At a kids’ birthday party recently, I met a man that kept my attention for two hours (a feat for someone as easily distracted as me!). He kept my husband’s attention too. It was the sparkle in his eye as he told a story. It was his mental flicking-through moments filed lovingly in his memory.
This man was a traveller. Mid 70’s, he’d self-planned, self-navigated, and with his wife and family had had a raft of adventures from Bombay to Berlin. There’s a big difference, in my opinion, between travellers and tourists. Tourists like to stay in their comfort zone. They eat trusty staples from their home country, do not attempt to learn the language of their host country (and no, yelling LOUDER in your language does not help!), and think that visiting the Colosseum in Rome, or over-nighting in Bangkok means they have “done” Italy and Thailand. They pick out their vacation from a brochure, and passively “vacate”. A traveller instead actively plans their journey from a variety of sources, and searches out the authentic life and people of other places. They try to blend in, and absorb every smell, sound and moment.
We’re about to head off on a fabulous adventure for 2 months. Yes. TWO MONTHS! God bless Long Service Leave (and the Internet, allowing us to work on the move). We’ll be visiting Germany, Austria, Italy and a quick stop in China, and everything has been researched, sorted and booked mostly by myself, with a little husbandly input. We’ll have our daughters, 7 and 8 with us, so each stop will have a kid-friendly “carrot” to keep them happy. A day of church-hopping will be rewarded with gelato (of course!). And days of busy city-life will be followed by country breaks on farms.
We’ll be staying in castles. In youth hostels. In apartments, chalets and even in a cave! (Matera…look it up!) The hope is to eat at least one meal a day at “home” (most places have a kitchen…MY home!) to lower the costs, and we’re leasing a car for our whole European trip.
I’ve always loved to keep a diary, and I hope to maintain an update, and photos and videos while we’re away.
The countdown is on. Less than two weeks to go! Packing is under way. The fish is being re-housed. Our cupboards have been stripped of their summer brights.
Europa 2013. Bring it on!!!