There is a dangerous thing that can happen to an unsuspecting person when they are out running mundane, everyday errands. ‘It’ happened to me recently. I was out getting an oil change for my car, and to amuse myself while the mechanics were doing their thing, I stopped in at a Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) store. Towards the back of the store lay rows upon rows of shiny travel magazines, to which I gravitated like a bee to a colourful flower.
Travel has long been an enduring dream and fantasy of mine. I’ve read books of wonderful worldly travels and even based my entire academic career around tourism (my current Master’s program is formally known as Tourism Policy and Planning). But a part of me has always rationalized a ‘trip’ as analogous to a delicious piece of cake or an orgasm – the pleasure is fleeting, and maybe it’s not really worth pursuing right now because I’ve already eaten dinner or I have a headache (respectively).
These two emotions – anxiety over the future, and the associated certainty over what unknown experiences could be like – are both issues discussed in my previous blog on the book Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life by Adam Phillips. When I say “I can’t travel now, there are too many other things going on and I have to focus on my career”, I am assuming a lot. I assume that my time is completely booked (it’s not), that traveling will hurt my career (it won’t), and that money is tight (it is, but when isn’t it going to be?).
The travel magazine that I now have tucked lovingly under my bed stand is a glossy, thick booklet from G Adventures. G Adventures caters to the young or young-at-heart traveler by providing reasonably priced trips which are ‘off the beaten path’, combined with a lot of choice and attentive 24/7 service (Why Travel with G Adventures?). For a newbie traveler like myself, it would be the perfect way to enjoy a diverse, exciting trip within the comfort, structure, and guidance provided by an experienced travel company.
Another part of me wants to just get in my car and drive somewhere new. I’ve been lucky enough to have many wonderful trips with my navigationally-inclined partner (I am navigationally deficient) within Ontario and several shorter journeys to the U.S. for academic conferences.
Atlas Obscura provides the internet wanderer with inspiration on some of the coolest and most esoteric spots to visit across North America, many of them easily accessible by car. I have a special love for museums and here are just a few of the neat museums you can find through Atlas Obscura:
- The Bottle Art Museum
- Warren Anatomical Museum
- World Erotic Art Museum
- Museum of Mourning Art
- Museum of Bad Art
You can also be surprised by neat little places like the Overlook Museum House Ruins on the Atlas. I am not someone who needs to travel across the world and take fancy pictures of exotic locales to feel like I’ve had a rewarding trip. I would be perfectly happy taking that dream trip, by car, across Canada.
Based on these flights of fancy that I’ve had in my head about travel (especially now that I’m wrapping up my thesis), I must caution the unwary person out on their daily errands…..be careful about what brochures you pick up! You never know when one of them might lead you down the path of dreams.