Today I spent time reading people’s travel blogs. Checking out what type of people even write a blog. Sizing up the competition. Looking for like-minded souls. Admittedly, I’m years late to the blogging craze. I’ve traveled to 22 countries and only kept a handwritten journal on my first trip around Europe. Is it worth starting one now? Can I get credit for all my other travels? I’m sorely tempted to start a blog, but apparently will need a clever blog name, a theme and perhaps even an audience.
I love reading the Aussie travel blogs. For the average Australian, travel is a rite of passage. This is not the “summer in Europe” that many young Americans might lay claim to after graduation. For an Aussie, any trip under a year seems hardly worth leaving the country. Australians save up for years, quit jobs, sell homes and personal property before undertaking epic backpacking journeys spanning multiple continents. And wherever they go, they bring a wicked sense of humor and a penchant for finding a good time.
As for blogging, it does seem a little pointless for the typical one-week American vacation to Disneyland. But when you are on the open road for years at a time, it starts to make sense to chronicle one’s adventures. At the very least, a blog would provide a last known location, should the need for an international search ever arise, assuming any remaining family or friends remember you fondly enough to initiate one.
My husband Larry (a.k.a Lorenzo) has taken to the role of travel partner quite admirably. In the beginning, with his natural leanings more toward homebody than intrepid explorer, Larry approached international trips with a sense of bewilderment at the very idea of going at all. Yet, despite his initial misgivings, Larry has since joined me on many world adventures, taking him to the far-flung reaches of the globe. He has shown himself to be an observant, astute and intellectually curious traveler with admirable fortitude against the travails of travel.
A complicated bundle of contradictions, he makes for an interesting and dependable companion. He is frugal, and so wants to stretch each dollar, pound or peso, but is willing to splurge on unprecedented opportunities. He is spontaneous, and so leaves the research to me and my unquenchable thirst for travel literature, but carefully packs for all possible contingencies. As a swimmer, he is willing to explore a lot of dry places but requires a regular dunk in water – a pool or ocean preferably, but a lake or river will do in a pinch.
We travel well together because, where it matters most, we are a lot alike. We are both fastidious, tidy and careful with our things. We both want a unique cultural experience, beyond the gift-shop bound itinerary of a packaged tour and outside the sterile walls of international hotel chains. We want a comfortable place to rest our weary bodies at the end of the day, but we don’t mind if we are woken by monkeys scampering across the roof or have to plan for a hot shower between noon and two. We strive to get the most out of each day, in way that involves new experiences, but we also want time to reflect, exercise, chill out and, quite possibly, divert drastically from our carefully laid plans.