“Can someone please help me?”
In the distance a call rang out, someone had not attacked the zipline and were paying the price by hanging in the middle, waiting for a guide to come pull them to the platform. Ha! Silly person. All you had to do was make sure to give a good push and anyone could make it to the other side.
Less than two minutes later I sat, 10 feet away from the platform, waiting for my own guide to come help me. As they say, pride goweth before a fall, but fortunately it was only my ego that was damaged. The treetop course was more challenging than I had assumed, and over the next two hours I would have plenty more opportunities to look silly, struggle to reach my goal, and find new depths of humility. I would also laugh more than I had in a long time, help my friends and allow myself to be helped, watch our kids tackle amazing heights and be surrounded by the beauty that is Tahoe.
The very best overhear of all, after we had finished our time and were getting ready to leave, was when the littlest kid in our group turned to her mom and said, “What are we doing tomorrow? Can we come back and do it again.”
I am pretty sure we all felt the same way.
“It’s like you're trekking.”
With one of the chair lifts out of commission, and many of the runs closed, you would think our day of skiing would not have been much to talk about. Instead, though, the sun was out, the views were great, and I got to experience the concept of back country skiing as a guide led us across a run where at times we had to take off our skis and hike over patches of dirt.
The best experiences in my life, especially when I am travelling, always seem to occur when something unexpected changes my plan. Getting lost in Italy, finding myself without a hotel room in San Francisco, a car malfunction in England... these situation have led to my stepping outside my comfort zone and relying on the generosity / help of others. And, when I get that chance to interact with locals, be they foreign or domestic, I usually get a much better understanding of the place I am visiting.
I suppose this is why solitary beach vacations don’t do a lot for me. It is not so much that I need to be active as that I like to be involved. In fact, I am currently intrigued by the idea of a working vacation…though I know these aren’t always as useful as they are promoted to be (see this article from Conde Nast Traveler for more.)
My husband doesn’t feel this need like I do, and so vacation planning is always a negotiation for us. Even when I go someplace like Hawaii, I tend to spend quite a bit of time chatting with my fellow- travelers; or better yet, with locals in restaurants or shops. How do they like living where they do? What do they do for fun? Have they ever visited where I am from? And if so, what did they think of it? I imagine it is like what a photojournalist must feel when they
travel… a moment that is shared even if it is not fully understood. (Link here to one of my new favorite t.v. shows Word Travels, about being a travel journalist.)
Hiking across those dry patches was just a moment of my day…and for the others simply a means to get to a lift that was otherwise inaccessible. But for me, it was the highlight of my ski trip.
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