Friday, August 14, 2009

Am I really a charter tourist at heart?

Oh horror of horrors. In the shower, I had the following epiphany:

What if I am not the adventurous traveler I have imagined myself to be, but someone who is happiest to be presented with a ready-made package in the form of a detailed itinerary, complete with vaccination instructions, and a guide in a uncomfortable-looking uniform, reminiscent of the golden era of polyester, waiting in the arrivals hall of the airport?

Horror, I tell you.

Hyperventilation, I tell you.

Red hot terror. Red hot!

Before hooking up with my El Grande Vikingo I was in the habit of buying a ticket, getting my stuff together, and buying the Lonely Planet guide book to wherever I was going, and that was it. At the airport, I would laugh and sneer at the hordes of people queuing up for the chartered planes taking off to such exotic locations as the Canary Islands (I've been twice, but don't ever fokken tell anyone) where upon landing everyone would... applaud.

Do you hear me? They would clap their overly-excited hands and sometimes even cheer. Most times they would also take pictures inside the plane and keep their seatbelt fastened at all times.

Red hot, I'm saying.

I, on the other hand, acting all worldly and nonchalant would board my standard-route plane, without an itinerary in hand, without my luggage having the same tag as everyone else on the plane, and well knowing that I was being independent, adventurous, and different.

I was setting myself apart from the masses of tourists. Unique like.

I would land at JFK or Schipol, find out where I could hop on a bus that would take me to some cool (or sometimes less cool and more mundane [Hello Omaha] as I would come to learn) new place, filled with unexperienced wonders and hospitable people.

I was so much more than your average tourist - I was a modern day adventurer.

Then I met the Hubby. My viking. And apparently all of that raping and pillaging and seafaring vikings did was only accomplished because they all had detailed itineraries, they always showed up everywhere in good time, had confirmed reservations, and always, always had the correct currency in their pocket. Or that is at least how my viking likes to travel.

He still likes to venture to places not overrun by tourists, but boy, can my baby plan!

And here's the kicker: I like it that way.

I like it that I no longer have to sleep on a bus next to some guy with a bedazzled grill, who keeps calling me sugar, and wakes up with the most frightening morning wood pointed at my direction, I have ever seen in my life. I like it that instead of accidentally walking into the bad neighborhood at 5AM in a city at the time known as the murder capital of the US, I can lay my head down on a soft pillow in a comfortable hotel room. I like it that there are little points on the map meticulously drawn on by El Grande Vikingo himself that easily direct us to the nearest Starbucks. I like it that I no longer have to pack a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but that I am informed of the actual weather conditions at the destination prior to the pilot telling me of the monsoon rain five minutes to landing. I like it that I get to try the local wines and the local cuisine without getting worms.

I do.

With my viking I get to see more places like this:

This is where a scene from The Return of the Jedi was filmed. This or some other ruin. Honestly, can't remember. Am trying, but can't. So there.

And for some reason suffer less of this:

The Hubby's travel karma is the rich stepmother of mine.

But does all this really make me a charter tourist at heart, or just a really organized viking/ potential world ruler by proxy? Bear in mind, there is a wrong and a right answer...

Although I am currently cruising the blue skies of the world, I would still love to hear your point of view on this, my latest shower-epiphany.

26 comments:

Betty Man said...

Hello! I really like ur writing style. I follow you.Please check out my blog: cutand-dry.blogspot.com
I'm new in the blogger buddies' market. Pls support!..
Betty

Breenuh said...

Don't worry, you're nowhere close to being a charter tourist. Actually, the fact that you're concerned about that ensures that you aren't one. You've still got interesting (and unique) places on your map, the only difference is that now you actually have a map when you arrive. I understand completely where you're coming from and have done a pretty wide spectrum of unplanned to (almost) charter. When your trip is planned you don't spend half of your trip planning the trip. You can spend more time enjoying it. And I hope you do enjoy your current adventure :.)

Georgie K. Buttons said...

I've never been on a really big trip. The only three that come to mind were to Disneyland, Sea World (both of which are only two states away, so 12 hours by car and 1 and 1/2 hours by plane), and to Illinois. Not very impressive. My mom also did all of the planning and purchasing, etc. I was under 15 on all of those trips.

CrazyCris said...

nope, not a charter tourist! those also have all inclusive hotels with "organised fun" and other wackiness. they also all hop on a bus together with some lame tour guide who takes them to "must see places" and tells them some (not always accurate) stories...

ignominia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ignominia said...

from what you reported in "this here blog" you are still an adventurous traveller... in the way you pack!

There is nothing wrong in travelling more comfortably especially if you have done the more spontaneous travelling at least once. Most of us when younger did not need a good night sleep to properly function the next day, when our freedom made us forget the discomforts of uncleanliness and poor nutrition. And at the time we did not have a Grande Vikingo (or a Medio Scozzese) to pacify and soothe if the going got rough!
Planning does not equal group traveling of the sort you describe. It just means that you can afford a better way of moving in the world. And the plane seat is still 17 inches across!
Happy travels!
intio

Eidothia said...

Its called 'Being a comfort Baby' ;) And yes I like it too but only when it is a real long holiday I am taking

Judearoo said...

Think its all about balance, hon. The nicely timetabled, sweet neatly packed travels of your current life have a lot to be said for em. This is as long as noone looses the rag if things go wrong, which they invariably must, regardless of forethought and pre-booked hotel rooms.

