In one of our recent tapes, Paul read from some brochures about exotic tours to far away places. These included a caravan from London to Nairobi, an expedition to the southernmost Andes, and a tour of Western China by horseback. This got me to thinking about what kind of tour I would like to participate in. And then I began to wonder what kind of tour Larry or Stuart or Suzanne would pick.
So here's my proposal. First of all, Paul, please tell us more about some of these adventures. You might also talk a little about that fascinating voyage you took in the Queen Charlotte Islands a few years back. Do what you can to whet the appetites of Archipelago's armchair explorers.
And I have a simple question for the rest of you. This might become part of Roger's personality test, along with Suzanne's beans vs. babe question and Drury's lost kitten dilemma:
If you were given a blank check and told to go on the vacation of a lifetime, where would you go? What would you do?
In answering this question, please don't be bound by the rather unimaginative packages offered by your local travel agent. If need be, you can form your own company and organize your own tour. You can employ anything from elephants to submarines. The sky is, as they say, the limit.
I may as well start the ball rolling. What would my vacation be like? Hmmm...
My first reaction to Paul's favorite trip, 21 days on horseback somewhere near Tibet, was that a horse was a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. I also have a sneaking hunch that on day 15 I would develop a severe appendicitis. I have several friends who got sick in China and (barely) lived to tell of it: they do not recommend the experience.
No, I'm getting too old for that sort of thing. I'd want something a bit more civilized, like an historic tour of Parisian brothels, or a quest to find the perfect Peking Duck. Something adventurous, but still well within reach of indoor plumbing.
Upon further reflection, I decided that the essence of what I want is not to get as far away as possible, but to become a part of something meaningful. That is, I would want my trip to have a purpose. Or to put it another way, I want not just a vacation, but a QUEST.
For example, it might be nice to study a great work of literature and then spend a few months tracking down the actual people and places that inspired it. We could try to solve a Sherlock Holmes mystery by revisiting the scene of the crime. Or we could board a yacht and try to retrace the route Odysseus took on his long way home from the Trojan War. Something with a goal that may or may not be achieved.
Or try this on for size: a world-wide survey of mazes from Hampton Court to the mines of Crete. We would travel the world trying to get lost!
One other element of my dream voyage: I would like to travel in the company of small but diverse group of people. We would share the common mission of the trip, but seasoned with conflicting theories so that we could spend many a night before a fire recounting the day's adventures and debating the next day's itinerary. And I can think of no better fellowship than our own merry little band of Archipelagoans. Something to think about! An Archipelago Tour!
And now, where would YOU like to go?