Years of travel around the world and this is what itâ€™s come to. Slogging it, roughing it, toughing it out. All the trials and tribulations, discoveries and inspirations will soon be handed to me on a silver spoon, courtesy of the organized tour. It wasnâ€™t completely unwittingly that Iâ€™ve painted myself into this corner, no actually I was pretty compliant, but itâ€™s only now that the gravity of my lackadaisical apathetic attitude has hit home.
Soon Iâ€™ll embark on a form of travel that while status quo for many is as alien as the moon Titan to others. The â€œpackage tourâ€, even saying it I feel stomach acid backing up my esophagus. The antithesis way of the â€œLonely planeteerâ€ and independent travelers everywhere. Rick Steves would furrow his brow in consternation. Yet this is also the manner of world travel for the masses. Mindless, simple, and in my case disturbingly cheap.
How could this have happened?? Really easily. A friend said they found a really good deal to China and was I interested in going. The price was right, and Iâ€™ve traveled with my friend successfully before so I said â€œSure why not?â€ I had no other travel plans on the horizon, wrote the check and handed it and my passport over for visa service.
Then some time later after the deed was done it hit me. Dude youâ€™re going to be schlepping around with God knows whom. My mind started to reel. Air-conditioned â€œTourâ€ busses to all the worst touristo trappos! A vision of obese pasty legged, poorly dressed Americans with loud clothes and louder voices all together in one large gaggle, and the worst part is Iâ€™d be part of it!! Remain calm, think, think, think. Surely there must be a way to survive this with my dignity and sanity intact and maximize enjoyment of a wonderfully historic and culturally diverse country.
Another fundamental pitfall is that my companion and I share a very different philosophy with regards to travel. Iâ€™m more of the K.I.S.S. and winging it, and she needs a bit more structure with amenities. This in and of itself is not really harbinger of doom. In fact itâ€™s actually been the basis in the formation of a happy medium on more than one occasion. The potential for doom does exist but usually alcohol has to be added to the formula for real trouble to occur.
Ok so what will be my approach? Damn good question, as Iâ€™ve never toured before. I figure Iâ€™ll stick to my aforementioned method and will as we were taught in Kung fu keep fluid. Will I wear the safety orange beanie or follow the flag? No, and only if I really must. Will I strike off on my own and wander the streets and markets in the wee hours of the morning looking for an out of the way gin mill? You bet.
Every part of this tells me that Iâ€™ll feel like a fish out of water, but therein lay the basic challenge. It aint the way Iâ€™m supposed to or want to do it, but I figure Iâ€™ll do my best to be a bastard all the while and make the best of it. At the very least it gets me out of the house.