Recently, I received a message from a travel company, with the headline Real Adventures don’t have to be Uncomfortable.
So I got to thinking. Doesn’t it though? For a journey to be memorable – and memorable is a definite requirement for adventure travel – it often has at least a degree of discomfort.
It’s not the goal but the way there that matters, and the harder the way the more worthwhile the journey.
Wilfred Thesiger, Arabian Sands
Which are the trips – or the details of a trip – you remember? Is it the one where everything ran smoothly and you were comfortable all the time? Perhaps it is.
But chances are, it was that time you were stuck in a minibus speeding along a narrow mountain road in Lesotho, wondering if the holes in the windscreen were bullet holes, and then the door panel came off and landed in your lap?
Or that journey where at regular intervals you were sprayed with camel urine; because the kids got to ride on the camel’s back and you were stuck in the cart behind?
Was it perhaps that time you slept on a beach in India, and woke up at 5am and needed the loo, but were too scared to get out of your sleeping bag, because you were surrounded by large, mean-looking crows?
Or that breakfast in a Dublin hostel where you told your pre-teen that black-and-white pudding consists of congealed pig’s blood? (I’ve wondered if that has had any influence on her being fiercely vegetarian.)
Or that time you spent the night in a Soviet-era concrete housing block in Chisinau, wondering if the ‘8’ in the ramshackle lift was written in blood?