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Surprises in the Backcountry

There is a nice kick to starting a post with only vague notions about the title, theme, or photos. I never begin with a blank slate. But there is enough uncertainty that nature becomes a problem to solve. And surprises happen.

The first time I was at today's location, many years ago, I arrived with only vague notions about something special being here. I had to find it, and when I did, it took my breath away.

How fortunate I was to experience this feeling. Does that opportunity even exist anymore? I am referring to the modern addiction to "researching" everything on the internet before you go there, so when you actually go, there are no surprises except perhaps the disappointments.

When I see tourists driving up at high speed, stepping out of the car, taking a couple snapshots, and driving away in a hurry, I wonder why they didn't just stay home and look at postcards on the internet. Please don't tell me "There's no substitute for being there," because that simply isn't true if the sheer optical poptitude of the scenery is 95% of your reason for being there.

I can see a consequence of being a campground host in crowded Colorado for 4.5 months this summer. It is so easy to predict the behavior of tourists! All I want to do is get away from them.


XXXXX said…

Tourist: a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure.

Doesn't that make you a tourist too? The only difference I can see is that you do it full time.

Anonymous said…
Having spent the past summer travelling and camping around British Columbia Canada I feel your pain.
George, I would use a different definition of tourist: somebody who travels for the momentary titillation of visual entertainment, novelty, and freakishness. Channel-surfing with gasoline.

I am interesting in the lifestyle experience.
XXXXX said…

Ah, you mean "rubbernecks".....a person visiting a place of interest; one who turns their head to stare at something in a foolish manner."

After 4 months of people like that, I can appreciate your delight to be free.

I bet that as a host, you most likely come across only that type as they would most likely be loud and in a constant party mood. Those traveling for historical, geological, etc. reasons wouldn't likely come to your attention, though we're out there. Just so you know. George
Ed said…
I too travel from place to place but do not do so as a tourist. George has the idea that anyone that travels as I do must be doing it for pleasure and is therefore a tourist by definition.

Since I am not traveling for pleasure I must then be homeless by definition of the United States government (42 U.S. Code § 11302.General definition of homeless individual).

I think of myself as being a wanderer. One who roams about but take my 'home' with me as I go.
XXXXX said…

Is there a word for someone who travels for the lifestyle?

Closest I can think of is "peripatetic."

George, I suppose "nomad" was the traditional term for someone who travels as a lifestyle, rather than for "fun." But the nomad term has been corrupted by the modern boom industry of van-life.