I hope you will sense that Travel can and should be like a Pioneer finding new lands, thereby creating a fuller Adventure. Read on, and hopefully you will share comments with me (see bottom of Site Mission page).
When people travel, they find themselves relating stories about their "trip," "vacation," "holiday," "journey," or a number of descriptions they give to that period of time they have allowed themselves to step out of the box of their normal routines and do "something" different. I, on the other hand, have always called my jaunts to other cities in different countries my “BIG ADVENTURE.” According to Webster’s College Dictionary, the first definition of the word “adventure’ means “an exciting or very unusual experience.” Any time I leave my normal everyday life to venture to another land where cultures, food, currency, heritage, physical features of other ethnic cultures, and a number of other “not usual” components enter my life…..I am on one of my exciting and unusual Adventures!
As I have traveled extensively, fulfilling my life’s deepest PASSION to see, touch, smell, and feel different cultures, I realize that my adventuring has expanded and piggybacked with another style of travel I will identify shortly. Webster’s Dictionary states “a strong fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for something” its fourth definition for the word, “Passion,” Somewhere about the 20th country visited, my passion yearned for more. My passion for adventure tugged at me with a more enthusiastic desire to know more by digging deeper. It had become time for me to become more engaged in my adventures…it was time to take them to an expanded level of “being there.”
Through developed experience and knowledge of mobility around the world, I have learned to add another component to Adventure…. I call it PIONEERING. Again, using Mr. Webster as my authority, the closest meaning I could relate to was that of a "foot soldier," (from the French word, peonier). Another definition given was "pedestrian." I am comfortable with those meanings because that is precisely what I do when I Pioneer on my own in a new country.
Compared to the well-organized, orchestrated, mode of getting place to place while Adventuring within a tour, I find myself "hoofing" hours when exploring my own territory. An example of this happened on a Sunday while in Berlin. I started out walking thinking I would catch a metro across town in order to revisit the Bradenburg Gate, which I had seen in 1998. On my walk to the train connection, I saw a park worth entering; and that park had a path that led me to another avenue, and that avenue led to a Monument that had to be inspected, and that led to. . .? ?.? Ultimately, I landed on a Grand Boulevard which would end in front of my original destination.
Having a time commitment to meet my group who had taken an excursion that day, I sought the fastest route back by consulting the Tourist Information Office at the Gate. What I learned was that I had walked about five miles in my "Pioneering Exploration," but getting back was going to be a straight shot of only three miles...! Although I had visited Berlin many years before and had seen a lot of its main attractions, I never had the sense of being in Berlin until I had the chance to "soldier" through on "foot."
Having just completed my 62nd Country visited, I know without a doubt that I would never have seen as much of this world as I have, had I relied solely on Pioneering Travel. The main reason I say this with conviction is due to the extra time necessary when "venturing" out on one's own.
To be successful at Pioneering one’s own journey requires a few skills that will become more proficient as you practice; and each time thereafter, it will become easier. Just as our forefathers in this country chose to "Pioneer by Going West", an Exploring Traveler has to set out with the same mindset. One of the first decisions to be made is establishing what means will be used to reach the next destination; then there is where to stay or the setting up of camp; then what to do once settled.....distinguishing and prioritizing choices of historical, architectural, educational, spiritual, and even recreational, sites or attractions must be visited. No longer does the Explorer have the luxury of Escorted Tour Group leaders making sure it all runs like clockwork; tour guides letting you know all the background of what you are viewing; transportation waiting "in the wings" to maneuver you across town to the next site; reputable dining locations with seating waiting for "you" to show up. With me at the helm, it's a full time job as Time Keeper to get it all in.
Escorted Tours has, most times, provided the Adventuring I have done in order to get to many times more destinations I would otherwise not have seen. I rely on what escorted travel provides by assuring all important landmarks, historically significant, and artistically renowned sites are never missed. While accomplishing this in one destination area, tour programs provide assurance that the next destination will be reached and equally explored.
Leaving the comfort of a programmed tour means for the Pioneer-hearted that the headwinds set will now blow through their hair, brush their cheeks, and provide energy for creative curiosity to be satisfied personally. Pioneering allows you to put your pedestrian pace into motion. Go where, be at, see what, by doing precisely all that your individuality has called at you to do.
I have been fortunate to have found my Adventuring Travel by partaking in Packaged Escorted Groups or a FAM (Familiarization trip offered by Suppliers to Travel Agents in order to introduce and promote a featured destination). I have never been disappointed. Yet as much as I applaud and promote guided tours, the key for me is to always sprinkle my individualistic Pioneering time, either pre or post, and occasionally, within the framework of the tour. When I have managed to feed both travel models into one trip, I am a satisfied and happy Traveler with no feelings of having "missed something."
I am in the Travel Leisure Time Planning business, and it really amazes me how "scary" it is for some people to get started in traveling out of the country. The scare comes from the lack of practice. This is where I always encourage a guided tour, with possibly a short pre or post stay added, allowing one to test that feeling of "hanging" out exploring in foreign territory.
In conclusion, one should follow their heart and do what makes them happy. But if you should like my perspective, keep the following in mind. . . .When traveling extensively over vast areas and long periods of time, one must keep a Pioneering spirit burning within. As I mentioned earlier, my trip, required I move through ten countries in 24 days.....This is not for the meek!
One must have a Pioneer Passion
for new explorations to uncover, and I invite you to try it soon!!!