Chez WW in England

Chez WW in England

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I am not that kind of traveller.

11 September 2011

Whilst we were in Scotland, we did a one day bus tour of the Scottish Highlands. It was the first time I had ever been on a bus tour. The experience was amazing. It was the only way we could have seen the Highlands  - have someone else drive. This post is not a criticism of the bus tour. It is an exploration of different travelling styles.

Andrew and I work well together, in life and in travel. We have our plans but if something comes up we are flexible. We let the day unfold, the adventure happen. If we discover something interesting along the way we can stop and explore. Part of the adventure is knowing as you head hits the pillow that you managed to get where you needed to be, where you wanted to go, that you found food and that you found a place to sleep. All in a new city or new country. A travel guide is our companion. When we first arrive in a new place we get a map. Such a simple thing, maps. If there is a bus tour, especially those wonderful hop-on hop-off ones, we take that. It is a great way to explore a new place and get the lay of the land.

It struck me that on a bus tour, you are driven to where you need to go, taken to where you will eat and shuttled off to where you will sleep. It does not require the same amount of participation as our kind of travel. It is travel for those who like to be comfortable.

We take public transportation, sleep in cheap hotels or hostels and eat where we can. We get dirty. We are often tired. We eat supper very late. We carry our stuff in backpacks and have aching feet. And we have fun. We have an adventure. We know that we did ok in a foreign city, in a foreign country.

We arrived in Arras and had to search for our hotel. We kept missing the tiny dark side road we needed to take. We finally arrived and after our long drive and very long day we dragged our bags to our rooms. During the drive I had changed my shoes. Despite it being almost 11 in the night we still had not had supper. Off we went in search of food, any place that would be open. I was never so thankful to see a chippy. We pulled into the hotel parking lot and the car headlights acted like a spotlight on something. I went over to see what someone had dropped. It was my shoe and sock. It had fallen out of the car when I was carrying in my bag. Andrew joked that my shoe was trying to make a get-away. We all laughed and laughed. Supper that night was fish and chips and burgers. Moments like that are what travelling are all about. Part of the fun was trying to find food in a town that was closed up (really closed up, houses and businesses were closed up with shutters). It was the type of adventure that would never happen on a bus tour.

The joys of travelling are to leave the comforts of home behind. To get uncomfortable and explore a whole new world.

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