Sometimes, it’s the country you are in and sometimes the people you meet. For us, it was almost always the country we were in, for we are intrigued by history, language, religion, lifestyle, and culture.
Travel also brings challenges. For some, knowing where they will spend each night is essential, so they must travel with a fixed itinerary. Often, this includes hiring guides to help navigate language, education of sites, and even meals and accommodations. If they can arrange every detail of their visit, they do, and little is left to chance.
Lenette and I never traveled this way. We deliberately traveled the “blue roads.” The small side roads that wind through towns and villages that may not have changed over hundreds of years. Accommodations, stores, and restaurants are rare and may or may not exist. If they do, they might be closed during midday for three-plus hours. And this, for us, is what travel meant. Not knowing was a form of adventure for us. Because we were inquisitive, we wanted to know what we didn’t know. We wanted to see what we hadn’t seen.
A good example of this was when we were in Turkey. While in that rarely visited country, we heard from locals that there were dogs that protected sheep and other domesticated animals from the wolves that roam the countryside. Of course, being dog owners and lovers, we have to find and see the Kangal Shepherds.
We traveled on roads that cannot be called roads, heading for a ranch that raises these dogs. There, they are kept in large enclosures. The dogs are enormous and muscular, bigger than German Shepherds, and look like they can eat wolves for lunch.
We learn they are raised purely to protect farm animals from the wild animals of the forest. We are also told that they are being purchased and brought to Wyoming and the country surrounding Yellowstone.
This was why we traveled as we did: to know and see the differences. We loved differences.