Life is a funny thing. While I prefer the rhythm of extended travel, the obligations on my calendar don’t allow for it at the moment. With that limitation, I’ve been bouncing between smaller adventures to satiate my wanderlust. With a frenetic August and September now behind me, I’m amazed at the volume of diverse experiences I crammed into such little time.
Going full steam
In just six weeks I:
- took a 10-day motorcycle trip through Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia in the midst of crushing heat and wildfires,
- turned around three days later to meet Fred and George for a six-day Seattle adventure,
- returned home to Nevada with George for a whopping two days,
- flew to Atlanta for 10 days to attend Dragon Con,
- then promptly flew back to Nevada for the Virginia City Camel and Ostrich Races.
Then I collapsed in a heap at home and slept. And slept. And slept! All of these events and travels were amazing but clearly I need to make my travels less chaotic. Disjointed yo-yo travel is hard. Historically I’ve found it far less rewarding than the arc of being on the road for weeks at a time.
In addition to the hectic pace, the disparity between all of these events was mind boggling. Transitioning from independent motorcycle travel to urban travel with the boys was challenging just by itself. Thankfully, experience helped make that obstacle more of an annoyance than a real problem.
Urban and Rural
Going directly from Dragon Con to the Camel Races on back-to-back weekends for the second year in a row is a different beast. It makes my head spin. Both events share epic quirkiness, which I love, but the differences in culture, geography, and context are shocking.
Dragon Con is as urban as it gets. Eighty thousand people descend on downtown Atlanta for non-stop events over five days. It’s a mecca of sci-fi and fantasy. It’s metal, concrete, and make-believe. The creativity and passion of the people who attend is marvelous. It’s also too much stimulation. It’s constant people and input. There’s little room for this introvert to take a necessary giant breath. But it’s a reunion with friends and a tradition for me and the boys that I wouldn’t miss so it’s a matter of learning how to manage all of the chaos.
And then, only a couple of days later, I find myself riding a camel in a rugged, historic, western, desert town of a few hundred people. It’s rural, organic, accessible. It’s wood, dirt, and animals. There’s a rugged reality to it that is hidden underneath the fun and entertainment. It’s also an event I wouldn’t miss. The people, the laughter, the tradition.
The strange common thread between the two, oddly enough, is costumes. Dragon Con is fantasy, steampunk, sci-fi. In Virginia City, it’s corsets, history, and the Camel Hump Ball. That I wear the same costume to both events is both bizarre and a comforting connection between them.
Building travel savvy
So as a traveler, are there benefits from taking on all of this in a short time? I think so. Mainly it’s knowing I can respond and adapt quickly while still enjoying myself. Any time you can travel in a different way builds a new set of skills.
The rapid succession of these eclectic travels brings a different perspective to the adventure equation. It’s a surprise bonus that helps highlight the differences, details, and value of each of them. I’m not certain that would be as apparent if it were more spread out. The experiences would lose their heightened contrast.
But this is not a pace I wish to maintain. It doesn’t come naturally to me. So until the next big adventure, I’m going to slow down a bit and give myself time to process these experiences and cement them in my memories.