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The Joy Of Driving, The Joy Of Travel

There is a certain feeling that only travel can provide.

Changing leaves in NY State
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Buffalo, New York- It’s that time of year again. It’s that time of year where I drive six hours from one side of New York State to the other for football.

Well, I say football, but it’s really to spend time with friends and family. I’m the holder of two season tickets, and the strategy is to take someone I like from back home to each game, catch up, talk about old times, do our tailgate thing, take a shot out of the communal bowling ball, jump through a table or two … You know, what lives are really all about.

The people there think it’s bonkers that I drive so far for this but six hours for a football game but for a traveler is nothing. In the world of travel, six hours is a half day move, and in some places it is considered a short, easy jump.

So I get into my car and just drive. This time of year the ride couldn’t be much better. It takes around a half hour to get out of the city, after that it’s all verdant hills and golden valleys. The leaves are changing and the sun is shinning. Palisades Parkway is a fun drive and there’s never very many other cars on Route 17, where I can just sit back and enjoy the view. When I get to Binghamton the scenery gets a little more mundane, but I’m halfway there. On 20A I travel through the little towns near the stadium and start getting excited, as everybody — almost literally everybody — out in the streets is wearing Bills gear.

It’s really like nothing else in this country. Game day in WNY is more like something that you see in Mexico or China during a holiday, where entire towns and cities are completely same-paged on an event.

It’s that fluid spinning of the mind — the churning of the idea wheels, the constant stimulation of the new and unexpected — that I miss about travel. There’s so much about travel that I now hate: dealing with airlines and airports, buses, tourism zones, checking into hotels, and especially the food. But the one thing about travel that makes it worth it that can’t be replicated any other way is mental waves that come from movement. You just ride and think those easy thoughts. Getting deeper and deeper into them, coming up with ideas, coming up with plans.

The “pandemic” has basically been over for the past six months. Reason has finally thrown a counter punch. Almost everyone now knows that all that stuff about masks and social distancing and the snake oil was nonsense. Every once in a while a society will lose its mind … but I believe this was the first time that this has happened to the entire planet in unison. But the result is still the same: we come out on the other side and then start trying to cover up or explain away the horrors that our mass formation lunacy needlessly created. As a critical mass of people acted in this together they can conveniently try to forget it as though it never happened … a second kick to the balls for all those that had their lives, livelihoods, and dreams decimated.

The minority who didn’t lose their minds … well, all we can do is shake our heads, laugh, and be happy that it’s over and that we were fortunate enough to have weathered the storm. However, “I told you so” has never been a very effective response.

In other words, It’s time to flip back into travel mode and get moving a little more. Since the beginning of 2020, I’ve done eight trips to Mexico and a few filming trips around the US — just enough to keep the travel wheels greased. As of now, I’m keeping track of cheap flights — I don’t really care where I go — and will start out with doing 5-6 days abroad per month, start writing full time again, maybe find a journalism or film project or two. It’s time go get back at it.

Filed under: New York, Travel Philosophy

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3654 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York

4 comments… add one

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  • DaNuck November 7, 2022, 12:21 pm

    Wade, When you wrote
    “ There’s so much about travel that I now hate: dealing with airlines and airports, buses, tourism zones, checking into hotels, and especially the food.”
    I couldn’t believe my eyes ?

    The only thing I don’t care for in that list is “The Tourist zones”
    Everything else I love, even the airports and airlines, due to the fact that when there “ I’m known I’m going” somewhere !
    Every time is a thrill. And I’m no spring chicken at 70 y/o..
    The new foods I’ll partake in is one of the most rewarding things in traveling to far off lands …,
    As always, safe travels,
    DaNuck

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    • VBJ November 8, 2022, 8:55 am

      Haha I suppose I should have prefaced that by saying “airlines and airports in the USA.” They’re still fun almost everywhere else.

      But the food comment … I stand by that. That’s usually the worst part about travel for me. It’s not really the taste of the food, but the quality. Over the past 20 years so much has become processed, plasticy, chock full of pesticides and GMOs, and food preparation methods are atrocious. And it takes so long to find a restaurant that isn’t serving poison on a platter … But I also feel the same about most restaurants in the USA.

      Or maybe I’m just spoiled by NYC 🤣

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  • Rob November 7, 2022, 1:40 pm

    It’s good to see you back!

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    • VBJ November 8, 2022, 8:56 am

      Thank you!

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