I’m in a horrible mood. The winters in Utah are long and brutal; everything appears to be dead for months. It’s the reason I want to move away from here, yet I am stuck until some kind soul buys this house. Hopefully, this will be the last dead season for me.
I am not an eager traveler. I am terrified of new places and new protocols. Every first experience is a chance to look foolish because I don’t know the rules, or where I am going. The anxiety preceding travel is far worse than anything I experience once I’m there, but it’s enough of an obstacle to keep me home. I don’t understand the desire of some people to see the world and break new ground. The idea makes me uncomfortable.
There is one place that I have always wanted to see: Galapagos National Park. I became fascinated by the location when I was studying biology in high school. I wanted to follow in Darwin’s footsteps and see the power and diversity of nature. I watched every nature video from Galapagos that I could find, and studied every photo. It was my only dream destination.
When I started birding and bought a decent camera, my desire to see the marine iguanas, birds, and wildlife of the islands doubled. I could look at photos taken by other people for the rest of my life. To be certain, the professional photos would be of a higher quality than anything I could shoot. My photos would be a reflection of my experience in Galapagos. They would be a shorthand for the sights, smells, sounds, and feel of the islands. Other people’s photos are the experience for someone who’s never been there. That’s just not enough.
Reality is rough on a dream. The expense of going to a remote destination is impractical. The cost of a cruise around the islands is equivalent to say, the purchase price of a domestic compact car. There is no world in which I would ever have that sort of disposable income. To complicate matters, there’s constant talk of closing the islands to visitors to stem some of the environmental damage caused by tourism. Remember the guy that killed 53 sea lions by beating their skulls to mush with a pipe? That happened in the Galapagos. Horrific.
That, as they say, is why we can’t have nice things.
I imagine that everyone has one impractical, crazy dream. We all want for something that we can’t possibly expect to have or achieve. I say, have the dream. Let it hang around and entertain your daydreams like a thorn under your skin that you can’t extract. Tell yourself that one of these days, you’re going to sell the farm and go crazy with it.
I have a vision of the future that includes a withered old me talking about my biggest regrets. I hope like hell that not going to Galapagos is a big one. That would mean that I managed to get the really important things right.