For some reason, I often find myself thinking about transportation, the actual act of traveling. We have the ability to travel in more ways than ever, but I don’t think we often think about our actual methods of transportation, besides when our conversations turn to oil dependence and fuel economy. And so, to perhaps inspire the world to think a little more closely about how we move, here a list of my seven preferred methods of transportation.
The quiet. The water. The glide. The control of a boat with something that seems so tiny in comparison. The feel of the paddle. The conditioning of arms, shoulder, and chest. The ability to carry heavy gear great distances. It can’t get any better than a canoe, and sadly, I sold mine, see the above photo (the only photo I have of it was for the ad to sell it), a couple months ago, financing my move to Alaska.
Becoming very close to surpassing the canoe. Skate-skiing has no part of this, no way. I’m talking classic, Nordic style cross-country skiing. Unlike skate, you can notice the world as you glide through it. The experience is something like fly-fishing, meditative and natural.
My Own Feet
Pretty much an obvious one here, but there was a time nearly ten years ago that every step I took was excruciatingly painful. My arches were falling down. At one point, after getting shots in the bottom of my feet, I had to crawl around my apartment for two days, unable to walk. Other times have been nearly as painful and frustrating. Having lost the ability to walk, perhaps, makes me appreciate it more than most people.
When I lived in Germany, bicycle was the best way to move around town. I still like the idea of being able to handle all basic needs, grocery shopping, dining experiences, and ect through walking or bicycling. I don’t think I will be able to live like that again, but alas, after so many years away from it, I’ve been reunited with my bicycle again. Now, however, I must wait a few months for the ice to melt, and I don’t live near a town for shopping ease.
Perhaps you wouldn’t expect an ATV on the list after so many green methods of travel, but this ain’t a list of green travel methods. If this list were the most fun ways to travel, 4-wheelers would be at the top. Those machines are so much fun. I rode my first quad in second-grade, had my first leg in a cast by third grade, and probably should have died by the time I was sixteen. When I was eighteen, I use to race semi’s on the interstate. From a stop, driving through a rutted and hilly cornfield, I could surpass a semi within a half a mile. I had to sell it before moving to Germany. Oh how I miss it.
This might be more of a romantic listing than one based off personal experience. I haven’t ridden a horse in twenty years, but I will never forget the limited time I’ve spent riding them. When I was a child, I often rode my neighbors horses, through pastures and harvested fields. There’s something fascinating about the balance of controlling an animal and it controlling you.
One of the things I enjoy most about the act of traveling is the ability of movement to drift my mind to someplace different. I get much thinking done when traveling, whether it be walking or driving, and for me, driving across the country can allow me to conclude the meaning of life three or four times, three or four different meanings. In 2009, I drove in over thirty states. Much of that driving was without radio, ipod, cd, or any form of electronic entertainment device. The road is meditation.
A few things that might be on the list at some point, after I try them: paragliding, base jumping, or snowshoeing.
My most hated methods of travel: bus and snowboard.
If you have your own preferred methods of travel, I would love to hear about them.