This Adventurous Life

A young couple exploring the world…and their 30's

New experiences and far away places are probably on most people’s travel hit lists (a.k.a. bucket lists).  I know I have a few stored away in the back of my mind.  I was reading a really cute article in Verge magazine challenging its readers to create a list of meaningful travel experiences they’d like to have “before it is too late.”  The article had me contemplating my own grassroots travel hit list.  It also led to a long moment of reflection allowing me to proudly and happily review all of the things I have already done and places I am lucky to have already seen, however incomplete the list actually is.  As I am flipping through the pages of the article, I realize I have accomplished Verge’s proposed grassroots travel bucket list!  Here it is:

1. Volunteer to make a difference.

While the goal may be to make a difference in the lives of others, the biggest difference is made in the person doing the volunteering, who will forever be changed by the things they learn and people they meet. Nyeri, Kenya 2007- Here I am with a super great group of boys, who attended the school where I volunteered.  My first trip to Kenya is still the biggest learning experience of my life. 

2. Eat something your parents wouldn’t. 

Mbuzi nasty bits anyone?  (goat, that is) I tried the liver, blood stuffed stomach lining, and sweet goat meat.  All followed by very large swigs of an alcoholic beverage.  Anthony Bourdain would be proud. 

3. Sleep in a strange spot. 

Being seat belted into the top bunk of a train riding from Nairobi to Mombasa.

Why is this strange you ask?  It’s not exactly a highly reputable mode of transportation.  As seen here and in this list of common derailments. Apparently it is nicknamed the Lunatic Express.  I’ve just learned this.  My father-in-law has notably pointed out how many of the world’s most dangerous modes of transportation I have travelled on…….and slept on.

 4. Learn a new skill.

Surfing on the North Shore of Oahu.  We were pretty good at it and even ended the afternoon doing tricks on our boards while riding the waves.

5. Get up close and personal with nature. 

Akumal Bay, Mexico.  This organization is doing preservation and development work to sustain the ecosystems marine life depend on.  It is quite peaceful swimming around with these beautiful creatures. (Heading back in 10 days!)

6. Immerse yourself in another culture. 

The world of endurance athletes is deserving of its own culture.  I am immersing myself into it slowly by doing my first triathlon this summer in Door County, Wisconsin.  So, you could say this is a combination of one part reflection and one part future challenge.   I could have posted about the many tribes I have spent time with in Africa or the Incan descendants I have met in Peru, but the triathlon culture has been the toughest immersion challenge thus far.  Brick workouts are rough!

7. Explore your spiritual side. 

In the vastness and strength of the natural world is where I find my spirituality, my peace and sense of being.  
Also, wine country = my Mecca?  It truly felt like it!  Photo taken in Napa Valley.

8. Visit a piece of history.

Machu Pichu, Peru
This 15th century Incan archeological site is the most well known icon of Incan heritage.  The quality of craftsmanship and masonry work is unbelievable.  Stones are so well carved and fitted together using a technique called ashlar that mortar isn’t needed. One of the sayings is not even a strand of hair can fit between the stones. We hiked for 4 days on the Inca trail to reach Machu Pichu in 2008.

9. Speak another tongue.

My broken Swahili (and Spanish) need a lot of work, but I keep trying.  Maybe French will stick?
My version of grassroots travel is when you study the guide books and then valiantly throw them out.  Travel off the beaten path to places more authentic and/or under rated.  Also, help to preserve history, culture, and ecosystems and if needed use a tour company that pays locals fair wages.  Whatever your motivation, be sure to put value on the experience rather than the amount of stars something is rated.   
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4 Responses to “grassroots travel hit list”

  1. Meghan

    This is such an inspiring post! I love that you've had so many experiences – and it definitely is causing me to think about me own!

  2. Tracy

    Pushing your limits and trying new things also help time to seemingly slow down. I really appreciate this as I get older.Meg-I read your comment with an Irish accent thanks to this part "…causing me to think about ME own." LOL!


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