If youve got yourself an organised chap who nevertheless doesnt get wildly concerned over missing luggage then youre onto a winner. Sounds like you have an inate chaotic streak that would make even the most staid trip an adventure. I really wouldnt worry.

Not So Glamorous Housewife said...

Ahhh...could it be that you are getting older since your Omaha days and have refined your taste? I am a serial mover. If someone so much as offeres us a job that will allow us to upgrade from generic toilet paper to the good stuff we pack up the car and head out....but now that I am older and my tastes more refined I will nolonger move to places like Detroit. I prefer something like London. Best wishes for good toilet paper wherever you are.

omchelsea said...

Pah hah! I love it.

Esmerelda said...

Can I borrow your husband? Only for his planning ability and lucky travel karma. I am sorely lacking in both, as is my husband...

Miss Footloose said...

A true adventurer tries different things, is what I tell myself.

I've done the sleeping in the outdoors, in a cockroach-infested room in Africa, spent nights sitting up in buses and so on. Been there done that.

So now? Most often I'm doing the traveling on a bigger budget with more comfort and hey, I like it!

Still there are times I find myself in a place where neither love nor money buys you comfort. THEN I don't go crazy like the inexperienced traveler would. I just tell myself, hey, I can do that! No biggie.

You are NOT a charter tourist from what I see. You just like to vary your experiences ;)

(Oh, I just remember the bed bugs now ...)

Miss Footloose
www.lifeintheexpatlane.blogspot.com

Optimistic Pessimist said...

A potential world ruler disguised as an occasional charter tourist. Keeps people on edge.

kristine said...

I relate so much to what you are saying that I almost want to hug you (dont worry, I know we are both scandinavians, I mean that only metaphorically. Consider yourself hugged, Northern Sister). I was just this morning thinking about how it really is super lame that I have ordered airport pick ups from my hotels I am staying it for the next week. Like I cant get the local bus anymore. But the thing is, I could, I just dont see why I should. I think its called being a flashpacker. Charter tourism is still a long way off.

Anyway, you touched on something that has irritated me for years: the clapping @ landing. I always want to stand up and shout "you CLAP when the pilot lands the plane?? The pilot was SUPPOSED to do that, you know! What do you do if the plane crashes, boo??"

Fidgeting Gidget said...

There is NO way that you are a charter tourist. No possible way. There must have been some charter tourist hiding on the other side of your shower curtain whispering that blasphemy into your ear without you realizing it. You are TOTALLY a potential world ruler. And just because a potential world ruler is organized when she travels says nothing about her other than the fact that she's making more time for herself to kick the world's ass.

caroldiane said...

I concur - you are not at risk for ever holding the "ugly tourist" tag in your travels. And the clapping? I think it is just excitement at being somewhere exotic that is NOT home. Now that I am not traveling the world for work (working in an office in my home instead - complete opposite), I can understand cheering when I land somewhere extremely different than the place I left behind!

Sara said...

Even if you were to get on a charter bus you still couldn't be a charter tourist. Because every time you went on a tour you'd probably see something interesting and take a detour away from the group for a while. Even while blending in (good plan by the way) you're still definately the independent and obviously a future world leader. The only question is, which country will you decide to rule?

Eva Gonçalves said...

I wouldn't worry...that is, untill you find yourself applauding on arrival... then I'd worry!! Love your blog!

Kirsi said...

Ha ha! I think you couldn't become the Canary Island charter tourist even if you really tried :-)

histreasure said...

Charter tourism is still a long way off for you, way, way off..and that hubby of yours is a delight..i am so looking forward to this trip, you know my day is not complete without my stalking you across the oceans.

Elindomiel said...

I think there's a lot of room between buying a ticket and wandering around, at risk of danger and (worse!) missing things you'll regret later.... and planning every second of a trip with stupid things everyone does. I think you're definitely within that room, and further on the freelancing side, at that. :P

silknparachute said...

Age, that is the reason. Adventure + Age = Danger
Surprise + Age = Underinsured
Accident + Age = Wet spots
Comfort + Age = Ahhhhhhh

Sandy said...

I've done both.....traveled by the seat of our pants and on tours. My feeling is that a tour is a great way to see a new place the FIRST TIME and then go back on your own with confidence.

In 23 years my husband has planned 2 trips....the FIRST one he took me on (I thought that was just too cool) and the trip to South Africa which was really his gig and I was just along for the ride. Which proves he can do it!

ScrewedUp20Something said...

I think its all about balance. It's good to have at least a loose itinerary so you can enjoy the things you really want to do or see in a new place. If you don't have at least somewhat of a plan you could end up missing something really great. And keeping it loose is a good idea too because you might come across something awesome that you didn't know was there and a loose plan will let you enjoy those things that pop up too.

I've also found that it's good to schedule the inevitable hangover from the first night in a new city and not plan to do anything till the next afternoon lol.

My name is Erin. said...

I laughed a little. Then I laughed really hard. Then I laughed again and my kids had to come over to the computer to see what was so funny (they didn't get it).

I like that you are in the same country as me. It makes my heart sing!

julochka said...

ok, as for the clapping on the plane, i had no idea aeroflot and/or palair macedonian flew to the canary islands....

hate planning. however, i do love me the odd luxury hotel...hello ms. b, we're so happy to have you back again...can i carry you up to your room?