Near the Old Man of Storr, Scotland I took this in 2004

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why I adore travelleing!

So, dear readers, with a lovely mid-winter snow effect, is this the right word,(?) upon us, after that bizarre faux spring weather, post-Groundhog, we welcome President Obama today to Ottawa. Good on him, I say, for coming! Now on to the nitty gritty: why do we travel? I usually know why I travel, the reasons, or the lack of them. ( see my All about Colombia story. ) Travel is amazing. For me it's THE thing that truly gives me whirly-dizzy butterflies in my stomach, and that's just in the beginning stages of planning for a trip.

I love the thrill of going, and not really knowing what it is I'll be in for, so more times than not, I travel map-free.

I've seen a bear up north, which was both incredible, and sad, because s/he was in a dump, and Moose in Algonquin. The Northern lights in Grundafjordor, Iceland, a Mafia funeral in Naples, and I even took a photo! And if you think Naples is a third world city, wait till you see Colombia. I've been whale watching off the coast of Maine, and eaten raw shark, an Icelandic "delicacy", ok, I spit it out, because to all intents and purposes it smelled and tasted like rotting eggs, dogs droppings and hmm, what else? Anything vile I couldn't even imagine.
I've seen the unglamorous side of bull fighting in the south of France. I've climbed mountains in Scotland, Iceland, Italy and America. I've seen a tarantula walk past me, quite casually, in the outdoor lobby of a hotel in Cuba, and toucans roosting on a tree branch in the jungle of Costa Rica.
I've seen the greenest, flattest land that I didn't think really existed save for in the creations of those old Dutch painters, in Holland. I've slept in a hostel that was formerly a morgue in Glasgow; I found this out well after I left it, and had one of the best sleeps ever! Yes, I
did sleep like the dead :). I've seen the Mississippi in St. Louis and I've been to East Cleavland; I watched as a dock filled with men, some young, some children with their fathers or brothers, but most were very old sat and fished for their dinner as the sun sank quickly. Poverty is a difficult equalizer.

I've eaten the best pizza in the world, in the birth place of pizza: Naples, made in the traditional way from Buffalo milk mozzarella, and all the while, packs of starving dogs would follow me, begging, I of course fed them, but my heart hurts, and still does.
I've seen a dead deer splayed across a northern Ontario highway, and I've also seen a family of white tailed deer with babies in tow, and a great blue heron hiding in the reeds of a swamp , and turtles both crossing the road, and sunning on water lilies.

In other words, I could say I've seen some truly spectacular things, which is true, but, more to the point, I observe things with my whole entire self. As I writer, I pay attention to the wonders and details of everyday experiences, especially when I am out of my everyday life and somewhere new.

travelling with all our senses can be both wondrous and painfully difficult, but all the same, it's life, unedited.

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