Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What if you traveled to another country, left the airport, and just started wandering? Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration of what I'm up to here, but ever since I read John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charlie", I've had a bit of wanderlust that I just have to get out of my system. Back in the '60's, Steinbeck loaded his pickup truck and camper and, together with his dog Charlie, set out to explore the U.S., trying to get an idea what the country and the people were all about. Now he did have something of an itinerary - taking a lap around the U.S. and avoiding interstate highways and major cities, but it made me start fantasizing about a trip with no itinerary. What if you loaded up the camper and just started driving each day, letting your intuition be your travel guide? I fell in love with that idea and thought that I would like to try it one of these days.
So what does that have to do with wandering in Spain? My wife and I will be leaving for Spain shortly and we do have something of an itinerary. We'll be spending a week in Madrid and Barcelona. We own a Mediterranean restuarant here in California, so I'm sure that we'll spend a good deal of time exploring the restaurants and tapas bars of those two cities. We have a little difference of opinion on the merits of visiting churches, museums and historical sites, but I'm sure that we can strike some sort of a compromise on that matter. Our main goal will be to just soak up the Spanish culture and ambiance and see how far we can get with our high school Spanish.
After a week, Heidi heads back to California and I begin my wanderings. I've read the guidebooks and will do some last minute cramming, but I'm treating that week as an experiment in the art of wandering. What if I resist the urge to create a plan and just see what's there each day and let intuition and serendipity rule the day?
So, I'm hoping that you'll come along with me on this little journey, or experiment in traveling, if you will. Post your comments - share your travel experiences and theories about how "traveling should be done"! - Mark


Blogger toni piccinini said...

Don't know when I'll see Rome, because as soon as the plane lands we get in the car-the Boxter was nice one June-and get off the autostrada asap. We drive around sorta kinda looking at the map 'till we find a place for lunch. This is imperative. If you have lunch you can do anything.

One year on a drive through fields of grapes (looking for wine) we found a clay tennis court that was housed in a big white tent bubble. That hamlet was arguably the only town in Tuscany that was devoid of charm. It was also devoid of tourists.

So, we stayed. For days. Every mornig we had cappucino at Carlo's-the only cafe in town-and everyday the folks gathered to look at us. Reluctantly we had to leave on Wednesday, the day of the week that Carlo was closed. We hit the strada because we had to find coffee. And we did.

10:09 PM  

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