I got to thinking the other day, what exactly makes for an adventure?
In my opinion, that depends on the traveler; but all it might take is something a bit exotic from the familiar that creates some sense of adventure.
(For example, can you see the pygmy seahorse in the picture?…that’s pretty damn exotic.)
While I have been reviewing my recent trip to Indonesia for SCUBA diving around North Sulawesi, an unrelated news item caught my attention and got me to thinking about how any adventure has the potential to progress from the interesting to the exciting to somewhat disturbing to potentially terrifying to making you dead.
On the lower end of Frank’s Personal Terror Index rating system, might be the surprise of walking into a toilet stall–and I use that term loosely–in the Manado airport. The picture to the left shows what I dubbed the Squat and Squirt toileting methodology.
It’s not that this is unique to Manado; we visited hill towns of Tuscany in Italy where the toilet seats weren’t.
The upside is that you don’t have to worry what disease you might catch by sitting on a strange toilet seat.
And think how you are building up your quads for the upcoming ski season: no gym membership required.
Another exotic travel characteristic is the opportunity to experience cultural differences. Some we enjoy and some we don’t.
While cigarette smoking may be limited in the U.S. to loading docks and outside of building entrances, in many other countries it is difficult to go ANYWHERE without someone puffing right next to your face. (Hey, the tobacco industry has to make a living, too, you know.)
You don’t have to like it, but you pretty much need to tolerate it since you are in their home, so to speak.
In the somewhat-to-very disturbing category of “Yuck…they really do that?!?” is the “dog trade” in Indonesia.
Click on the link if you dare but just a hint…better you leave Toto at home, especially around meal time. (The item is under: 1. Makassar)
Stepping up a notch on the “Oh my gosh, we’re all gonna die!” adventure scale, consider the story about the talented global travel photojournalist who almost lost her life on a simple bus ride in a foreign land. Alison Wright documented her damn close to death ordeal in Laos in her compelling book, Learning to Breathe. I got to meet Wright and hear her describe this trip and there was just a little too much adventure in that trip for me.
And finally, in the realm of, “Gee, I thought we were safe in THIS country, at least” is the recent story of the 11 European tourists that were kidnapped while touring in Egypt. Luckily they have been rescued but probably not without some pretty strong feelings about travel that is no longer an adventure but a cling to life. In today’s world, you just can’t be 100% certain that you can avoid a kidnapping or car bomb.
No lectures here today about proper trip planning, including the concept of “out and back” that I have mentioned before, but we all need to evaluate how much adventure we can tolerate before we start clicking our heels and chanting, “There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home…”
(Thanks to Karen Kessel for the seahorse picture.)