posted on December 24, 2008 11:21
After watching endless CNN reports about hellish, weather-related holiday travel experiences, Savvy Navigator does some end-of-year reflecting on why he still loves to travel. This top-five list is actually part one of a two-part series, and as he sits typing in his comfortable mountain home in front of a roaring fire (happily nowhere near an airport) here goes:
#1 Coming home with exotic injuries adds to the glam factor – This year Savvy Navigator returned home from his reconnaissance and gay tour planning trip to Botswana with a broken ankle. While he would otherwise like to attribute this injury to being chased by a raging adolescent male elephant, the sad reality is that he tripped down a flight of unlit stairs at his over-the-top safari lodge in the Okavango Delta (Vumbura Plains). Nevertheless, the fact that the injury was sustained while on a luxury safari generates incredible interest and everyone seems to be so curious about how the ankle was broken.
And upon reflection of injuries and illness past — the parasites from Ecuador, the broken shoulder from Telluride, the allergic reaction in Buenos Aires, and the food poisoning from Bangkok – Savvy Navigator is amazed at he is still healthy despite bringing home all these, ahem, souvenirs.
#2 It’s cool to be an American abroad again – For the past 8 years, Savvy Navigator has been playing Canadian when traveling overseas (well, there is some legitimacy, SN husband is from Regina, Saskatchewan). As the USA has systematically opted out of playing nice in the world community, there is newfound optimism and excitement about the general direction the United States. On the latest trip overseas, 100% of all those Savvy Navigator encountered were excited about the Obama election and what it represents. The purpose of this blog entry is not to be political, at all, but rather it’s about noticing that the underlying love for America, that has always been present, is starting to bubble to the surface again.
#3 Visiting foreign vineyards means wine list literacy back at home – Savvy Navigator has spent many hours visiting boutique vineyards and tasting wine in places like Stellenbosch, South Africa and Mendoza, Argentina. As he manages to sniff out some amazing boutique vineyards, his wine knowledge has increased exponentially and his ability to be intimidated by a robust wine list has been reduced. Just last week, a sommelier was waxing on eloquently about a Bodegas Catena Zapata in Mendoza, and SN thought to himself, “Yes, I rode my bicycle over to that vineyard one afternoon last year…”
#4 Achieving Platinum Status – Savvy Navigator and husband freely admit they are mileage whores. Whether it’s an airline, hotel, rental car, or frequent dining program, this family has top-tier status all over the place. While being a Grand Pooh-Bah is better in some programs over others (i.e. Starwood Platinum rocks), the slight-better-than-average the top-tier traveler receives makes moving about the world a heckuva lot easier. Plus, knowing that those points are on account out there, gives SN real piece of mind. Just last week, it only took 15k Air Canada Aeroplan points to fly down adorable nephew from Toronto (YYZ-DCA) to help infirm Uncle Savvy get ready for the holidays.
#5 Watching Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel has new meaning – Many readers know that the Savvy Navigator household has a huge affinity for the Travel Channel. Over the past 18 months, the programming on the network has dramatically improved and one of SN’s favorite shows is Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Very often, he will watch Andrew ingest interesting epicurean fare in an exotic locale and Savvy Navigator is able to remember the exact same delectable experience. The joy of travel means broadening one’s food perspective and invigorating the taste buds.
Savvy Navigator will post part two of this series some time before the end of the year. In the meantime he and the SN team will you and yours a fabulous Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever your preferred winter holiday might be.
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