Thursday, June 23, 2005

Travelers as modern hunter-gatherers

One of the great joys of travel is finding out how well just winging it works out. Looking back on just one month of travel, all the really magical experiences happened by accident.

Thousands of years ago, our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have experienced the miracle of provenance on a daily basis. To experience this now, we have to get far enough from our tightly scripted lives that we can let serendipity take over.

A certain amount of planning is required to get to a spot, this is true. Yet once there, plenty of slack in the schedule is required for anything interesting to happen.

We expend tremendous energies convincing ourselves that the more minutely we plan our destinies, the better they turn out. Travel proves just the opposite, that the more tightly we plan, the more surely we will miss the essence of a place.