So my writing class has an eclectic blend of travelers - those that travel frequently, others that don't; both domestic and international frequent flyers; those that have lived abroad and others that are looking to do so. Regardless, we are all there with our distinct motivations but with the shared passion for travel in some form.
Our writing teacher, Farley, gives away the travel magazines he's already read. Last week, among the collection of "AFAR", National Geographic Travel, Budget Travel and others was a copy of Conde Nast Traveler. My classmates snatched up all of them except Conde Nast Traveler so Farley pipes up..."Nobody wants the Conde Nast?" to a silent audience. I already subscribe so I didn't say anything. "Yeah, I'm not a huge fan either," Farley replied to the nothing response. Several of my classmates chimed in, "Yeah, their mode of travel is so beyond my means it's of no interest to me." And another, "Not my style. Who even likes it?"
Shut the front door! I shouted (to myself) looking around my class for anyone else who shared my taste in travel. I mean, I get not being able to afford the adventures Conde Nast Traveler endorse but to dream of them and vicariously participate in them with a little help from the padres is TOTALLY up my alley. Luckily I recognized a kindred spirit (or two) in my Miami Food & Wine Fest friend and my Swiss Cycling friends. We locked eyes, sharing nonverbal shock and awe at the classes outrageous commentary and collectively retorted, "UM, WE DO!"
Now I know I wouldn't appreciate the luxuries of staying at The Raffles in Angkor Wat, riding the Orient Express to Machu Picchu, sailing on the Silversea Whisper around the Baltic, or bedding down in the George V in Paris if I hadn't experienced the antithesis. There was the arrival in Athens after braving the ship from Brindisi, arriving after 24 hours of travel to our "hotel" where warm water occurred twice a day and we'd missed it. That was a COLD shower. Then there was the shady hotel in Rome where we were forced to order a pizza for dinner because the neighborhood was too dangerous to be out and about after dark. The bathroom in Spain that had a sink, a toilet and a hole in the floor with a spout on the wall, doubling as a powder room and shower all at once. Or the ten hour African travel adventure using three modes of transportation to get 180 miles! The list goes on. And on.
I haven't won the lottery and certainly know how fortunate I am to get to travel with my family (they go only Conde Nast style), but even when traveling on my own I prioritize the right splurges and economize where I can, and with a little more due diligence I always end up on the other side of just average...usually closer to pretty fabulous. I mean, for me, it's just worth it.