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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Don't waste your time on perfect

May 29, 2018 10:23PM ● By Kevin VanGundy

Most travelers carry too much baggage. One of the best pieces of travel advice I’ve heard is to pack and then leave half the stuff at home.

Throughout my years of traveling, I’ve learned that the best thing to bring on vacation is a good attitude. But if you depart with the expectation of a picture-perfect vacation, you might be disappointed.

Traveling has its highs and lows. No matter what mode of transportation you use, people get sick, luggage gets lost, cars break down, airline service sucks and Yelp won’t always steer you to a great meal.

But looking back on my most memorable travels, the lows seem to fade away. The memories I replay most often were generally unplanned, ordinary and ultimately sublime.

On a Caribbean cruise with family and friends we stopped off in Grand Turk. After wandering the beach we ended up at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurant (a definite tourist trap). The hamburger and French fries were forgettable, the beer was Corona, and our large group dined by the busy poolside. While the afternoon was whiled away doing nothing special, we had a great time. I remember everyone in our group was laughing.

In Rome, my oldest son, Lydon, and I were walking back from the city center through a small neighborhood. We happened across a delectable little bakery with a large, beautiful cake in the window. The cake was way more than we could eat, but we bought it anyway, boxed it up and went back to our hotel. That night, a group of tourists from the hotel gathered around an outdoor table to talk and share drinks. (The hotel had no bar or restaurant.) Lydon and I contributed our cake to the gathering—no plates and no utensils—just a group of travelers sharing their stories and eating cake by the handful.

Yes, the Eiffel Tower is cool, St. Paul’s Cathedral is beautiful, and Mt. Everest is big. But trust me, it’s those silly, little, unplanned moments with people you love that bring the fondest memories.

In this guide to Summer Travel & Festivals, we’ve included events both great and small. Sure, all the locals go to the Peach Festival, but why not try the Crested Butte Arts Festival? One thing I’ve been meaning to do is going deep into the mountain on the Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour.

For a little more adventure you can pack up your RV and head to Chama, New Mexico, for a delightful ride aboard the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. This coal-fired steel beast will transport you in comfort along 64 miles of Rocky Mountain splendor. You’ll see the west as our forefathers did.

While I suggest seeing as much of the world as possible, the stories and advertisements in this special section show you that there’s plenty to experience nearby. Adventure can begin right in our back yards—no passport required.

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