A friend who’s been following this blog, called this kind of trip, immersive. Up until that point, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but that’s the perfect adjective to describe this kind of travel. Going to the great cities of the world…visiting the great museums…seeing the world’s greatest architecture…that is one kind of travel. I know that it is rich, rewarding, enlightening and fun. I would like to incorporate some of that kind of travel into some of this immersive style.
But, for whatever reasons, at least for now, I have been drawn to this more-personal approach to experiencing new places. I want to meet people who have different lives from my own. I want to see what their everyday lives are like. I want to drive through the landscapes that they live in. I want to drive extensively on highways and back roads that take me to places I haven’t been.
And then there are these creative outlets…guitar, singing, songwriting and performing…photography…especially street portrait-photography…and country-western dancing. So, I combined all of these interests, and others (live music in small venues, horseback trail-riding, day-hikes, ethnic and regional comfort food) that pretty much allowed this road-trip to design itself. All I really had to do was begin asking myself, “Where can I go to indulge these interests?”, and the rest sort of took care of itself.
So, in my limited experience, if I have any advice, it only confirms the kinds of advice you might hear or see on programs like Globe Trekker, or Michael Palin’s, Sue Perkins’, or Anthony Bourdain’s travel shows: be open…be curious…be genuinely interested. Take nothing, and no one, for granted. Be genuinely friendly. Be respectful of others’ cultures, lives and worlds. Talk to strangers…introduce yourself to strangers…ask questions.
Be willing to have a joke, a friendly joke, made on you. If you can take a joke…and especially if you can make jokes on yourself…be self-deprecating…people will instinctively gravitate toward, and embrace, you. This is universal.
Volunteer your ignorance, and ask to be educated. People love to share what they love doing, and where they love going, with people who are genuinely interested. Be open and willing to enter your adopted hosts’ worlds on their terms.
Approach travel in these ways, and you will find worlds…and I suspect the world…opening up to you. You will meet amazing people and enjoy amazing experiences that broaden your perspectives and make you a better person.
I want to thank everyone, again, who stopped in to this blog, and supported me along the way with their interest and kind comments.
I’m going to leave you with two Toni Price songs, the first, that started off this whole adventure, and the second, from the same album. They make a nice soundtrack to the highlights photo-gallery, below.