This past week and change I was on vacation in Spain. It was a new country for me, and with it, and a side trip up into the mountains of Andorra, my "countries visited" tally now stands at 22. And each one of them has been a fantastic place to visit, and in many cases visit again, for one reason or another - be it the food and art in Italy, the history in Turkey, the beauty of New Zealand, or the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal.
As we were driving along the Spanish coast, sandwiched between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sierra Nevada Mountians just south of Granada, without a plan, without an itinerary, without a destination, and no idea on where we would eat, I was reminded of just how much better and more adventurous the travels of our youth were. We (the collective we of humanity) almost never had a plan. We'd walk through neighborhoods, poke through dive bars, and eat what the locals put in front of us. It was cheapest way to travel, but it was also almost always the better way to travel.
During last week's trip I celebrated my 43rd birthday. It's no ancient milestone by any stretch, but it's definitely an age that comes without a lot of experience behind it. And sometimes, when exploring a new destination, that can be a bad thing. At 43 I'm discovering that it's easy to start caring more about hotel concierge lounge access, a kingsize bed on a high floor with a view, and easy access to nice restaurants and upscale bars. And of course access to tourist sites.Continue reading