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  • The Curious Traveler

Lessons Learned from an Urban Adventure


“Travel is more than the seeing of sites. It is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living” ―Miriam Bears

A person’s sense of adventure is a very relative thing. Drop me on the busiest street in Delhi, on the highest mountain pass in the Himalayas, or in the thickest rain forest of Costa Rica, and I’m completely comfortable and at ease. I expect that all might not go perfectly, and when there’s a small bump in the road it’s fine, and part of the adventure. I have properly managed my expectations in advance. However, when in the reality of everyday life, I have higher expectations that things will always go as planned. I suppose I do a poor job of properly managing my expectations.

Such was the case last night on my return trip from the Adventure Travel Trade Associations World Summit in Charlevoix, Québec. A relatively early departure meant that I was on track to have dinner with my wife and daughter. After being away for three nights at the summit, and seven nights the week before doing research in Scotland, this was something that I was very much looking forward to. However, these plans were quickly derailed as the skies opened up and dumped buckets of snow. What was supposed to be a relatively easy and beautiful drive, quickly turned into a nail biting, visually impaired nightmare. The six hour drive ultimately turned into ten. Then to kick me when the snow already had me down, I spent two hours in bumper to bumper traffic getting through Québec City.

This trip was not supposed to be an “adventure”, but quickly turned into one. It would have been fine if I was on a dog sledding expedition that was delayed by snow. I would have expected some hardship, and thus it would have become part of the adventure and contributed to the experience. I probably would have even paid good money for this “adventure”, and would be getting a real bang for my buck as the adventure quotient was ratcheted up. But why can we not approach life with the same attitude, and turn daily challenges into experiences that ultimately contribute to our life’s adventure? Perhaps if we can manage our common expectations more effectively, while still striving to attain our lofty goals, we can better handle the daily adventures that come charging at us like a Rhino on safari. For me, there is nothing better than travel to teach me lessons that are so applicable in our daily lives. I only wish I could have remembered that seven hours into the snow last night.

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