Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Business and Pleasure Travel From a Common Man's Perspective

The new year is traditionally a time for resolutions and starting anew. This blog is born of a challenge from my wife - stop saying you'd like to try writing someday and write now. Someday will never come. I can only honestly write about my own experience, and – as a professional with a +2500 hour/year, high-travel job and family – what I know about is airport delays, expense reports, week-long getaways with my wife, and road trips with warring children. And, as an exploration and mining geologist, work periodically takes me to some less-travelled backwaters. I also know about moving house...a lot.

Putting your words and experiences on the internet is in at least some sense narcissistic, even in this Facebook age. The challenge is balancing that with an outcome that results in at least a few smiles for other people, substituting (overdone) sarcasm and "look where I am" with bemusement and a bit of wonder at the outwardly banal. This blog won't resonate for those seeking a deep travel experience or extreme adventure. I don't push the envelope, partly out of personality and partly from awareness of my obligations. I likely won't wingsuit off the Karakoram or solo yacht along the French Riviera, but I've seen a Tawny Frogmouth in Koolyanobbing, Western Australia and know a good cheese house in Ohio's Amish country. I haven't motorcycled across southern Asia, rock climbed the Tepui plateau in South America, or hobnobbed with celebrities at ultra-exclusive resorts. But, I suspect you can see the world in Toronto's Pearson International Airport and Cleveland's Westside Market. You just have to look for it.

I believe the truth is that most "deep" or extreme travel consists of long periods of the mundane – transit, sleeping, finding a restroom – punctuated with short bursts of sublimity or terror. That means the majority of travel experience for a heli-skier is shared by hordes of snowbird retirees driving down to Florida for winter. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. And that shared frustration – the headaches, traffic jams, delays – boils away eventually to a humorous anecdote. It's likely that the luau or the ship bridge tournament that many more people can relate to leaves as many meaningful memories as a base jump with time.

So I commence this 2014 resolution to write, if only for my own amusement. Like all realistic goals, it has to be achievable and time-bound. I think a substantive post every weekend is attainable, sprinkled with the occasional weekday photo or short observation.

In the meantime, Happy New Year and success with your own resolutions.