For centuries, travelers the world over have had to deal with an endless variety of daunting obstacles. But the truth is, there is only one particular challenge that holds the key to determining the course and outcome of one’s journey. And if not taken seriously, even the most well-prepared and confident of explorers will be left stranded, with only a troubled mind and a tortured soul to guide them through endless days of aimless wandering.
If we want to fulfill the greatest potential of our travels, we must look the problem square in the eyes and make a decision. We might have a pocket full of cash, a brand new backpack stuffed with all the latest travel gadgets and an airplane ticket in hand, but how can we possibly proceed without contemplating the age old question…
Mountains or beach?
Yes, that’s right, do you prefer the mountains or the beach? Without knowing the answer to this question, a question that has been posed to us ever since our teenage years, how can you devise a respectable travel itinerary? To what destination shall you attempt to reach?
AND MY ANSWER IS…BEACH!
For me, the answer has always been beach. If I had my choice, I prefer to head towards the coast, to step onto white sands, stare out over turquoise waters and re-charge my life by the rays of the sun (and swing in a hammock if at all possible). At the beach, I am forced to relax, to breathe more slowly and to let the sound of the waves remind me that happiness really has nothing to do with material possessions at all.
And the communities I’ve visited, those that have sprung up along the beautiful shorelines of the world, tend to be some of the most laid-back, easy-going settlements I’ve encountered. Life by the beach moves at a calm, peaceful and healthy pace as the pressures, stress and delusions of modern life seem to stay far, far away.
As you can tell, I love everything about the beach, and I go out of my way during my travels to find those perfect slices of paradise, the sight of which forces me to rub my eyes and pinch my arm in order to prove that such a beautiful place really does exist.
WHAT ABOUT THE MOUNTAINS?
In all fairness, the mountains of the world are not exactly landforms to be taken lightly, and to anyone who chooses mountains over beach, I certainly do not hold you in disregard. Far from it.
To be standing high above sea-level, mingling with the clouds that once seemed so unreachable, and surrounded by towering peaks demanding attention, can be a superbly sublime experience.
One glance across an endless mountain landscape and the trivial problems that consume our daily lives suddenly seem to disappear. It’s a natural cure, one composed of shocking isolation coupled with disbelief that the world we’ve lived in for so long is now completely hidden from us so far below.
Our lungs fill with the purest of air, our eyesight seems to lose all limitation and for a brief moment, we understand the wisdom in the wind-beaten faces of those who call the mountains their home.
WHAT’S YOUR PREFERENCE?
If you had to choose today to travel to one of the most stunning white-sand beaches of the world or to the unimaginable heights of the mighty Himalayas, which would it be?
Of course, the beauty of this dilemma, of this question – mountains or beaches? – is that the answer is not limited to only those two options. Perhaps it’s the desert that mesmerizes you, the world’s largest cities, the rain forest, museums, tea plantations, religious structures or even a long stretch of farmland full of cows and sheep.
Whatever it is, I’d love to know what gets your heart racing, causing you to start dreaming wild dreams of dropping everything, packing your bag and taking off at once…