Get out there: It’s the real thing

Karl Teel

Robert Pirsig, the iconic best-selling novelist from the 1970s who wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, made note that when riding a motorcycle you are a part of the world you are passing through, whereas in a car, looking through windows offers an experience more like watching television.

Perhaps it’s the dynamics of a frame, but it rings true. Walking and bicycling also offer a more involved perspective and experience. There’s just no substitute for being there. Don’t get me wrong, I too enjoy videos and pictures of places I want to see and things I want to experience. And, like most of us, I can’t take the time or pay the price to visit and experience all of my bucket list items. Still, you just don’t get the same vibe watching a whitewater rafting trip on a large-screen TV that you get when you’re actually getting out there and doing it live. Similarly, I’d wager that standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon is a lot more moving than seeing it on video, as impressive as that may be.

In society today, boomers often ponder why they were so intent on gaining their independence and getting their own place and freedom. Meanwhile, millennials seem to take a decade or so longer. It is a matter of perspective. In this day and age of unimaginable amounts of information at one’s fingertips, the world has indeed shrunk and become far more accessible. There is a lot more knowledge and awareness. Boomers didn’t really know what was out there, and that was part of the allure. The current coming-of-age generation knows a lot more of what’s out there, so the mysterious allure that drove boomers toward independence gives way to known comforts.

But as much as this available knowledge exists, it is simply no substitute for experience. Sure, knowledge has huge value. Research, finding deals, routing options, knowing what to expect and what not to miss, where to stay, and what to pay is valuable knowledge because it allows you to make the most of your travels. But, as we’ve all experienced, there’s no substitute for the live experience in all its multi-sensory glory. The video you see while researching a destination is helpful, but no substitute for actually being there. I don’t want to just see the sights in a better way than a computer screen, I want to taste the food, smell the scents, feel the adrenaline, and meet the people. It’s like wanting a fantastic romance, not just reading about one.

I hope the stories and ads on these pages, along with our website, video channel, email blasts, radio segments, social media, and other efforts, help you in your research to make the most of realizing your dreams. But remember, like the video, we are no substitute for reality. Go out there and experience it live.

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