Well, it’s been a bit too long since I’ve been off on a new adventure in a far away land. But that will change in April as I head down south to one of my favorite regions: Central America. As my trip to Nicaragua and Honduras approaches, I find myself getting excited for the things I love most about travel. From the people I meet to the wonderful serendipities and unplanned mishaps that invariably occur, this is what makes us fall in love with travel.
I’ve recently caught myself wondering about who I’ll meet on this next adventure. Who will be a part of this once in a life time experience with me? Where will they be from and what kind of trip will they be on? A lot of my fondest memories from my travels have been because of the people I’ve met on the road and how they’ve contributed to my experience. Traveling alone or even with one buddy, you’re going to meet people and they will be a big part of shaping your experiences because no one else has been there in that moment with you expect them. We may not know each other but we are like minded souls, all there for the same reason and we are all connected by the same passion: travel.
When I went on the 4 day Bolivia Salt Flats tour with my friend, we ended up in a jeep with 3 other people from various places around the world. While we saw and did some pretty incredible things, those 4 days traveling, eating and sleeping in the same room with my co-explorers made my experience what it was. It would have been a completely different tour had I been sharing my adventure with another group.
I have to admit, I’m not a foodie. I don’t usually take picture of my meal to post on Instagram or write restaurant reviews. I don’t like to cook and I usually don’t do much research into the national dish before leaving on a trip. But I do love to try the local cuisine, especially that of Latin America. I’ve been dreaming about tasting fresh ceviche, pouring the tangy brown salsa all over my dinner plate and even caught myself drooling at the thought of the trying the local street food in Leon. When I was in the Czech Republic last summer I couldn’t get enough of the bread dumplings smothered in gravy with a side of sauerkraut and beef goulash. And one of the perks to eating local is that its usually cheapest food you’ll find!
The Unplanned Adventures & Serendipities
As my trip approaches, I’ve been busy doing research about the country and areas I’ll be visiting as I always do. I want to know what activities there are to do, things to see and places to explore. But I also want to budget some extra time for the unforeseen adventures and last minute side trips that always seem to pop up, no matter how much research I do before hand.
I’ve found that as I travel more and more, I’m slowly changing my style of travel. I used to pack every second of my trips with as many adventures as possible. I wanted to cover as much ground as I could and see and do as much as much as I could in the time that I have. While this means I usually get to experience some pretty amazing adventures, it usually leaves me exhausted and feeling like I breezed through town with no room for last minute changes. Lately I’ve started to slow the pace down, allow for extra time and let adventures find me.
While these mishaps can be a pain in the ass and sometimes end up costing you more in time and money than you’d bargained for, they are what makes your trip an adventure. Much like the unplanned ventures and serendipities on the road, these unexpected hiccups can be looked at as a pain, but they can also lead to unexpected, yet welcome surprises. Sometimes these mishaps work out for the better and I’ve learned that when they happen, it just means my plans weren’t meant to be. In the end, this is what travel tales are made of! Like the time our jeep got a flat tire in literally, the middle of nowhere, somewhere in southern Bolivia. Or the time our boat taxi cancelled 10 minutes before he was supposed to pick us up in Tortuguero, Costa Rica leaving us stranded, and a tour company we had gone rafting with days before gave us a ride directly to our next destination.
The New Adventures
What new adventures are awaiting me when I leave for the airport? I might have read about ice climbing in Iceland but to actually try it for myself, that’s the adventure. Even though these adventures may be planned ahead of time, they are still new to me.
Seeing the stunning Taj Mahal with my own eyes was an experience that left me in awe, something that pictures in books could never have portrayed to me. Playing with howler monkeys at the an animal rescue center in Costa Rica is an experience that I had to have for myself. This is why we travel, for the new and unknown adventures, to try things for the first time and get out of our comfort zones.
What’s do you love most about travel?