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.
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.