I'm spending a little extra time with me Mum before I leave for Europe and my Round the World trip,to return in 2,maybe 3 years after traversing continents and countries i've yet to see,people i've yet to meet,customs and rituals I have only read about in the journals of other travelers or National Geographic shows i've watched.On the other hand,i've also been thinking that the world has become so small today,as I thought to myself,well,what if something were to happen to Mum,what would I do if i'm in Russia or India or japan or Australia?.
There's not too many places on the planet that aren't accessible by plane anymore.The "far off and remote" areas are not so far off and remote anymore,thanks in part to the fast forward march of technology.
Wanderlust set in at an early age for me,I remember the first time I left home for a trip,I decided to on a backpacking trip to Europe.Earlier that year I had met 3 germans shopping at our local supermarket traveling around Ireland on bicycles,we chatted,they asked for directions,and ended up staying a couple of nights at our house.Naturlich,habe ich nach Deutschland eingeladen,so of course I went.
It was December of '76,2 months shy of turning 15 the following January.
In '79 things were a bit different,there were no computers,no GPS,no cellphones,I think we just got an answering machine at home,and I remember it was the size of a VHS player and it took cassette tapes to ecord the messages.Travel was a little different too.
My old man had a friend who worked for a large department store in the end of things,he knew all the truckers,so he got me a ride on a truck that was passing through Germany en route to Denmark with drill bits that were 6 feet wide,used in the mining industry there.
So off I went in December of 1976 on a truck to Germany.I couldn't speak German,was never there before and didn't have any maps,I just went.
Today,we have the GPS taking the place of the map,which in turn takes the place of the interaction needed when you have to ask a real person for directions.I was reading another motorcycle travelers blog the other day(the name escapes me now)and he mentioned that he makes sure to never turn on the GPS unless absolutely necessary,and on many trips he never brings the GPS at all.
I mean,how did we ever get around before the GPS?.We just did.We asked people for directions.
When I was dropped off in Germany by the truck driver,I had to get to the town of Essen from where I was at.
"Essen" is also the german word for "eat".
It took me all morning to find someone who spoke English to point me in the direction of the town of Essen,and not tell me where to go to eat.