Spontaneous travel

Travel Perspectives — By on April 30, 2007 at 12:29 pm

Have you ever had a desire for a last minute, spontaneous trip? Scott Kraft has, and over a few long weekends he’s managed to travel to Machu Picchu in Peru and Iguazu Falls in Argentina. He had a similar urge to see the Taj Mahal on a quick trip, but India is not so easy to get to. Still, he and some friends managed to put together a journey in which they spent just five days on the ground in India and saw the country’s Golden Triangle, from Delhi to Jaipur to the Taj city of Agra. He then wrote about his experience for the Los Angeles Times.

The sane traveler makes a simple calculation when planning a getaway: The longer it takes to get there, the longer the stay required to make it worthwhile. By that definition, my friends and I are not sane travelers.

We did Peru’s Machu Picchu over a long weekend in 2003. We used another long weekend in 2005 to see Iguazu Falls from the Argentine and Brazilian sides. We trekked to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan last year – and were back home by week’s end.

There was no place in the world, we figured, that couldn’t be conquered in a few days by a group of determined middle-aged suburban fathers with wanderlust, carry-on luggage and the ability to power through jet lag.

Interestingly, National Geographic Traveler also did a recent feature on sudden journeys and published 25 intriguing stories about last-minute travel decisions and the ensuing experiences, from Morocco to Ethiopia and Croatia to St. Bart’s.

We’ve all experienced them – those delightful, slightly irresponsible moments when we toss schedules and obligations to the wind and just take off. Whether it’s a college weekend when you pile in the car and just start driving or a mid-career break when you fly half-way around the world to try your hand at something new, stealing away from your daily routine is a true guilty pleasure.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks Bob for mentioning our collection of “sudden journeys” in the May/June newsstand issue of Traveler– it was a fun project to work on, and we got so many great contributions (Pico Iyer, Arthur Golden, Joyce Maynard, Mark Jenkins) that we put even more of them on our website. Hope you enjoy reading them, and if you or any of your readers would like to send us your own spontaneous travel story, you can email us at insidetraveler@ngs.org.

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