The drive from Athens to Delphi was long and hot in our un air conditioned car, which was not much bigger than a car shaped suit. We passed up a couple of viewful mountain tavernas at the beginning of the trip, then found ourselves in a wide, baking valley where, now ravenous, we ended up eating cheese pies (surprisingly delicious, actually) outside a gas station.
We arrived at Delphi during peak afternoon heat. The site was thrilling high in the mountains with powerful views that surely helped inspire the world to believe the words of the oracle who sat here. But by the time we had hiked all the way up to the stadium, we were beaten down by the heat, sun, dust and long drive. We were dirty, sweaty and hungry, dangerously close to cranky and running low on fun. Read more.
Dig those crazy tourists
Tourists are crazy.
This occurred to me, during a recent trip to Switzerland, moments after shooting a photograph of my own foot next to a large slug.
This really was an extraordinarily large slug, one of the biggest I'd seen during this trip, and I'd seen quite a few. Slugs seem to grow larger in Switzerland than in the U.S. Too much chocolate, perhaps.
I decided to photograph this slug with my foot alongside it to give the viewer a sense of scale. As I focused the camera, I sincerely believed somewhere in my world was someone who would want to see a picture of a very large Swiss slug.
The second the shutter clicked, however, the delusion evaporated and the truth dawned on me: Nobody would ever be interested in my slug photo and tourists are crazy. Read more.
I told me so
Every now and then I get talked into doing things I don't want to do.
I subscribe to the philosophy, articulated by former Texas governor Ann Richards, that unless it is illegal, immoral or life-threatening, you should never turn down a new experience. But at the same time, I've lived long enough to have pretty solid ideas about what I will enjoy and what I won't.
When a friend told me a visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina simply had to include a hang gliding lesson, I was skeptical. I don't like heights and I don't like velocity and I was pretty sure I wouldn't like hang gliding, despite the fact that the first lesson wouldn't take me more than a few feet off the ground if I were lucky. "You'll love it once you try it," I was assured by people who had tried it.
I didn't believe that, but since the rest of my traveling companions were gung ho about it, and since we were near the very spot where the Wright Brothers made history by proving man could fly, I grit my teeth and agreed to give hang gliding a try. Read more.
Is this trip a good idea?
Traveling together for the first time can be tricky. I've taken trips that have cemented friendships and trips that put cracks in other friendships' foundations. Travel can be taxing- expectations plus expenses, stress plus scheduling, intimacy plus unfamiliarity. The shared experience can take your relationship to a higher level or be a series of irritations that put a blister on the friendship as sure as those new walking shoes are causing a bubble to rise on your heel.
I've come up with some questions to consider with your travel partner(s). Read more