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Old 11-29-09, 03:09 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Discovering Hidden Gems?

On a recent tour, I came across an area that was such a beautiful hidden gem, that it started me wondering. we get directed to places

...whether it might be possible to more-consciously optimize these discoveries (or these processes)

...whether they can be optimized in different ways (quantity, quality, frequency, depth, aliveness, newness)

...whether there are other sorts of hidden gems, in addition to places (the geographical ones)

...what is it that makes for hidden gems -- and what is at the heart of hidden gems

New discoveries?

Falling in love with a place, person, process, day, moment, light, scene, setting, mode of action...?

Openness to the new?

Putting aside the old ways, labels, interpretations, 'knowings'?

Simple wandering, into unknown destinations?

Shelving the known?

The cessation of noise?

Looking back on the time I spent in that place, I have to say that it also had something to do with stopping, in this case at least.

When I stopped to lie down in the sun for a couple of hours, rest and have lunch, I started appreciating and seeing my surroundings differently. It was absolutely beautiful and magic.

Another time, I could have been in the same place and been so occupied with some problem or project or activity or set of thoughts, that I wouldn't have connected with or appreciated the place in the same way.

There is probably more to this.

Last edited by Niles H.; 11-29-09 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 11-29-09, 06:20 PM   #2
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I think I understand and appreciate exactly what you're talking about. I guess anybody whose done much touring have hidden gems stored in their memories, and relatives who may be tired of hearing about them. Hard to adequately share such.

Most hidden gems are hidden for a reason. They are most likely of people, place, sights, moods, and experiences that are pretty much personal and not subject to repetition by yourself, or duplication by anyone else. A one time moment just for you, stimulated by the solitude of solo touring, being one with your environment, and the endorphin rush of exercise.

Ain't it great that one can, with just a little awareness, have many more hidden gem discoveries on every tour. That's why the next one, for me at least, is always in the planning stage.
The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me
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Old 11-30-09, 10:23 AM   #3
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I think a lot of what makes those hidden gems so special is the fact that they are so unexpected. One time John and I were pedaling along in India when we chanced upon the largest Jain temple in the world. It was incredible!! There was no one there, so the guard took us down into the tunnels underneath it. Wow! If that temple had been better known/advertised/visited/whatever - that experience never would have happened.
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Old 11-30-09, 02:21 PM   #4
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Your best guide to ' hidden gems' is to listen to the locals! Too many people follow what I call the "lonely planet' style of touring/vacationing, which so often focuses on man made features such as theatres/arts/museums/national parks/recreation areas, instead of allowing yourself to just ENJOY the area(s) where you are for their own sake. Furthermore it leads to the 'been there done that' school of travel, which means that 'once you have seen one fort [museum/cafe/minaret/glacier/mud volcano...] you have seen them all. Plus it gets you into the 'go there and take a picture' mentality, instead of the 'be there and let your mind soak it in.'

By the way listening to the locals encourages good feeling toward cyclists in general.

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Old 11-30-09, 05:15 PM   #5
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Interesting question. I would say yes, and the "optimization" is quite simple.

Ask God to make each day more uncertain than the previous. Or if you're not religious, have the attitude that each day will be more uncertain than the previous.

Throw away your GPS and get lost once in a while. Getting lost is the single greatest thing a person can do if they want to find amazing people, places, and things.

Of course IMHO.
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Old 12-01-09, 04:06 AM   #6
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The best tip I can give for reaching those gems is to throw away your guidebook. Carrying a guidebook makes you rigid in a way - you go only to the places recommended in it, shun places that aren't in it, because if the guidebook doesn't mention them there can't be anything there...

Aside from a few times when I've been cycling into a city and used the maps, I've rarely found a guidebook essential and often it's a hindrance.

Also, stay flexible. Don't get into the 'I must take this path' or 'reach this destination' mindset. The journey itself is the adventure.
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