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August 17, 2003

Last 10 Days

the last 10 days have been my warm up run...not too eventful, but a great lesson in traveling...

The last I posted I believe I was still in MN just after my sisters wedding. The next day was a short trip to Madison WI--my home town and home base for a bit, a short nap and then a long all-night drive to Warren PA. The trip has been smooth and fairly uneventful, which is a bummer for me and at first I thought that it might have been a better time if it had gone another way. However, as always there is a lesson to be learned.
The first three days were camping and fishing in the Allegheny Nat'l forest. The grounds we stayed at were largely unpopulated, and we even got a chance to do some backwoods camping. Not much wildlife to speak of, unless you include the family from NY that we had to endure late into the evening in the site next to us at Kiasutha campground. The family argued over literally everything, and the grandma went on and on, in a voice the bears must have been running from miles down the valley, about how badly she needed an enema. Serious. The fishing wasn't so hot, mostly cause the water was too high and also cause I forgot my fly reel, flies, and line, and had to dent the budget to get my fix.
The next couple days included a trip to Niagra Falls--oooh i love being a tourist!---which was actually pretty fun. The tours and such were what is to be expected, and I loved all the people that we met in the beer garden and the skylon bar (we wisonsinites can't pass up a good bloody mary). The most interesting part for me was watching the tourists. There were so many cultures represented there, it was like standing in a river of swirling colour and smell, and the sounds of all the different languages danced around my ears softly and pleasantly. At one point I just stood in the walkway and let the people flood around me, enjoying a moment of juxtaposed stillness.
The lesson part came at the back end of the trip. I'm usually a fairly patient person, but I started to notice that I was getting annoyed with my travel partners tendency to plan everything. Now let it be known that I've known this guy for almost 10 years, and we are great friends, so it was no big deal, really. But in my experience it has always been best for me when I plan little, and travel spontaneously just as much as I do follow some sort of itinerary. When I plan everything, and stick to it, I find that I'm concentrating more on what is coming next than where I am at the moment, and therefore am not really enjoying where I am. It kind of feels like I'm only getting a glimspe of the reality that is there in front me, and then running off in chase of the next place and time. For the last four years or so I've sort of trained myself to exist in the moment whenever possible, so it's a bit tough for me to follow a loose itinerary let alone a step by step plan. I really didn't know what to say about it, so I left it as it was and triend to make the best of it. As soon as that decision was made I realised that it was me with the problem the whole time. Everyone travels differently, and has their own little quirks and such that can make a travel relationship difficult. But I needed to realise that it was my trip as well, and there's no way to control the way another person thinks or acts, so just make the best of each moment that you have, and appreciate it for what it is...I was able at many times to enjoy each moment, and the trip has turned out to be a great success, and I believe that he and I are better friends for this journey.
So, as we are packing to head back to WI, I feel really positive about this trip, and am thankful for such a wonderful lesson...not to mention the wonderful people that I have met, and the hospitality that was given to me---(thanks Jim, Betsy, Dave, Sue, and for certain--Jeff). I also have to add that I played the best golf game I have ever played yesterday, with an ending score of 86, and a great birdie on the par five 18th hole.

Posted by Colin on August 17, 2003 10:55 AM
Category: Travel Preparations

Don't guite know what to say right now. I'm happy that, for the most part, the trip was positive. . .but, the best of friends need to let each other know if something is bothering them, and, I guess this info came after the fact, instead of during the journey. I appreciate your honesty and friendship, and I have much to think about right now. We do share a better friendship every time we experience moments together, and you have been a wonderful teacher, as well as a friend. Sometimes the lesson plan is hard for me to follow, however, and that's what makes me confused and elated. . . and hoping to keep our friendship growing through the coming years. Much love to you.

Posted by: Jeff on August 18, 2003 08:11 AM

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