“I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places.” – Henny Youngman
If you’ve been paying attention the past couple of weeks you know I’ve been on vacation. If you’re hoping I’ll get back to posting profound ideas about leadership, management, organizational dynamics and such …
Well, first, thanks for thinking past posts have included profound ideas. I much appreciate the compliment.
But second, no, I’m not. In fact, as I type this sentence I have no idea what the sentences that follow will talk about. Let’s find out together, shall we?
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Seems to me there are two types of travel. There’s travel that takes you to places that pamper you – places you can just lean back, breathe deeply, and pretend all the aggravations of the world, be they petty inconveniences or important but nothing you can do anything about at the moment, are Someone Else’s Problem, at least until you’re back at home.
In this kind of travel, going to experience stuff is something you do in between mojitos.
The other type of travel is more adventurous; the experience is the point of it. It immerses us. It isn’t just the same as our response to the pages of travel magazines only more so, no matter how talented their photographers might be.
This vacation has mostly been the former, not to say we engaged in no sightseeing. There was, for example, our excursion to see the Pulpi geode – the world’s largest. It was spectacular in a way no photograph can possibly convey. A marvel.
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If this post had a plot, the Pulpi geode reference would have been its plot spoiler. Not a plot but a tout: We’ve been vacationing in Spain, near Mojacar, at Cortijo Del Sarmiento, a lovely bed and breakfast whose proprietors, our new friends Yvonne and Carsten, are taking care of us in fine style. If you like what you’re reading about this week, I’m sure they’d be delighted to talk with you.
I hope you’ll forgive the plug. Even more, no matter what business you’re in, please don’t ask me to give yours a plug too. This is a one-time thing.
Speaking of asking for forgiveness, while there’s been no quid pro quo, for those who enjoy calamari there was a squid pro quo.
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I had an eye-opening conversation with Yvonne (eye-opening for me, at least) regarding their marketing efforts. Without going into a great deal of depth … and gimme a break! I’m on vacation, so I wasn’t taking notes! … to run a business like this in the 2020’s it isn’t enough to run the business. Yvonne is quite sophisticated in social media marketing, posting content about Cortijo Del Sarmiento and nearby points of interest at least as often as I post content here on KJR, on their own website as well as on a variety of social media platforms; and beyond this investing time to encourage other local businesses to create a unified presence – a regional brand – everyone can use to attract visitors.
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Mojacar is located in Spain’s less-touristy southeast corner. If you’re looking for a more French Riveria-ish sort of Mediterranean experience, that’s what Spain’s Costa Del Sol is for.
But call it tourism or whatever else you like, it’s in this region that you’ll find Alhambra, which was, in its heyday, one of Islam’s most important religious / political centers on the Iberian peninsula.
Speaking of experiences even the best photos can’t convey, what I found most remarkable about Alhambra was how little damage the Catholic hierarchy did to the glorious Moorish artwork and architecture they took possession of in 1492.
Religious intolerance did, thankfully take a back seat to the desire to preserve something spectacular and utterly irreplaceable.
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Most Americans, when we hear the word, probably think it’s little more than folky tap dancing. Having attended a couple of flamenco performances on this trip, permit me to suggest you pay attention to the guitar playing that accompanies the dancing. Flamenco guitar entails a speed and precision of play that puts Mark Knopfler – my personal guitar hero – to shame.
Bob’s last word: It’s hard to explain in concrete terms what we get out of the sort of travel we’re engaged in right now. All I can say is that there’s something about being Someplace Different that’s apart from the specific experience of being someplace that isn’t the same as the place we left and will soon go home to.