Minnesota Women's Press | St. Paul, MN


DakotaJazz.TopBanner.1-2017

home : readerswrite : yourstory October 18, 2017

Coming of age on the road
Life is grand, but it need not be lived grandly to be happy.
- Cindy Suplick

By Cindy Suplick


At 23, I chucked a conventional lifestyle to live simply, out of a backpack, traveling through 40 countries in search of high adventure. I hit the road then because I knew life would be more complicated later.

In the 1970s, the American peace talks with North Vietnam broke down, the conservative Silent Majority reigned, and the Equal Rights Amendment was lost. Disillusioned with our country, my husband and I bought one-way tickets to a faraway place to work, travel and experience the real world at street level.

Finland was a mecca for our teaching and architectural skills. We lived communally in a rustic rented cottage on the Baltic Sea. On the weekends we roamed the vast Lake Region of bays, inlets and islands in dense pine forests. We visited a Finnish family cottage in the outer archipelago, where we took saunas in the buff, then ran naked shrieking across the snow to plunge in a swimming hole chopped in the frozen water.

Restless, we donned backpacks to travel Europe and beyond for six months by train, bus, hitchhiking, motorcycle and bicycle - camping along the way. Free spirits from Britain, Australia and New Zealand, all seeking adventure at budget prices, joined us. Vivid memories were etched of the 'standing room' seating for the Vienna symphony, fragrant fields of Edelweiss in Austria, a horse-drawn gypsy caravan along the Loire, and the hazy stench of coal smoke that masked bleak Soviet-built apartment buildings in Bulgaria.

Striking East, we found a fellow driving to Bhutan who wanted the company of passengers. After 3,300 miles and a couple of crashes, we got out in Herat, Afghanistan. We holed up in a hotel looking out over a 4th century B.C. castle built by Alexander the Great. Camel trains and colorful horse taxis traveled the roads. Children pitched hashish and cheap trinkets in the streets.

We headed West on native buses through Iran, enduring frequent military searches for contraband, then the Orient Express to Istanbul, and finally third-class boat passage to Crete, where we spent a wonderful Christmas in a Greek Taverna replete with dancing, singing and smashing glasses in the fireplace.

Our last leg was bicycling through England, soaking tired feet in the Avon, bathing in hot springs at Bath, and repairing nightly to pubs for camaraderie.

I had sought the far reaches for the sights and excitement. But it was the simple pleasures that linger: the waves lulling me to sleep, the celebratory midsummer solstice, the tender smile of a ragamuffin child. Life is grand, but it need not be lived grandly to be happy.

Cindy Suplick trekked solo in Bhutan at age 62, and more recently in Slovenia, in-between lumpectomies. Machu Picchu beckons for her 70th birthday. www.cindyadventures.com

ShoeDreams.4-2017.InContent Banner



Got a story?
We'd like to hear it. For writer's guidelines, go to www.womenspress.com. Email your 450-word personal essay to editor@womenspress.com





Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   



Advanced Search





HueloellerGontarek.halfpg.7-2017

<October>
SMTWTFS
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

MELSA.ROS.Banner.1-2017

Home | Features | Commentary | ReadersWrite | e-Edition | Get A Copy | Calendar | Classifieds | Advertise | Women's Directory | BookWomen | Extras | Life
Minnesota Women's Press, Inc., 651-646-3968
Site Design and Content
Copyright 2017
1up!

Software © 1998-2017 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved