OF AN ADVENTURER
In a recent article (adventure), I wrote about my excitement over my upcoming trip to Africa scheduled for next Christmas. While it is true that I am wired beyond belief, I haven't told my readers the whole truth. My excitement isn't purely banal as it sounds. Any person who loves travel would be excited about an upcoming trip to the African continent. However, my exhilaration is partially pathological mixed with a high degree of foolhardiness. For me, adventure goes well beyond merely seeing faraway sites and meeting interesting people. There is an aspect of danger associated with my excitement, and this quest for exposure to danger isn't new.
In 1968, I traveled to Bratislava located in what was then Czechoslovakia. This was during those heady days called the Prague Spring-an attempt to put a humane face on communism. Less than two weeks after I left, the Soviets invaded ending this experiment. What a hoot that would have been if I were there when the tanks came rumbling down the streets. When I was in Israel a couple decades ago, I was near the Wailing Wall when a bomb went off in another part of Jerusalem. I watched as helicopters flew overhead while my head whirled into action wondering what if I got caught up in this incident. On another trip, I flew into the airport in Athens within a dozen hours of the hijacking of TWA flight 847. Four years ago, my wife and I returned to the States from Tibet within a couple of weeks of 9/11. Then there was my detention at the Beijing airport just last summer. Someone had told the officials that I was on a terrorist watch list. I could still be planning my escape from some remote Chinese gulag and writing this article like another Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.
With the impending trip to Africa, my addiction is full-blown. What will this newest exploit produce in the way of danger and international intrigue? Along with these questions about adventures, there is another disconcerting question. What is there about me that thrives on this type of excitement? In addition to being right-brain and having ADD, what underlines this quest for excitement?
When discussing the plans for this African adventure, I have had to temper my excitement around my wife who doesn't have to test her mettle like I must. I have discussed this edgy travel aspect of my personality with my son, Scott. He has obviously also inherited those genes from me. He bicycled from California to Maine. With that adventure behind him, he biked from Scotland to Italy. He is toying with a trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg or riding down the Pan American Highway from Alaska to Chile. We have discussed a road trip through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan. If I had the time and money, I would love to take off six months and rent a Land Rover for an adventure of a lifetime. What stories could be told when we returned.
Actually, travel all over Mother Rus would be a hoot. However, that trip to the land of the Urals and Siberia must wait until I complete my African adventure. Michelle, my youngest daughter, will be working near Durbin, SA as a volunteer starting in March of '06. Around Christmas '06, my wife and I will meet her there and explore SA and Zimbabwe before leaving her and heading down the Nile to Cairo. After getting our full of pharaohs, pyramids, and feluccas, we will head to Morocco and Mali. Having already been to Tangiers, my excitement about market at Marrakech is nearly uncontrollable. Then off to the mysterious Mali and the faraway Timbuktu.
Before I actualize my African adventure fantasies, I will have to wade through all sorts of details from airline flights, visas, shots, and other related itinerary issues. In addition, I mustn't forget to get a gross of Kit Kat, candy bars for the trip. My wife gets funny when we go for several days without toilets or when crowds push and prod her to buy souvenirs. When she gets that look in her eyes, I know that is questioning her vow promising "for better or worse." Nevertheless, I know that I can get her back on the road to adventure by pulling out of my backpack that little red package of chocolate therapy. After a couple of bits, she's good for a couple more days of intrigue and adventure with me.
Now, I ask you, who wouldn't want this type of adventure and