Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Two of a Kind

Two of a Kind

There are two types of people in the world, the dish do-ers, and the dish avoiders.

I am sure that you have experienced them first hand. You know, those people who mysteriously disappear after the last bites have been taken and everyone else stands and heads to the kitchen to face the daunting task of cleaning up.

I am not sure where they go, limbo, to take a nap, to do “something”… the bathroom… but, somehow they always manage to miraculously leave/disappear and then return just as the last dish is being dried.

It seems that there is nothing you can do about these people except for love them, although, as a dish do-er myself, it is a little annoying. I have found a way to mask this annoyance by calling it an “endearing quality.” It helps me love others better.

However, what these dish avoiders don’t realize is what they are missing. Good conversations, funny mishaps, secrets told, the small things that makes life, well, life.

This principle is not limited to dish do-ers and dish avoiders. In fact, I believe that in everything, the two of a kind rule applies. Vanilla or chocolate? Coke or Pepsi? Lyrics or music?

Even traveling takes sides.

Just the word makes one person smile and other cringe. For some, it brings back overwhelming memories of a rich experience that can never be duplicated, and for the others, it brings back the horror of being crammed into a coach middle seat for 12 hours.

That’s actually a perfect example. Here, the travel lover would see this as an experience, something to laugh about later; the travel loather would call this hell.

For me, travel is good. Traveling is better. But being a traveler is the best. That’s what I like to call myself, a traveler. I am not someone who travels through time, sadly, but through space yes. I am at the beginning of my journey, but to be honest, I have done my fair share of traveling. And I, along with all travel lovers, am faced with task of introducing the loathers to our love affair, or in most cases, dragging them along.

I think that we all pretend to like to travel. It’s very trendy these days. We all get in the car, or on the plane, ready for an adventure. But quickly, the test of lover or loather comes, and who passes and who fails becomes very obvious very quickly.

How many times have we, either the lover or the loather, found ourselves reading the inflight magazine on a plane about a place that barely exists? A lover knows to avoid this common trap and use it as a stepping stone, whereas the loather actually goes there and ends up hating his or her life because, in actuality, and to no surprise to the lover, the job of the travel writer is to make a place look way more desirable than it actually is.

Perfect example.

My mom sent me a magazine article about this wonderful and quaint, a must see in fact, gourmet grocery store and bakery in Crozet, Virginia. I thought to myself, “Perfect! I need to go here!” So I planned it out, decided to make a day of it. I invited a friend and we set off on my road trip to what turned out to be… nowhere.

We arrived at a log cabin… cute, but not old and not too much charm. Went inside to find that yes, they did have a fine and ample selection of sandwiches, as well as an assortment of cheese and pantry items, but that was about it.

I would hardly call this a find! This was more a waste of time, and the longer that I stood there pondering why such an astute travel magazine would take this many hours off my life on purpose, the travel lover in me began to emerge.

My friend, who would call herself a lover as well, but really, to be honest, has not made the -ther to -ver ending jump yet, was just plain disappointed. To her, we had driven three hours, spent precious college money on gas, and now were eating overpriced, but still delicious sandwiches in an run down log cabin.

But to me, to me this was possibility. Crozet, Virignia, where the hell is that? I had just followed the GPS. But now it was time to get into the nitty gritty. Time to pull out the old paper map… my fave.

And you know what? The map did the trick. We had a wonderful afternoon. That trusty ole AAA map took us to apple orchards, on stunning back roads, and to the location of one of the best things that I have ever eaten (Fried Green Tomato Salad at Miller’s Bar, Charlottesville, VA). A travel lover can turn a place that barely exists into an oasis of adventure, or they can at least find that oasis from the middle of nowhere.

The map brings up a good point.

Now, I can read a map. Any respectable lover should be able to. Maps are nostalgic and surprisingly don’t need batteries, so their usage life tends to be pretty long. At least until a drive-through cup of slusho gets spilled on it, someone gets car sick, or you spend too many years not heeding Rabbit’s advice of rolling maps instead of folding them.

Twice in the last year, I have been on a road trip and the GPS, for some reason or another, has gone out of commission. The battery died, it couldn’t connect to the satellite, somehow my car had been transformed into Faraday’s Cage. I have no idea, but the GPS was a no go. And, for that very reason, we had to pull out the map.

I’ve found that loathers are scared of those things…maps I mean. In fact, I didn’t know this, but many haven’t ever used one before.

What! What? My childhood was filled with my father handing me a map in the backseat, attempting to point out where we were while driving at the same time, and then asking me where we should be going and on what road. Normally, a father wouldn’t put the fate of his family in the hands of his 10-year-old, but in these cases, it was okay.

Because only two things could happen. We would make the destination, or we wouldn’t. And both to the travel lover are okay. Because that is all part of the journey.

Traveling is a skill that must be learned. You can’t just read about travel, you must experience it! It takes years, and places, and yes, some money, and experiences and thousands of awkward moments to become a traveler. But the result, the result cannot be duplicated.

If you do it right, traveling touches your soul in ways you can’t even describe. It makes you do things that you would never do, and it lets you be someone who’s cool and adventurous and who tries new things, tastes new foods. It can be indescribable.

But maybe that’s why people don’t like to travel. Because the trips are so great, but they always eventually come to an end. And that is hard, to leave something, an emotion or experience or place that you fell in love with, behind. It’s almost like leaving a piece of your soul in another place. But someone once told me this, and it helps. “Every song has an end, but is that any reason not to enjoy the music?"


  1. Great post! Crozet is a beautiful place. I feel like going somewhere now.

  2. You need to send this out to be published. Maybe a travel magazine?

  3. i agree with milda. lol