A friend of mine got the impulse a few months back to start eating healthier and so instead of starting with eating more greens or cutting back on his sweets or maybe just devouring fewer calories, he instead bought a 600 dollar Vitamix and dropped it on his counter as though it were the health nut version of the Stanley Cup. I don’t know how often he’s used it. He certainly hasn’t shown up with sealed jars of blended kale, cranberries and whatnot.
We’ve all got friends like this. My dad is a gadget guy. He’s always had good tv’s and computers and cameras. When he got back into backpacking he invested in ultralight gear well before any of us could even sniff it.
Traveling works the same way. Some people bemoan the costs of world travel. But the 1000 dollar overseas flight to Thailand is the Vitamix of the traveling world. Of course you want it; who doesn’t? But what are you going to do while you save up for it? What are you going to do when you make 15 bucks an hour and have student loans and insurance payments or a credit card you fucked up a few years back? What do you do when a weekend is a luxury? When week long trips are as far off as retirement?
There is a cheaper beginning of course. An easier way to start. You don’t need to stay up late binging on “Shark Week” or repeat episodes of “Bizarre Foods” and “No Reservations”. Television has always been a poor substitute for inspiration. Start off small. Start off with this: a map. It’s cheap. Durable. You can get it at any gas station. Stay off Google maps or Google Earth; all they’ll do is overwhelm you. Buy a local map instead. State, city, county, it doesn’t matter. Lay it out on your bed. Point to a spot on the map you’ve never been. Tell yourself one thing: “I wonder what’s there.” I wonder. That’s it. Two words. It’s that easy. If you get this far the rest will fall in line. You’ll figure it out. But it starts with the map and a destination. You’ll even save yourself the shipping costs on the Vitamix.
© 2014 Christopher Dart