Thursday, April 2, 2015

Desiring a complete travel experience

Folks bring back souvenirs and a suntan from a vacation. Others return with beautiful photographs and empty purses. I, on the other hand, am a collector of experiences.

People young and old flock to a famous landmark, and yet they spent very little time involved with the actual experience in comparison to the other secondary activities in the area. I have observed this over and over in my travels. 

Different personalities handle touring in a way that fits their lifestyle. Shopping, drinking, eating - in no particular order - is as necessary to them as their devices in order to have a satisfactory day without vacation boredom creeping in to ruin everything.  Many have traveled long distances to cross another place off their bucket lists, and so be it. 

I am somewhat cynical as I am a purist when it comes to travel devoid of unnecessary consumerism. There is a huge difference between a tourist and a traveler, and I am more in the adventuresome, seek your own soulful significant moments type of wanderer.

Take Niagara Falls, one of the world’s most scenic spots of natural wonder, and consider the possibilities of engagement in my opinion.

No matter what season of the year, the Falls are THE focal point. The are hours upon hours of natural beauty to be claimed by simply staring at the awesome force of the water cascading down into the river in the morning with the sun slipping over the horizon and a lengthy gorge walk or run. At the end of the day in the darkness as twinkling lights on the American side flick on and cast a softer glow to the falls, you listen and imagine a bit more. Here's where the stories begin to evolve and they will be stored for telling. There is a foggy layer hanging over the falls that distances you from the entire panoramic view during a burst of afternoon rain showers or a dump of white flakes. Amazingly, every single moment there are subtle changes to the view from the direction of the misty spray to the ideal viewing place, and no two days are alike. 

 At least that’s how I spend my time on the Canadian side of the Falls. I arrive with no other expectation than an opportunity for personal communing within, sharing quality time with others and a thankfulness for my life. I leave with a renewed strength pouring over me and a resolve that my small existence is miniscule in relation to this gigantic earth.