In late summer 2010, I rode on a Green Tortoise tour, the "Northern Pioneer". Green Tortoise is a hosteler/backpacker outfit, and this tour combined camping, outdoorsy wandering, and sleeping on a moving bus. I saw some interesting parts of the western USA. I met some interesting people. I had a good time. I recommend this trip to someone who can handle rough travel. I handled it better than I thought I would.
If I'd known what I was getting into, I might not have tried this. But I went in ignorant, and it turned out great. I trusted my luck, and it didn't let me down.
In 2010, I needed to do things differently, but I wasn't exactly sure how.
In 2009, I chose a vacation destination systematically, based on maps and USA census data. This method was technically impressive, but sent me to Texas where I saw some interesting things, but not as much as I might have hoped, considering how long I wandered there.
After that, I was reluctant to choose travel destinations. I went a couple of places I'd already been, safe choices.
Then I "maxed out" my vacation allowance at work: if I didn't take vacation time, I was just leaving it on the table. I'd mocked people who thus bungled their work/life balance. I walked home from the San Francisco office after work, meandering, wandering and wondering what to do. I walked through Chinatown, watching tourists make their way. The tourists had chosen San Francisco. They were happy. What would I choose?
I stopped walking. I had to choose some place. Even if I chose poorly, I had to break this paralysis. I looked around. I spotted the Green Tortoise travelers hostel. A memory unburied itself: someone had told me that Green Tortoise ran bus tours for backpackers.
I succumbed to an impulse. I gave my luck room to operate. I decided then and there to ride the Green Tortoise.
Friday the 27th
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