leaves my head spinning.
However, stepping beyond the normal, moving beyond a well padded comfort zone, that is key if an adventure is going to sharpen the mind, stimulate the senses, and fill one with eager anticipation tinged with apprehension. It is adventures such as these that broaden the horizons and expand the scope of thinking.
At this juncture it should be noted that even though we relish adventures such as this one, we draw the line at bungee jumping and sky diving. There can be a fine line between adventure and, well, you fill in the blank.
Fortunately we have a number of friends at the other end of the trip that will shepherd us and ease the transition, and to answer questions. That is a blessing on a number of levels.
Now, I know that for a number of our friends international travel is one step removed from taking the bus across town. For us, however, it is a grand adventure that is almost, but not quite, on par with planning a trip to Mars.
If your planning an epic transcontinental adventure in the near future, and need questions answered, here are a few links for sites that I have found to be helpful. I also suggest asking friends, don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions.
There is a distinct difference between ignorance and stupid. Ignorance is a manifestation of not having knowledge. That can be corrected with education, casting aside pride and asking stupid questions, and experience.
Stupid is incurable and possibly fatal. A primary symptom is taking pride in ignorance and feebly attempting to mask it with faked knowledge.