I think one of the main reasons I’m so addicted to travel is the surprise factor. I’m constantly surprised how the same and yet how remarkably different we are as people, as nations. Maybe that is the main culprit in my not really wanting, and therefore, just blatantly ignoring any planning past buying a ticket to get to X. I love surprise! It makes me happy!
The silliest and tiniest things amaze me. I’m fascinated by people, and of course people are unpredictable. I was ecstatic when a Swiss farmer invited me to the morning milking. His wife, the proprietor of the inn we were staying in, took such good care of us. She was genuninely interested in our plans, how things went, and gave us such a warm welcome. Then the next thing I know I’m drinking homemade alcohol after the cows were milked at 6:30 in the morning. Yep, that was a surprise!
Along the same lines, we were so surprised while driving down the Dalmatian coast in Croatia when we came across a family cooking lamb and pig on the spit. We spent the majority of the afternoon, eating, touring the kitchen, talking to our table neighbors and the family that runs the place. Little did I know that with all of Croatia’s gems, this is the one memory I cherish the most from our trip.
Of course food always seems to surprise me, mostly in a good way. I cannot get over what people love to eat in their countries. From the cricket girls in Cambodia to the insects on a stick in Beijing, we’re always amazed. One of the foods that Jim and I always talk about is Mongolian Khuurshuur. A fried dumpling made of horsemeat, we devoured every bite and could have eaten more. We weren’t as thrilled with the famous durian fruit of Southeast Asia, but I could see how the taste may grow on you. I’m not saying we’ve loved every new food we’ve tried, but we definitely are always on the lookout for a tasty surprise.
Some other happy surprises we’ve come across in our travels are the time we realized that Montenegro was an easy day trip from Dubrovnik and quickly added that to our itinerary, or the time that we went to a proboscis monkey sanctuary and the alpha male jumped right over my head, or the time when we were exploring a new city in Poland and had the absolute time of our lives hunting for gnomes. Travel just constantly surprises me and it really, really makes me happy.
Oh by the way, it’s cow time in the Alps. For about a month in early fall, the cows are brought down from the highest peaks and decorated then paraded through town. If a cow parade doesn’t make you happy then what will?
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