This Week's Links
A Walk on the Wild Side
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by Joe Harkins - Nov 11, 98
There are three types of recreational travel.
Tourism travel is when the only thing you really need to bring is money.
Adventure travel is when you bring your own roll of Charmin.
Then there's Wild travel, where no one at the place you are going has any idea what either of those first two things are.
If you are absolutely certain that you'll be able to get home again, the Wild Travel process of totally "getting away from it all" virtually guarantees a renewed respect for the important things of civilization. I'm not speaking of Art, Literature or Theater; I'm talking plumbing, pillows and American Express.
Thanks to the Internet's wide reach, there's an online home for virtually every penny-pinching travel aberration. Case in point, The World According to Donna. Her Cheap Like Me Travel Society has few prerequisites. If one or more of the following apply, you are automatically qualified for CLMTS membership.
Don't bother to open the registration form. The page says, "Sorry, I currently have 125 unprocessed registration forms and can't find time to take in any more."
Just because you can't register doesn't mean you are barred from upholding the principles upon which the organization is founded. Click on the link to her Guide to Being Cheap. Some of the tips are downright outrageous, and more than a few even may be slightly illegal. One of the CLMTS membership qualifiers has blossomed into an entire online guide of it's own, The Budget Traveler's Guide to Sleeping in Airports.
Some 530 airport terminals (plus train stations, churches, etc.) around the world are rated by guide users for security and comfort. The Strange Places to Sleep section (which implies those other places are normal) includes the personal anecdote of one traveler who spent the night curled up in a booth at the "MacDonald's on Peking Road in Tsim Sha Tsui (the Kowloon side of Hong Kong)" and concludes with the praise, " . . . they even wake you up with a free cup of coffee in the morning to get you out of there."
Similar wild and cheap travel is reported at Cyber Adventures. Although the sheer lunacy of some of the antics is entertaining, I was stunned by a piece of prose posted by one diarist. It begins,
"In the sublime Xiaoliangshan Mountains of Yongning District of the Ninglang Yi Autonomous County is inlaid a shimmering pearl, Luguhu Lake."
I was so touched by the lyric beauty of that sentence and the image it placed before me that I hastily copied the address to share the site with you. When I returned later that day, after finishing some other business, I discovered that the web page address was no longer valid. It looked like the webmaster had done some housekeeping.
This was an echo of the origin of "Kubla Kahn," one of the most beautiful poems in the English language. Its creation by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, during an opium-induced dream state, was interrupted by his housekeeper's insistent announcement of a "person from Porlock" waiting downstairs. By the time Coleridge roused himself, the mysterious visitor had departed and the poem was never completed. The surviving text is quoted on the Shop The Net Public Library web site.
Fortunately, I caught the "person from Porlock" by the coattails. That is, I reached the Cyber Adventures webmaster by email. The address for the beautifully told story by Lawrence Ling is functional as of this writing.
A similar literary experience, also disguised as wild travel, lies in the exceptionally well designed web site of the Australian writer Peter Moore. Until I found this page, I'd been searching for a way to direct readers to NSITT, a wild and crazy web site whose scatological title cannot be printed in a family newspaper without costing me my column and the editor his job. Click on the home-page link to Peter's books. NSITT is now also the title of his latest travel book, which I can't wait to read. Until then, there's that link to the unmentionable web site.
Where The Wild Things Are:
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