A few days ago a friend and I were discussing this article about genuine wonder becoming more slippery the more you pursue it. After thinking about it for a few seconds, we both were inclined to agree.
Basically, you can split travelers into two categories; the freestylers that take things as they come and the planners that stick to an itinerary to make sure they have seen everything there is. Though I don’t plan every detail of my trips, I definitely do have leanings towards the second category. There’s just so much to see and too little time, so I always make it a point to find out as much as possible about my upcoming destination beforehand. I visit websites, check travel maps, buy destination guides, check for reviews and ask fellow travelers for tips and tricks. By the time I’m about to board the plane, there’s a clear picture in my mind of the country I’m about to visit and what I want to see and do. Herein of course lays the problem. I am so over-prepared, there’s little room left for awe. And it is often the unplanned that is the most memorable!
Here we are drifting silently on the water watching a mother bear with her cubs munching grass. Seeing a bear was high on my wish list for our road-trip through Canada and fortunately British Columbia offers a variety of guided bear watching tours. The cubs are immensely cute. The guide tries to get the boat a bit closer for us to take better pictures, but momma bear will not allow it. Every time she feels us coming too close, she walks to the water to scare us away. After a good twenty minutes of watching and taking pictures we sail back to the dock. It was nice to have seen the bears but it wasn’t what you call exhilarating.
As we hike the trail along Lake Minnewanka we try to make as much noise as possible by singing a well-known Dutch lullaby about two bears making sandwiches. According to the warning signs at the beginning of every trail, making noise is the best way to warn animals of your presence and we thought it would be funny to do so by singing about them. Apparently so did the bear because as we made our way to the bridge from one end, he came at it from the other. My husband abruptly stopped singing and within seconds he was nowhere to be seen, leaving me standing there baffled. Unlike him, I’ve always been a follow the rules kind of girl so I did exactly what the warning sign had stated and slowly backed away from the bear. With a pounding heart I stood behind a tree watching the huge animal walk away in the other direction. The adrenaline and excitement were so overwhelming that I didn’t even think to grab my camera until it was too late.
This experience was the most memorable of all the bear encounters we had in Canada even after seeing the mother bear with her cubs, one bear sleeping on the side of the road and another roaming through Whistler. His bear necessities lead to the awe moment of our entire vacation, which coincidentally also brings us back to the essence of the article. Maybe, to increase our awe moments, when planning future trips we should also stick to the bare necessities 🙂
What type of traveler are you? Do you plan everything beforehand or are you more the freestyler?