Author: Campbell, Bruce

Footloose? Fancy free? Me?

Reading Ted Lehmanís excellent column on the IBMA got me thinking. At first, I was thinking about the theme of his essay, about the benefits the IBMA has for promoters. Then, as so often happens, my mind started to wander, and I remembered the times I had been to the IBMA event in Nashville. And that got me thinking about travel. And that got me thinking about how different life is in different regions Ė sometimes, in a subtle way (Nashville is still modern America, for heavenís sake) and sometimes in profound ways (like in villages I have visited in the Yucatan Peninsula).

Only a few generations ago, over 80% of people lived their entire lives within 100 miles of where they were born Ė or something like that.

Obviously, if you go far enough back when travel was very difficult, say before trains, this is not surprising. In researching this piece, however, I came across a claim (on the internet, so it must be true, right?) that even in modern times, half of people live within 50 miles of their birthplace.

Itís true of me. I was born in San Francisco, about 30 miles away from where I live now, and I have never lived any further away. I like traveling, but Iím not particularly intrepid. I enjoy being exposed to new places, and imaging how life is in those new places.

Iíve always felt a twinge of envy for people who have lived for any length of time in exotic locales like China, England, Sri Lanka, Bhutan or Cleveland. There seems to be no doubt that travel broadens oneís perspective, and it appears to me that folks who have traveled extensively are more confident, and able to adapt calmly to changing conditions. Itís tough to prove a cause-and-effect Ė maybe these people traveled because they were brave and adventurous, or maybe they became brave and adventurous because they traveled.

I have learned that travel is less stressful when you travel alone or with other adults. The travel I have done with my kids (when they were young kids) was full of stress. To a child, a missed meal, a late plane or an uncomfortable place to sleep is very tough, and I felt a strong sense of need to prevent any of these things from happening, when in fact, those minor inconveniences are common when traveling.

I have never flown standby. As a kid, I understood the process, and I looked forward to the time when I would be a footloose and carefree young scruffy traveler with a well-worn backpack. I would be at the airport, and get on whatever flight was available, whenever it was available, because I would have my home on my back, like some high-altitude hobo.

In real life, I have never flown anywhere where I really didnít want (or need) to get to my destination on time, whether to start a vacation, make a business meeting, or get home after a time away. I passed up footloose and fancy free altogether, it seems.

Until now. My wife and I are going to celebrate our 30th anniversary later this year with a trip to the British Isles. We are trying to strike a casual balance between making some specific plans over there, and still avoiding rigid itineraries.

We have some specific goals on things to see in England, Ireland and Scotland, but weíre trying to be really flexible to enjoy the real flavor of traveling. Weíre both turning 55 this year, and we know weíre unlikely to get a whole lot MORE spry, so we were anxious to see if could even pretend to be intrepid!

You know, once youíve decided to take a vacation, I guess almost anything will remind you of it. Thank you, Ted Lehman!

Posted:  3/13/2013

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