Song of the Urban Adventurer...

   Hmmm I think I need a vacation. Haven't we all found ourselves thinking that much more often than not?  I know I sure have. I think my only problem is that my vacations are usually open-ended ones. I have lived my life on a constant string of one-way tickets and a pocketful of change.  Being somewhat of a modern gypsy it has never bothered me much that I don't have much money or possessions. I like to savor the entire experience of travel. To breathe in all of the smells... to take in all of the sights with such vivid itensity.  It is definitely a natural high to travel and see new places. To experience the unknown... sometimes with caution... and sometimes with such reckless abandon. I like to consider myself a gypsy... a wanderer... a traveler rather than a tourist. Someone who digs into the culture of a place. I am someone who wants to get to know the people and the customs of a different land than my own. It is such a thrill and one of the greatest experiences that life has to offer.

   To see a different culture and to integrate with it... we are somehow left with a new perspective... a new viewpoint to see the world. Our horizons expand and we learn to relate to all kinds of different people. That is why I take the stance of being a 'traveler' rather than a 'tourist'.

    Do you consider yourself a traveler or a tourist? A tourist is someone who wants to see all of the landmarks and 'sights'. They want to see all of the documented features of a place. Get the cool pics that will prove that they were there... and fill up the schedule with so many activities that a vacation almost becomes harder than work. And to me... that is why you see so many families walking down the street on their long-awaited vacation... the husband and wife arguing... the kids crying and fighting. they all want to do different things and see different places. There is the typical... Dad wants to golf, Mom wants to shop, and the kids want to play somewhere nice. How do we remedy these situations and give ourselves the proper time to enjoy our surroundings when we are on vacation?

Let me recommend this. Just breathe. Take your time. Enjoy the place. Relax. Sights are just sights. They shouldn't be the top priority of your visit.  Enjoy the real sights, sounds, smells, and experience right where you are at. Take it all in. That is what you are there for. To feel this place... to experience it... and to do some fun things along the way. Don't rush too much. Don't overpack your schedule... it will work against you and will turn your long-awaited relaxation into a nightmare. Remember how much you love your family and do some things together... and also have your alone times. Balance is key.

   And about the 'sights' to see... they are not always all that they are cracked up to be I guess it would depend on what those 'sights' are. If they are more of a 'view' than a 'sight'... I would be much more inclined to indulge in the experience. I prefer beautiful places rather than ones that someone else recommends just because it has some kind of historical value. I am not trying to write-off these important pieces and places of history... but I think our perspective as adventurous wanderers sometimes gets misled by peer pressure to conform in our habits.  One particular example is in Hawaii, where I lived for 10 years. I have seen countless people drive a 1/2 hour out of town to a remote location to go snorkel and see tropical fish. But little do they know that right in town is one of the best places in the world to go snorkeling. Yes it is a bit more crowded but also a hundred more times crowded with colorful fish and turtles because it is a designated marine sanctuary. In all of Hawaii I have not seen such a perfect place to see these colorful reef fish... and it is right in front of everyone's nose. Some people found out through me where to go to get the best experience. But those are the people who took the time to stop and talk with the locals. To feel the place.. and they weren't worried about going far... just about embracing the experience.

    So I recommend this: the next time you are in a foreign place... if it is a faraway country or even just a neighboring city... stop. Take in the experience. Breathe. Look around. Feel what's going on. this is a different vibe.. and a different place. Appreciate it all. The good and the bad. This is life... and we must live it with passion and let our adventurous spirit take us to exciting new realms. Aloha friends... happy and safe travels.... - Joshua