Well, less than a month now and I’ll be flying to Holland, hiking the mountains of southwest Turkey, and swimming in the cool waters of the Mediterranean. My friend and I plan to bike into the country side of Holland, to scale an epic cliff known as Butterfly Valley in Turkey, and to drink sweet tea on the historic streets of Istanbul. I’m already packing my bags and thinking of the strange events that lie ahead: currency exchanges, jet lag through numerous countries, sea sickness, tips, hotel bills, last minute details, musty hostels, and other incidental expenses. From the sounds of it, this hardly functions as the average person’s definition of a vacation. So then why go through all this trouble to explore different parts of the world? Because in order to find happiness and personal comfort you sometimes have to avoid comfort. This means avoiding the convenient relationships we have with people, places, and things, and plunging head first into something new.
Where have you been this summer? Have you taken any recent vacations or road trips? Have you discovered anything different about yourself? Whether you’re running from the bulls in Spain, eating Italian pizza at a restaurant in Sicily, or people watching on the streets of Paris, there are always things to explore in new places.
EVPL’s Road Trip: Art and Travel Series is currently a free program being offered on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-7:30 PM at Central Library (8/9 and 8/23). Consider it traveling on a budget. Each evening we explore a different part of the world. Our adventure takes us through large cities like New York, to foreign countries like France or Japan. Sometimes we look at bizarre sites, while other nights are spent learning pointillism and Japanese printmaking. Each night is accompanied by a unique art activity that reflects the place we visit. Join us if you consider traveling an important part of your summer.
If you can’t make the program, then I suggest checking out EVPL’s Global Road Warrior database (http://www.evpl.org/research/databases/db.aspx?id=101). Don’t be thrown off by the often daunting and boring term database. If you’re interested in sites like Wiki Travel, then you’ll enjoy this too. Choose a country and discover its national cuisine, favorite night spots, museums, sports teams, and a variety of other odd ends and curiosities.
For example, did you know that in China hanging temples are built into the west cliff of the Jinxia Gorge? Due to their unique location, these architectural wonders are said to maintain an important Taoist belief of absolute quietness. Elsewhere, travelers could visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. The Blue Lagoon is a world-famous "supernatural" spa located in a lava field. Steamy waters, milky waterfalls, white silica mud, lava caves, geothermal beaches, and winter snowfalls make it one of the most serene and sought after tourist destinations. Water temperature, on an average, in the bathing and swimming area is 40°C (104°F). Images of these sites could be found by searching the Global Road Warrior database.
EVPL’s Road Trip: Art and Travel Series and Global Road Warrior database are two solutions for traveling on a budget this summer. They also provide unique alternatives to those often stereotypical American getaways: the family vacation to Disneyland, the quintessential snapshot at the Grand Canyon, or the hangover in Vegas. Sure these hot spots and getaways have their moments of excitement too, but the world is filled with interesting alternatives. Buy the ticket, take the ride this summer and perhaps learn something different about yourself.