The Bird’s Word Blog
Go Before It’s Gone
There are lots of reasons not to postpone the travel of your dreams. After more than thirty years helping people prepare for adventurous explorations of far away places I have had a special opportunity to watch the world change from the perspectives of the curious would-be and actual travelers. People develop a desire to see a particular place because they read about it, see a movie or TV show, hear tales of friends or throw a dart at a map. Travel fantasies, unfortunately, often don’t make the leap to reality. “Not enough money” often evolves into “not enough time” which becomes “can’t get away from family responsibilities” and all to soon,”I am not as fit as I used to be”. That climb of Kilimanjaro or Inca Trail Trek or Everest Sherpa Trek pilgrimage all become paths not taken.
Age and fitness are not absolute limitations on travel, but sometimes the destination of fantasy changes before you can get there. Tibet is not the same place it was 20 or 30 years ago. The Kathmandu I encountered first as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 1970 bears no resemblance to the city of today. The Amazon rain forest has shrunk. You will see other tourists on your safari in any country of East Africa or your cruise to the Galapagos. All of these destinations are still worth the trip even if you “should have seen them 30 years ago.” Some are better. There are probably more animals in the Serengeti ecosystem now that at anytime in the recent past, even if there are more people observing them.
The worst excuse I hear from would-be travelers is a paraphrase of the Yogi Berra- attributed homily: “that restaurant has become so popular no one goes there anymore.” Destinations in this supposed “too popular” category include Costa Rica, Bali, Tanzania, Australia, Thailand, Galapagos and Egypt. Yes, there will be other tourists from all over the world coming and going from the same busy airport you will use. But, no, they will not spoil your experience, ruin your pictures or prevent you from having a very personal and high quality experience of the destination. Your breathtaking memories and pictures of Machu Picchu are the historical record of the “should have been there 25 years ago” tales you will tell you grandchildren.
In fact most travel destinations were great, if different, before we were born and will remain so long after we are gone. The quality of our own experience is a function of our attitude, optimism and determination to make the most of our encounter. Start checking off those places on your fantasy “must see” list before you run out of time, youth, health or opportunity. You have already run out of excuses.